July 25, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

How to create great content when you run out of ideas and time

Ron Stein | 10/14/2013

Did you miss my column last week? I was jammed giving a workshop and with client commitments, so I made the dreaded call to Joyce at Florida Trend and told her it wasn’t in the cards.

Had I run out of topics? Had I run out of time? Or is writing a weekly column a pain in the neck? (Note to my editors at Florida Trend: I really do love writing my columns!)

Yes, it was a crazy busy week, but no different really than most of my weeks. But, this time I heard a little voice saying, “What the heck are you going to write about this week?” Maybe everything about the world of marketing and sales had been written and there was nothing to add.

Yet, it must me done. Why? It’s simply a business decision. Sure, I enjoy doing it. But, at the end of the day a column fits nicely into my overall content strategy.

Having relevant content in one form or another is a very effective way to drive leads and build trust. It’s just hard thinking about what to write about and finding time to do it.

You’ve been there with your blog, Twitter postings, brochures, website content development, or email newsletters. Deep down inside you know that getting your content out and into the hands of your prospects on a timely basis is important. Scratch that -- it’s critical and a key to your success. But, it’s hard deciding what to write. And, oh the time needed to do it.

Whether you are a lawyer, medical equipment distributor, jingle writer, bank, or software developer, your audience is looking for what you have. Content is one of the best ways for them to find you and get to know you.

Content comes in many forms and some will work better than others for your business. A content strategy and plan will help you sort that out. But where do you start and how will you find inspiration and time?

People have questions, you have answers. You’re a problem solver as an expert in your field. Every day your product or service helps a customer overcome an issue. Start gathering a list of questions you’re asked, or should be asked, with a note pad or laptop. Better yet, place them into a spreadsheet with columns for the question, date, media or material, and the answer. Once a week set aside time to fill it out to determine the content placement or type -- tip sheet, Tweet, blog post, new content, and so on. Now you have an editorial calendar with interesting content ideas ready to go.

Repurpose your material. A client of mine was stuck on what to include in his weekly e-newsletter. It turns out that he regularly gives talks at conferences and writes it out, usually around 2,000 words. Whamo! Each one can be broken down into a couple of blog post, five or six tweets and Linkedin posts, and one good story. Look through articles you wrote last year or even earlier and find snippets that can stand on their own or can be expanded. Occasionally use an “old” post or article and come right out and label as “Best Of” or “One Year Ago In [Name of Your Newsletter or Business] -- use the first paragraph or two and then link it back to the original on your website.

Write without writing. We’re not talking about ripping off content here. From time to time invite others to write that are experts in an area that’s related to yet complementary to your business. Here’s one almost everyone misses -- transcribe videos, podcasts, and radio interviews. Similar to my client who talks a lot (speaking at conferences!) you’ll have a ton of material to use in all kinds of ways -- case studies, social media posts, and product or services sell sheets. It’s also a good idea to place the transcription on the same page as the video to increase search engine ranking. By the way, always read the edit the transcription carefully and do the necessary editing for readability.

High quality content that’s relevant has an enormous impact on Google search results. Humans are also greatly influenced by your content. That’s why you must have a consistent content strategy -- even if you don’t feel like writing.

We're all competing against other businesses. Anything that makes you stand out is a good thing and great content is an incredible way to stand apart. So, get those ideas out of your head and out into the world now! That will showcase your thoughts, passions, talents, and expertise to others. And when you do that, great things start to happen.

 
Oh, here's one more idea for creating great content when you run out of ideas -- ask others for topic ideas. In fact, what topics would you like to hear more about in this column? I'm all ears - use the comment field below. And thanks!


Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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