In 2014, LookBookHQ (now PathFactory) revealed that 44% of marketers find creating content to be their top challenge. Isn’t that crazy? 44% of marketers! These are the guys that do this for a living and yet they find creating content to be one of their top challenges!
The problem lies in that even if you are creating more content, that alone won’t help your businesses. Your customers want to read interesting and useful articles that provide them with the answers to all of the questions they currently have about your product or service. They want to educate themselves in order to avoid the “salesy” calls, and then make a decision on whether or not they’re ready to part with their money BEFORE they step foot in your shop.
Now don’t go getting scared away by the above paragraph!
In yesterdays post I wrote about The Big Five, a framework created by Marcus Sheridan (author of the book They Ask, You Answer) for creating content ideas that your customers actually WANT to consume. The Big Five is a concept that will make it incredibly simple to come up with a TON of ideas for blog posts, the more educational, insightful, or useful content you create, the greater the chance of driving new leads into your business.
But once you have all of those ideas, you still need to expand them into an actual article. This is the part in the article where we’ll probably loose most business owners. Creating content is work, I’m not going to sugar coat anything. But for the few that stick this article out, you’re setting yourself up to be light years ahead of your competition.
For the people about to bounce, your objection is typically something along the lines of “I’m not a writer”, or “Great, I came up with ideas, but who’s going to write the thing?”, or my personal favourite “I tried writing a blog, but I couldn’t think of anything”.
To this I call Bullshit!
You’ll see it repeated throughout my posts, and I’ll repeat it again here. I fully believe writers block is a myth, it doesn’t exists. If you have a framework to follow, a simple set of rules surrounding how you should write, and you dedicate 30 minutes of your day to writing something..anything. The content will flow.
Don’t have 30 minutes? Get up 30 minutes earlier! Don’t want to get up 30 minutes earlier.. well, I’ve got a post coming on time management that will show you EXACTLY how you can find 30 minutes by doing less, yet still accomplishing more. You read that right, I’ll be giving you the secret that people like Tony Robbins, Jeff Bezos, and Garry Vaynerchuk use in there life every day (I’m not sure about you, but they seem like pretty damn successful guys to me!).
But back to today’s post. I’m going to give you the framework that will help you turn all of those ideas into articles. It’s so simple that once you start, you’ll wonder why you didn’t discover this sooner.
Click here to download a copy of the framework. Swipe the file, you can use it moving forward to take all of those ideas you came up with after following my last post and turn them into interesting blogs that will get you more readers, and then turn those readers into interested consumers. So let’s dive right in.
Most people start by opening up a notebook or a computer word program. You’ve got their coffee and are full of energy and ready to write. You’ll then spend the next 20 minutes staring at a blank page. It’s at about this time, that you’ll decide to quickly check Facebook, maybe refill your coffee, check your email. Anything to get your mind off staring at that blank page…
You’ll say to yourself “writing is hard, how much will this actually do for my business anyways?”. You’ll finally give up, close the book or software and walk away. And that is the end of your very brief journey as a writer.
What if I told you that by adding 4 simple heading to that blank page, the words would just start flowing? You’d probably think I’m talking crazy. But the truth is, there are 4 simple points that every blog post, video, or ad mat should cover, and by adding these 4 point to your page it will fire up your brain and before you know it, you’ll have written 500 to 100 words.
Now I know you’re probably looking at this thinking “500 to 100 words. That’s crazy talk Sheila! You’re insane!”.
Truthfully, though that number may seem daunting, it’s actually not that much! Take this article for instance. The original idea for this article came from a video I posted to YouTube on August 21st. I’m actually writing this article on October 29th, but have changed the publish date of this post to August 21st to match the YouTube video.
That video has a run time of 5min 24sec and I just turned on my camera and talked about the framework for writing a blog post. When I transcribed it to create the outline of this post 2 months later, the count was over 800 words. A little over 5 minutes talking about a subject created over 800 words!
As the expert in your business, can you talk about a subject for 5 minutes? Yes? There’s your blog post. Download an app called Otter.ai (they have a free version that gives you 600 minutes per month), turn it on, and start talking. There’s the outline for your blog post! 5 min = 500 words.
The app will transcribe what you’re saying into text, just make sure you speak clearly. Once you’re done, simply take the text from the transcription and edit it into a blog using the framework. If you’d prefer to do things the old fashioned way, take out a piece of paper and write down these 4 headings.
- The Promise
- The Problem or Myth
- The Resolution
- The CTA (or Call to Action)
Now that you’ve done that, let’s start with The Promise.
In the Promise, we want to catch the reader’s attention with a relevant and enticing headline, followed by a statement of what you promise to deliver to them in exchange for consuming your content. The promise should hook the reader or viewer into wanting to read or watch more. For an example of a hook, just take a look at any of the tabloids in the grocery store checkout line. They may be trash, but those headlines sure know how to sell magazines!
Next we’re going to State the Problem or Bust a Myth
Whatever you’ve promised your audience in your opening, they may not realize they need this answer yet. Sometimes, you need to hold a mirror up before someone can see they have food on their face. So in this area you want to agitate the problem your reader is currently facing and bring it to the forefront. Empathize with the reader, let them know you understand the problem. If you can articulate it better than they can, they’ll most likely credit you with having the solution.
If you can’t think of a problem to articulate, then bust a myth surrounding the topic of your post instead. For example – In this post, I’m going to show you that writers block is not a real thing, and that by implementing a simple framework and dedicating 30 minutes a day to writing, you can create a TON of content for your business. 😉
Provide your reader with the Resolution
Here you’re going to teach 2 or 3 ways that your viewer can solve the problem they are now aware of. You don’t need to give away all of your secrets. But do give away enough to satisfy their curiosity and show that you’re the authority on the subject. Bold headlines and bullet points are your friend and can make it much easier for someone to skim your article to see if it’s something they want to invest time in.
Again the key is to hook the reader, so once you’ve gotten this far, pass the article over to someone not familiar with your industry for feedback. Ask them a few simple questions after they’ve read it:
- Was this article easy to understand?
- Was their anything you weren’t clear on?
- Did you find it helpful in teaching you about [insert the thing]?
You’re looking for them to confirm that you’re not using too much “Industry Jargon” and that it reads well to someone not in your industry. Too often we forget that we are the experts in our field and the average person probably has no idea what we’re talking about.
When writing, put yourself in your customers shoes. They are on the outside looking in and may not be familiar with some of your terms, so you need to bring it down to an outsiders level of understanding.
Finally, end with a clear Call To Action!
If the reader has made it this far, you’ve done your job! You’ve successfully hooked them in and provided some insight to help them make a decision, resolve an issue, or learn something of value to them. So how should you end?
Well, relationships are all about getting someone to the next stage. If you’re compatible, and you like each other but neither one of you tells the other what you want next, then how will you ever get there?
If someone has read your article, congratulations! You have created a relationship! No, you won’t be asking them to marry you (I hope!) but you DO want to tell them the next steps in continuing the relationship.
Most business owners have fantastic sales conversations, network with tons of people, and tell them all about their business… But the one thing most neglect to do is tell a person WHAT they should do to get whatever you’re selling. It may seem like the most obvious thing in the world … to you … but the truth is most people will want to engage but aren’t sure how and feel embarrassed asking, so they never will!
Add a VERY clear call to action at the end of each post or video. Tell the viewer the next steps you want them to take. Do you want them to download something? Do you want them to sign up to your mailing list or channel? Do you want them to leave you a comment? Buy an item?
If you don’t tell them, they won’t know and chances are they’ll just leave after they’ve consumer your content.
With that said, I’m going to leave you with a call to action of my own..