Content Creates Authority
Strategically, let's talk about it now and practically let's talk about it when I talk about content, I really I really think content is your key to authority and a lot of what we we're talking about in this more personal approach is building getting known, I think almost all of you are solo preneurs. So a lot of your reputation in the business reputation that you have is really your own expertise in your own reputation and your own authority on dh content is really the machine that is going to help you build your own authority. How many of you like to write? Okay, so you know more than half of you, which is actually although some of those were kind of alligator arm ish, but, you know, writing is one of those things that a lot of people feel like it's a lot of work, they don't feel like they're good at it, they're not confident they're not in the habit of doing it. I can't tell you how many people tell me, you know what? How bad they are at it on gets one of those things that I really ...
have called it for years now kind of the master skill, and I think that is very difficult. For me to imagine somebody growing a business particularly if they don't have legions of people working for them growing a business without really committing to a habit of writing as almost a daily practice and it has so many benefits beyond producing content for your business and that's why there were so many books over the years and experts over the years they've talked about this habit of journaling you know as as really a way to get so many in fact a lot of people that advocate that don't ever do anything with those notebooks but put him up on you know they fill them up and put him up on shelves you know they never share him they never use him for anything practical because they know that the benefits you know far go far beyond the words on the page andi you know these air benefits that I've listed that I've experienced in my business I think writing actually makes you a better sales person because it forces you to kind of have to to organize your thoughts to communicate them in a way that makes sense in some case just simplify concepts and content it makes me a better thinker I think because I have to constantly be looking for ideas looking for ways to take ideas and complex ideas and simple firearm and simple ideas and make them bigger or or change takes something from another industry and apply it to my industry it makes me a better listener. Once you get in the habit of writing, you will find that you start listening to conversations differently. You start listening to the questions that your clients ask you with a writer's here. So in other words, you're thinking in terms of, how could I turn this into a block post? How could I turn this into content as opposed to what am I going to say next? Um, it's certainly will age you and become a better speaker. Half the art of being a better speaker is having your thoughts organized on and in my case, most of the presentations that I give end up starting out as a block post or to block post or four block post that get organized really into, uh, then get turned into a presentation. In fact, when I get asked by a client, I do a fair amount of speaking that is just conferences, and people asked me to come speak on a certain topic, and in most cases, I'll write a block post as my way to kind of get my thinking on, you know, the topic in some cases, I'm talking about topics I talk about frequently, but particularly if I'm coming up with a new topic that somebody wants me to speak on. I will actually write a block post because it allows me to really get some of those thoughts out allows me to kind of hear them being said by me. It also allows me to get some feedback on dh that's. One of the great things about the world that we live in today, and producing this content for marketing purposes, is that people have the ability to share it, to comment on hit, to do lots of things with it that really can help you get better at that expo, the ways in which you express your ideas for me, in many cases, it helps me. It forces me having the habit on making it a priority forces me to create bigger ideas on dh there's, no question that in my case, and I think for most business owners that really embraced this idea, it really does enhance your authority. Now, this term authority, you know, a lot of time has it's sort of a mixed bag, I think, for a lot of people, because, you know, for a lot of people use it in marketing circles to say, you know, that somebody that's a recognized authority on a topic or that gets asked to speak at events, or that is very influential in marketing circles, but really, for every business in every industry, you know, your level of authority is gauge not necessarily as compared to everybody else who's doing everything else but your business and and authority has really gauged on the fact that you're doing things people are looking to you as a leader, you know, maybe even just in your town or in your specific industry and so when I use that term authority, you know that's how I meet it that you actually raise yourself in many cases by looking at content this way you raise yourself above your competitors really by actually being in a place of authority or being seen as an expert. So now that I've got you convinced that you need to write, let me give you a couple of tips on how to be a more productive writer because everything that I'm talking about is going to take time away from selling from working with your clients and so we want to make sure that we are as productive as possible first one and this of course you are high school english teacher told you as well, so I'm just reminding you one of the best ways to be a more productive writer is to read more I read I subscribe to and read some portion of one hundred blog's almost on a daily basis I read some portion of probably one hundred books ah year and again part of maya's occupational hazard I mean, I you know I I get asked to speak on these ideas to review books. I do podcast with authors, so I have, ah, you know, maybe a higher need to consume that that kind of content and you do possibly. But I think that if you are going to, for