Branded books, white papers, and superbly-written guides are a proven way to increase brand awareness and grow your fan base.
A recent client of mine was in the process of growing his list for a product he planned to release at a later date. Part of his strategy included getting webinar sign-ups as a first-stop through his sales funnel.
Reasonable, right? Webinars are a proven lead magnet.
We ran ads on Facebook and quickly discovered people liked the Facebook ad, but for whatever reason they weren’t really signing up for his webinar, not the way one would expect. We tweaked the ad. We tweaked the landing page. The numbers were still dismal.
Based on my research of his target audience (and the behavior they repeatedly demonstrated by not signing up for his webinars), I decided to put the webinar content into a 9-page report. I included research, citations, and graphics. We had one of our designers create an attractive book cover for the short guide.
Opt-ins increase by more the 300%.
Here’s a freebie for you: It doesn’t matter what other marketers and gurus are doing nearly as much as it matters how your target audience is responding to what you’re doing. There is no magic bullet, no one-size-fits-all method of growing your brand online.
Some information is best shared in written form. And some people are more likely to do business with you when you’ve released something of value, like a book, white paper or guide that provides.
How One Phone Conversation Turns Into an eBook
I urge all of my clients to turn their expertise into products, whether books, blog posts, infographics, videos or training courses. EBooks are a good first product for any business or professional to have.
My process is simple: In order to write your book, all I need is 60 to 90 minutes on the phone with you. In 90 minutes, I can get enough information from you to write a fluff-free 50-page eBook that you can sell or give away to generate leads.
For you, the time investment is minimal, and the effort you put forth is minimal. From my conversation with you, my team and I will produce an outline, table of contents, write your book, and edit your book.
In the process, I conduct research, fact-check, add in-text citations, and build out a reference section for your book. Finally, I send everything over to my designer to format your book and design your book cover.
I only offer this eBook writing service to my professional clients who are interested in creating how-to books. No biographies. No memoirs. The entire process takes less than 10 days.
No Time Investment Needed from You At All to Create a Guide
Guides are nonfiction educational material that I can usually research and write on my own without any input from you. We create an objective, assess the needs of your target audience, then create a report that will keep your customers clamoring to hear from you. It’s as simple as that.
Using eBooks, guides, reports and white papers to generate build your brand and generate leads is a tried and true marketing tactic. Let me help you build your library of intellectual properties that you own and can leverage to strengthen your reputation and build your business.
Let’s map out how you can use high-value, multi-media content to gain influence and make more sales.
A Content Strategy Worth $400M in 12 Months
I think the easiest way to communicate the importance of a content strategy is through the following example.
If you own an iPhone, chances are it’s not because you owned an Apple computer before that. You probably own an iPhone because somewhere along the way, Apple used content to convince you to buy one.
You may say, “I don’t remember reading too much about the iPhone before I bought it.”
Very few people read about iPhones before they buy them.
Yet, when we head to the store, we know what features the device will have. We know which celebrities already have one. We even have some idea of the first thing we’re going to do with the phone when we get it.
Remember Mac vs PC? Fantastic content from Apple.
All of that is the result of content. Apple generates tons of content ahead of the release of any product.
Most of us remember the iconic presentation by the late Steve Jobs that introduced the world to the iPhone. When Apple unveiled the iPhone at MacWorld 2007, the company literally changed the way we communicate and consume information. Forever.
One phone. One presentation. One amazing content strategy. And people rushed out in droves to buy 6.1 million phones at about $600 a pop in just 12 months.
Coincidentally, a presentation is content. Just so we’re clear.
That’s the power of content. That’s the power of a smart content strategy.
What Should You Be Saying Online?
One of the key mistakes I see many entrepreneurs make is taking every opportunity to talk about themselves and their product online. They immediately go in for the sale, without giving much attention to the process of building a relationship.
Yes, you should talk about your product or service online and feel free to ask for the sale. But that should only be about 10% of your online conversation. What should you be using the remaining 90% of your content to actually say?
That’s what your content strategy determines.
Your content strategy is the planning, development and management of your brand’s media. This includes articles, images, videos, social posts, podcasts, memes, quote cards, interviews, presentations, and other media. It’s all content and it all needs to be developed and published with both your brand persona and your business goals in mind.
It’s going to take more than a website with a few product descriptions and a handful of blog posts to build an “iPhone” kind of relationship with your audience.
The merchant-customer relationship is like any other relationship. There’s a courtship phase where you have to establish trust before your prospects will go any further in the relationship.
The only way to establish trust is to give more than you ask. Provide your audience with something of value, expecting nothing in return.
And the easiest and most effective way to provide value affordably to your prospective buyers is through content.
Let’s go back to the Apple example. What words come to mind when you think of Apple products?
The above videos was created and published by the geniuses at BuzzFeed and it demonstrates a very clear point:
Apple uses content to shape how we think of their product. And so should you.
By the time Apple customers are ready to buy, they are totally convinced they are buying something faster, cooler, revolutionary, hip, groundbreaking and game-changing. And their willing to pay a premium price to get it.
Your content strategy should serve you the same way.
The #1 problem with content strategies is most micro businesses don’t know they need one. Don’t be one of those businesses.
