After being in the business of content creation for a few years now, I’ve learned a thing or two about what ranks, what gets read, and what creates conversions for a variety of businesses.
Most businesses still wonder if they should venture into the world of content creation. It’s grossly underrated by the masses, but those that regularly create content experience the benefits within a few months if they produce a lot of it.
The best part about content creation is the ability to create a legacy forever. What you create leaves a permanent mark on your niche. It’s like starting a fire in the arctic tundra. People can’t help but come near a warm fire when it’s freezing outside. All you have to do is keep it going with more quality content.
This article focuses on how you can refine your process and add to your current content efforts. If you’re doing social media posts regularly, that’s great, but you should complement those daily posts with long-form content either in the form on white papers, e-books, and blogs to just name a few.
When you combine all the daily activity to Instagram stories or your Facebook wall, you can grow your following exponentially by providing a place for your clients to learn everything they need to know about you and your products.
The question isn’t if you should create long-form content or how much.
The question is: What kind of content suits your brand the best? Whatever the answer to that question is should let you know whether video, audio, or written works the best. You should do all three, but you need to have a focus, especially at first.
What Are the Different Types of Content Creation?
Content is a broad term used today to describe many forms of information given in physical form or the internet. Some are free and some are not.
You’ve most likely heard of free types, like blogs, webinars, and e-books, but what other options are there and what is the purpose of content in general?
For the most part, content does not directly create a sale. Its purpose is similar to sales pieces but very different from sales letters. The purpose of content creation is to “warm-up” your clients before they enter the sales cycle.
Let’s face it, an uninformed customer these days will very rarely purchase whatever you’re selling. They need a stint of fact-finding before they decide on anything. This means that content should seek to educate and build trust with potential clients.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are seeing the benefits of creating not just blogs and webinars. They create email marketing newsletters, white papers, e-books, video courses, and case studies. If done well, your brand will look it’s best and your customers will want to know what they should buy.
Content creation takes your customers from knowing about your product to want to buy it. Another way to say it is content makes you an influencer.
How Creating Content Creates More Business
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing & generates 3x as many leads, says @demandmetric.
In sales, the rule is 6-8 touches for a viable sale. In content marketing, it takes 4-5 pieces of content before your customers will even enter the sales cycle.
Every time your customers are looking to buy your product, they are checking online to help them make the most informed purchasing decision. They check your competitors, reviews, influencer opinions, the content on your website and social media stories. If your content is worse than your competitors and your product is not up-to-par your customers will go elsewhere.
Personal Case Study
Recently, I developed some unbearable tension in my lower back. I knew it was from muscle spasms and knew that a chiropractor could fix me up fairly quickly. What do you think I did?
First, I called my family to see if they knew any good chiropractors in my area, considering I recently moved. They didn’t. I asked my doctor for his input too. He said he would get back to me, but didn’t. After waiting for a few days and the pain worsening, I decided to take matters into my own hands and look on Google.
I typed, “chiropractors near me.” That gave me about 50 different results. The ones that had the best reviews pulled me towards their websites. I saw some of the websites had pictures, videos, and blogs to read.
One of the offices really stood out. The office was clean and very modern looking. The patients and the staff both looked like they were having a good time. I could tell they were actual pictures instead of models so I decided to get a free consultation. Their blog was also very well-written and informative. I felt comfortable calling them over the other websites I saw because of their brand and all their great content.
After the consultation, everything seemed fine, but their pricing was a little high. I went back to their website when I got home and read two of their case studies. Those studies were a little bit longer than I wanted to read, but the headlines and subheadings were easily skimmable to get to their results. Given the testimonials and the results they were getting, I decided to stick with them and pay the higher price.
Reducing the Time It Takes to Create Quality Content
Content creation is not something you can do quickly if you want to do it right. However, it is a skill nonetheless, and that skill can be mastered and done much faster.
I used to struggle to produce quality content in less than 4-5 hours. I would spend most of my time writing then revising, then researching, and back and forth like I had ADHD. I’m not completely sure that I don’t have ADHD, but I do know that I’m much better at creating a 2,000-word blog within 2 hours than I used to be.
I had to understand why I was taking so long to produce each piece and what I could do to fix it.
Here’s what I do now, and I use this strategy for almost every kind of long-form content (e.g. blogs, newsletters, e-books, and white papers).
I start with a basic title. This title will always have a keyword or phrase that I’m trying to rank on Google or something I know will draw massive attention.
Then, I do all my research and pull quotes, links, and ideas prior to writing anything. After I have some interesting tidbits to use, I create an outline of subheadings. These don’t have to the final subheadings, but they need to at least direct the flow of the piece.
After I have this loose skeleton of a piece, then I start writing. I fill in all the sections as best as I can. If I feel like it’s the right time to add in the quotes and links I will, but I really try to not backtrack in this stage. I really want to let the ideas flow effortlessly.
After I get all the sections filled in and to the length I want the piece to be, then I start reading the piece. I’m looking for the flow of the words and want to make sure that I’m not missing anything of value.
It always helps to read your work out loud. This ensures it’s easy to read and helps your reader to stay interested all the way to the end.
The end is of course where you should put a call-to-action, which is how you turn your readers into customers. I don’t recommend selling products in blogs, but I do recommend sending traffic from blogs to sales letters or webinars if you can easily make it flow together. This is a very powerful technique.
Creating Your Own System
My system might not be the best for your content creation. By all means, try it and modify it for your needs.
Over the years, I’ve heard all kinds of strategies, from listening to classical music to smoking tons of weed. I’m not recommending anything here, but whatever you have to do to get your content out to the masses is what you have to do.
Keep in mind your system should prevent writer’s block. That’s exactly why I don’t backtrack during the content creation process. If I stop and do revisions or start research midway, then I’ll get stuck in the minutiae and let go of the big picture.
Writing is an exercise in focus and discipline. Just get your thoughts on the screen, then go back and revise it.
Keywords and SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Keywords are dreadfully important if you’re trying to raise your ranking on Google and get the attention of new readers on social media. The more competitive the keyword or phrase, the more people on all platforms will be drawn to it when
“64.5 percent of online searches are 4 words or longer.” (Ahrefs, March 2017) This obviously means that creating blogs out of commonly asked questions or phrases is a far more effective way to improve your SERP ranking.
Your competitors might rank very well for the word “marketing” but you can write a blog that is more comprehensive and longer about “email marketing in 2018” or “content marketing for pet stores.”
Thinking like this will help you create a long-term strategy and more variety for your readers to enjoy. “70 percent of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.” (Altimeter)
Creating these kinds of articles more often will help you narrow your audience and create a tailored audience that is more loyal than the masses.
This works because if you focus on a specific demographic, your researching needs will go down to almost zero after a while. After you get a good base of knowledge on your subject, you’ll just have to keep up with the current events and your content will naturally evolve.
Establishing Your Goals
Well, before you decide on what you should write or create, you should have the end in sight. That means that if you’re looking to sell your product there should be a clearly defined path of how your customers become customers.
A solid sales funnel will create a slippery-slope for every reader that comes in contact with your brand. Don’t think that just because they are wanting to read your blogs and your lead magnets for free that they won’t want to buy your products. Every business needs to very clear about what they want and how to go about getting it.