cheering audience at a rock concert

Whether in the real world or the digital world, there are 3 ways for us to build a following.

Of course, it’s not all about the numbers…it’s always about how many people actually listen when you’re talking, trust in you, and ultimately believe what you say.

cheering audience at a rock concert

Here’s how to build a loyal following…

1. Find and share cool stuff.

We can curate 3rd party stories, anecdotes, facts, and other things that our audience is interested in.

2. Engage thoughtfully.

Respond to other peoples’ stories, opinions and content to show that you’re listening and contribute to the conversation.

3. Develop your own voice.

Where your own thoughts, experiences, opinions and viewpoints. People tend to rally around others with share beliefs.

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Curating 3rd Party Content

The first one is easy.

After all, you don’t have to create anything, just find it on the internet.

Set up automated Google searches, sign up for RSS feeds, and subscribe to cool publications that will bring interesting stuff to your doorstep.

It’s kind of like subscribing to the newspaper in the old days. You’d read the paper in the morning, then talk about what you read at lunch. The digital world is the same thing, but at scale.

I believe that at least half of all the content you put out into the world could be curated content that is aligned with your own interests and the interests of your community.

Listening and Engaging – The $1.80 Strategy

Imagine you post something on Facebook, and Bill Gates likes your post and shares it with his community. You’d be ecstatic.

Building relationships and growing a brand requires that we show others that we are not just talking, but also listening. The best way to get on radar screens is to engage with the content that your target audience is producing. Share it, comment on it, show gratitude.

Gary Vaynerchuk suggests a strategy called the $1.80 strategy.

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It takes time and consistency, but it’s super simple. Offer your “$.02” on other peoples’ posts 90 times per day. That’s it. Find interesting people and companies to follow, preferably those you’re interested in engaging with…and chime in.

A simple “Great post, thanks for sharing” is all you need. Showing gratitude always goes over well. For best results, actually read the content and make a more insightful comment.

Like I said, it feels good when people of influence like or share your stuff. It makes you want to follow them in return.

Developing Your Own Voice

This is all about producing and sharing unique content. This is our voice.

We need to produce a lot of content to bring real impact…especially if we’re relying on organic reach (over paid reach).

Rule #1: Deploy Empathy

Try to figure out what your audience cares about.

Nobody cares about your company until you start making their life better.

What is their world like? What questions they have? What challenges do they face? What aspirations do you share?

Rule #2: Documentation over Creation.

Creating new stuff from scratch is really hard. Writing a book takes a lot of time, energy and effort…usually money too. Producing a unique and informative video also takes a bunch of resources. Interviewing someone with your iPhone is easy.

Documenting what you’re already doing, or what people around you are already doing is easy. It’s real, and it’s it’s showing that you’re human. Documentaries are extremely compelling, and production value doesn’t need to be nearly as high.

Most organizations have a repository of staff, customers and stakeholders that have tons of stories to tell. It’s just about having a process of getting those stories out of them and distributing to your audience.

That’s your content. Document your journey.

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As I’ve written about before in How to Build Yourself a Content Machine, video is the holy grail. If you’ve got video, that’s a medium that really captures attention right now. But video isn’t for everyone because it’s a bit more difficult to produce.

From video, the audio is extracted and can become a podcast. Audio is all about passive consumption…people can listen while they’re doing other things.

Transcribe your podcast into long form written articles. Written word is still extremely relevant and great for SEO.

Amplify everything through your social media channels. Don’t be afraid to talk about things unrelated to your business…Win Attention by Cross-Pollinating One Audience to Another.

Parse out interesting parts of your articles and produce “micro content”. These are small quips, quotes, tips and helpful stuff that can stand alone. Schedule them out on social media for big impact.

One piece of content turns into a ton of content.

The Takeaway

So, to build a large trusting audience, I believe you need to deploy all 3 of these strategies: Curating 3rd party content, Engaging with other peoples’ content, and producing your own unique content at scale.

It’s a long-term game plan, so be sure to set a pace that you can stick to for months and years down the line.

Good luck.

mcdonalds showing value of brand

So, I think of brand in terms of attention and leverage. Attention is our most valuable asset long term.

The value of brand is in accumulating peoples’ attention over time, The end.

The first thing you need in order to tell your story is someone willing to listen.

The more trusting attention you have, the better your brand. If your target audience has no idea who you are, then you don’t have a good brand. 

In terms of leverage, a company with brand has tipped the scales to where customers are seeking them out…Mercedes or McDonald’s. A company without brand has to continuously push or sell themselves to win business.

Here’s a real-life example of the impact of brand:

I’m fascinated by what seems to be a normal thing in the Golf Course Management industry.