example, I'm going to suggest in our final segment or our next segment that you that you think about blocking that you really become a serious blogger. And one of the best ways to get better at blogging is to make sure that you're reading other people's blocks that you're following. People in your industry. You're following thought leaders that that can really help inspire you and help give you ideas. Keep an idea file something that I have done for years. When I see something, when I you know, used to be back when I would get it in the mail, you know, I would get some of these direct mail piece or I would get a letter or something. I've just stuff these things in a file for inspiration. Because I like the headline because I like, you know, the way that they approach something, I do that now, you know, using digital tools, you know, bookmarking tools and things, but I keep pretty much any time I see something that I want, oh, I know that I want to come back to at some point or that, you know, maybe I like the style I like the way they said something it doesn't always have to be that I'm going to write about that that topic get in the habit of keeping things this's this is probably the hardest one for some people and it's easiest one for some people, be opinionated have a point of view, right? So if if we talked as we talked about earlier in this segment today, that you had to really that I believe that you want to express here's what we believe, you know, here's our point of view, here's our language. Well, you need to stay firm to that. You need to actually it's okay toe actually polarize some people are actually turned some people off who don't always agree with your point of view, and I'm not saying intentionally do that, but I think that you want to express, you know, here's what I believe. And now in some of your cases that you better back that up you might want to back that up with some research for example, right? But I think the key is that you're not just riding no marketing fluff you know that you are writing content that says, hey, this might in some cases might not be what everybody believes that this might be a controversial point of view but here's I'm sticking to it right easily what I mean by that is that I think some of the best writing and where people get hung up is when they say I'm not a good writers they try to they try to copy this incredible prose or something right or they try to write more academic than they would actually speak just right like you speak in fact, if you really have trouble with this idea of getting, you know, one hundred words down what most most people are actually pretty pretty good if I would ask you what you do, what you do that's different or how you could get me a result or if a client or a prospect would ask you that you would have no problem going on for fifteen, twenty minutes about you know, all the incredible things you've done or that you've been able to do or that you've seen people get or your methodology right? So if you really have trouble getting someone's writing that recorded just talking teo to a tape recorder on dh, then use a service to transcribe it use timers when I when I'm up against when I'm writing a book when I'm up against a deadline and I have to produce a lot of content, I will actually I use a method actually use this all the time, not just when I'm writing, but I will actually set a timer on my computer for forty, forty five minutes, and I will I know that I'm going, I'm going to put my head down and I'm going to write for forty five minutes and I'll get up and do something take a break for fifteen don't matter from in the middle of a paragraph in the middle of an article, you haven't finished the project, I know I'm going to have a fifteen minute break now I think mentally it does a couple things, you know, okay, I can write for forty five minutes as opposed to saying, okay, I'm going to write for eight hours straight, right? So I know I can write for forty five minutes, but also I know that it it kind of re energizes me to get up and walk around and go do something I'm kind of a nut, I have these foam rollers in the office and all kinds of exercise equipment and stuff, and so, like that will be my fifteen minute break and it really makes me more efficient and effective as a writer throughout the day this last one I've borrowed from a somewhat famous earner stemming way quote that you might be familiar with its right drunk and it's over now I don't mean that literally, but what I take from that is that a lot of times I will just I let something rip I'll just write it and if I have the luxury, you know, unfortunately sometimes I'm on deadline and I you know, I I proof read it and I send it out and hope that it was good, but what I try to do in most cases is to really just write it without thought without judgment, maybe in some cases without editing and then come back to it and it's amazing how like the words change and everything you know just kind of gets clearer in some cases and so if you have that luxury you'll be you'll be a more productive writer if you do that. Um the last part that I want to talk about really unjust general writing stuff is I never really right anything unless I have one or two or maybe three purposes for it and that's not the same as saying you should recycle everything I meant you know, in some cases if I'm going to write a block post I'll very intentionally know that I'm going to write three or four block post maybe around that theme, and I'm going to turn them into an e book or as I mentioned already, I'm going to turn it into a presentation. If I do a video interview, if I do a podcast with somebody, I know that I'm going to get that transcribed, and I might actually take chunks of that and turn that into some other piece that I would use so think in terms of getting more out of your writing by by asking yourself, how could I create new mediums or new forms? How could I slice this up into smaller pieces or put things together toe to make it in bigger pieces? Could I share one of the eggs? I do all the times I'll be writing something else, I'll say, oh, that was really kind of it. I like that sentence, I'll put it out on twitter, so it just gives