If you were to write a book, gathering your expertise up and packaging it for your targeted audience, what would the table of contents look like? Could you list 10-15 chapters taking a reader from step 1 through to finish?
I recently did this, in preparation for an informational product. It's not finished yet, but I discovered amazing results from listing the chapters: clarity and inspiration!
For the last two weeks I've been creating fresh content and re-purposing old blog posts, following a trail of steps a person would take to create a strong online marketing presence for a small business. If you review recent posts, I started with:
- Before You Start
- What Problems Do You Solve?
- Finding a Brand Name
- Finding a Domain Name
- Creating Cornerstone Content
- Crafting a Bio Page
- Creating a Product Funnel
These are all part of the content marketing steps you would need to take if you were just starting out online, but also if you were revising your marketing strategy so that it gets more Web traffic.
If you have been online for a few years, you may notice that your brochure-style website doesn't get as much traffic as you'd like. Old school web marketing would tell you to do some pay-per-click advertising and Search Engine Optimization. All very expensive. New school says to do Content Optimization. Not expensive.
The "E's" of Content Marketing
When you've got content that educates, entertains, and engages with readers, and when you've got plenty of it because you're actively blogging, your words do a great job of natural search engine optimization. You'll get found in search results for the key words and phrases you consistently write about.
Furthermore, when readers find you, they discover you're an expert, a likable and trustworthy resource, and they'll keep coming back if you're generous with your knowledge. They will download your free report or ebook. They will read your bio and connect with you. They may decide to follow you on Twitter, or retweet a blog post they love.
The First Chapters
As you can see, I've covered quite a few chapters on the preparatory steps that need to be clarified before you start your content marketing campaign. You need to have clarity about what problems you solve, what the benefits to your readers and clients are, and then you need to find a good brand identity, and domain names for your sites, landing pages, products and services.
You need to create cornerstone content, including a powerful bio telling your real back story, and writing about your passion for your business.
You need to have several ways and levels your readers can take next steps, using a product funnel from free to free for email, to token fee, to big ticket products and services.
The Next Chapters
Once these pieces are in place (or while you're working on them), you need to be continually "seeding the Internet" daily or almost daily with your blog posts and tweets. This is how you feed your content marketing machine.
Results? You bet. You get found, get clients, get money.
Work? You bet. If you're an independent professional running a business, it adds about an hour or more to your day. Not everyone wants to do this work, that's why many complain they can't find the time to write on their blogs, or to create content. You can outsource some of it. I am in the business of helping coaches create content for their blogs and content marketing materials.
But this tip I'm giving you here will help save you time. Because once you write down of a list of steps, you'll see that you'll have energy and "oomph" to fervently create blog posts and content quickly.
In my opinion, having a clear plan of content ideas is half the battle. So take 15 minutes to list a "table of contents" to an imaginary book you'd write (if only you had the time…)! You'll find that after you do this list you'll have clarity and inspiration. Then it's a simple matter of writing out 300-450 words on each step of the way.
I discovered this quite by accident and it's working for me. Tell me what you experience once you try it, okay?