Write Smarter: 3 Strategies for Content Development
One of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients is that it is difficult to create new content for their blogs and articles week after week, or to develop their ideas into viable content. To help, I’ve put together a few strategies designed to help you write smarter.
In addition to giving your creative muse a break, these strategies will help you nurture relationships with potential customers, keeping your name at the top of their minds when they find themselves in need of the products or services you offer. The best part is that with these strategies, you won’t need to search for new topics every time you sit down to write. In fact, you might even have fun with your writing!
Let us begin.
Content strategy n. 1: top coat
In Strategy n. # 1, it will brainstorm a topic that can be layered throughout your marketing vehicles or networks.
On Twitter, Facebook and / or LinkedIn
One idea is to ask your followers on Twitter or other social media platforms to tell you their stories. For example, if you’re a dating coach, find out the worst thing that happened to your prospects’ dates. Professional coaches may ask you the most embarrassing things that have happened to your prospects at work. Financial advisers can ask people to share a financial crisis they experienced and from which they may have learned some lessons.
People love talking about themselves and telling their funny stories, and you’re also giving them the therapeutic benefits of venting about their challenging experiences.
On your blog
Next, choose a story to talk about in a blog post and offer personal reflections on the topic, including your own experience with the topic at hand (if applicable).
Ask your readers if they have ever been in a similar situation and what they did to resolve it. Even if they haven’t found themselves in such a situation, they can still share possible resolutions that they come up with.
At the end of the post, tell readers that you will be offering your suggestions in a few days to make sure they check back (or, better yet, subscribe to your blog).
In your follow-up post, a few days later, summarize the situation in a sentence, such as “The story we talked about Tuesday was shared by Mary, who (insert short synopsis of issue here) …” Then, summarize the best suggestions or comments received from other readers, followed by your own professional advice or suggestions as promised. Not sure what to write? Simply respond as if you were advising one of your own clients who presented a similar situation and asked for your help.
In an article
The next step is to include the story, reader comments, and your own suggestions in an article that can be submitted to Ezine Articles and published on your website.
Just continue this process with the best story submissions you receive, and before you know it, you will have a few months of blog posts and various articles that can help you position yourself as an expert in your field.
The articles can then be turned into free reports that will be distributed on your website in exchange for the contact information of your potential clients. Eventually, you can combine these articles and reports into one e-book that will further establish your credibility as an expert (more on that in strategy # 2).
Content strategy n. 2: spin off
In the content strategy n. 2, you will create your flagship product and expand it.
Consider the main message you want to convey to your coaching clients and the main products you already have to convey that message, such as your curriculum, success plan, articles, emails, etc.
For example, as a health coach, you may have a 3-month plan to help clients start an exercise routine. In a series of articles, briefly discuss the steps you typically take your customers through. Provide enough information to whet your potential customers’ appetites and get them interested in learning more.
From there, you can branch out to offer e-books, teleclasses, oral presentations, live events, or other spin-offs; the possibilities are endless. Just keep developing your main message more and more as you progressively lead your potential clients along the road to eventual purchase of your coaching services. The best part of this strategy is that people can test your services in a low-risk, low-cost way by reading your free articles or buying a cheap e-book. If they like what they see, they can delve into one of your teleclasses, oral presentations, or another product until they have built up enough confidence in your experience to hire you as their coach.
Content strategy n. # 3: plan ahead
In Content Strategy n. 3, you will use an editorial calendar to set up the discussion topics for the year.
Start with a blank calendar – use a standard printed calendar, create one on your computer, or sign up for an online calendar service (many are free). Then sit back and set your themes for the year, using the holidays and seasons to guide you. In February, for example, you could talk about relationships (family or business).
You don’t have to stick to traditional festivals either. Search the internet for lists of unique and bizarre vacations that you can talk about. For example, did you know that January 13 is the day to make your dream come true? You can easily adapt this topic to your area of expertise and advise your readers to take a step in the direction of their goals and dreams. You might even have a special offer that could be your first step.
Another online resource for topic ideas is Quote Garden, where you can easily find quotes to share with your readers. Be sure to include your own thoughts on the quotes and offer information on how your potential clients can solve their problems.
Aside from specific topics, you can also create an editorial calendar for the types of blog posts you want to write. Having this type of structure in place takes some of the anxiety out of sitting in front of a blank screen or page.
Here’s a sample from a weekly blogging show:
- Week 1: Share your thoughts on a meaningful date or interesting vacation.
- Week 2: Ask Readers to Share a Story (See Strategy # 1).
- Week 3: Follow up on the story by sharing other readers’ comments and your own suggestions.
- Week 4: Update what’s happening with you to give readers a personal view of your life. Readers are more likely to work with people they know, like, and trust, and who recommend them, so help them get to know you.
In the following month, during weeks 2 and 3, you could discuss another story that you received in your first month. In fact, if you get multiple quality stories, you could easily blog for a few months. Once it’s over, just ask for more stories. Chances are, you’ll spot some people who didn’t see your application the first time, and you’ll have a whole new batch of new stuff.
Do you want to write smarter? If you use these three simple strategies, you will find that there are endless topics waiting to be covered by you, and your struggles to find new content will disappear forever.