You’ve heard it before: “You’ve got to create content.” Your LinkedIn feed is probably littered with all sorts of influencers pitching their personal branding and content generation classes.
Distinguishing yourself through content is undeniably effective, but how? Adding one more task to your selling process is daunting. But writing about how you’ve helped others is a great way to project expertise and build credibility. Above all, writing can be a catharsis.
That’s the trick to good content — write for yourself, to yourself. There are two basic audiences: those in the industry — coworkers, vendors, and the like, and those on the other side of the table — prospects, and customers. Talking with either audience requires relevant ideas, subject matter and empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. For example, if you recently had a great prospecting or cold-calling experience, tell the story. The odds are good that not only will your peers find it interesting, your prospects will as well. Remember, they sell things too.
So what is the process? How can you create content easily and quickly? Authors each have their own manner of writing and without getting too detailed, I’ve put together a suggested list of activities and steps:
- Subject: Determine what interests you. It is much easier to write about something you enjoy and weaving in relevant lessons as a metaphor.
- Outline: A simple list of your ideas, impact, outcome and action statement. The most basic outline is three steps: introduction, body, ending. Start there.
- Examples: Incorporate real world examples. If you feel comfortable cold calling, talk about how you started on the phone and some of the successes you’ve experienced.
- Delivery: Write with intent and be direct. Brevity is the soul of genius.
- Circle back: When closing, summarize and end.
I like shorter reads, and it might be easier for you to start smaller. Indeed, readers’ attention spans are short, so don’t overdo it. Be concise and to the point. If you are submitting your piece to a publication (I’ll cover that in a minute) they likely have their own guidelines, so find out what those are.
Write, edit, edit and edit
There is a rule most authors live by: “Edit your words down to the minimum.” After you’re done writing a piece, set it aside for 24 hours and revisit. Cut the number of words down and reshape your message to be razor thin. This is the most difficult stage and one you will not get right for years, if ever.
Submitting your blog
This is the important step — where to unleash your content. If you have a blog, I suggest that you invest in your own domain name and post it there. If not, LinkedIn is as good as any place to start. Not only can you write articles for the general audience, but LinkedIn groups love new content. Join groups your prospects belong to and share an article or two. It won’t be perfect, you do not need hire a consultant or produce a video or – all the exposure you crave is within your grasp, today.
Here’s something else to remember. Once you feel confident, offer your content to one of the industry publications that seek quality content. Give it a try.
Ultimately, good stories resonate on all levels and across industries. Don’t sell. Don’t highlight your dealership, vendor, copier manufacturers, features and functions or keystrokes. Instead, provide strong echos of yours and your clients’ business life.