There’s an art to creating regular content. I’m talking about the kind of content that Google ranks highly simply because people read it and share it. Content that leads them to spend more time on your website, interacting with you and others on social media. Building the environment in which quality leads can be found and nurtured. Are you comfortable with creating lead-generating content? Are you relaxed but on the case?
If not – what’s stopping you? Any of these 4 reasons apply to you?
- No idea what to write
- Wary of putting anything online (“Twitter’s toxic”)
- Can’t find the time
- Don’t like writing
These are excuses, I’m afraid. And not amusing ones like those HMRC receives from taxpayers missing their deadlines (“I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn”). Excuses not to create content can lead to similarly painful ‘penalties’, however. Even word of mouth needs something to talk about…
So I offer some solutions and ways of creating regular (and good) content.
1. Finding the right topics for your content
The right topics for your content are within your business and you’re already using them. If a potential customer was standing in front of you, you wouldn’t clam up and send them on their way would you? You’d ‘size’ them up, ask some pertinent questions and, taking into account their answers and reactions, you’d start a conversation. That’s content you’re using.
Instead of charging into hard sell mode you subtly start to connect with this person. Working fast to learn something about them, you latch onto a problem or scenario. Then, you share stories of customers you’ve helped overcome the same challenge or finding themselves in a similar situation. Gradually, you demonstrate that you can solve or address their challenges; you have the products and services combined with the knowledge and experience. You use colourful anecdotes and real life stories to illustrate that you’re on their wavelength, that you understand them.
You’re already using content to build a relationship with a prospect and you do this on a regular basis – assessing and evaluating people and situations to achieve what you want. In fact it’s basic psychology we use in our lives generally – finding a connection and using it to start or maintain a relationship. From getting the teenager to clean their room to persuading a car dealer to better the price they’re offering.
You’re an experienced and successful communicator in your daily life – you just need to apply the same principles to create content with a purpose for your business.
Getting the tone of your content right is a strategic task – this article on brand development will start you off.
2. Online caution not posting paralysis
Yes, pressing that button to post and upload should give you pause for thought – but not paralysis.
This is your own media – think about that for a minute. It means you need never rely totally upon a journalist, printer, publisher or event organiser for exposure to your audience.
Your social media platforms and web pages (including the all important blog) are totally within your power to manage effectively. You’re in charge of your own Google and Facebook ad accounts. Digital communication helps you reach your customers on your terms. How empowering is that?
Business people are right to be cautious of online communication. The immediacy of a post can mean a comment goes viral creating a PR nightmare that takes longer to manage. But this shouldn’t make you step away from posting and uploading altogether:
- Keep a balanced view about ‘giving too much away’. Firstly, nothing stays secret for long thanks to YouTube. Second, you should be spending more time looking forward to your next innovation (and watching your competitors catch up).
- Don’t hide behind the GDPR and data protection laws. Your processes surrounding other people’s data must be robust but even an NDA shouldn’t stop you creating powerful, authentic case studies – even if they are anonymous.
- Social media can be toxic but 1,000s of UK businesses use it successfully without attracting unwanted attention. It doesn’t make sense to ignore the empowerment associated with digital communication. However, understanding the platforms, how they work and what kind of content is best for your business are also no brainers.
Creating regular content calls for a certain amount of bravery – but having a strategy will give you the necessary strength.
Tell us why you matter (and here’s more on how being non-communicative can be commercially damaging).
3. Make the time to manage your own content
Making sure your business is represented accurately and engagingly to help generate quality leads is a strategic and critical task. It’s up there with operational and financial decision-making. Dovetailing your content with your commercial objectives is how you ensure your marketing activity works hard to promote your chosen services and products to a targeted audience.
For sure you might need help to implement your content strategy. Writing and posting effectively is a skill (I would say that wouldn’t I!). The relevance and authenticity of your commercially-led content, however, is a responsibility that you the business owner (or marketing manager) should embrace.
Otherwise, you might end up with a widespread disconnect between your brand and your audience.
4. You don’t have to be a copywriter
Go ahead and outsource the blogging, posting and web page content. Hire a content specialist and copywriter working with you to implement the strategy you’ve created. Blog writing, for example, is an integral part of successfully creating regular content where the writer gets to the heart of the action.
For my clients, I turn into a newshound – visiting their premises, watching product demos, interviewing experts and skilled technicians. I also take photographs to properly illustrate the story.
Back at my desk, I’m armed with lots of brand-led stories and tangible ideas to help drive the communication strategy we agreed at the beginning of the relationship. Usually, I have enough content for more than one blog and multiple posts on social media. The whole exercise is slick and purposeful.
Outsourcing your writing to a skilled copywriter makes sense – this is a professional service like accountancy, legal and IT. Just remain in charge of the content strategy so what gets posted and uploaded is relevant and timely.
Make a habit out of creating regular content
Creating regular content means making it part of your day job. Not something you ‘find the time’ for or fit in when you’ve got the odd half hour. The more integral it is the more it’ll benefit your business.
And this content is not just online – it applies across all your communication activity. If word of mouth and referrals are vital to your lead generation, make sure these ‘ambassadors’ are kept up to date with the latest developments in your business.
There’s no substitute for having processes in place to ensure you are creating regular content. Planning and structure leads to greater productivity just like the rest of your business.
(Thanks and credit to Pablo for the images)