How to create great content without the overwhelm? As business owners, we all want to be visible, to get exposure for our business. One way of doing that is to create great content. So I want to look in this blog at what is content, why do you need to create it, what kind of content should you be putting out there for your type of business and your personality, and how you can do it without being overwhelmed and by working smart.
What is content?
Rather than assume everyone knows, as they don’t, this term needs to be explained before I move on. Content is educational, promotional and personal material you put out on social media, on your blogs and on your website, or in printed materials that helps people to get to know you or your products and services, or gets to understand through educational material why they benefit form your offer, why to trust you as a brand and eventually make a buying decision.
Why do you need to create great content?
It can be tempting to think it’s a waste of time creating so much content especially when you feel it isn’t directly driving sales. Most of the time you are correct, it isn’t going to directly drive sales because mostly it’s not promotional content that you are putting out. So is it worth the time? Well, I’d say make the most of your time and work smart. More on how to do that later in this article.
Content really helps your business in several ways. It can help to promote your brand so clients become familiar with you and eventually begin to trust you. When they trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. It also helps to establish you as an authority in your niche. As your content starts to be shared and spreads, you will also gain more followers. Again that helps to build trust. So with content, you are growing a pile of a different sort of currency – trust.
What kind of content can you create?
There are different mediums of content you can create and the ones you choose will be the ones that suit your current skills and your personality type. The basic choices are:
You don’t have to do every type of content there is, just what you feel comfortable doing. Or you can outsource the creation of most of it (except the videos you appear in) to a Virtual Assistant.
If you are not comfortable on camera, you may be better doing written or audio content. If you hate writing but have a flare for the dramatic, video would be your obvious medium. I would recommend you try to become more comfortable on video as this tends to reach further on Facebook than static content and by putting content on YouTube, you take advantage of one of the world’s best search engines.
Written content is great for getting found on Google. The more good quality original content you can put out in writing on your website, the more chance you stand of showing up in searches for relevant content.
Having a blog on your site is a great way to organically grow your website page by page with good written content. It is not a feature reserved for foodies and travel writers. It’s a proven strategy you can use to get seen on line in any business.
A case in point, one year, we were asked to provide a transcription service for an existing client. It wasn’t a service we provide and we don’t list it as such on our website, but it was something we could easily provide for our client, so we did. In that week of doing it, we wrote a “behind the scenes” blog about the experience and posted it on our blog. Shortly after that, we started to get enquiries for transcription services and at first we were confused. Why are people suddenly phoning about this? we asked. Then we realised it was the blog article that was coming up in people’s searches! So be careful what you blog about!
You can also write long-form copy on your Facebook and other social media posts. These do well and yes, people do read them. How much they read depends on how engaging you make the article, but don’t avoid doing this type of content based on a misconception that people don’t read. One of my clients put out a long post on Facebook and because the article was engaging, emotional and relatable, it went viral.
Using illustrations, images, photos and infographics are great ways to add engaging content to the mix. If you are strategic about this, you can create 3 months’ worth in one go and schedule out the posts to drip daily.
I put out a lot of inspirational quotes using my Fairy Godmother illustrations and this helps to perpetuate the brand. You can also take photos of yourself in different scenarios and poses and put quotes next to these.
Infographics are a great way to make a complex idea easily understandable, especially processes.
If you aren’t comfortable on video just yet but know you need a show, some way to reach a wider audience while giving of yourself not just in static form, then a podcast may be the answer for you. Creating a podcast show is not as difficult as you think. In fact it’s really easy once you know the equipment and software you need. There are free and paid podcast hosting platforms you can choose from. You simply choose your format, i.e. just you, or interviews with others, then decide on the average length of each episode and how often you will release an episode.
I built my podcast myself, including designing the visual tile used to promote the show online. I designed this with Canva and the intro and outro recordings were edited using video editing software.
The hosting software will place your podcast to all the main places where people listen to their chosen podcasts like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.
Having a podcast with interviews is a great way to grow your listening audience as you will have your audience and your interviewee’s audience tuning in at the same time.
You also get to interview people from all around the world that you would never have met otherwise.
As mentioned above, videos get the most research and you get to draw on the massive search engine that is YouTube as well.
If you can do Facebook lives, so much the better. Nowadays you can use StreamYard a streaming service to stream your live video presentation to multiple platforms at the same time. I regularly stream simultaneously to my Facebook Page, my Facebook Group and my YouTube channel.
Some people are shy to go live as they may not get many live viewers, that’s OK. Firstly, you can announce on Facebook the time you intend to go live so those interested may turn up. Secondly, it doesn’t really matter if no one’s listening as people will watch the replay anyway. Remember the money is always in the follow up.
So what can you put out videos about?
These are common to do. Quickly plan out your topic structure with 3-4 main teaching points and you have a handy video presentation in the making.
Video is a great way to demonstrate products, how they work and their benefits. You can also use case studies in the same way. Show on video how you have helped a customer, their issue before you met, what you did for them, how you did it, and the proven result you delivered.
Testimonials on video are the most compelling you will be able to show.
