Content Marketing – What to Write and Where to Write It

So you need to write something for your blog or social media?

Do you sometimes feel it’s just not worth your time?

We meet with a lot of businesses and, very often, we can just see where this happened to them.

A blog post a month for a year or so…then nothing for quite a while.

A bunch of Facebook posts in the first few months, then Happy Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Turkey, then nothing. Or a monthly coupon and little else.

More often lately, there’s a video or two. Some are kind of fun, some even pretty good. But most of the time, you can kind of tell that it was done because someone told them that video is hot now. So you get in front of the camera and you’re really not sure what to say.

(Writers block is nothing compared to standing in front of a camera searching for words. I have some pretty hilarious outtakes myself if you don’t mind a bit of cursing.)

I have a few pieces of good news for you: You’re probably already producing enough content every week or two to drive your blog and social media accounts for a year. The problems you’re solving for clients every day, and the questions you’re being asked by prospects and friends are exactly what you should be writing about.

These types of things are really what your prospects are searching for when they go online. Sure, some will be looking just for you because someone referred them, but you still need to establish yourself as someone they should choose.

Far too many web sites are online brochures. Everything anyone could ever want to know about you. Take a look at your web site. Disregard everything that’s specifically about you. Is what’s left interesting and informative?

How about the great stories you tell about things that went really right or wrong? As long as they aren’t about you blowing something up, these are the things that establish you as an experienced professional. They also get across what it’s probably like to work with you on the problem that needs solved.  And if your personality comes across as well, that’s a bonus.

Another piece of good news is that the search engines are getting laser focused on providing relevant results for the people that are searching. While there are still all kinds of things a good SEO person can do to rank a web page, the majority (of the good guys) would agree that nothing beats solid, relevant content.

When someone searches ‘how I fix a leaky faucet?’, the search results will be based on whichever web page seems to give the best answer to that question. Google then doubles down on valuing good content. If the people that click on your link leave quickly, probably hit the back button, it tells Google they didn’t think much of the content they saw or it wasn’t a good fit for the search term.

You might be thinking, “OK, great. So content is really important and I probably do have a pretty good idea of some of the things I could cover. Where do I start? What content should be web pages, blog posts, social media posts? When does using video make sense?”  The old dilemma of ‘how do you eat an elephant?’

We’re going to do a series of posts here, each one covering a critical area of using content to grow your business, consistently, over time. Content is so central to an effective marketing plan, it is hard to tell where other aspects of marketing leaves off and content begins. Good content gets its roots from your strategy development and it forms the basis of your SEO, your social media, your emails, and every other aspect of your digital marketing.  Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Everything starts with a deep understanding of your prospect/best customer. While there’s a lot of strategy behind developing your ideal customer profile, we’ll talk about the part that shapes your content.
  • How does that ideal prospect go about looking for the opportunity/solution that you provide? What do they need to know? What objections do they usually have? How to decide who to do business with? Your content needs to engage people throughout their quest, not just try to show up with a good deal at the time they are ready to buy.  (People in the SEO biz call this “Keyword Research”)
  • Understanding the importance of content that’s the ‘right temperature.’ Cold traffic (people that have had no exposure to you) needs to be communicated with differently than warm or hot traffic. How to write and position the content so you’re ‘just right,’ and some strategies on how to move traffic from cold to warm to hot over time.
  • Organizing and creating the content on your website so you can attract, engage and convert the ideal prospects. The strategy of deep content vs. broad.
  • Planning your blog. Create and follow a calendar to deepen your content for core topics while also answering particular questions that are more specific to a particular prospect’s needs.
  • Beyond your website. Using and re-using your best content to connect with prospects across any social channel they might be using without significantly adding to your workload.