Basically, golf courses hire management companies when they feel like they’re not winning. Either privately owned clubs or member owned facilities tend to miss out on economies of scale, buying power, and more refined processes. One option is to hire a management company to come in and refine the system and help them compete.

The interesting thing is that nearly all golf facilities in this scenario refuse to display their golf management company logo on property.

From the club’s perspective, it’s totally understandable. The club’s brand and logo simply carry more weight in the local marketplace. If the management logo isn’t bringing any value to the club, why would they want it?

This is crazy to me…and really an amazing opportunity for management companies right now I believe.

Club Management is a Lot Like a Franchise Relationship

So, there are two big reasons that someone starting up a new restaurant would choose to buy into a franchise…Think Subway, Outback, or McDonald’s:

1)    Operating Efficiency:

On one side, the processes, operating efficiencies, buying power, and access to resources and expertise. They’ll get up and running quickly, and with a lot less brain damage than if they had gone it alone and they can run a tighter ship.

2)    Brand Recognition:

They know that they’ll win business on day 1 that they wouldn’t have otherwise won if they had started out as Jimmy’s Hamburger Shop.

Done right, the brand part of buying into McDonald’s is far more valuable than their processes for making hamburgers.

Nobody would dream of buying into the McDonald’s franchise without stamping the logo everywhere on property.  I know it’s not allowed. The logo is the biggest reason people buy into the franchise anyway…

The marketing is done for you, everyone knows the value proposition, what they’re going to get, cost structure, and everything else. Buy into Subway, and you’re going to have people in your store on day 1.

Will the Club Management Dynamic Ever Change?

As things stand right now, I doubt it.

But…

…the minute a management company’s brand begins bringing direct value to the facility at the local level, meaning bringing bodies in the door, clubs will line up to buy into that ecosystem and capitalize on the attention.

That’s when the scales tip for the management company. Until then, it’ll be a battle to get the name on the door.

I really believe the “land grab” we’re seeing right now for market share in the golf management industry is going to predicated on strength of brand rather than who’s got the best “processes” or “buying power”.

Process, scale and expertise are table stakes, not differentiators anymore.

How do build brand?

That’s actually a really easy answer.

I believe that anything you do as a company that DELIVERS VALUE to your audience is building your brand.

Any time you attempt to EXTRACT VALUE, you’re incrementally hurting your brand.

You’re always either selling or building brand.

The end.

Beware of your Messaging Mix

I see a lot of companies sacrificing the long term (think customer lifetime value) in exchange for quick wins now.

They’re on the “sales hamster wheel” because continuously trying to extract value from your audience is never cumulative.

I see a lot more content around “hey, come buy our shit” instead of simply trying to be good citizens, winning trust, listening, and building authority for the long term.

I think companies need to think really hard about the mix of content that they’re putting out there. Is the ratio of “Gives” vs. “Asks” where it should be?

simplest marketing formula

simplest marketing formula

Who doesn’t love a good old chat about the considered buying process, right? Actually, it’s pretty cool stuff.

I see a lot of companies that are selling $100,000 items like candy bars and it just doesn’t work.

That’s not how people buy things that are more expensive or more “risky”.

What is a Considered Buying Processes?

A considered buying process is when we’re making a purchase decision that takes more time and consideration to pull the trigger.

Buying a $500,000 home for your family is not something you learn about today and sign on the dotted line tomorrow. We need more time to figure out our best options, right? There’s a lot more financial, business, social or emotional risk that you’re getting yourself into.

On the other hand, if you’re buying a Snickers bar, you just buy it…or you don’t. There’s no risk involved.

Take Your Time

Think of buying something like a house, or a car, or choosing where to send your kids to college. You’re going to look at stuff. You’re going to gather a bunch of information and weigh your options before you pull the trigger. You’re going to consider it for a much longer period of time.

That’s the thing…Important decisions take TIME. Quick sales pitches don’t work in a considered buying process.

Cut the Sale Pitches

It’s nearly impossible to take someone from having never heard of you to making such a huge decision in the span of one ad or communication. That’s why long-form sales letters and video sales letters are so hard to write.

Design a Ramp – from Simple to Highest Possible Value

I see so many businesses, both in the golf industry and otherwise, selling big ticket items without any “ramp up”. There’s no farm system, bunny slopes or gateway drugs leading people logically to the big stuff.

Share Your Secret Sauce

There’s nothing in place that allows somebody to get to know your company over time, and to help them process information at their own pace as they make these big decisions. Companies foolishly safeguard their “secret sauce”, and as a result aren’t delivering any value on the front end of the buying process. They aren’t winning attention.

targets and goals

A Better Way

50 – 75% of major buying decisions today are made before the customer even initiated contact with vendors.

