With all the talk about content these days, and how you must become a content making machine if you hope to establish your brand in a competitive, noisy marketplace, take this to heart—content isn’t limited to the written word.
That’s the first thing we think of, isn’t it, when we hear the word “content?” That we have to write it? That we’ll have to sit down in front of the computer and pump out crazy amounts of words? But we don’t, because we hate to write or believe we’re not good at it, and our excuse is we “don’t have the time?” You have the time.
It’s not like content is something you can run away from, or that it’s a task you can get out of if you pretend it’s not there. If you’re in business, and you want to stay in business, and you want to do more than just eke out a living, generating content is as essential to your existence as oxygen. If you don’t believe this, then stop reading.
Still here? Awesome.
If you’re someone who hates to write, and who thinks of it as a nasty chore, I invite you to look at content in a whole different way. Start with this idea: Content isn’t just words.
Content is the expression of something through any medium: words, pictures, video, art, dance, graphs. With content, our aim (in this era of marketing communications) is to attract ears and eyeballs via the myriad of channels available to us on the Internet. So you, dear non-writer, today have fun and exciting options for convincing people that you are someone with the knowledge and expertise they’ve been searching for. It’s what content is all about.
What trips some of us up when it comes to producing good content is that, in order for our content to be truly effective, we must pump it out there frequently, regularly and consistently. It’s not easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. The people who reach the top of the mountain are the ones who keep climbing, pushing, driving, while the rest lose their stamina and fall into the abyss. Producing interesting content is a grind, almost an obsession (it has to be), and not everyone can (or wants to) stay the course. You have the ability. You just have to find a content strategy that’s doable for you. You’ll stick with it if you think it’s fun.
One more thing, before I get into specifics: When you launch your content strategy, be prepared for the long game. Have patience. Your audience will grow one person at a time, and eventually, if you keep at it without looking at your stats every five minutes, you will reach critical mass and you’ll be so busy with new business it’s silly. With content, you’re building a following, and it takes time.
Here are a few options for producing excellent, regular content:
Make short, daily videos with your iPhone or flip cam
These daily video updates are becoming very popular. Deepak Chopra does a couple of minutes every day, usually early in the morning, sharing brief insights or explaining concepts. These aren’t fancy. He’s usually wearing a tee-shirt (one of them says, “Spiritual Gangster”). Check it out, if you want to see an example of a video made with an iPhone.
You have so much to talk about! Your purpose is to share ideas, insights, education, knowledge and expertise, most preferably with a common theme. If you’re a landscaper, for example, you could talk for two minutes about a particular weed and how to get rid of it. If you’re a landscaper who offers environmentally safe weed-killing solutions, you could talk about environmental preservation in general.
You don’t necessarily have to talk about your business or industry. Let’s say you sell life insurance. If you like coaching kids’ sports, talk about that every day. There are millions of parents out there who love that topic, too. You don’t have to be up in our face that you sell life insurance. We’re going to know that already. What’s more important is that you’ve shown you’re a decent, smart person who shares a common interest with a large audience of followers, and guess who they’ll think of when they need life insurance?
Same goes for wealth managers or financial planners or anyone else who works within the confines of a heavily regulated environment. You don’t have to talk about your industry. Perhaps you’re someone who really appreciates craft beer. Or fine wine. Or horses. Or sailing. Talk about sailing every day, where you dock your boat, where you sailed last weekend, sailing tips, great places to sail, etc. etc. Shoot your video (or several at a time) while you’re at the wheel. That’d be fun! If I’m someone with a lot of money to invest and I love sailing, then you’re the guy who’s going to capture my eyeballs and perhaps manage my portfolio.
Make a podcast
There’s a rising tide of millions of people who are on the go and to prefer “listening” to content. I listen to podcasts while I’m driving, hiking or taking my daily walks. Others listen at the gym while they’re on the bike or treadmill. By listening to podcasts, insanely driven entrepreneurs can accomplish two things at once: exercise, travel AND stay on top of their game.
If you’re not comfortable with the way you look on camera, and if the thought of writing makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little, then doing a podcast may be a great solution for you.
My podcast, “Media Pro Spotlight,” (launching soon) is an approximately 30-minute interview with a member of the media to learn what kinds of stories they cover, how to contact them with story ideas, and what their daily professional lives are like. They dish about the challenges they face and what the future holds for anyone who wants to attract mass media attention.
You could do something similar—record interviews with leaders in your industry or other kinds of experts who have information your audience might find interesting. I have a client who’s a wealth manager, and he’s also a very talented musician who has played with some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll musicians of all time. I’m encouraging him to create a podcast wherein he interviews these greats.
You don’t have to interview people on your podcast. If you’ve got the gift of gab, a sparkling personality and a strong point of view about something, you can simply talk in depth about something that no one knows more about than you.
I would be delighted to brainstorm ideas for you to create visual content. I can help you know what tools you’ll need to get started and about all of the moving parts you need to assemble. Honestly, if I can do it, you certainly can. Ask me questions in the comment section below, or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.