Creating content (or content creation) is the only proven way to rank on search engines like Google and Bing. The only thing you should be wary of is that the content you create has to be helpful to your customers, not self-serving.
And if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that — your content has to provide value to your customers, not yourself.
Content is not limited to articles. It’s the most common misconception business leaders often have and why they hesitate to get into create content. Content can be in any form that is seen — written or visual. This includes articles and infographics and banners. It can also be heard. Music and podcasts fall under this category. Content can also be a combination of both — seen and heard. This is where videos come in.
There are lots of resources already on this topic. They range from great ones — where you can actually use them and follow it step-by-step — to the useless ones — where they keep talking about the same thing without adding any value.
Even I have written several articles about this. From the basics covering the concepts and theories, like these:
To the more useful and practical ones…
- How to Get Started with Content Creation
- How to Repurpose Content
- How to Create Video Content in Less than 30 Minutes
- How to Perform Content Mapping in 5 Easy Steps
- How to Use the 5 Stages of Awareness to Develop Your Content Strategy
And I’ll continue to create more content about content. Why? Because it’s a prerequisite in today’s digital world.
Just take a look at the growth of content marketing in the past decade.
But enough about that.
I want to share with you a content creation framework I use for myself and my clients. I call it the two-pronged content creation framework.
Two-Pronged Content Creation Framework
The two-pronged content creation framework allows you to create content that will benefit you both in the short- and long-term. By creating content that gives you some quick wins now, you set yourself up for more success later on.
This two-pronged approach also helps you and others see the value in creating content. You get to show results sooner, rather than later.
1. Create content and distribute it
I can’t stress this enough. You have to start creating content that is helpful and valuable to your customers.
There are many channels where you can use the content. I find that most businesses (particularly B2C) only use Facebook and Instagram (social media) to post their content. They post products and announcements of promos and new arrivals and discounts.
While it’s something, it’s not helpful nor valuable to your customers.
Remember that people are going online for a reason. They have problems to solve and questions they want answers to. I explained this further in the 5 stages of awareness. If you only post about your discounts and promos and talk about your products, you are alienating a majority of people who have never even heard about you and what you offer. The biggest reason being those types of content fall under stages 4 and 5 — which make up a small number compared to stages 1 to 3.
Create content for people in the earlier stages. These are people who are asking about those FAQs. Once you have them, post them on your website.
And if you don’t have a website, find someone who can make you one. Here’s a list of 4 must-have capabilities of your website. Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle.
2. Answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When people search on Google and they click on one of the results there, that website gains traffic. This is the first thing digital marketers often track and optimize for. After all, you can’t generate sales if no one visits your website because they haven’t heard about you.
The fastest way to get that traffic? Answer FAQs.
They are a great place to start because people are already asking them. That’s beneficial in two ways:
- You don’t have to guess. You know you’re being asked the questions, so might as well give them the answer.
- It gives you qualified traffic. People who are asking these questions are more or less interested in what you have to offer. These are what you call “high intent searches.” Remember, not all people who visits your website will convert. So, the more you can provide value now, the more likely they will buy from you later on.
I covered how you can do this step-by-step in my content creation 101 article.
This addresses the short-term aspect. You create content about the frequently asked questions and you get immediate results. Your customers don’t have to wait for 48 hours before finding out the answer to a yes/no question. In addition, you also get to benefit from organic traffic because people are already asking these questions. Now that you have content to answer it, your website will show up more on search engines.
Don’t know where to get started?
If you have no idea what questions your customers ask, then you are in a terrible position. As a business leader, you have to know these things. That’s simply what being in business means. You provide solutions to their problems. By them using your products/services, you are solving issues in their lives. If you’re not doing that, then might as well close down your business because you’re not providing any value.
On the other hand, if you have some idea and want to know more, here are some steps you can do:
- Talk to your customers. Ask them their primary concerns. Why are they using your products/services.
- Visit the stores/offices. Listen to the conversations happening. You’ll get an idea of what really matters to people.
- Ask people on the frontlines. These are your customer support, sales team, store staff. Basically everyone in your team who has a direct line of communication/engagement with prospects and customers.
By asking these questions, you will gain a better understanding of your business. You will learn what frustrates your customers the most. And the best part is you also get to learn about your own shortcomings.
3. Document your journey
The concept of documenting was popularized by Gary Vaynerchuk. At its core, you document whatever is happening right now instead of creating something.
Putting it in another way, when people think of creating content, it has to be perfect. It has to be beautiful. It has to pass all these high standards. And that’s what makes it difficult for people to get started.
While it’s true there has to be some form of quality checks, it doesn’t matter in the long-run. What matters is this.
Those who show up get rewarded. You may have all the best ideas in the world, but if you don’t execute or implement them, nothing will happen.
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before a lot of times.
Eighty percent of success is showing up.Woody Allen
That’s basically the main principle behind Gary Vee’s “document, don’t create” mantra. You don’t need beautiful graphics and design and perfect grammar and everything in that checklist you downloaded over the internet.
What matters is you actually do something. Once you have something, that’s when you improve.
Don’t know where to get started?
To make it simple, choose one platform. That can be any of the following:
Whatever that channel you choose, focus on that single one. Create an account or set it up. Then, share any or all of the following topics:
- Successes and failures
- Insights into the industry you’re in
- What you think will happen next year, in the next 5 years
- Talk about your passion
- Why did you get into that line of business
All these allow you to put a face behind the business. It makes the business look more human. This works for various reasons. But the biggest reason is that it makes you more authentic.
It helps you become a brand. And a brand stands for something else beyond just products and services and revenues.
Again, you are not limited to articles. You can share podcasts and videos on your website too. If you want to start with written content, then do so. Again, the most important takeaway is you do something.
This addresses both the short- and long-term aspects. It makes you more human, authentic, and relatable. This is why stories about Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and all other iconic figures are all loved by us. It’s not because they are simply geniuses. Yes, they may well be. But the most part is that their stories are told. Shared. Their successes and failures are highlighted. You can’t wait for the media to do that for you. That’s why you have to build your own brand and share those things with your customers.
Over to You
The sad truth about most businesses is they don’t want to put in the work to grow their business. They expect to grow by simply being in business. Sure, that may happen. Maybe after 30 years of being in operation, you get to be a household name. But, that’s highly unlikely. 96% of businesses fail within 10 years.
Today’s business environment has changed a lot.
You have to do more because your customers expect more. Your competition is doing more, you have to be different and better.
Creating content is the biggest differentiator you can do today because a lot of businesses are not willing to do it.
Share your life. Both ups and downs. Help solve other people’s problems first. Give, give, give. Over time, you’ll notice that people will follow you, buy from you even without asking.