One of the key ways to stand out from other experts and attract more of your ideal clients is to demonstrate your expertise in a range of different media.
You want to appear to be everywhere that someone is looking for information about your field of expertise.
They should find you in Google searches, on YouTube, on Amazon or even just in your local paper or in a trade publication.
The key to attracting more ideal clients is to share some of your expertise with your audience by publishing valuable content.
Authority Content Creation
There are five key elements to making publishing easy and effective:
- People and Purpose
- Publishing Plan and Repurposing
People and Purpose
The first step in the process is being clear about who your audience is and why you are creating the content. It’s too easy to think that it’s just about getting your content out there. You’ll get far better results when you know who you are talking to and why you are talking to them.
In Step 1 on Positioning, we talked about knowing your ideal clients and creating Personas of them. One of the advantages of doing that is that you can have these personas in mind when you create content so you need to be as specific as possible in identifying who you are talking to.
For all the content you produce, you should be clear about the purpose.
The purpose of publishing content is almost always to make people want to contact you and find out more.
That means it has to provide enough information to impress them but you don’t want to give them so much that it answers all their questions.
One of the best descriptions of doing this is from the internet marketing expert Jimmy D Brown. He says you should provide information that is “useful but incomplete”. People should feel they’ve got value from what you publish but it should encourage at least some of them to follow up for more.
There are many different ways to publish your expertise but it can broadly be split into five different categories:
- Blogs and Articles: Short articles on specific topics that appear online or offline – may be on your own website, someone else’s blog, an online article site or a printed publication.
- Special Reports: Short reports on specific topics that may be given away free either for lead generation or sold perhaps at a relatively low cost to let people know more about how you can help them.
- Video and Audio: Video is becoming one of the most important ways of demonstrating your expertise and authority – perhaps through a short video on YouTube or a longer clip of a live event. Using audio – including podcasting – is another way of doing this.
- Events: Taking part in events is another way of becoming an authority such as being a guest speaker at a live event or hosting a webinar online. Most people don’t like to speak in public and this can be a great way to stand out from the rest.
- Books: One of the most effective ways to stand out from your competitors is to be the author of your own book. It’s now relatively easy to do but still few people take the step. Being introduced as the author of a book on your topic immediately establishes your authority status.
The actual process for creating content is broadly the same whatever media you plan to publish in.
Clearly you’ll take more time over a 200-page book than a 200-word blog post but the general approach and structure should be similar. However, as we’ll discuss shortly, you’ll want to use the same content in many different ways.
For most people, the biggest challenge in publishing and content creation is deciding what the content should be and then creating it. If you follow the right process, that should not be difficult.
One of the most useful systems I’ve found for creating valuable content is the 4-MAT teaching system developed by the educationalist Bernice McCarthy which reflects the four different types of learning style that she identified in her studies.
The system works just as well for communication and marketing. In brief, it splits people into four types according to their need for information and satisfying the needs of all of them helps you create valuable content:
- Why should my audience be interested in this message?
- What information and facts do they need?
- How can they apply what I am saying?
- What if they do (or don’t) follow my suggestion?
Often people make the mistake of spending too much time on the “what” and “how” and not enough on the “why” particularly.
When you are publishing free or very low-cost content, you usually don’t want to go into too much detail on the “how”. That’s the part you get paid for.
Rapid Content Creation Formula
That provides a good overall structure but how do you actually turn this into valuable content and fill in the detail? I do that using what I call the Rapid Content Creation Formula.
#1: Opportunity or Obstacle
The first step in the process is identifying clearly what is the issue you want to talk about.
Example: Better Time Management.
#2: Overview of Solution
Next you choose a formula for providing the information you want to deliver. Some of the easiest and best formulas are:
- Common Questions
- True Stories / Case Studies
Example: 7 Tools You Can Use to Manage Your Time Better.
While that could be a great title, that’s not necessarily your title. At this stage, it’s merely a framework for creating your content.
In this stage, you simply list out the sections. I’d usually recommend 5 – 7 but it can be more especially when the content is longer.
These headings could be bullet points in a blog post, chapters in a book or segments in a live event.
Once you have your overview in place, it’s time to fill in more detail. But don’t rush to simply write the content. You want to build a framework or outline to work from.
I see this a bit like a tree – in the first step, you see the big picture of the tree. In the second, you add the branches and now you are adding twigs to each branch.
Each twig is an item of support information to back up the heading. It can be, for example:
- Case studies
- Specific information
- Independent opinions
The number of these you want to add under each heading depends on the total amount of content you have but three to seven would be a good guide.
At this stage, you are just adding them in note form under each heading.
Now that you have pulled all the information together, you want to make it look or sound good – you are adding the leaves to the tree.
Depending on the type of content, this may be a writing/editing exercise or you may be organizing it into a presentation.
At the final stage, you have everything ready and you can go live with it either as a publication or a presentation. At this stage, you’ll want to ensure it all works together and give it a great title that makes people want to read it or watch it.
I’ve found this formula works for virtually any type of content, whether it’s a short blog post or an event covering several days.
The secret is finding the fastest and easiest way to get your expertise out of your head and into a form that it can be published.
Here are some ways of doing that:
- Write it: If you have the skills and the time, you can write it yourself.
- Record it: For those who don’t have the time or inclination to write, the information can be recorded, transcribed and edited.
- Have it created: Another option is to develop a specification of what you want and then pay someone else to create it on your behalf. You can get easy access to freelance writers at sites such as http://www.elance.com
Publishing Plan and Repurposing
To get the best results from your content creation, it needs to be done backed by a plan or calendar.
That enables you to make best use of your time and to maximize the results you get from every element.
You certainly don’t want to be creating something new every time. The secret to making success easy is finding as many ways as possible to repurpose the same material.
Every piece of content you create can be altered slightly so that it can be used in many different ways. For example, you can:
- Chop: Cut a larger piece of content into smaller elements.
- Combine: Add different pieces of content together to make a larger package.
- Convert: Make some changes to turn the content into something different.
- Construct: Use your content as a basis for creating something larger.
When you use these approaches, the same content can work for you over and over again with just a few simple tweaks.
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