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How to make great online content

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One major hurdle in attracting loyal customers is trust.  We humans are designed not to take risks; if we have to use our resources on something then we need to know that what we’re getting is a good deal.

Two key components for gaining belief and trust in your products and services are; how effectively you demonstrate your knowledge and the testimonials of others.

Today we’ll be focusing on how to display your personal and corporate expertise in an attractive manner.

Make stuff that helps people

students, tenants, passive income

In our modern world, the web is the de facto place to publicise you and your business. It doesn’t really matter which format of content you want to produce (video, audio, written), it just needs to help and educate people.

That’s your golden rule: help and educate people.

By helping someone do something, you’re pre-answering a potential customer’s question of “is this person good at what they do?” Similarly, if you produce a guide on how to do something that takes a bit of skill, most people will want to pay you to do it for them rather than do it themselves (even though you’ve told them how to do it for free).

Focus on making the following types of content:

  • How-to/guides: Make sure your instructions are clear, test out your guide on your friends before you publish it
  • Round-ups of books/videos/seminars: These are great as you can save people a lot of time, taking the best bits and putting them in a single piece of content
  • Lists of common mistakes: We love reading lists, particularly ones that will help us improve
  • Lists of quick fixes: Things that are easy to immediately implement

Once you start producing content you’ll need to find distribution channels to get people looking at it.

Audio:

  • Ask at your local radio station for a segment or let them know how you can help them with your expertise
  • Look for podcasts that talk about stuff related to your business, try and be a guest on these podcasts
  • Produce your own podcast

Writing:

  • Find blogs that write about your business’ sector and ask to produce some content for them
  • Write content for your own website
  • Sign up to be an expert and get journalists to contact you

Video:

  • Make a Youtube/Vimeo channel to host your videos
  • Find channels that produce things similar to what you want to do and help them produce content
  • Experiment with new video platforms like Vine, and Periscope

Hunker down and choose a medium to focus on, especially if you’re new to making marketing material. Focus on making that content as good as you can before you shift to another medium.

Don’t worry too much about plugging your business; a single link to your business’ site is enough. For example at the end of a guest article write “[your name] helps people to [what your business does] for more guides/roundups/how-tos check out [website]”.

Producing content creates a digital trail, so potential customers search for  your name or your business’s name there is a wealth of advice and information.

Collaborate with other experts

Regan Anne Hillyer and Ben Chai

What you’re going for here is greatness by association. When you collaborate with someone who is a known expert, it’s assumed that you also have a level of expertise in that field.

One of my favourite things to do is run interviews with experts. This gets people to view you as an expert,  and you also get to learn and hang out with the greats of your chosen sector.  The bonus for the experts that you interview is that all they have to do is answer a few questions and now they’ve increased their digital trail and let you do all the work.

On top of this, they’ll promote your content which will double the exposure your content gets, and the types of people who’ll see it. The more people who see it, the greater number of shares the piece will get and increase your chances of “going viral”.

Finally, you’re providing a valuable service that forces you to connect with people who know more than you. By collaborating, you’re creating a solid network of individuals who know how to do things that you may not necessarily know how to do.

Presentation

Fear of what other people think
I’m still not very good at image editing

One of my biggest concerns with producing content was the fact that isn’t as good as other videos/articles/podcasts.

Now I don’t worry about it.

The important thing is that you produce content that can help people. The skills needed to make things look good will come with time. What you need to do is get people looking at what you make. This means making the content itself easy to digest.

With everything you produce follow a rule that I’ve learned from five years of training/teaching:

Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them.

This means that what you produce will follow the simple template of:

  • Introduction of topic
  • In-depth explanation
  • Key points to remember

You also need to include plenty of images in your content (less so for video), in order to keep the viewer’s attention. You can get free high-quality stock images from:

In your chosen medium, commit a few hours a week to learning how to improve that skill. This might mean reading forum posts from people trying to do what you’re doing, or finding courses that will help you write better, or edit video faster, or improve the quality of your sound recordings.

By creating content that helps people, you’ll be making stuff that will be useful for a long time. Which this in mind, you can go slow with this and focus on other areas of your business (unless you want to focus on marketing). The end goal is to have a library of content that will demonstrate the level of knowledge about your business sector. For example, if you write one 1,000 word article a week for a year, you’ll end the year with 52 articles (which you can then easily turn into other forms of media, think video scripts,

Exerting your expertise

suit, job, success

Making yourself look like an expert is simply sharing your knowledge about a topic. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. As long as you’re creating things that help people, your marketing strategy is off to a good start.

Here’s the “tell them what you told them bit”:

  • Choose a medium: Find one medium and stick with it, you can’t do everything at once
  • Help people: Produce things like; guides, book summaries, and lists of things that teach someone how to save time/money/energy
  • Present your content well: Stick to the “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them“ format and you won’t go far wrong
  • Don’t be a perfectionist: Your content will get better over time, don’t worry about how it looks
  • Improve: Dedicate some time each week to improving your marketing material

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Image Credits: splitshire, Tulane Public Relations, Ben Chai.

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