This blog was originally written for Australian Businesswomen’s Network herbusiness blog on the 15th February, 2012 – by Bianca Board
If you’re in small business, chances are you need to become a publisher to survive online. The way people buy these days has changed dramatically. Your buyers seek out information when they want and how they want, whether you like it or not. 97% of people will research you online before they even call or email you, so it’s vital you provide them with the information they need to make an informed choice.
You no longer have control over the sale. So I say, jump on board and enjoy the ride! Embrace it! Have fun with it. I know I was scared to death at my first blog post years ago but now I love it.
I’m going to show you my proven method for creating great content quickly and I promise, it won’t hurt a bit.
So grab your egg timer, set it for 60 minutes, turn off your phone and let’s go!
Step 1: Open an excel spreadsheet
In the first column, write down the top 10 questions you get asked by your prospects when they’re in the research phase. (5 minutes.)
Step 2: Write down problems
Now, in the next column, write down the top 10 problems your prospects face, which you help them solve. Try to get inside their heads for this one; think emotional benefits, not functional ones. If you come up with more than 10, keep going! Just jot down everything you can think of! (5 minutes.)
Step 3: Brainstorm
Now brainstorm ways to answer your prospects’ questions, concerns and problems in the form of:
- Cheat Sheets
- Blog Posts
- Top Tips
- Press Releases
- Hub Pages / Squidoo Lenses
- Slideshow Presentations
- Case Studies / Success Stories
- Industry Reports
Think hard. Jot down everything you can think of. (30 minutes.)
What I like to do is break the above up into categories and also sort and list by topic. This way, I can write an eBook, then create a tutorial video from the same content and even also create a top 10 list or use snippets for our social media topic of the month.
The trick is to re-purpose your content. Don’t think you have to create everything from scratch. You could bundle 10 excellent ‘How To’ articles into an eBook and offer it free to newsletter subscribers to increase your opt-in rate.
Step 4: Blog Ideas
Now I want you to look at all your ideas to date and brainstorm 50 blog post ideas/titles. Just go as fast as you can, always thinking about your customers’ problems and how each post can help solve one of them or move them closer to the sale. If you can’t get 50 in 20 minutes then you’re not trying! C’mon, give it a go! (20 minutes.)
Ding, ding, ding, ding!!! Your 60 minutes is up!
Step 5: Plan and prioritise
By now you should have at least 101 great content ideas! Now it’s time to plan and prioritise. On a separate sheet in your Excel file, or just below all your ideas, start mapping out your 12-month content plan.
Think about what you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually and annually basis. e.g., you might manage your social media accounts daily with cut-down snippets of expert tips, blog weekly, publish a cheat-sheet or checklist and send email newsletters monthly, write an eBook or host webinar quarterly and so on.
You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do if you plan and schedule it effectively ahead of time. And by having all these fantastic content ideas at your fingertips, whenever you’re feeling inspired and have a spare 30 minutes, you can quickly sit down and write a blog post in no time at all. I go back to my spreadsheet all the time with new ideas.
Granted, you might spend longer than 60 minutes on this exercise, but if you follow my method and set the timer, you’ll be off to a great start!
Unless you’re a big business, you won’t have a huge marketing department to throw resources at creating a mammoth library of content, so get smart about it! Recycle, re-purpose and plan!
Are you up for the challenge?
Got any other content creation ideas? We’d love to hear them! Tell us how you plan out your content calendar now…