Jeremy Gray – The Geriatric Entrepreneur
IBGR. Network. The World of Business at Your Fingertips
Is retirement not for you? Me neither! I have always known that retirement did not hold any attraction for me. Those financial product advertisement promising early retirement never resonated.
In season 10 we will look at how to launch your second career, in a time of raising interest rates and a falling stock market. I invite you to join me, as I build my business plan to escape the tyranny of the clock which limits my earnings to the hours I work. Over the next five years I plan to build an income portfolio that will support my family into the future. Please join me as I plan that journey.
Episode 21 Content Creation – what you need to know.
Why is content creation important?
Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.
Content equals business growth. So, let’s get started with the types of content you can create and then review your content strategy.
Content Creation Ideas
One type of content creation (the kind you're consuming right now, actually) is blog posts. Blogs can educate, entertain, and inspire your audience through the written word. When someone types a query in Google, the posts that pop up are usually blog posts.
Content Creation Ideas for Blogs
Blogging is worth the time and effort, and 56% of marketers say that blogging is their most effective content strategy.
But it can be tough to narrow your focus and start writing. In addition to opinion pieces and product announcement posts, these are some proven ideas for blog content creation.
Answer a Question
If you're not sure which question to answer first start with questions from beginners. These can create a foundation you can use to continue growing your blog.
Another way to use questions as a starting point is to think about the questions you had when you were a beginner. Even questions from your more recent experience can help someone else in your industry.
Once you've figured out the right questions, write a complete answer. You might want to skim over the details, but this is where you can add the most value for your readers.
People are often shy about asking questions because they don't want to sound foolish. Anticipating and answering their questions can help you earn their trust. It can also improve your search engine results.
Compare and Contrast Solutions to a Problem
Another way that you can serve your readers is by helping them make a decision. There are answers online, but it can sometimes feel like there are too many answers.
If you are an expert in your niche, you can share your expert opinion and help buyers who want to make an informed purchase at the same time.
As you choose what you're going to compare, make sure that the products have more similarities than differences. For example, you wouldn't want to compare a project management tool with email marketing software.
When you're writing compare and contrast blogs for a product or service, be as open and transparent as you can. List all the possible positives and negatives you can think of. Then, get into detail about how you came to those decisions.
Some of the most popular blogs are educational. If you want to use your blog as a teaching tool, there are a few things you'll want to think about.
As you choose a topic, it's smart to start small. So, instead of covering a broad topic, choose a niche topic that people in your industry might be asking about.
For example, instead of writing about website design basics, write about how to design the home page for an automotive dealership.
As you start writing how-to blogs, there are a few things to remember:
Use short sentences and paragraphs and create a clear structure. This will make your instructions easier to follow.
Avoid jargon and technical terms if you can and use examples to make new information easier to understand.
These tips should help your readers learn and bring you more traffic and interest in your educational content.
Daily, Monthly, or Weekly Series
Writing a series of posts can be useful for your readers, and it can help you grow your blog. A series will usually run for a set period of time. You can choose to publish the series every day or on a set day every week or month.
A series can generate content that you can easily repurpose for other channels. For example, if you run a blog about social media, you could turn a blog series about Instagram Reels into a podcast, eBook, or video.
This strategy makes it simple to fully explore a particular topic. It's useful for building internal and external links, and for establishing you as a thought leader.
Quizzes and Surveys
For an effective quiz or survey, define your goals before you start creating. Keeping your quizzes short and offering incentives can improve response rates.
Curated Content for Target Audiences
While your blog could appeal to just about anyone, your goal is to connect with your ideal buyer personas.
Curated content will make your most important audience members feel important. This could mean that this audience turns into a group of promoters who share your content and encourage others to buy your products.
It’s a good idea to create curated content that's specifically for this audience. For example, say you're selling sandals. You'll want to write different content for people who wear sandals year-round and people who only wear sandals at certain times of the year.
To curate your content, start with detailed buyer personas and competitor research. Next, create clusters of content that are just for that specific buyer persona.
Curated content is also where you'll want to highlight quotes and insights from industry leaders. This content shouldn't just inform a targeted audience. It should make them feel like they are part of an exclusive group.
If you’re looking for help curating your content, check out this useful list of tools.
Whether you're calling out top-performing employees or thanking customers, you can use your blog to celebrate.
Remember to celebrate the little things. Then use images, videos, and design to make celebration posts feel extra special.