You need to be competing up front, delivering value for free in the research phase if you’re going to have any real chance of driving more “at-bats” for your sales teams.

Step 1: Identify Your Customers

Who are the exact people you want to attract and do business with? I’m not talking about which companies…people.

It’s really important to know that people do business with people they trust and like…businesses don’t hire businesses. Find the decision-makers and stakeholders and go with their trust and respect. We call them Buyer Personas.

Figure out what challenges they face, questions they have, things that interest them. It could (and in many cases will) have nothing to do with your company. Don’t make it about you…yet.

Step 2: Where are They?

Where does your audience consume information? Where are they hanging out and finding answers to the questions they have? That’s where you need to be positioned.

For some businesses, this means social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Others are best served advertising in industry publications, or putting up billboards on highways. It doesn’t matter…just go where the attention is.

Step 3: What’s Your Bait?

This one’s easy if you’ve built your buyer personas well enough.

Your bait is going to be answers to your audience’s questions, solutions for the challenges they face.

The hard part is delivering this value to them in as frictionless a means as possible. Do they prefer video, audio, written form content? What kind of tone and language are they using? We need to “grease the skids” to earn attention and help them relate to our messaging.

You probably need to do all of the above.

Step 4: Where do you want to Take Them?

This is where the considered buying process kicks in.

Most companies fire sales pitches at their audience…”hey, buy my crap” kind of messaging. This destroys trust, and puts you on a never-ending treadmill of sales pitches. You’re not building momentum, nor are you likely driving a ton on net new business.

We need to deploy a lot more patience. We need to build a better infrastructure that accommodates a longer sales cycle…at scale. We call this Lead Nurturing

We draw them into our ecosystem by delivering value. We give them solutions to their questions and research answers for the challenges they face.

But not everyone is willing to pull the trigger on day 1.

We need a process that allows us to stay top of mind over time, until they are ready to buy. You’re able to continue delivering value in between the touches. We’re building trust and authority over time until they raise their hand and they’re ready to pull the trigger.

Taking Off

Golf Course Management is a Great Example

There are many golf courses out there that are struggling right now. They need help if they’re going to compete for revenue and stay in business.

Golf management companies are a logical solution for these facilities, but they don’t just go out and hire a firm immediately. Services can run into six figure ranges annually.

Frog in the Frying Pan

More typically, a club will first need to come to the realization that they even have a problem. Many don’t know it…frog in the frying pan syndrome.

From there, they’ll start considering their options. They’ll do things internally first…changing staff, budgeting, maybe spend a little capital to spice things up.

It’s a Slow Process

They’ll tinker around, and probably spend some time screwing it up…they may decide to bring in a consultant to review their operation or market position. They might consider changing ownership structure or selling the club altogether. There are endless options. They need to go through this process at their own pace until they realize that whatever they’re doing isn’t working.

Maybe, at this point they’ll consider golf course management as an option. Only then, will they begin to figure out which golf management company will be best suited for them.

Clubs don’t go from “everything’s great” to hiring a management company in 1 day…that’s for sure.

Winning Attention Up Front

As a management company, we know what it’s really important to get on the radar screen as early in the process as possible. The content we create needs to bring value contextual to what the customer is going through. Maybe we’re helping them realize they have a problem with an article “10 Red Flags that your Club is in Trouble”.

No sales pitches…they’re fruitless at this phase anyway. The idea of producing content is not too quick sell. It’s a fruitless endeavor in a considered buying process. You have to you have to bring awareness, provide minimal barriers to entry, and then you have to nurture them along in that process and allow them to make decisions on their own

Nurturing Your Audience Over Time

creating marketing content at scale

You need to precisely map out what the buying process looks like for your customers, then bring them helpful content along the way. This usually requires a lot of carefully crafted content…here’s how big companies craft and deploy content at scale.

Go Where the Attention is

Now, nobody says it needs to be digital content…it could be sales people making phone calls or scheduled visits. Nowadays however, marketing automation allows us to deliver helpful stuff in the places where people are most likely to consume it at scale.

Into the Ecosystem…

We build landing pages that are custom suited to whatever reason we got them to go there. If you’re trying to attract families to play golf, we want to bring them to a landing page that talks about family golf, with pictures of other families and related content.

Stay Helpful over Time

Once they’re in our “ecosystem”, we can design automated nurturing campaigns to continually deliver helpful stuff over weeks, months or even years. Maybe more golf lessons, or how to dress for success at the golf course, or how to make a tee time. Things that your audience is concerned about.

