From time to time I’ve had clients or business associates push back on the idea of writing content for their inbound marketing program by saying “But I’m not an expert – I don’t know how to tell people what to do. I’m just pretty good at my own business.”
I’m going to release you from the pressure you are putting on yourself. You can create effective, lead-generating, awareness-building content even if you aren’t an expert.
Content that feels simple to you may be advanced for your audience
We’ll start with the first advice every college freshman gets from their writing prof: “Write what you know.”
I’m always amazed at the worlds that open up to us when we sit down with a new client and begin diving into their business world. In a discovery meeting, one of our agricultural lending clients explained the benefits of timber land as an investment vehicle for professionals in the North Florida area. I’d never thought about timber, and certainly didn’t know how to evaluate whether an acre of land was a good timber plot or not! But in the process of evaluating a timber loan application, our clients needed to know how to evaluate the fit of that land to timber production. A short blog on timber criteria would educate her loan applicants as they looked at land to purchase and would lead to better quality loan applicants overall.
My client isn’t a timber expert, but her basic knowledge, placed in the correct hands, is useful, entertaining and educational. All the ingredients of a successful inbound marketing piece of content.
Creative content is seldom revolutionary
Marketing professionals faced with a blank computer screen should look outside their own industry. Read blogs and websites from non-competing industries and think about how to apply similar concepts to your own industry.
One easy application of this approach is headline writing. Although sometimes overused, an approach to writing a good headline is to find a successful “template” outside your industry and adapt it. Buzzfeed, for example is well-known for its headlines that read something like:
12 Brides Who Will Give You Wedding Envy!
That headline formula translates into this:
[Number of] [target audience or feature] who [have something you want]
So how do you use this? Let’s say you are a manufacturer of small devices that make some important piece of equipment function. Your gizmo is a niche market, and there isn’t a whole lot to be said about these gizmos after awhile. But you know that your prospects are running businesses with similar challenges and pain points. So you might create a BuzzFeed style headline that reads something like:
5 Manufacturing Lines that will Have you Drooling in Envy
9 Cheap Benefits that will Make your Employees Grin
To create your own templates, notice the blogs or magazine articles that draw you in and analyze the headlines and stories. Then adapt them for your own.
Tell your story
You may not be an industry expert, but you are certainly the expert of your own story. You can tell your story in video, on a blog page, or on an About Us section of your website. You can even tell it in something that sounds like a friendly, rambling letter to a friend.
I recently came across this “origin story” online and was captivated enough to read it all the way to the end. Simple. A little wordy, but full of fun information that humanizes the company and makes me want to do business with Chirag Kulkarni even though I have never met him.
You are the expert of your own story.
Build a body of work over time
Over time, with consistency, you become an expert by the sheer volume of your content creation. This happens in two ways. First, obviously, you build a body of work that reaches its own little niche audience day and night, month after month. And second, the process of researching and writing and publishing builds your own knowledge over time and you become the expert in your niche.
Don’t create your content alone – build a team
You don’t have to create your content alone. You can build a team to help in the content creation process. Find others in your company who can blog for you once in awhile. Getting their unique perspectives will add depth to your work. Remember our agricultural lending client? If she got one of her reps in the North Florida timber district to write a quick blog post under his own name, she builds her own authority and establishes him as an industry leader as well. Reps don’t want to write? Try to get them to give you bullet points to flesh out.
Finally, you can take advantage of all the many services out there who can take the content creation component of your overall marketing strategy off your daily to-do list. For less than the cost of an intern you can usually hire a dedicated team of specialists who will dive into your business and help you create the content that drives inbound marketing leads. You focus on your expertise and let them handle what they do best.
Ready to start establishing yourself as an industry expert through inbound marketing and content creation? Download this inbound marketing checklist now to make sure you have all the essential components of a successful campaign.