Note from Cathy:
This article resonated with me for a number of reasons. In many ways, Robert’s experiences in content marketing are similar to mine. I am doing less consulting (and less content marketing) these days, but writing articles for my website and ezine, and to publish elsewhere online, was an important part of how I built my business.
When I suggest that starting an email list and sending an email newsletter is important for a new business, many of my clients would say, “But I don’t know what to write about!” Robert’s answer is perfect.
Have an email newsletter, publish your content on a website or blog, and post links to your content on social media. It works.
And if you are not sure what to write about, just start writing. I used to write a weekly newspaper column. Every week I had to turn in 500 words. It didn’t matter if I didn’t know what to write about, I had to write about something. There were times when my column was due in an hour and I still didn’t know what it would be about. But it always got written and submitted on time. Make yourself write. If you are selling what you know as a consultant, coach or information marketer, content marketing can be the most effective way to get more clients and make more sales.
Now take a look at what Robert has to say. I think you will enjoy it an be inspired by it.
Some Mondays I don’t know what to write in my weekly eZine article. Other Mondays I’m more prepared because I’ve been thinking of a topic for several days.
Today is the former. No idea what to write about.
So, what do you say when it seems you have nothing to say?
Recently, I listened to a video program by Larry King about communication, and the problem of having nothing to say was one of the very first things he talked about. He related the story of when he was the host of a radio show for the very first time.
When he was cued that he was now live on the air, he went blank and nothing came out of his mouth. So after a minute or so he simply started talking about what had happened.
“As soon as I was cued, my mind went blank and I didn’t know what to say…” and he simply took it from there, reporting what had happened in the moment.
This turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons he had ever learned about communication: simply communicate what’s going on right now. And if you do that, inevitably the mind kicks in and things go just fine. Now Larry is rarely at a loss for words.
So here I am on a Monday afternoon, writing this article with no idea what to talk about. I often talk to my clients about exactly this when they ask me what they should write about.
“As a consultant or coach, your clients have problems, right? And don’t you help them with solutions? Aren’t there a lot of things you teach them and show them? Well, that’s what you should write about!”
And a few minutes later we inevitably have a list of a dozen topics for articles they could write.
Maybe that’s enough of an idea for you to start writing articles as well, but then there’s this question: “Why should I write articles in the first place?” and, “What good does it do; will it really help me grow my business?”
Those are really important questions.
Back in 1997, I’d launched my website only a year earlier. It really wasn’t doing much. A client I worked with had started writing a weekly email newsletter and he inspired me to start one as well.
I didn’t know that writing a weekly article was impossible, so I just started. Twenty years, and more than a thousand articles later, I’m still at it.
Did it work? Well, it helped me grow my email list to as high as 50,000 subscribers and build an international marketing coaching business.
For the first nine years, I simply sent out the eZine by email. And since 2006, I also posted it on my blog.
Nothing really complicated, high-tech or tricky. Yes, I also post links to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which takes me just a few extra minutes.
A few years later, the whole concept of ‘content marketing’ became the rage, but I realized I’d been doing that for more than fifteen years already.
All those articles are out on the web, and people find them. Then they end up on my website, many of them signing up for this eZine. Ultimately, some of those subscribers become clients or participants in my programs. It’s that simple.
So, when I don’t have the most brilliant, ground-shaking marketing topic to write about, I don’t worry. I trust it will all work out… if I just keep writing!
But I will share a new tip with you. I decided to add more content to my website with an “Ideas” section and also put links to all my content on the home page of my site.
I figure this will help in two main ways: 1. The links on the home page will help Google rank me higher, 2. My site will become ‘stickier’ as the content on the site is easier to find and navigate.
I just landed a new client this week who had found my site, spent a lot of time reading several articles, and ultimately contacted me. So it’s working!
Don’t know what to write? Don’t worry. Just start writing and posting. Before long your website will contain a treasure trove of good ideas that will engage prospective clients asking if you can help them.
By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.