The Content System
Over the last few months, we’ve answered more questions about creating content than any other topic, so we produced a fresh training video to introduce what we call the Content System.
Honestly, creating content that generates quality leads doesn’t require a master’s degree in journalism or decades of digital marketing experience either. All it takes is planning out your publication schedule months ahead of time, which sounds like a monumental task at first. But really, it’s not a heavy lift once you have a strategy in place.
Besides, the beauty about creating content is that you don’t have to be an expert in digital marketing to get started – and see results faster than you think!
Want to create a 30-day batch of content ideas in one day? Here’s how we do it!
Think about this question: how much time do you feel like you’re wasting trying to brainstorm a year’s worth of content? The truth is that most beginners expend an incredible amount of energy imagining content instead of actually planning it.
Without a doubt, the best organic marketing comes from simple, down-to-earth pieces of content that generate free leads at scale. That’s the gist of where you want to be with your content strategy!
Maybe you want to increase conversions for your blog’s affiliate links and online sales, or maybe you’re trying to increase social media referrals? Either way, the whole point of content is to provide your target customers with practical, engaging – and entertaining – information.
Overall, you want your content to make an immediate impact on readers, which applies to Facebook marketing and content marketing in general.
What’s the point of creating content?
So, before we move on to the actionable takeaways, you should understand why content is a business-critical asset in today’s digital economy. At its core, content is all about generating free leads through the “magic” of technology like search engine optimization and social media algorithms.
When it comes to content, you have two options to get more exposure for a client or promote a product: buy $1,000’s of dollars worth of Facebook lead ads, or produce content for a fraction of the price.
You could spend 10-15 minutes writing a clever engagement post that nearly goes viral across social media in a matter of hours.
Trust us. It’s not an accident when that happens, and it definitely doesn’t happen automatically!
Always keep the bigger picture in mind
We’ll level with you and admit that most of the time, successful content takes a while to warm up and catch fire.
But the key to great content is keeping your eyes on the bigger picture and not getting bogged down or discouraged when the numbers don’t look like they’re moving up or down.
No matter what, you want to give your ideal customers value at each touchpoint with your content because that’s how you build brand authority, one post, one video, and one article at a time.
In our experience, if people don’t believe that you have their best interests in mind, they won’t engage with your brand through any marketing channel, and they certainly won’t recommend you to others.
At best, you’ll get something like a handful of pity shares or retweets from chatbots.
Still, when you constantly remind yourself why you’re creating content in the first place – to communicate with the ideal customers – it’s much easier to mix it up and develop new ways to reach those customers via content.
Introducing the Content System
What we’ve learned over time is that you can’t rely on a spray-and-pray content strategy and expect new customers to flock to your brand. Even if someone finds your social media profile through an ad, there’s no guarantee that they’ll stick around longer than a few clicks.
Essentially, the Content System ditches spray-and-pray in favor of plan-and-execute.
Besides, take a moment to think about a subject you could talk about on camera for around 15-30 minutes without stopping.
Maybe it’s something like affiliate marketing, or maybe it’s something more casual like raising pets? But the point is that anyone, including you, has a vast knowledge to share if they know a lot about something.
The cliché we hear more often than any other is that you have to have a “passion” to create content and that if you have passion, the ideas will flow like a waterfall.
But it’s not about only being passionate; what you want to do is create content on a topic that you can bore people with because you know that much about it.
In other words, what are you into more than anybody else on the planet?
That’s the money question, and that’s where you’ll find the most traction with your content!
How to chunk it down step-by-step
If you’re already immersed in a subject, the first step is deciding on 12 separate but related topics to form a year’s worth of content ideas.
After that, each of those topics will be the monthly pillars that you’ll build your content around. Ideally, when you have a year’s worth of content, you can come back to the same topics year after year, and not many people will ever notice the difference.
Set 12 monthly topics
For example, a real estate agent might create content on topics, such as:
- Mortgage essentials
- First-time homebuyers
- Living trends
- How to sell a home without an agent
- The home buying process
- Summer interior décor ideas
- Understanding a home’s market value
- Choosing the right moment to sell
- Choosing the right time to buy
- Beautiful homes for the holidays
- Real estate market year-in-review and predictions
That’s a quick, off-the-cuff brainstorm, but you get the idea.
Next, take each of those monthly topics and break them down into four weekly sub-topics.
