how to create more content for your marketing
Most business owners started their business to be in the business of whatever their industry is, not in the business of content creation. An accounting firm started a business to do accounting. A landscaper to do landscaping.
Author: Frank Wazeter, Nov. 23, 2020
Most business owners started their business to be in the business of whatever their industry is, not in the business of content creation. An accounting firm started a business to do accounting. A landscaper to do landscaping. A website designer to do website design. A roofer to do roofing...not a landscaper to do content.
Yet, content creation is at the core of modern day marketing and positioning yourself as a market leader - whether that be on a local or national level. It’s borderline a requirement to function now, as the most credible businesses are the ones that are able to produce, share and create more value through sharing ‘free’ content to help people make decisions.
To make matters worse, it doesn’t take long before you “run out of content ideas” and realize real quick what writer’s block is. The end result of this for most is “to put off the content” until tomorrow or the next day...and then the next week...next month, and sooner or later you just forget that you were supposed to create stuff to begin with.
Many people look at our business and say “well, you’re in the business of content, so it makes sense that you’ve produced so much.” I have mixed feelings about this. First, it makes me feel good when people say that because that means we’ve achieved our fundamental aim: to continuously and always be publishing to reach more people. But second, it’s also missing the point.
“You’re in X industry, therefore it makes sense for you to do Y, but my industry is different” is the oldest business excuse in the book. Trust me, creating content is not the ‘main business’ of website design. It’s not even the ‘main business’ of digital marketing.
Don’t believe me? Go google search your local website designer or digital marketing firm. I guarantee you won’t find a significant amount of content produced on the websites you find.
The market leader in the area probably has a lot of content produced. The average company will barely have any content produced or none at all. My guess is that 80-90% of the sites you see are going to have some vague tagline and a bullet point list of the services they offer and maybe a paragraph here and there about being awesome because they have great customer service.
Guess what? This is the exact same scenario in every industry.
Market leaders are producers. In the context of the digital age and the internet, that means they’re producers of content.
Market followers don’t produce content, don’t produce extra value and are always falling behind.
I wrote another extensive article about market leadership and why you should care about being a market leader, the bullet points from that one are: market leaders survive, thrive and dominate regardless of economic condition. Market followers are the ones that go bankrupt when economic times are uncertain. You don’t want to be a market follower.
How to Not Run Out of Content Ideas
The first step in keeping content ideas flowing is to recognize where your strength is in content production. It’s different for everyone, but it’s almost always going to be oriented around one of: writing, audio or visual.
My primary strength is writing when it comes to content production, with a secondary in video. So when I go to create new content it’s almost always going to be in written form first because I can sit down and crank them out one after the other and get into a train of thought that gives me plenty to work with.
I can then take my favorites, convert them to videos for YouTube and for people who like videos and others for audio for podcasts.
If school was any indication, most people don’t prefer to go the writing way (don’t worry, even most book authors start with audio files first), they’d rather talk. In these cases, either filming it on your phone or camera for video first or starting with audio recording and then getting it transcribed.
You’ll need to simply get something that you can get in the consistent habit of doing. When you either use an audio recording program or a record video on your phone or camera, then convert it to text, you now have two pieces of content - the written portion to publish and the video or audio version to publish.
The best part about that is, you can typically find a transcription service for less than $1 per minute for a real person to do the transcribing, and sometimes as little as $0.10 per minute for some pretty good computer generated transcriptions (typically these will require some extra minor editing on your part, so make sure you read through em before posting).
Customers are a Great Source of Content Ideas
One of the most reliable and consistent methods I have for creating new content actually comes from my sales process. When I’m talking with prospective new customers, the way I explain things almost always leads to more questions. These questions then lead to an expert level explanation that the person finds valuable.
The great part about this process is you’re getting exactly what your new customers' concerns and questions are right from their mouths. Typically this is also where you’re at your best in explaining complex topics and breaking things down in a way that people can understand. Make sure to write down these questions when they happen and recall how you addressed them particularly and you’ve got an excellent recipe for continuous content.
Technical Explanations - How To’s and Directly Related Content
Even the simplest of businesses are complex in what’s being offered. It just might not seem that way when you’re around it every single day, but even the simplest of things are a source of wonder for most people in how things get done.
Writing out how to’s, DIY’s or even technical explanations for why you do your process the way you do it go a long way towards helping people distinguish who's an expert and not.
I like to go deep into a lot of discussions - borderline to the point where if you read and watch my stuff long enough, you could probably become an expert at website design, application development and digital marketing all on your own. Many business owners shy away from this because they’re afraid that their competitors will ‘steal’ their stuff or ‘copy’ their process.
Here’s the thing about that.
#1 Most business owners haven’t even read their own website. They’re probably not going to read yours.
#2 If they copy you, then that’s a great sign. That means that likely you’re the market leader, or developing into the threat to be the market leader and your competition is taking notice.
#3 There are very few business processes that are genuinely proprietary and so special that what you’re saying is 100% unique. Even in a field as intensely competitive and secretive as SEO, i’ll share all my techniques and strategies because at the end of the day, there’s an art of implementation that pure data doesn’t convey.
Which also leads to:
#4 If I give away the farm of information, won’t my customer’s just DIY it? Sure, some people will DIY your solution - but let’s be honest, this person was going to do that anyway or they were going to beat you up so bad on price that it probably wasn’t worth it for you to do business with them anyway. They weren’t your customer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t gain value from them.
A DIY’er is going to DIY whether you provide value or not. But if you’re the one providing the best value in content and How To’s in the market, then they’re going to show their friends and family your site and your content when someone asks them. That person may very well be your ideal client and now you’ve gotten some free marketing from someone who otherwise wasn’t going to do any business with you anyway.
For everyone else: they’ll read through things, maybe try a little on their end and go “you know what, this is so much more involved than I thought, I’d rather hire someone to help me with it.” When it’s your material that’s being read, that usually means you’re going to get the phone call, not your competition.
Supplementary Topics Are Amazing At Triangulating Content
Most businesses just stay in the “how to” and technical type content that’s directly related to what they do. I prefer to extend that out and talk about topics related to my field. As a website designer, web app developer and digital marketing we deal a lot with small businesses - therefore we deal with the economy, entrepreneurship, business development and strategy, even mindsets and skill sets ranging from public speaking to customer service.
Talking about these other areas allows us to diversify what we’re offering making it easier for people to stay engaged with us way beyond just when they’re “looking for a website” and gives them a good reason to keep coming back for more and refer more people.
It’s also more refreshing for me, as the content producer, to be talking about a variety of topics to prevent getting bored with the stuff. In fact, most of my content probably is about supplementary or related topics and less about the technical website development implementation.
If you’re in real estate you could talk about investing, interior design and even entrepreneurship. If you’re a roofer you could talk about insulating your home, creating more value, project management and home improvement.
You could even talk about topics that aren’t even remotely related to what your business does directly, but gives you some credibility and likeability as a business owner depending on how you’ve got your brand setup.
Key Takeaways - Never Run Out of Content Ideas
In the end, content production comes down to habit and being ready. Make it easy for yourself to create new content by getting into a normal routine for production, and produce it in the medium you’re most comfortable with. You can always convert to other types of content later. If that’s audio and video, start with audio and video and get things transcribed. If that’s writing, write it out first, then get audio and video.
Create content around technical topics that your company specializes in and supplement it with related topics that aren’t necessarily directly about what you sell. For example, we’ll talk about business ownership just as much as we’ll do website design because our customers fundamentally are business owners.
Remember, market leaders produce. Producing content in the digital era means you’re setting yourself up for long term success while your competition struggles doing things “the old fashioned” way.