Listen Just as Much as You’re Talking

Then, based on their online and real world behavior, segment the audience into groups and deliver relevant content based on their expressed interests.

The mission is to move them along, escalating their involvement in your organization over time, at their own pace. As the progression continues, you’re earning trust, bringing value and gaining authority. In return, these customers are becoming “stickier” and the value exchange becomes greater.

Lifetime Value is the Win

The lifetime value for a loyal customer in a considered buying process far exceeds any “quick wins” you might grab with up-front sales pitches.

Final Thoughts

I’ll tell you, building brand and marketing big ticket items is not easy. But that said, the ones that create the most helpful and efficient ecosystems are winning. Once it’s all in place, light regular rhelpefinements are all it takes to optimize returns.

Additionally, the focus then shifts toward attracting as many people into the “top of the funnel” as possible…rather than sales pitching them directly to your most expensive offers.

You’re building happy, thankful customers who WANT to do business with you.

That’s when it gets really fun.

Good luck!

bee pollinating a flower

This is probably one of the most valuable pieces of business content that’s come up in recent months for me.

Diversify Your Interests and Your Messaging

I was in a consulting session with Brown Golf Management. They’re in the business of attracting golf course operators to hire them on…kind of like a franchise model. Brown brings processes, know-how, buying power, and scale to help clubs win.

I’m instilling the idea that companies can earn attention from people outside of their space. From there, after trust is earned and relationships begun, cross-pollinating that attention into their goods and services can become a huge win.

You can get the attention in places where you have fun, where you’re passionate, and where you love to produce content. Every now and then, just ask your audience if they’re interested in some other stuff that you do.

Golf Essentials Podcast is an Ideal Example

Here’s a link to The Golf Essentials Podcast for Business People

I do a golf podcast because I love golf. I do it for fun.

I’m about a 120 podcast episodes in. I turn out social stuff and I have a golf audience. Every episode gets between 100-400 downloads. So, I picture myself talking to a room of 200 people. It’s basically golf advice for business people.

Every now and then I say, “You guys who are trying to grow your own businesses, if you ever want to have a conversation, hit me up.” Earning their trust credibility talking golf puts me in position to ask them to consider doing some business with me.

I don’t try to sell golf stuff, which makes it a lot easier to keep the interests of the audience at heart. Every now and then, if they hear me talking about business-related stuff, I might hear from people trying to grow their own company.

Gary Vee

This is probably the best example I can think of how a podcast or content in one area can cross-pollinate over into the business you’re actually trying to drive.

So, as you know, I’m high on Gary Vaynerchuck. If you’ve listened to his podcasts at all, he’s abrasive at first but he’s never said a word out of his mouth that I’ve disagreed with it. The reasons for why he does stuff is right on.

Anyway, he’s a marketing, online marketing, and a social media guy. He runs a media marketing company in New York City and around the world called ‘Vayner Media’ I think they do about $400 million a year…so he’s doing stuff for big companies. He’s got the attention of stadiums full of people.

His podcast is all about free marketing advice. He’s delivering 1000% pure value to people who want to start or run their own companies.

He got his start with his dad in the wine business and now they’ve got an online business, where he’s built that into a company called Empathy Wines.

So, he delivers a ton of value over here with marketing advice. He’s built an audience of millions of people that listens to what he’s saying. All he’s doing is delivering value.

Every now and then he says “if you guys drink wine, I’d love for you to buy my wine.” That’s it!

He’s got the attention over here and he’s earned the right to ask as directly as possible.

Most marketers make the mistake of disguising their “asks” and “gives”. What seems as helpful material ends in a sales pitch. The mojo you built up with the “give” is trashed with a half-ass “ask”. You don’t build up an goodwill OR make a sale.

Don’t Be Afraid to Venture Off the Ranch

I used to be reluctant to bring my golf background into my marketing work. No more. I consider a multi-faceted background to be a huge advantage.

Nobody says that we have to just do content strictly about what we’re trying to sell.

For Brown Golf Management, we can do a story about a guy that played for the New York Giants, or a Veteran who did a tour of duty in Iraq.

That’s how you reach out to different audiences and get tentacles into other areas outside of your primary area of business.

red-sauce

As you’re trying to drive awareness bring attention to yourself or to your company keeping your secrets behind closed doors is no longer a good strategy. Here’s why.

This comes from a super short, but important discussion from a consulting session I had a few weeks back.

Many organizations still feel like you need to be guarded in terms of sharing your “secret sauce”. I’m talking about certain trade secrets or ways of doing business. You’re worried that your competitors are going to steal your ideas and use them against you. I get it.

The consumer power shift tells a different story.

