As with most things if you try to do something without a plan you fail.
When it comes to content creation it is just the same. I thought I would share my experience as this week is my second anniversary of creating content. In that time I have achieved the following:
My plan revolves around the deadline event of our weekly newsletter along with regularly having inspiration of what to write about.
One of the reasons I am writing this post right now is that I have a goal of creating one post a week and I have made a commitment to our marketing team to achieve this (my plan). My posts nearly always get created on a Monday because Monday is deadline day for our newsletter.
We sometimes fail to create content regularly because we cannot think of what to write about so I thought I would share how I get my inspiration.
A good place to start is by answering these two questions:
- What do you want to be known for?
- Who do you want to influence?
Both answers should be one-liners and specific. Write these answers down and accept they may well change. I always have these answers in my mind when I create a post.
Next is to look for inspiration. The list below is not exhaustive but I wanted to share what helps me come up with ideas of what to write about:
Follow those 'that know' and those 'you want to know'. In every niche there are thought leaders - follow them. There are also people who you’d like to connect with - follow them too. Check out what they are tweeting and blogging about. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn. It is dead easy. Be sure not to just follow the individual but also follow the firm. Both can be inspiring plus there is nothing that works better than quoting your client back to them in a post if you can. Click on this post by my colleague David to read more about targeting.
Be curious. Ask questions all the time when you are with your clients, prospects and colleagues. Only by asking questions, discovering pain points, being engaged and interested will we solve problems for our clients. You can reflect this curiosity in your posts. One person I talked to asks a question to every single person he interacts with in a week (face to face and on the phone). He notes down the answers and writes a post on a Friday stating what he learnt. The next week he comes up with a new question.
Use Google alerts – very easy (click here). Put in key-words and get a weekly email with everything Google can find on that specific subject you have defined.
Read books - or if you are lazy like me hang out with people who read books and ask them to summarize them (thanks Freddy). On my reading list right now – Social Selling – Techniques to influence buyers and changemakers by Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds, Influence- The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini PhD and The Challenger Sale – How to take control of the customer conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.
Address your clients' challenges not your own in your posts. Think backwards. If you want to influence a prospect write content that you would like to send them. Think about their problems and their challenges then go and write specifically for that challenge – for them. Be sure to send this post to that target!
Use your clients’ and prospects’ ‘hero’ content – this is a no-brainer. If you client or prospect is quoted in the press – use that in your post. If they create a report or survey post about it. If they speak at a conference quote them. If they write a long form blog (or their colleagues do) quote it.
I hope this has helped. All the above are parts of my plan.
Without this plan my goal would just be a wish!
In Stephen R Covey's book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, he elaborates on moving from dependence to independence in his first three habits: Habit 1: Be Proactive: Take initiative and take responsibility Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Habit 3: Put First Things First: Plan, prioritize, and execute A goal setting plan creates a bridge between today’s dream and tomorrow’s reality, without a plan of the what, when, why, how and who, goals alone will not get you to your destination. Once you have your goals start your plan today!