Podcasts are like listening to the radio. But anyone can make and broadcast a podcast. This means that professional and beginner podcast hosts are competing for the same listening time.
But they also have a big audience, and 28% of Americans 12 years old and up listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.
Podcasts are extra interesting to listen to when the audience likes the host and wants to learn something from them. Keep reading for more podcast content creation ideas you might want to try.
Content Creation Ideas for Podcasts
Generally, a great podcast will center on a great idea and then expand on that topic with listener and expert feedback. Storytelling podcasts are popular, and so are educational podcasts.
If you are launching your first podcast, be sure to post with a consistent schedule. It's also a good idea to follow the same structure for every episode.
Other than that, it's about being your authentic self.
This type of podcast content centers on your professional experience. Be sure to include case studies and other real-life scenarios in this content.
Remember that your audience is listening in for different reasons and often have different levels of industry experience. So, offer insights for a range of listeners and share advice that you think your listeners could apply themselves.
Episode 22 – Blogs Vlogs and Amination – How to stand out from the crowd.
As I mentioned in episode 13 when you start to build a website, it is tempting to just jump in and add content right away. Getting started with a website builder is exciting, and you probably can’t wait to begin sharing content with the world. Do not hesitate, start adding content immediately because the motivation from seeing your website develop will be worth the effort.
However, as I have learnt you should step back and take time to think through your site's structure.
Your site’s “structure” is no more than how you’ve organized your content and how you’ve set up your navigation menus to help visitors get to that content.
Whether you want to post videos on social media or YouTube, video marketing is a type of content creation that becomes more popular every year. Short-form and long-form videos both have their place in your content creation strategy. So, be sure to come up with ideas for both types of content
86% of video marketers say that video is effective for generating leads. This makes original video marketing an important strategy for anyone who is working on content creation.
Some solid video content ideas include behind-the-scenes or time-lapse videos. Let's go over some other useful ideas for video content creation.
Animate Hard-To-Understand Ideas
Animation makes it easier to understand new or complex information. So, use video to show your viewers how your product works or to talk about the specific problem your product solves.
Choose scenarios that people can relate to that clearly connect to your product. Whether you choose to use digital animation or stop-motion, animation can bring a dry topic to life.
For example, tech products often solve problems that the average user doesn't deal with every day, like a broken connection with an API.
But what about an animation of what happens when the wireless at home gets cut off. A video with this scenario could make that abstract idea easier for the average user to understand.
Repurpose Blog Content
Another quick video idea is to use the text from your most popular blog as a voiceover. Long blogs make great content for a video series.
You can also break up key points from blogs into bite-size videos for your social media posts.
Then, add your videos to your blog posts. This gives people who find your blog on search engines another alternative to get the information they're looking for.
How-tos and Tutorials
How-to content is also very popular in video formats. To create a powerful instructional video, stick to short and specific steps. Don't skip anything, but you also don't want to overwhelm your viewers with extra information.
Use simple visual steps to help your viewers learn and offer a clear call-to-action at the end.
It's also a good idea to engage with the comments on these videos. This reassures your audience that you are available if they have more questions and could help you come up with more video ideas.
Product Demos and Unusual Use Cases
Product demos can make it easier for potential customers to see how they can use your products. It's also a chance for you to share some product design processes.
By sharing the problem you initially solved with your product, and how the solution changed through the process, you are building a relationship with your viewers. This relationship builds trust and makes them more likely to engage with you and your products.
Show how your product works in an interesting way. For example, the "Will It Blend?" video series on YouTube was a winner for Blendtec because it didn't just show the power of its blender.
They were inventive and asked for customer suggestions for each video. And the videos were blending objects you normally wouldn't throw in a blender, like cell phones, golf balls, or glow sticks.
You can also personalize your video content. Video product demos are a great choice for connecting individual customers to your products.
In your blog posts, or in your social media posts, you might want to post original graphics. These can be infographics, photography, GIFs, memes, illustrations, or screenshots.
This type of content creation usually requires a graphic designer or a design tool to help you get the job done.
Use contrast and colour Keep it simple
Visual content is great for quick storytelling. As you start to experiment with storytelling, remember to show, not tell.
For example, say you're telling a story about meeting a tough sales goal. A picture of a sales rep talking on the phone won't tell the story as well as an image of that same sales rep scaling a tall mountain.
Try to use setting, clothing, lighting, and motion to emphasize the action and drama of every scene in your images.