So back in the old days, prospective customers used to have to call a sales rep call a company to get information. Today, you can do all your research online or through social media.

You can investigate what companies are up to. You’re able to find a lot more of your information to make decisions before you ever initiate contact with anyone.

Think of how you make major purchases. You poke around online. You learn about what the options are. You don’t just call six companies blindly. You’ve got easy ways to do the research yourself without worrying about a salesperson hounding you, right?

As a person or company competing for the attention of would-be customers, winning the attention contest up-front is more important than ever.

Whoever delivers the most value in the earliest stages of the buying process wins the attention. That means sharing information that is valuable…perhaps some of your secret sauce.

writing tips

I’m still working on all this…but I guess you have to first admit you have a problem before you can find solutions. Here goes.

We’ve been doing some pretty fun consulting work lately. We’re working with a number of groups in their early stages of defining or redefining their brand and their company’s market position.

They’re universally coming to realize the importance of developing content on their website, on their relevant social platforms, and in running marketing campaigns. They know they need to be telling better stories…but don’t we all?

2 Topics We’re Covering Today:

1. The Content Creation Disclaimer – Know what you’re in for when you decide to start producing content.

2. Rules of Writing – Some helpful guidelines on the execution side…how to write well

 

The stuff we’re talking about is more or less universal, crossing over to pretty much any industry or organization looking to grow brand awareness.


The Content Creation Disclaimer

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You gotta know this stuff up front in the earliest phases of developing content. Here’s what you can expect and what you need to plan for in crafting your company’s market position.

1. Carve Out Larger Chunks of Time

Plan on carving out a couple hours uninterrupted at a time. This is your only chance to get into the level of thought required for real digging into this stuff.

Our daily work lives usually revolve around lots of little tasks. We’re urgently trying to get things done all the time. Crafting solid content is different…we need to go deeper. Put your phones away, silent your email, or go live in a log cabin for a couple hours.

2. The Novelist Mindset

Now it’s about taking those thoughts and writing really well-crafted language. We need details and explanations. At the same time, good writing is direct and succinct. The art is in simplifying for the reader.

Try to be painting pictures in the minds of our audience. Bland generalizations and wide overviews don’t get anyone excited about working with you. Prepare yourself to write in great detail as opposed to shallow and short.

My advice is to imagine that you’re writing a full-length novel rather than just a paragraph or short story. With a “long-form” mindset, you’re naturally going to bring lots of fine details. You’ve got the time to really develop your “characters” or your positioning…or how your products work, or how they’ll experience your services.

3. It’s Hard

Know right up front that this is not easy. That’s why so many companies suck at it.

Be prepared to go over the stuff that you’ve written many times before it will become great. Don’t stop at “decent” or “good enough”. Edit like crazy.

When you think you’re finished, read things over again. You’ll find that new thoughts come around as you spend more time. Churn through that writing/reviewing cycle several times to really refine your messaging. That’s how it’ll have the best chance to resonate with your target audience.

Quick Recap

Okay, so those are the disclaimers going into it. It’s about deep thought. It’s about writing well-crafted language. It’s about knowing up front that it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to do some editing and you’re going to have to really work at it.

Sorry, wish I had better news for you!

 

Rules of Writing Great Content

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1. Empathize, Empathize, Empathize

If there could only be 1 rule, this would be it.

Your content has to be 1,000% customer-centric. Empathize with our audience. Imagine that you’re on the other side of the table all the time, with everything you write.

Answer the questions that your audience has and resolve the challenges they face. Don’t product content around the things that you want to brag about or to talk about your company. Nobody cares.

2. Why Does Anyone Care?

For everything you’re producing, ask yourself: “Why does my audience care?”

People care most about themselves – meaning the direct benefits to them, not your company. Keep that question in the back of your mind with everything you produce. If I were my audience, would I care?

3. Take it Deep

Try to paint pictures in their minds using incredibly accurate details. Help them create a vision of how great things could be, or or how lousy things could be if they fail. Get them to picture or feel exactly what it is you’re talking about.

If you’re selling a product, get into the nuances about the texture, the appearance, how it feels in their hands, or how it smells.

If we’re talking services, do your best to get them to “experience” how much better life could be if they hire you.

No fluff guys…no generalities and no clichés.

4. 2nd Person All the Way

We’re going to write all of our content in the second person – just as if you’re talking to another person individually. Best to use the word “you”, or sometimes it’s cleaner if you don’t even use pronouns. Just tell them what they’re getting as if you’re talking to another person.

Most everybody makes the mistake of talking in the first person. I believe this is mostly because they’re thinking of themselves, rather than empathizing with the reader.

It’s not cool to continuously begin sentences with the words “I” or “we”. That usually leads to content that is talking about yourself not stuff that others care about.