You can download an outline of the basic content strategy I use to help my clients start thinking about how to shape their message. If you find you still need help planning, developing and managing your online content, give me a call at (678) 466-9336.
Get on the first page of Google and make sure your customers can find you.
As a Content Strategist, search engine optimization (SEO) is the core of my business. Even more than being able to put words together in a way that impacts the reader, the ability to create and curate articles, videos, and other multi-media content so that it gets found online is – without a doubt – my most valuable offering. Here’s why.
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What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of making sure online content shows up high in the search results. Each piece of content you publish online – whether it’s an article, picture, video, or other multi-media content – should be created so that search engines like Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, and Facebook can find it.
The science and art of “doing SEO” lies in being able to figure out which keywords and keyword phrases to focus on when you create content for the web.
In a nutshell, a keyword is the word, phrase, or sentence somebody types into the Google search bar (or speaks into their phone, or asks Amazon Echo) when they’re searching for something online.
There are over a billion websites online now. So, when people look for information online, they are specific.
For instance, if you want to order take-out Chinese food, chances are, you’re not going to just type “Chinese food” into your phone. You already know from experience that just typing in the words “Chinese food” will to give you everything from do-it-yourself recipes to La Choy ads.
No. If you want a good Chinese restaurant in your area, you will narrow down your search by saying something like, “Chinese restaurants near me” or “Chinese food in Conyers, Georgia”
People generally don’t do broad searches anymore because it takes too much time to sort through the search engine results. When people search online, they try to be as specific as possible to turn up the best results.
That’s the importance of keywords and keyword phrases.
Using the right keywords makes sure your content gets listed in the search results when people are looking for a product or service you provide. Search engine optimization (SEO) makes sure you show up in the top of those search results, preferably on the first page of Google results
“What Keywords Do You Want to Rank For?”
That’s the question I ask each one of my clients as I sit down to plan their content strategy. In the planning stages, it’s essential for me to know two things:
The outcomes my client expect over the next 90 days, 6 months and 1 year; and
The keywords my client deems most important to his or her business
Honestly, by the time I ask the keywords question, I already know what keywords my client should be using. I’ve already asked enough questions about my client’s business and goals to create a preliminary list of search terms their customers are probably using to find them.
Nevertheless, I ask my clients to tell me the keywords they want to rank for because it gives me an idea of how my client wants to be seen online, and also gives me an idea of how well my client understands keyword strategy.
My job is helping you create a keyword strategy that supports your overall business goals. That means using SEO to get your brand or business found online. It means working together to determine what your online conversation should be, and the best way to turn your online audience into paid customers.
If you need help pulling together your content strategy and shaping a powerful online message, call me at (678) 466-9336. That’s my forte.
The Internet is one thing and one thing only – content. So, if you plan to make your mark online, it’s time to get serious about your content.
When I first started in digital publishing, I worked remotely for an east coast boutique marketing irm. At the time, I had no real concept of how digital publishing industry was changing the way we communicate. All I knew was I wanted to go into publishing, and since I’m a hands-on type of person, I knew that meant working in the industry, not just reading about it.
So, without really understanding the importance of what I was doing, the first skill I learned as a professional writer was how to create search engine optimized content using geo-locational keywords.
A few years later when I began selling a diet product as a side hustle, I built a tiny website and created blog content. I knew doing so would boost me to the front page of Google for my main two or three keyword phrases.
The Secret to Getting to the Top of Google Search Results
In a very short span of time, I went from passing out cards and hoping people would call me to having $600 days. I always asked my customers how they found me, and without fail, they would say they found me on Google.
Never my business card.
Never my eye-catching flyers.
Of course, I stopped ordering business cards. I didn’t need to pass out any more flyers. I just made sure I published SEO content to my website regularly and cross-promoted to Facebook and Twitter. (Back then, Twitter wasn’t as noisy as it is now, and Facebook had just launched its business pages.)
What got me to the front page of Google was knowing how to create, publish and promote keyword-optimized content for my audience. I knew how they searched online. I learned where they hung out online. I used articles, images, and a video or two to promote my website and my product.
And the Google bots that run the Internet rewarded my efforts.
Here’s the big, simple takeaway about creating content: When you know your audience and you know your message, you can create content for your audience that makes them want to work with you, buy from you, and become raving fans.
The Challenge Most Businesses Face Creating Content
The biggest challenge most emerging brands and small businesses face is finding the time to do the work needed to produce content that will resonate with the audience.
It’s not easy.
If creating content isn’t your business, learning how to do it right takes time and energy you may not have. This is especially true of my client base which is made up of solopreneurs, thought leaders, inventors and micro business owners.
The last thing you want or need is ONE MORE THING TO DO.
I understand. As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve been there and done that.
As a content strategist, I specialize in doing the seven things needed to create powerful content:
Identify your business goals
Shape your message
Learn about your audience
Find out where your audience hangs out online
Create SEO content that will resonate with them
Promote that content in a way your audience would like to receive it
Publish and republish your content in as many media and on as many platforms as you can and still have impact
Track the results to make sure we’re on target to meet your business goals
I know from experience, running your business is more than enough work to do without having to master digital marketing. So get the help you need and let someone who understands the nuances of content marketing take the lead on that aspect of growing your brand.
I have several content packages available. Choose one. Let’s run with it.