Fans of your products are often looking for ways to get involved. And there's nothing like user-generated content to show your followers that you care about their opinions.
To get your users to create and share content for your brand, invite them to get involved. Try a custom hashtag or contest on social media to start. Email is also a great channel for collecting photos, quotes, and stories from your customers.
That said, don’t use content from users without asking for their permission. You also want to make sure you credit users for their contributions. Nothing can damage your relationship with a customer like using their images without consent.
There is proof that data visualizations can decrease errors and improve learning and retention by as much as 80%. If you want your content creation strategy to include infographics, keep these best practices in mind:
Go Behind the Scenes
Sharing industry and product secrets is exciting and interesting for your readers. It’s also an interesting way to share information about how you make, package, and update your products.
To create visuals that take your audience behind the scenes, start with a plan. Whether you're sharing photos from a tour of your manufacturing facility or documenting an average day on social media, make it cool.
At the same time, make your images feel authentic. Don't set up your photos in a space that feels too perfect to be real.
5. Content offers
Another type of content is content offers. These are templates, whitepapers, worksheets, or eBooks that your visitors can download. This is gated content — meaning your audience will need to fill out a form and provide their email to have access to it.
Content Creation Ideas for Content Offers
67% of companies use lead generation as the primary metric for content success.
This means that you should combine any content creation efforts with content offers to draw new leads. The best lead magnets solve a problem for your followers. Usually, they solve urgent issues and offer lasting value to your target audience.
To be immediately useful to your users, a content offers should be specific and quick to use. It should also offer value that reflects your high level of understanding and expertise.
This will keep your audience coming back for more and help you convert more leads into delighted customers. These are some content offers ideas for you to start with.
eBooks or White Papers
Long-form written content creation is where many businesses start for content offers.
eBooks and white papers can give your readers a deeper understanding of a topic. They can also help them solve an urgent problem.
While eBooks can be intense projects, you can also use existing content, like blogs, to build your eBooks. A great eBook template can also speed up the process. HubSpot have a how to create an e-book post which includes free templates. Ctrl+Click here to access their post.
Episode 23 Be Original
To create high-quality research you'll need:
It's important to figure out how much time and what resources you'll need to complete the research. A market research template can make it easier for you to organize and compile your research.
Then, you'll want to decide the best format and channels to present your research to create a stellar content offer
Tools and Templates
A great content offers helps your audience solve a problem faster than they could figure it out on their own. This makes tools like calculators, swipe files, and checklists invaluable. It means that your templates can be useful for your fans both now and later.
And these useful lead magnets don't just give you a chance to help out your community. They're also excellent resources for leads and to create advocates for your brand.
If someone uses one of your templates regularly, they're more likely to tell someone else about it. This makes content offer a great way to grow your following by word of mouth. And word of mouth is one of the most trusted sources for consumers. This makes this type of content offer a win-win.
While some templates and tools need you to have advanced coding or technical knowledge, most are simple to put together. You can easily create a template with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, tools most people use every day.
As you start building, keep in mind that creating something useful is more important than making it look perfect.
Kits and Workbooks
Once you've put together a few of the resources listed above, you might be ready to create a larger content offer
Kits and workbook content offers usually include a range of different resources that work together. For example, say you've made a few templates for social media captions on different platforms. You can put these together to create the ultimate social media caption kit.
To keep your leads from getting information overload, think about structure. It's a good idea to break your kit or workbook into bite-sized pieces. You'll also want to use graphics and other media to break up dense sections of text to keep things engaging.
A workbook or kit might also include:
You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement. So, there should be no content creation without a plan. Otherwise, you risk getting derailed from your goal.
A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone to how you will promote your content and eventually repurpose it. Let’s go over how to create your content plan, step-by-step.
Set your content goals.
Similar to a traditional marketing campaign, your content strategy should be centred on your marketing goals (which should, in turn, be derived from your company goals).
Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between
— as long as they’re SMART goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.
Once you determine that, each piece of content you create should be aligned with your goal and contribute to your desired outcome.
In sum, start with your goals, then create your content.
Create a buyer persona.
The key to creating successful inbound content is to make each reader feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend. You should be aware of their obstacles, their pain points, their challenges, and their fears.
Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies. Always remember that you are marketing to humans that want to feel connected.
Ideally, you’d know and be able to speak directly to every individual that visits your website, but you can’t. The solution? Create a buyer persona.
Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.
Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and someone who will happily consume your content.
Not sure where to start? Use another HubSpot tool Make My Persona to build out your buyer persona.