Last tip…don’t flip-flop. Keep it 2nd person throughout.

5. Dummy Up the Tone

This one’s really important, and it should be good news for you. Speak the language of your audience, not a language that makes you sound smart. Everyone tends write way too “fancy”.

There’s an incredible tendency to use long words and long sentences in an effort to sound sophisticated and smart. This is a mistake.

It’s much more effective to come across as professional, yet friendly – usually with a hint of casual or even relaxed nature. It’s a lot easier to read, and usually more interesting. Win-win.

The world’s best writers, orators and communicators say smart things, but also have this incredible ability to use words that everyone can understand.

6. Short Sentences Rock

Try your best to break up all your thoughts into really small pieces. I’m talking about just 1 thought per sentence. There should be a lot of periods.

It’s much easier to read a 12-word sentence than a 35-word run-on. Remember that your audience doesn’t know nearly as much about your stuff as you do.

The Big Summary

To summarize, know from the beginning that crafting effective written content is not easy. Plan to edit and review your ideas many times, especially the big ones surrounding your company’s existence.

Next, ALWAYS empathize with your audience. What questions do they have? What problems do they face? What does your customer service staff hear every day? That’s what you should write about.

When it comes to writing, tone down the fancy talk. Go into deep detail, but use short sentences to break apart each thought for easy readability.

In the best case, you’re able to paint pictures in the minds of your audience. They’ll be able to visualize how great it will be to work with you or buy your product.

At the end of the day, that’s why we’re producing content right?

Good Luck! I hope you enjoyed my 2019 tips for writing stuff that does not suck!

Taking Off

Creating content is hard, but documenting your journey is actually pretty easy. If you’ve got a system in place, you can roll out tons of informative and compelling content to build brand and audience around whatever you’re passionate about.

The key is to produce enough of it to stay top of mind and bring any effect. Another challenge is to produce content in the places and in the mediums that your audience prefers – meeting them where they are.

Here’s how it works…

It Begins with an Idea

Consider the questions and problems that your audience is dealing with. Now go develop video or audio content around that idea. Video is hard, but if you’ve got good video, you can parse out the audio and that becomes your podcast.

Audio is super important because Alexa, Google Home and similar technology is continuing to get more and more important in terms of organic searches. Audio is also a passive way to consume content. You can be driving down the road or working out listening along – whereas video you have to be watching.

So, it’s really systematic way of producing content. You can have simple conversations or interviews and turn it into a podcast.

 

Maybe you’d rather listen to the podcast?

Transcribe for Long-Form Written Articles

With your podcast complete, now you can run that through transcription. Transcription is not a perfect science today, but it works, and it provides a starting point. Somebody can take that written content and turn it into a very logically formatted, well-written long-form article around whatever content that you produced for the podcast. There’s opportunity to add in tips and thoughts to deliver some extra value along the way. If you’ve got a decent writer on your team, it’s very doable.

That long form article goes on your website’s blog, and in certain social media outlets. It’s got to live in the places where people are consuming the content.

LinkedIn is awesome for long-form articles. Organic reach on LinkedIn is really good right now – when somebody Google’s something, they may not get your website first. They’ll get LinkedIn, which gets to the person that wrote the article, which it turn gets to the company, right? So LinkedIn and Medium are great for long-form written articles. Facebook is okay, but not as great for long posts.

Amplify Your Articles

So, you’ve got some articles now. Each of these articles, especially the blog post, is living on your website.

Now it’s time to amplify through contextual social media posts. I mean that the introduction to the content is contextual for the platform that they’re on. Links lead back to your article and drives awareness to your ideas and traffic.

Maybe you want to compile a few solid articles into your email newsletter. Either way, leverage your channels to tell people to consumer your stuff.

Micro Content Like Halley’s Comet

Digging a level deeper, maybe there were different important topics that we talked about in the podcast/article. We parse that out and turn those into micro pieces of content. These can be little video clips, quotes, tips, or maybe paragraph-long type stuff combined with some interesting photos – smaller pieces of content related to the longer form content.

Each of these micro pieces get repurposed and posted onto social platforms that matter.

So, one video or one podcast turns into perhaps dozens of pieces of content and many, many more amplification posts with unique context. You get this sort of like Halley’s Comet effect. Your video or podcast is the starting point, and then you have a trail of stuff that gets scheduled out over a long period of time.

So long as the starting point – the original idea – is revolving around something that is useful/helpful/interesting to our target audience, everything that comes after will fall in line.