You know, you’ve seen these online. How to lose X kg in 10 days, the ice water bucket challenge, etc. These can be highly engaging as you get people to do the challenge with you and post their daily results.
How to save time by repurposing one piece of content multiple times
This is how I do it:
I record a how to video of me speaking on camera and use that for social media and YouTube.
I take the audio recording and make this a Podcast episode.
I cut up snippets of the video content to show one by one on social media as short videos of around 30 seconds to a minute each. I could get between 10-20 pieces from one video.
I play the original video with Google Docs open and the Voice Typing tool turned on and Google Docs transcribes the whole video for me. That gets edited and becomes a blog article or two.
I send the transcript to my VA and ask her to pull out interesting quotes from the text and they become my static image posts and quotes. Again I can get 10-30 quotes out of one transcription.
And all I did was record a 30-min video and now have around 50 pieces of content!
It’s the perennial problem for every marketer – how to stand out and get noticed by your prospective customers
Do you have a prospective customer you’ve been chasing for so long and who has been ignoring you? You need to try something maybe a little different than just social media or email marketing. You need to stand out and be noticed!
Now one of the ways to solve the problem of how to stand out and be noticed is to do something different.
It might be doing something old school like putting pen to paper and actually writing to them, you know, sending them a little postcard note of thanks rather than blasting an email.
OK that seems counterintuitive. Nobody writes anymore.
But hey, that’s EXACTLY why you’re going to get noticed.
Because nobody writes anymore, if you’re the person who sits down and writes a nice personal thank-you note to your client or to a potential customer, you’re going to get noticed by them and they will appreciate the extra effort and feel valued.
It’s all about making your clients feel valued. When they feel valued, they’re more likely to stay with you. They’re more likely to buy from you. So try to think of different ways that you can stand out and attract customers by doing things a little differently than everybody else.
Your personal brand needs to be visible in your business. Here’s why.
One of the mistakes I see some business owners make, and I made this huge mistake when I started my copywriting business, is hiding behind their business.
I made the mistake of hiding behind the business and not developing my own personal brand. I think now of how much money I must have left on the table.
When I set up my first company website, I didn’t even say that I was the founder of the company, that I was involved in the company in any way. There was no picture of me on the website, there was no information about me, my name wasn’t there and as a result, my company blended in with every other agency that was out there.
I was the greatest asset in my company at the time and people were buying my services because of me not the company. I was successful in spite of myself! But you may not be so lucky.
So I would really urge you, if you’re starting out your business, to set up your own personal brand as well as the brand for your company. The reason for doing that obviously is it can help you sell for the business because when you’re starting off, you will be the business. So you will be the brand of the business as well.
Having a personal brand separate from your company brand helps to open up opportunities to you in the future and you can enter deals not related to your company brand but that gel with your personal brand. Your company may or may not always be around, but your personal brand is here to stay. Develop it.
When COVID-19 first hit and lockdown forced the population into their homes, I thought my business was “virus” proof. I was wrong.
You see, over the years, I’ve been adopting Cloud technologies and onboarding apps that would improve productivity, allow my teams to collaborate virtually and business was effectively run on the Cloud.
We no longer needed a physical office as we could communicate virtually without borders. Meetings could be conducted on Zoom and webinar.
Accounting went digital, so all invoices were sent through an app with options to be paid directly through credit card through Stripe or by Paypal. Even QR codes sent to my client would allow them to pay direct to my account from their corporate account by phone.
But it seems a lot of businesses out there just haven’t got the message.
So when lockdown happened, it didn’t change my daily life. Yes, I was worried for my family, hoping no one caught the coronavirus. But business wise, I was feeling pretty confident. Nothing would change for me. I could work from home as normal. I could convert enquiries online into paying projects as normal, I could instruct my virtual team as normal. Life would be per normal.
Only it wasn’t. Although I had digitised my business to be COVID-19-proof, many, many businesses have not. When the lockdown hit, they struggled to operate with staff working from home. Their processes didn’t work online. They ground to a halt.
So even though my business could run OK in the new “normal”, enquiries slowed. And worse, those who needed to settle their bills with me advised that until their offices reopened, they weren’t able to process my digital invoices. So not only are incoming projects reduced, I can’t get paid for the projects already completed. Not too much of an issue for a short 2 weeks. But as the lockdown continues and July is looking more a possibility for the economy to regroup, it’s become a problem.
We operate in an eco-system. So when the majority of players, mostly the big boys, can’t keep up, prove not to be agile, those that had the foresight to adapt are pulled down.
So, I ask, why did I bother digitising my business?
At least looking on the bright side, when we are freed from our home prisons, my business is in a position to bounce back faster than most. And in the interim period, I’m building for even greater digitisation and I’ll be first off the starting block.
Always thought of being an author one day but can’t write a book?
I’ve been talking recently about how to set up your personal brand and how to establish your personal brand and get your name out there.
One of the ways you can establish a personal brand is being an author and writing a book. That may seem really scary and some people think there is no way they can a page let alone a book.
Why write a book?