Rely on the buyer’s journey.
If you’ve ever had a headache, the first thing you likely did was try to figure out the cause. Perhaps you were dehydrated, or caffeine depleted, or maybe you were sick. After you diagnosed the problem, you moved on to solutions — drink some water, grab an espresso, or take some medicine. Finally, you decide between solutions: Evian or tap water? Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee Aleve or Tylenol? Hopefully, your headache then subsides, and you were able to go about your day.
This is a representation of the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s important to use your content to appeal to each stage.
By creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re ensuring that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.
You also want to select a format for your content so that it’s tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor in the awareness stage won’t want a live demo of your product, but they would read a quick checklist or blog post that helps them better understand their problem. A prospect in the decision stage doesn’t need to know about all the possible solutions, they need a consultation or demo that shows them that your product is the right solution. Always meet your audience where they are.
Here’s a guide to the best content formats for each stage of the buyer’s journey:
Perform a content audit.
Whether you’ve been creating content for a while without any clear direction or you’ve been following a strategy all along, every marketing department can benefit from a content audit. Just because you didn’t start out with a clearly defined strategy doesn’t mean that the content you already have won’t it into one.
A content audit is simply taking inventory of the work you’ve already done, then organizing it to it under your new content plan
Here’s how you’d perform your content audit:
While a content audit may seem tedious, all the manual labour will be worth the increased traffic and leads. Plus, you’ll have a verified plan moving forward.
If this process seems a bit overwhelming, check out this post for some more guidance.
Episode 24 – Using social media to promote your content.
While social media is a relationship-building tool, it can be used to promote content. It’s all about finding the right balance between self-promotion, sharing useful information, and entertainment. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are all great mediums to both create and share relevant content. The key is changing that content to it the platform.
Email is one of the best ways to reach your audience for any reason, especially to promote content. The reason is anyone on your email list has opted in to hear from you and you can guarantee that they’ll get your messages.
Pay-per-click (PPC) helps you get your content in front of new audiences through targeted, paid advertisements. These ads can run on social media, search engines, or other websites. Once you define your buyer persona, you’ll want to go the paid route so as not to waste money targeting uninterested parties. Once you have your audience down, paid promotion can yield a great ROI.
Getting your content promoted through authoritative, third-party channels is a great way to build your audience. Syndication gets your brand in front of fresh eyes (and wallets) that you wouldn’t otherwise reach with your own efforts
Repurpose your content.
When you repurpose content, you’re reusing something you spent a lot of time creating and transforming it in various formats so that it can be more widely consumed.
Think of it as recycling. You want to spend less time creating and more time getting your content in front of your audience. For example, that blog post that you wrote on marketing stats can also serve as a great infographic or even a video.
If you created something in one format, try to think of all the other ways that you could reuse that information that might be just as effective.
Creating a Content Plan
Content exists everywhere, but its success relies on your ability to adapt it to the medium on which it lives. One size does not it all when it comes to posting on different mediums — or the platforms within those mediums, for that matter.
Social media content varies from blog content, which is different than website content. So, you need to know how to tailor your creation to reach your audience where they are.
Let’s dive into some guidelines for sharing content on various platforms.
Social Media Content
There is an art to creating content for social media. But it’s well worth your time since there are 3.96 billion users across social media platforms worldwide. Plus, someone who follows you on social media is like a warm lead
Here are a few quick tips for creating content on some popular social channels.
Facebook can be used to build micro-communities via Facebook Groups or to share to a mass audience on Facebook Pages. When it comes to sharing content, questions and videos reap the most engagement.
Instagram is best for sharing high-quality imagery and short videos with brief captions. Hashtags work well on this platform as long as they’re relevant to your account and business. Instagram Stories has introduced a new way to engage with your followers, from quick polls to questions to real-time videos.
YouTube has 1.3 billion users and counting. Users frequent this platform to watch content ranging from DIY videos to parodies. Some of the most successful content on this platform are how-to guides, vlogs, product reviews, and educational videos.
TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms of our time. It's best known for fun, short-form videos. It can be used to engage with your Millennial or Gen Z audience.
Twitter best practices include short messages, supporting images, relevant hashtags, and retweets. And, of course, replies go a long way to win over your audience.
Website content should focus on three things: your persona, your target keywords, and your solution.
Like your blog content, the copy on your website needs to guide visitors to your solution in a cohesive and natural way.
Think of web content like a map to your product.
