Further to my article of 20 August we now know about how important content creation is, so, let’s get into the how – what steps you need to take to master content creation.
Step 1: Mindset is everything – remember the 80/20 rule
Our thoughts are more powerful than we realise. If you’re telling yourself, you’re a bad writer – or whatever you write isn’t “perfect” – then you won’t be able to put pen to paper.
As a “reforming perfectionist” I know how big an obstacle it is when it comes to productivity. Instead of focusing on the doing, we waste time trying to make it perfect. And anything less is useless.
This is where the 80/20 rule comes in, also known as the Pareto principle. It’s where 80 per cent of the results come from 20 per cent of the effort.
It means that when you’ve put 20 per cent of the time working on your task, you’re already 80 per cent of the way there.
Start with bullet points and go from there. You don’t need to write an essay. Write for that six-year-old!
Keep it short and sweet and it’s far less overwhelming. You can then build content over time as you gain more confidence.
And the minute you’re conscious of any feelings of doubt, lessen the pressure. Take a moment away from what you’re doing. Be present to your breath and reset.
Step 2: Know your purpose and core topics
Having clear goals in mind for why you’re creating your content is key. So, start by answering the following key questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What do you want them to need to know, feel and do?
- What’s their greatest needs and desires in relation to your brand?
- How do you want to educate, inspire, entertain or relate to your target audience?
- What content is needed to position you as a leader in your industry?
- What content is needed to address common customer barriers, questions or fears?
- What content is needed to relate and inspire your target audiences – like case studies or sharing your own challenges and fears?
- What content is needed to drive sales or empower them to take action?
- What content will drive your audiences down the path of their customer journey – from first learning about you, to wanting more and more of what you know.
A great way strategy is to have common content themes – like the above – tied back to key goals, that you can create a whole raft of niche content pieces underneath.
The biggest fear business owners having is feeling like they’re giving away everything they know – but I can assure you, this is only going to position you as a leader in your field, build trust – the most important factor in buying behaviour.
Step 3: Tell stories with personality
Reading Dr Seuss is a nightly affair in our household. Every story is filled with bizarre, zany creatures and situations, and loads of tongue-twisting words, keeping my two- and four-year-olds begging for re-reads.
But what I love most about each story are the powerful life lessons they share. From the importance of caring for every living creature; why we need to tidy up; why it’s ok if some days are less perfect than others; and why we need to look after our planet’s finite resources.
It’s a wonderful way to teach and remind young minds….and older ones, including my own.
Storytelling is one of our most basic and effective forms of communication – and it’s the most memorable ways to connect with your audience in the business. Stories are what connects audiences to our ideas, our purpose, our values and creates change.
As Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center said, “we are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”
So, what can you inject in your writing to truly connect with your audience and share who you are?
What stories – of your own and others like case studies and influencers – can you share to bring to life what you want to say?
Now, in the final and third post next week, we’ll uncover the secret to brainstorming winning creative content ideas, the purpose of banking content for a rainy day, and the surprising power of outsourcing. Watch this space…more to come!
Katie Martel, Founder, Croft PR