Are you building a business from scratch? Are you trying to establish your brand and get noticed, but you're not sure how to do it or where to start?
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It's Saturday night, and I hadn't planned on working this evening. Ashley is out of town, and I spent most of the day playing Horizon: Zero Dawn on my PlayStation. I just finished eating part of a pepperoni pizza and cinnamon sticks from Domino's while watching part of the last X-Men movie, and I was about to go outside with a cigar to read The Atlantis Plague on my Kindle Paperwhite.
But I didn't.
Before I even made it outside, I thought back to a coaching call from earlier in the week and felt like there was still work to do. She and I talked about content marketing and how to establish yourself as an authority by writing and recording the right types of content.
I remember her frustration. I also remember what it was like in the early years, when almost no one visited my site, and even fewer people read my blogs.
But then I remember, content marketing is how I built my business. It's the strategy I've used to generate tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for my business. And I remember that I wouldn't have clients like her if I hadn't started writing down my thoughts back in 2012.
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So here I am, writing my thoughts and sharing my experiences instead of reading fiction.
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In my book Exit Strategy: The Exact Tactics to Transition from Where You Have to Be to Where You Want to Be, I go in-depth about how to be successful with your content marketing efforts. I share what types of content to create, when to create it, and how you can tie your content into an effective marketing strategy.If you'd like to grab a copy of Exit Strategy, you can buy it on Amazon HERE.
How to Build Your Business with Content Marketing
Creating content in your business is the process of taking your prospective clients on a journey. Your posts, videos, factory tours, and how to material is how you will walk people through the process of getting to know you, learning to like you, and feeling like they can trust you.
Instead of paying for celebrity endorsements, we’re going to employ what would get Mark Cuban’s attention on Shark Tank:
As the saying goes, entrepreneurs are the only people who will spend eighty hours each week working for themselves, so they don’t have to spend forty hours working for someone else. And, as Robert Rose said,
Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.
In Chapter 20 of my book Exit Strategy, I give my readers three tasks:
- create content,
- download and use my blog post idea web tool,
- and create more content.
I’ve divided it up like this because I want you to write, record, cook, film and produce as much content as you can, up to and including the point at which you run out of ideas.
Related: How to Create a Content Calendar
Next, using the blog post idea web, you can turn one idea into several more, and begin creating a network of content that will keep your audience engaged for hours. Then, finally, it’s time to create more material using the ideas generated during step two.
This method, if used correctly and repeated over time, will help you create a never-ending supply of ideas which you can use to create a plethora of content to help you market your business.
Step 1: Create Valuable Content
Every conversation you’re a part of can be the seed of content creation. If someone asks you about the process you use to weed out all but the best job candidates, you can create a checklist or training video documenting the process. When your mom says, “I really have no idea what you do,” read this post and take that as an opportunity to record a behind the scenes video or add to the About Page you created while working on Chapter 17.
Once you train your brain to be on the lookout, every comment, question, Facebook group post, Buzzfeed video or Quora question can be the spark of an idea. There are people everywhere asking questions to which you have the answer. You just have to find them and be willing to provide value without asking for anything in return.
Tips for Creating Valuable Content
As I mentioned, content ideas are everywhere. Let’s take a look at some ways you can fill your content calendar with blog posts, videos and other types of material people want to read and consume.
- Take Notes – I can’t tell you how many of my blog posts and videos have come as a result of a conversation. Explaining things to my wife, coaching a client, and answering questions from friends and colleagues have all led to content other people have found valuable. Keep an Evernote file full of topic ideas. Each new note can be turned into a new post.
- Solved Problems – If you’ve solved a problem for yourself, why not share how you did it with your audience?
- Use Templates – See Chapter 15 of Exit Strategy for more details.
- Use Q&A sites like Reddit and Quora – Read this post for details on using these sites to figure out what to blog about
- Think, “What Else?” – The most successful companies are the ones that create ecosystems and communities around their products or services. What else is causing your avatar to struggle? What else do they need help with? What else do they have questions about?
If you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas for content, pick up the phone and call one of your existing customers. If you don’t yet have customers, get in contact with someone who’s read your content, sampled your products, or is aware of your goal. Ask them how they like what they purchased from you. Ask them how (and if) they’re using it.
PRO TIP: See what else your customers purchased to go along with what they bought from you. We don’t only buy jackets when it’s cold; we need toboggans, gloves, and scarfs too. We don’t just buy books; we grab new highlighters, bookmarks, and journals to go along with them.
The ecosystems that surround our products are out there if we’re willing to look for them. When you can create the product and influence the ecosystem, your profits will soar, and your clients will reward you. Memorable experiences are much more profitable than simple monetary exchanges.
Step 2: Use the Blog Post Idea Web
Back in 2014, I realized how much overlap there was in my content. I wasn’t creating the same material over and over, but I was creating an interconnected web of posts that linked to one another and increased the value I had to offer.
When I realized this network of blog posts, podcast episodes and videos was keeping visitors on my site longer, boosting my overall influence and authority, and enhancing my domain authority, I started to see if other people were doing the same things.
Some of the big players were, but most people were not intentionally creating a content network that would keep readers engaged. So, to help my readers then, and to help you now as you begin your content creation efforts, I created my Blog Post Idea Web, which you can download completely for free by CLICKING HERE.
Every time I’ve done this exercise with the blog post idea web, I’ve come away with more ideas than I can create content about.
One of the key elements to the success of this exercise is to link from your original idea to the new ones that support it or contradict it later. Don’t forget to go back to the initial post or video and add the links to the new material.
Sometimes I refer to this process as “cross-pollination.” It’s taking one idea and spreading it around to generate new ideas and content, and it helps your visitors remain engaged longer.
Step 3: Create More Content
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create one incredible piece of work and then relax for the rest of our days?
Sure, that may sound good, but that only works for 19th-century painters and other artists who weren’t recognized for greatness until after they were dead.
Any company who wants to be successful has to continue innovating, inventing, and producing amazing products long after they feel like doing it. Using the Blog Post Idea Web and the templates from Chapter 15 of Exit Strategy, create as many blog posts, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Snapchat stories, Periscope scopes, Blab blabs, and tweets for Twitter as you possibly can.
Don’t dilute the impact of your message by putting out mediocre content, but share your best work with the world. Tell us how you’ve got the glass of water we’re looking for and we’ll come see if it’s true.
Create, create, and create some more.
Push the limits.
If it makes you feel uncomfortable, write about it, record it and share it. Your success will be found beyond your comfort zone.
How does all of this sit with you? Is it more or less work than you imagined? Have your content marketing efforts been invigorating or exhausting?
This is the life of an entrepreneur, and I welcome you to it!