me, you know, something to share so it produces that content for me. While I was in the moment of writing, hopefully it was actually something that people wanted to share and retweet and they thought was interesting, but a lot of times what I'll get from that is feedback, you know, people will comment on. Later they'll say something back to me and I think okay, I should add that to my block post so so really always kind of have those gears moving of multiple writing multiple uses for all the writing that you do so I wonder from the internet were getting any anything anybody chai ming in on all this writing contest are writing advice that I've been giving us before we move on to kind of now the specific journey we had a couple of questions come in this one comes from tough toodle in the chat room and they say, how do you block educational content without giving away all of the information in your books? You have to hold something back to make it worth the purchase now I know you have written books, but you're also putting out other content how do you strike that balance? I really love that question because it allows me to be opinionated did you know? You know, I get asked that question all the time and I don't hold anything back and I think that it's a mistake to unless you have done some incredible research that nobody else has access to and you really are the only one on the planet that can provide this information and and people should pay you for it I think for the most part what people want to do is they want to they you know, I give everything away and every in every environment that I can because what I want people knows that I know what I'm talking about and some percentage of those people will say, oh, great, I don't have to buy the book now or I can do it myself, but those are people I want to work with anyway, right? I want to work with people that really value the advice that I'm giving and so I don't want to hold any of that back with the thought that they'd go that was just okay told us you told us what to do, but he didn't tell us how to do it so maybe doesn't know what he's talking about, right? So that's my answer to it it's not everybody's answer, but certainly that's my opinion that that I think you win more people buy really demonstrating that you do know what you're talking about, you know, in in the end, most of the ideas that we share are not necessarily knew or rocket science it's execution I mean it's it's, the person that can actually execute on the ideas that's going to win. So you know, even if you feel like, oh my competitors are going to steal all my ideas, good news is they won't execute they won't do you know what what you know needs to be done permanent playground has a question about timeline how much time should be spent exploring the ideal client getting to know them getting feedback before you start creating marketing tools like your website or social media block can you start doing client work to gather ideal client info before there are marketing materials yeah, I think you absolutely had to answer that last part of it I think that there is that kind of give and take and it's very dynamic when you're first getting started I think you want to have a hypothesis about who you want to serve I think you want to do a little research on who they are then s o that you could start creating marketing materials but there's there's no research like you know the real world and actually working with clients so I think you the key is you have to stay open too learning and ted discovering into analyzing what it is that you're doing because I doubt that there are many businesses that started that just immediately nailed who's here's who were going to work with and we're going to work with him for the rest of our life right it you sometimes have to grow into a different type of client or a different type of ideal client and so a lot of times there will be this evolution that goes on you know in your thinking and in your growth that has to occur as well so let's go on with this content journey then so I gave you kind of the preamble doll that was why you need to be writing, you know how to be a better writer and hopefully that kind of stoked you know, some of your thinking about especially if you have hesitation because we have these needs we have a need for content for awareness, trust, education, engagement on conversion and so those air those air specific functions for content so not every piece of content that we write is going to meet all of those particular functions, right? So we need content that builds awareness so you're blawg post events that you might have obviously you're advertising, you know, these air there the's air the forms of content that that let people know who we are on dh that were out there and that we might want to talk to them and that they might want to check us out. We need content that builds trust, so very specific how to content that khun b in the form of a block post, but it might also be in the form of, say, an e book or it may be in the form of a f ake you're some sort of question and answer interview people need two people really need to see that we know what we're talking about obviously reviews from your customers, testimonials third party article so I think you gave the example of a guest blogged post or a lot of publications in a lot of communities print publications remember those don't forget about those you know, we talked so much about the online digital stuff, but a lot of communities still have really vibrant print publications and magazines and so, you know, and most of those air now gone because they really can't afford to hire full staff of journalists most of those have really gone to contributed content, so those could be great places for somebody to see you know that you're an expert this publication asked you to contribute an article to that to that magazine to that newspaper, so don't forget about those content then that educates e books are great for that. The newsletter is great for that. I believe holding workshops is a great place great way to educate depending on what your product or service is demonstrations, faa cues of survey data that shows you know the results of your