Get Some Feedback from the Tribe

As we schedule all these posts, now it’s time to engage with the audience. We need to notice where the comments are, what people are thinking, and what stuff resonated the most. This is the feedback that will inform the future stuff that we want to talk about and questions we want to answer. Let’s do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.

Build Out Some Premium Content Offers

Okay, the real sexy ending to this story are what we call premium content offers. PCOs are ebooks, white papers, and higher value items like that.

Sales Tools
Premium pieces of content can be leveraged in a sales environment. For example, let’s say somebody reaches out to Web Design Phoenix where SEO is top of mind. Of course, we can have an initial exploratory conversation to learn about their pains, challenges, goals, etc. After the session, we can easily follow up with an email recap along with our “How to SEO” ebook. It’s just the basics of SEO, but a lot of people don’t have the first clue about this stuff. We’re able to deliver a ton of extra value and helpfulness in-between meetings.

Conversion Bait
PCOs are hugely valuable for conversion on our website as well. The website is the focal point. Topics begin very broadly, providing the opportunity for visitors to dive deeper into areas which are expert in. At the end of each of those “rabbit holes” is a premium content offer.

Of course, grabbing the offer is not 100% free because they’re trading their contact information and moving into our ecosystem. From there, we’re able to continue to assist, stay top of mind, and help them along in their decision-making process. Hopefully, they’ll be ready at some point to open a dialogue and begin working together.

Bring it Full Circle and Reverse Engineer

Bringing it all full circle, if we understand our audience, and the answers we’d like to provide them for their most urgent questions, we can reverse engineer our content creation. We map out the premium content offers we want to end up with at each stage of the buying process. Then we go and run podcast interviews, write articles around those subjects. While we’re producing content, we’re also building our PCOs.

In the end, the system is all about efficiently producing high quality content for our target audiences, meeting them in the places and through the mediums they prefer, and helping them along in the buying process.

Good luck!

female bartender in a restaurant

female bartender in a restaurant

Imagine you’re opening a sandwich shop. Would you pay the money to buy into the Subway franchise, then refuse to allow any “Subway” signage or branding?

Nope. Brand recognition matters right?

Met with a fairly prominent mid-sized golf management company the other day.

It’s astonishing to hear how romantic people can be about “what they’ve always done”. I believe it’s an enormous vulnerability… and at the same time a HUGE opportunity for orgs that get it. Those that aren’t building brand are slipping toward irrelevance.

To me, when a golf club “buys into” a golf management contract, it’s a lot like a franchise relationship. They get in for two reasons:

1. Efficiency in a Box – The repetitive stuff gets simplified or outsourced, more buying power, freeing people up for more important things. Every management company offers this.

2. Brand Recognition & Selling Power. Like buying into the Subway franchise vs. starting your own local sub shop. Many management companies suck at this part of the value prop.

Why is it that a golf management company dismisses the value of building brand…and in the same breath tells me that none of their facilities allow them to post their logo anywhere on property?

You may be winning at half-time, but without brand, you’ll lose the game.

content creation diagram

We all know that businesses need to commit to creating quality, sharable and compelling content to attract and retain net new online business. Whether your marketing and advertising spend is measured in hundreds or millions, producing good stuff continuously very likely will mean the difference between winning and losing in the long term.

But how?

With limited time and resources, how do we know what to create? What platforms do we deploy our content on? How do we know it will work?

Here’s a basic model that most any organization should be able to roll out with just a little thought and some reasonable organization. Don’t worry, it’s not as nasty as it looks.

I’ll explain.

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1. Originating New Ideas for Content

For our agency, and for our clients, new content ideas spawn out of real-world interactions and daily business life. Rather than trying to create some new idea or piece of advice, it’s MUCH easier to leverage what you’re already doing every day.

Maybe you solved a problem for one of your customers? Perhaps a new question presented some different thoughts or a unique situation that others could learn from. Maybe you wrote a lengthy email to a prospect or client to help them with a challenge they were facing.

All these things – your daily work – can be documented and transformed into killer content for your business.

2. Begin with Long Form Content

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Typically, when we’ve worked on an interesting project or resolved a situation that others might benefit from, we begin by documenting in long form.

Usually, this means the spoken word – Our Podcast.

Audio is the fast growing form of content on the internet, and many believe that audio will replace text search in the next few years as companies compete for online attention.

A podcast episode is simple to execute. We discuss the situation, resolution, and tell stories that our audience will find helpful. The mission is to inform and/or entertain.

A podcast episode is only the beginning of the content creation process.

3. Create a Blog Post

With our new podcast episode in hand, we then transcribe the audio into text format.

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This is a challenge, and it can be time consuming, but it’s worth it. Technology is getting better at voice recognition too.

