We all know the saying “content is king.” But creating content doesn’t always come that easily. The first step to creating content that works for your needs is to come up with a development plan that is easy to execute upon. So, here are some simple steps to get the creative content juices flowing…
- Identify target audience(s)– Decide who you are going to speak to with your content. Are you going to reach them in print, electronically, or in a presentation format? Will they expect you to speak formally or informally? Will they need lots of resources to learn more or expect you to deliver exactly what they are looking for?
- Select topics– Once you know who you want to read your content, it makes selecting the topics a little easier. Choose concise, timely topics that allow you to show your expertise and experience. Solve problems, meet their curiosity and be helpful. Consider using social media outlets as a resource for timely subjects.
- Determine resources for creating & promoting content (internal/external)– Does the content have to ALL come from you? Can you delegate certain pieces to others? Can you identify content written by others that you can expand upon? Perhaps you can call upon someone to do the research piece, or someone to do the first draft, or yet an other person to review your final version before it goes out.
- Determine where to post the content– Are you using your website, social media or traditional print media to give exposure to your newly developed content?
- Create schedule for creation and posting– Schedule yourself to create more content over time. Don’t count on your memory… time has a way of slipping past us. Schedule it in your outlook calendar with a reminder alarm so that you have no reason to put it off.
Once you have walked through these steps, you will have what it takes to get started producing good content routinely. Sharing your content is the next hurdle to tackle. Stay tuned for tips for repurposing your content for the most reward!
I was so pleased to have spoken at the In Practice law conference today in Hartford, CT. My co-presenter, Kirsten Lovett, and I presented a program called: “Repurposing with Rewards: A Guide to Creating Website and Social Media Content”. We had a fantastic room of attendees (who I hope walked away from the presentation with very applicable skills!) I am going to highlight just one of our slides in this post: How Content Helps You.
Creating and using informative, easy to understand content is crucial to see the results depicted in this graphic. From one single piece of content (press release, advisory, news item, sponsorship… you name it) you can stack up multiple touchpoints. Create a teaser sentence or two and you can use the same content on your website, blog, linked in, twitter and facebook pages. When you post your content on all of these platforms, you gain better visibility and improve the likeliness that someone will find you in an internet search. So, if you want to differentiate yourself, earn higher SEO ranking, be found easier, position yourself as a thought-leader, show you are current and be attractive to reporters as a resource…. try it. Take one piece of content and repurpose it in multiple places.
I was reminded of a very important, very underutilized tool this weekend… practice! Sure… the tool seems so simple, but it is so often overlooked. It became very clear to me in a recent encounter with my teenage son. He and some buddies made a golf date and needed to set up a tee time. So, he looked up the golf course and gave them a call. Then the most interesting thing happened. The person on the other end of the line picked up and my son’s mind went blank. He had a struggle getting his thoughts lined up to ask the questions he needed answers to. It all worked out and the other person figured out what he wanted and they booked their time together with that person’s help, but it was a little difficult to listen to! When he got off the phone, I asked him what happened. He told me his mind just went blank and he couldn’t get the words out straight. Can happen to anyone, right? It’s true. Any circumstance, any time. We talked about it and he told me that had he taken a second to think through what he needed to know, he could have formulated his thoughts ahead of time, resulting in an easier conversation. I would venture one more step… perhaps even speak through the questions out loud first, a ‘practice run’ of sorts.
So, what does this have to do with business development? A lot. Business development conversations can be difficult to begin with. Why not make them easier on yourself with a little pre-planning? Try this tip… before dialing the phone or seeing someone in person, ask yourself the following three questions:
- What do I want to learn from this conversation?
- How will I ask for the information?
- What follow-up questions may I have?
Next, study the answers and develop your message to the person on the receiving end. Your not quite done… practice delivering the message(s) you develop from the answers to those questions before making that call. This practice helps you have much smoother conversations. It will also help you gather the answers you need to make subsequent decisions. Build this into a habit and you will be a much more effective communicator in the long run. Practice really makes the difference!