product or service. Although all of these great tools that need to be part of your intentional kit of marketing or I'm sorry of content, one of my favorites is content from your customers there's a give me an example of a great way to generate testimonials in your business you use a tool called wu fu, which is just a it's in the syllabus linked to its in the syllabus but it's, just a form building tool just makes it really easy to build all these complex forms that do all kinds of things and have all kinds of fields and operators and conditional things that you could put in there so that your form can do lots of, you know, crazy things in terms of gathering information. And then you could embed that form on your website, so we use this tool where we actually ask people a single question after they've purchased the product from us on a scale of one to ten would you refer on a scale of one to ten? How would you refer our business to your friends? Neighbors and colleagues are for this experience to your friends, neighbors and colleagues camera exactly how he worded and so people just have a very simple they could market one through a ten if they mark a seven, eight or nine or a ten, it actually sends him to a page and says, you know, awesome, you know, you must be happy with this. Tell us about your experience or, you know, would you what would you say if you were going to refer us to a friend so it actually automatically kind of captures or has the ability to actually capture referral if it says or a testimonial so if they say it's ah, they give us a a four through six I can't remember exactly what the scale is it sends him to a page automatically that says, hey, we we want to do better than that. You tell us where we let you down and it gives the ability to give us immediate feedback if it zero through three, it sends them to a page that actually sends a text message to somebody says, hey, we got a really bad review let's figure out what's going on, and what we found is that not only were we able to collect testimonials, customer content, you know, pretty quickly through this process, we also found that, you know, in some cases we sell products online and services online, some cases they just didn't get the password, you know, their spam filter, you know, kick, so they had a bad experience that we can fix really easily. So it actually serves a couple functions for us over the years, and I think many of you, your local business have the opportunity to do this. Over the years I've had more than, you know, probably a dozen businesses hold these video testimonial parties, so, you know, once a quarter, however, once a year you hold this kind of client appreciation party and you bring in a film crew probably won't find anybody's professionalism folks here creative live, but you bring in a film crew student you know somebody with a video camera on you give people the opportunity to talk about their expiry, so you know what? What is your business meant to them or done for them and you want to sweeten the deal a little bit, give him five minutes on camera to just talk about their business and give him that clip to so that they then have content for their for their business if you're doing it to be to be environment. But everybody I think today should be collecting photos from customers using your products or services or endorsing your products or services, and certainly any customer that you feel has been happy and that's willing to give you a testimonial create a case study or a success story from that certainly, you know, adding video is one of the components another one of my favorite categories here is other people's content, and sometimes people raise their eyebrows when I say that but actually being seen as a person who finds the good stuff filters that aggregate sits and says, hey, here's five great articles from some people that I trust that I think you ought to be reading can really be a great resource, you know, I talked earlier today about how people are drowning in information well if you're that person that's subscribing to one hundred blog's like I do I provide actually a great service I think to my followers and to my emails subscribers by actually putting out that content in a digestible form so I go and I say here are five articles and that's what I actually do in our newsletter now and have for a number of years where we will write some of the content but well also just point out other people's content and people you know, some people are the question I always get asked there's well gosh well people care that you're you know sharing their content well if you share their content give a link back to their site give them full attribution and you're not sharing the whole content it's justa nab strack to get somebody interested in it why would they care again? Give him attribution give him a link back to it on dh people will actually thank you for in fact it's one of really the great is really one of the best networking tool old these days if you want to get links back to your content on back to your site is to be sharing other people's content there's some great tools also that allow you to kind of curate tools like storify and and scoop it are these tools now that allow you to say okay I want to write on a topic and so then you actually go out there and find all the content or you actually get to picket. But you go out there and find everything that everybody's written. It could be the wall street journal, new york times or just a kn individual blogger, and you can bring all that content into one page, and it kind of gives you the ability to create these curated, topic specific content pages. So could be a great way to actually bring together a bunch of content that you then kind of get the credit for sharing. We need to think in terms of this publishing model as kind of your entire body of work. I've said on numerous times, you know, you can't wake up on monday and say, what should I blogged today? A. Cz you're content strategy because it just doesn't really scale you have tohave, ah, full plan that says here the foundational topics that we should be writing about, you know, the major themes or keywords and here's our editorial calendar for that.