Be careful not to turn visitors away through social media feeds and other distracting elements. Once you’ve attracted a potential customer, you must do everything you can to keep them there, and that’s the key function of your website content.
Research shows that companies that blog more get more traffic and more leads than those that don’t.
We, solo entrepreneurs are busy. We don’t have time to waste on inefficient systems. That’s why we create processes for everything we do. We devise a system, roll it out, tweak it until it works, then repeat that system over and over to generate the results we want.
Think about every marketing campaign you’ve ever done — webinars, autoresponders, surveys. Each of them had a process. Content creation is no different
Now that you’ve determined which keywords to target, it’s time to brainstorm some content ideas.
HubSpot research shows that the best way to organize content is through topic clusters, meaning you create a long-form, comprehensive pillar page based on a keyword that then links to content you’ve created on related subtopics (think blog posts).
To illustrate the point, it looks something like this. The topic cluster model makes brainstorming because it gives you a structure to follow.
You can use your main keyword to create a pillar piece that covers that topic in-depth, like … say a guide to content creation. Then, you can create shorter pieces of content such as:
Infographics Blog posts Templates
These will help your audience dive deeper into the topic and target long-tail keywords.
If you’re stumped for ideas, you might want to consider looking for inspiration from books you’ve read, industry studies, your competitor’s sites, or related searches on SERPs.
Another source of ideas is answerthepublic.com. Their tagline is Discover what people are asking about… You can use the site for free – up to three enquiries per day.
Once you have all of your ideas down, you can develop your editorial calendar and start creating.
Your specific content creation strength might be videos or graphics or podcasts, but writing is the foundation of all content creation. Think about your buyers Use their voice, their euphemisms, even their humour to construct a piece that resonates.
Tell your audience why your content is important to them.
Use titles, meta descriptions, and other teasers to compel your audience to read your content. Put the benefit of your content right in the title to let them know why they should read it.
Create something unique.
Don’t just regurgitate the information that’s already out there. Infuse a unique style or cite new research to emphasize your points.
Stick to one idea.
Then, use your content to reinforce it. Don’t confuse your reader by going on tangents or trying to explain multiple semi-related topics in a single piece.
Stay true to your voice.
Don’t try to impress your audience with eloquent prose or an expansive vocabulary if they don’t speak that way.
Be clear and concise.
You want your audience to relate to you and derive value from your content. So, don’t ask them to sift through jargon or confusing metaphors.
The way you edit your (or others’) work is a very subjective process. You may want to edit as you go, or you might wait a few days and review the work with fresh eyes. You might care a great deal about grammar, or you might aim for a more colloquial piece.
Either way, there are a few things that you should definitely look out for as you refine your content, like active voice, clear language, short sentences, and plenty of whitespace. Consider having a colleague or manager review your work, too.
Some tools that will help you cut down on your editing time are Grammarly and Hemingway Editor.
Now that your content is ready, you’ll need to put it somewhere that people can access it. A content management system (CMS) is software that hosts digital content and allows you to display it on your website (or anywhere else on the web).
The benefit to a CMS is that it connects all of your content and stores it in one place. So, you can easily link to a landing page in your blog article or insert a content offer in an email.
Not only that, but you can analyse the results of all the content you created for a specific campaign (which can help with content audits). A CMS saves you from having a disjointed content marketing system.
For example, CMS Hub is home to our blog, where you get access to all of our great content and useful free offers.
Publishing content is as simple as clicking a button. So, why include a section on it? Well, because it’s not always that simple.
You can publish your content at once after uploading, or you can maximize its impact by waiting for an optimal time. If you’re just starting out, then clicking publish right away probably won’t impact your audience too much.
But if you have committed to a regular publishing schedule, like delivering a new post every Wednesday, your audience will expect to see posts published on Wednesdays.
Something else to keep in mind is to publish according to trends or time-sensitive events. For example, if you create content about national holidays or current events, then you’ll want to publish those at specific times.
A CMS (Content Management System such as WordPress) will allow you to schedule posts for a future date and specific time, so you can click, schedule, and forget.
7. Promoting Content
Finally, it's time to promote the content you've created. You can do this through various mediums including social media, email marketing, and even pay-per-click advertising.
To promote your content, think about what channels your audience is on. Are they on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube? Wherever it might be, it's important to meet them where they're at and promote your content on that medium.
Additionally, collaborating with influencers or other brands will help you promote your content and reach more people.
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