Content is the gift that keeps on giving.
Having engaging content will impact your businesses SEO, PR, email marketing, blog outreach, community building, offline events and business development.
When it works, it drives in customers like magic.
When you pay for a cycle of Pay Per Click marketing you can expect a return on investment as long as you continue paying for your space but when you create a piece of content its owned marketing that you only have to invest time into.
When properly targeted and promoted a good piece of ‘evergreen’ content can generate you leads for years to come if it answers the questions your customers are asking.
It can build trust/legitimacy with your customers and the only ongoing cost after publication is remembering to pay your domain space.
Jon Westenberg is a man who has figured out content.
He’s built a career on content, largely through his columns in TIME, Inc.com, the New York Observer and his blog on Medium.
With an audience of over 110 000 people on Medium, Jon has built a global audience, talking about startups, writing and innovation. We were lucky enough to sit down with him and get an insight into his content creation process.
How to Create Targeted Content
You build content for a persona.
It all starts with knowing who your audience is. Creating a targeted customer persona based on your ideal customer’s goals, challenges and then crafting your content offer targeted towards that persona.
Jon benchmark for successful content and how qualified a lead is Attraction, Acquisition or Win (AAW) –
- Attraction: If they visit your blog post or sign up for a newsletter. Roughly in your orbit, but they’ve only just started to care.
- Acquisition: Doesn’t happen until they take the serious action that all of your content is trying to push them through. When someone has taken advantage of your offer you have acquired them.
- Win: Even when somebody takes that initial offer, it’s not considered a win until they take your most important offer, whether it be engaging you for a series of work, continued consultancy or any high value exchange.
rethinking how we claim that they are a part of our ecosystem
How to create a large amount of Content
The key to traction for your content is consistency. You need to maintain a pipeline of content ready for your users.
The key to generating a lot of content is finding a Workflow that works for you.
For example, Jon’s workflow is based around a few key principles:
Plan out your writing in advance.
According to Jon taking the time to plan is the only way to make yourself write.
He’ll put away one day at the end of every month to plan out the next month’s posts. 6 posts, every week, for a total of 24 blog topics every month.
Obviously, this is a crazy amount of content to be producing and if you’re just getting started don’t try and hold yourself to the same standards, Jon has been blogging since the turn of the millennium.
Topics come from a range of different sources:
Jon will look at what articles he’s enjoyed reading and examine his response, or a new perspective.
He’ll read the New York Times religiously, books and Buzzfeed every day because when you’re prolific in your consumption of other content then ideas begin to show themselves.
He constantly makes notes during conversations with other people. If someone has a great quote then thats straight into his notes to be expanded upon next month.
When it comes to promotion follow a 3-day share schedule:
When you publish a piece of content the last thing you want it to do is have it disappear into thin air. Content distribution is the forgotten art of content marketing because it doesn’t matter how good a piece is if no one reads it.
Choose 3 traction channels for your content:
1. Your owned social media such as your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.
2. A community message board or forum that you’re a member of such as Quora or Reddit.
3. The final one might be syndication, so reaching out to other bloggers, weekly newsletters or interest groups to publish your content for you.
How to Syndicate your Content
When it comes to syndicating content in publications such as TIME, Inc.com or Entrepreneur Magazine Jon has the same approach to creating content as if they were his paying customers.
He does his research, crafts a persona and builds his content around that persona.
For example, when TIME magazine was trying to establish their digital publishing arm Jon reached out to them with a series of blog posts that were targeted towards them.
No email blasts, just targeted content. It was based around a TIME persona, understanding what they wanted then going ahead and offering them that content.
The only way to get syndication is to publish, reach out, keep it small and keep it personal.
Great content creators plan it out. They take an analytical, methodical approach and this is how they achieve success.
He plans out his writing in advance. At the start of the week, he knows everything he’s going to publish in that week. At the start of the month he has a plan for all the content he is going to publish during that month.
You need a systematic approach to writing. Stores ideas for content in a spreadsheet because you’re trying to create a repeatable process.
Great content creators plan it out. They take an analytical, methodical approach and this is how they achieve success. Create targeted content for your personas based on their challenges and goals. Keep it personal, keep it targeted.