As you may know, the amount of time it takes for someone to make a decision to become your client is pretty long. Weeks, months, maybe longer. It is important for you to stay in front of those prospects during that time.
How do you do that? With content.
You must be creating content that they can take in regularly. These days, the more content you create, the more successful you will be.
The most common form of content is written articles. Articles can be posted on a blog, sent in an e-mail, linked to on social media, used for article marketing, shared on other sites, etc… There are other forms of content as well, including video and audio, which require additional skills and technology. So I’m going to focus on written content here.
Many small business owners have all kinds of excuses around why they can’t produce content regularly. “It takes too much time.” “I’m not a good writer.” “I don’t know what I would write about.”
But here's the deal: "Content writing is marketing and marketing is writing. If you want exposure, you cannot afford to limit your time, effort and budget on writing." That's a quote from Codrut Turcanu. And I agree with him!
It’s time to get past the fear and the excuses. Here are four strategies to help you get started:
Set long-term goals
When you are just starting out creating content, it is slow. Putting out your first article is exciting, but then you have… one article. And one, or even a few articles isn’t enough to build a reputation.
Content is most effective when it has depth and consistency, and that takes time. People who focus on each individual article, often give up before they have established enough content to make a real impact.
So set a long term goal. Perhaps you want to publish 20 articles by next summer. Or 10 articles by the end of the year. Keep your eye on that long term goal, so that every time you sit down to write, you are getting one step closer. Don’t judge your progress by any single article. If you keep at it, you will start to see results.
Write Your Ideas Down
There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you have to write something, but you don’t have any idea what to write about. Many people wait to be inspired in order to write, but if you do that, you will most likely never do it.
To avoid this frustration, I recommend creating a “topic list.” Before you even write your first article, brainstorm ideas for topics that you could write about. Jot down a couple of sentences about each one. You don’t have to write the whole thing, just enough to capture the inspiration.
Keep your eye out for topics all the time. You will find them when you are talking to clients, when you are at events, or sometimes when you are lying in bed! Are there patterns in what people ask you? Or things that come up over and over? The more you are on the lookout, the more topics you will find.
Have a list of at least 10 topics before you sit down to write your first article. That way, you have some built-in momentum and you don’t have to stare at a blank screen ever again. When it’s time to write, pull out your list and tap into the inspiration you had when you came up with the ideas. (Then keep the list out. I find that once I start writing, I get the more ideas for other articles and add them to the list. I cross one off the list, but add three more!)
Just like everything else, creating content gets easier and better with time. Your skills will improve with practice. Your first article won’t be perfect, and for some people that is causes them to never start. But here’s the thing. This isn’t written in stone, it’s not a book that will be published (yet!). Online content does not have to be perfect.
Set aside time each week to write. I suggest at least 1-2 hours. Don’t worry about being perfect, just write about your topic for that week. Find your voice. Get into a rhythm. By the time you reach your long-term goal, you can look back and see how much progress you have made as a writer and content creator.
Get it in front of people
Lastly, get your content in front of people. A long term goal will help get past the initial inertia. But unless you feel like all your hard work is being seen and used by others, it will be difficult to maintain for the long run. It is important to build your list and send your content out to them, post your articles on directories (article marketing), link to them through social media, submit them for publication on other blogs or media sources.
A collection of good content can build you a great reputation, but only if people see it! So set your goals, create your topic list, and get started today.