Set four weekly sub-topics
Likewise, you can breakdown the “mortgage essentials” month into four weekly topics:
- Understanding interest rates
- The role of mortgage brokers
- How to qualify for the best mortgage
- What to do about defaults and foreclosures
Again, those are just ideas we’re throwing out to give you an idea of where to go.
What you want to do is showcase your knowledge and expertise to your ideal customers to win their loyalty. When you become a go-to authority on a subject, your leads and online sales will skyrocket like you never thought possible.
The challenge is establishing yourself in a particular space, and the truth is that the most profitable niches are incredibly competitive.
In all likelihood, your main competitors will have years of content already published on blogs and long-standing social media accounts.
But don’t get discouraged! Posting a lot of content doesn’t mean that they’ve posted successful content. There’s a critical difference between the two.
Not so long ago, the rule of thumb was to publish content at volume and hope that maybe Facebook or Google elevates a few pieces over time.
Although that’s still around, the best way to go nowadays is to keep your content fresh by publishing at a steady pace and with a bit of variety too.
If you appreciate the benefit of shaking things up with your content, you’ll have a much higher chance of reaching the best customers.
Decide on the best kind of content for each day of the week
After you have topics for each month and sub-topics for each week, it’s time to flesh out those ideas into daily content, so the idea is to mix it up often.
What you absolutely don’t want to do is take one of your weekly sub-topics and boil it down into one piece of content that goes nowhere!
It’s OK to take on a subject bit-by-bit instead of trying to write the perfect, most authoritative post on the internet. Ten good posts are much better than one excellent post.
But that’s exactly what most marketers try to do! They’re not happy with small wins and gradual results and want to conquer Mount Google with one blog post.
That’s why we mentioned how vital it is to keep the bigger picture in mind; it’s very, very easy to lose sight of it when creating content day-to-day.
That said, you essentially have three options when it comes to specific content types:
We’ll go through each type to explain what they mean.
The bottom line on video content is that you have the following choices:
- Behind the scenes
- Tutorials and how to’s
- Presentations and webinars
- Live streams
If you can come up with other mediums, that’s fantastic, and you should always push the envelope when creating content, especially video content!
The stakes are high because video content converts at a significantly higher rate than other content types. Honestly, the numbers aren’t even close, so if you don’t have video content at the ready, you’re doomed to fall behind.
The best way to go about video content is to keep it short but relevant. You don’t necessarily have to buy expensive professional recording gear because you’re most likely holding everything you need in your hand right now – your smartphone!
Today, the best mobile devices on the market can shoot vivid, wonderfully colorful videos, and there’s no need to upgrade software unless you want to get into the technical details.
Still, always keep in mind that videos shorter than 20 seconds or so receive the lion’s share of views. It’s the sweet spot.
While we can’t necessarily recommend using stock photos, we have to stress the importance of original graphics, images, and photography. If you’re a complete newbie when it comes to images, you might want to strongly consider hiring a freelancer who can produce the content much faster than you can.
But just like video content, you have the only tool you need right in your hand!
In our experience, the best image content types include things like:
- Quote images
- Scenic views
- Group photos
- Day-in-the-life photos
- Family photos
- Events photos
- Stock images
- Original art and drawings
No matter which way you choose to go, we have to warn you about copyright infringement and licensing.
Generally, you’re not allowed to download a photo or graphic online and use it for promotional purposes. Technically, you can’t even use other people’s images for a personal blog.
The risk of using copyrighted materials is that Google and social media algorithms will penalize your content for being unoriginal and plagiarized.
So, use your smartphone to take as many topic-related photos that will fit on your device.
A so-so photo today might pair beautifully with a post down the road; be ready with an extensive repository of images to make your own memes, and quote images.
The beauty of content is that anything can go viral if it’s unique and engaging enough to share.
Text-wise, you can create long-form posts or short-form posts, and it’s really not as complicated as it seems. If you’re not a natural-born wordsmith, it’s a great idea to ask a copywriter for advice because writing for the web is absolutely different.
For instance, you could create a long-form personal post and a hype post, but it’s a mistake to “pitch” them the same way!
The general rule of text content is that the target audience will determine tone and intent. If the post is supposed to be light and fun, it’s OK to use casual language, but it’s a great idea to use more formal-ish language if the post is detailed.
Still, the worst thing you could possibly do with text content is to make it bland and basic!
So, mix it up, and your target customers will respond faster than you might think.