Think about it. When you see anybody that has written a book, you tend to see them as more as an authority, more trustworthy. (Author is the root of the word Authority.) They become elevated in your perception of them. So that’s really why you want to write a book – to establish your personal brand and get that perception of you elevated.
I’m just about to publish one of my books, 11 Reasons Why Your Business Isn’t Growing and we’re just in the final stages of getting this prepared ready for print.
I’m really excited to get this going, so hopefully you will be in my place very soon where you’ll have a book in your hands.
Where to start?
First break down your book into main chapters then brainstorm the content you could write about on each chapter. Then break each of those individual pieces to brainstorm the details of each section.
What I did in my book was identify 11 mistakes I’ve seen business owners I’ve met over 20 years in business and these became my main chapters. Then I identified the details of each point and came up with solutions – how I could teach prospective readers what to do to rectify or avoid these mistakes.
Once you’ve done the planning and devised an intro and a conclusion, you have the elements of your book. You are on your way to being an author!
It’s just 11 essays really
If writing a book overwhelms you, think of each chapter as an essay like the ones you used to write at school. You just need to write 11 essays, or however many chapters are in your book. Now if you don’t want to write the chapters yourself, you can outsource the writing to a professional. Or you could create a book that comprises different stories from others and in exchange for featuring them in your book, ask each person featured to write their chapter. Then you just need to get someone to edit it. Another way to make it easy is for you to dictate the book into a transcribing app. These are highly accurate today and you’ll have your book out of your head and onto paper in the time it tales to dictate it!
It doesn’t have to be long
Another myth is that a book has to be really long. Well, it doesn’t really. Being an author isn’t dependent on the length of the book. It can be as long as you need it to be. So if the reason for writing a book is really just for publicity and to elevate your perception of people’s perception of you, you could just do a short little ebook and put that out and that’s enough.
Another approach to consider is to buy a license to put your name on someone else’s book. This is called public license rights. To find books you can buy a license for, do an online search around your topic and add “PLR” to the end of your search. You’ll find some websites selling content that you can use without changing and that you can just put your name to. Or you can edit as you see fit and use the book as a base. Just be careful to read and understand the license rights you are purchasing so you know what you can and can’t do with the content.
By implementing any of these ideas, you can have a book out to elevate your brand quite quickly without having to deal with the overwhelm.
Writing letters or emails is a challenge. If you aren’t aware of that then you may be doing it all wrong. Crafting a letter or email is (or should be) challenging. Why?
You are not there to convey the body language and facial expressions that are so crucial in communication.
When your audience only has the written word to rely on, all sorts of terrible things can happen if you aren’t communicating sensitively and with the reader’s perspective in mind.
Let me give you an example that has sparked this blog topic.
My 19-year-old daughter is at poly. That means she’s an adult. She has the maturity and brains to make her own decisions. At least that’s how I’ve brought her up. The poly seems to think differently.
The fact that they feel they have to report her absences to me just makes me laugh, quite frankly. Well, it would if the tone it is written in didn’t make my blood boil.
She’s coming into her third year at poly now and in the two years that have passed, she’s been absent twice without an MC. Twice. That’s two. Not twenty. Not a daily habitual occurrence, but two in the WHOLE two years.
OK, so they feel the need to inform me. I get it. They are covering their asses. Just in case I wasn’t aware she’d been “skiving”.
So it’s not so much the receiving of the obligatory letter telling me to get my daughter in order that makes me mad so much as it’s the wording of the letter. It just doesn’t match the events that happened at all! What I’ve been receiving these two times (that’s two mind you, not twenty) is a fairly offensive letter about how my daughter won’t be able to take her exams because she shows habitual absences in her attendance. I think the key word here is habitual. If the concern is habitual truances (Enid Blyton, thank you – a word dredged up from a dark, distant past) why on earth am I being sent these two letters (that’s two, mind you, in two years) about her single day absences? There’s a pretty standard definition for habitual in most dictionaries, I would say. I don’t think twice in two years covers it. Poly, you are supposed to be instilling skills in my daughter to set her up for a career. How on earth would this be helping her when she’s been treated like a naughty schoolgirl instead of the incredibly articulate and intelligent young lady she is turning out to be?
My point is, you can’t send template letters out when they don’t fit the situation. Perhaps this poly should have one template for the single absence that is a much softer in tone. Then one for those who have had a few days absence that is a little more urgent. Then the letter I got should be sent to the habitual offenders.
So, when you “templatise” your correspondence, create a few different versions so you don’t alienate all of your readers.
Your words are important and how you use them leaves a lasting impression on your reader and a permanent perception of your brand. Choose your words with care.
Copy Warrior standing up for communication that gets it right.
Master copywriter and content marketer Ange Dove, AKA Your Business Transformation Fairy Godmother, founded Proof Perfect in 2003 to improve business communication and marketing, one business at a time.
Ange and her Proof Perfect team focus on providing compelling copy backed by powerful visuals to make clients’ content stand out both online and offline.
She is adept at planning strategies for her clients and using the best of today’s technologies to automate their marketing so they can Get Ready, Get Seen, Get Business.
Stay updated on all things business and marketing with my monthly newsletter SIGN UP HERE!