Basically, what we’re doing is taking a long form audio piece and transforming it into a written article. It’ll take some editing, and adding in some visuals to sweeten it up.

When you’re done, you’ve got a perfect blog post for your website.

4. Position Long Form Content on Social Channels

Now, bring your content to the places where your audience is consuming your stuff.

Currently, LinkedIn represents an incredible opportunity for organic reach with long-form content. Articles like the one you’re reading now help you get found in search results, and lead people to your profile and company pages.

Use the article you’ve just created and bring that content to places like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram Stories, Medium, and other sites where people tend to seek out more detailed information.

5. Promote and Add Context Through Social Media

Okay, now that you’ve got your podcast in place, your blog article, and some others sprinkled around on different social sites, it’s time to let people know about them.

I like Hootsuite for managing social media, but there are many different tools out there for scheduling posts.

Social media posting calendar

Schedule several posts over the coming days/weeks (depending on the nature of your content) for your blog article. In each post, add some different commentary or “context” to the article.

Don’t just post the link and call it a day.

It’s also a good strategy to use some hashtags to push your stuff into circles and conversations where it may not otherwise appear. Tag people mentioned in your article or those you feel may be interested. Don’t over-do it.

6. Create and Distribute Micro-Content

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Now it’s time to break apart your long-form article and create as many relevant short-form pieces of content as you can.

There may be sections that could stand alone in interesting ways, quotations, bullet lists, theories, opinions, facts, etc. worth sharing in short bursts. Again, this takes some time and understanding of the subject matter, but it’s also the only way to get maximum mileage out of the work you’re doing.

As you’re pulling pieces of content, keep in mind the social networks that you’re on and what the audience is expecting. Long-form text isn’t great on Twitter or Snapchat, but perfect for LinkedIn. Memes and short videos are great for Facebook and Instagram.

Remember to create content for the specific platform you’re on. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

From a single article, you might be a able to pull out 4-5 posts on each of your social networks…or more. Depending on the nature of the content (evergreen vs. time sensitive) you may be able to schedule posts around each of these micro pieces of content over the coming weeks or months – each with slightly different context of course. No copy and pasting guys.

7. Engage!

Here’s one of the most important parts – often the most likely to be neglected, but also can be the most fun.

Respond to EVERY single comment that you receive. All of them.

Expressing gratitude is always well-received. No sales pitches guys. Thank them for reading, taking the time, posting, or sharing. It goes a long way toward building trust and growing an audience.

A more selfish reason to engage with your audience is to learn. You’ll figure out what kinds of content your audience tends to like the most, what brings the most impact, and what drives engagement. This is the best way to drive future decisions about creating new content.

Basically, do more of what resonates, less of what doesn’t.

Re-post and repurpose your best stuff. Use your content to build premium content offers like ebooks or video series which can be used for lead generation on your website and in your sales processes.

Here are few of ours:

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8. Ask in Proportion

Nobody likes to listen to sales pitches. Nobody really cares about your “outstanding customer services” or your “20 years of industry-leading experience”. Deliver content that your audience will value – helpful, informative, entertaining stuff.

If you’re truly bringing value, then every once in a while you earn the right to ask them to buy your stuff – but use it wisely.

If you’re producing adequate quantities of helpful stuff, then a ratio of at least 5-7 helpful pieces for every “ask” is probably appropriate. If you bombard them with sales pitches, you’ll lose them. Of course, if you never ask them to buy, then you’re wasting your time. This is the art of marketing.

The Take-Away

For those who are operating in B2B, and “considered buying processes” (longer term decisions), you need to stay top of mind over a long period of time. Unless you’re producing great content continuously, and bringing it to locations and formats your audience prefers, you’re probably going to lose out.

Here are a few last thoughts:

  • Each long-form podcast or article can churn out more than 10-15 individual pieces of content and perhaps 30-50 social media posts over weeks and months.
  • Be Empathetic – Bring value to your audience to win trust and loyalty. Forget the sales pitches…or at least make your “asks” in proper proportions.
  • Don’t Disguise – When you’re bringing value, bring it. Don’t sneak in a sales pitch. When you’re asking your audience to act, ask them clearly and directly. Don’t try to do both…when you give, give. When you ask, ask.
  • Consider Reverse Engineering – Think about the premium content offers that would be most useful to your prospects and customers at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Now make a plan for producing long-form audio and written content for each portion of those content offers – compile them into an ebook and you’re there.
  • This piece was inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s Content Model…check it out for an even more ambitious content creation “machine”.

Cheers!

web design phoenix arizona

Golf is one of our passions. It gives us time to relax get creative and connect to nature. Listen to our podcast on how to get better at golf and learn something about business on the side.