There’s an old saying which goes: “You can’t have your cake and eat it”. In other words, you can’t use a resource and keep it at the same time, and it’s something business-owners are well aware of. Sell that unit of product, and it’s sold, never to be sold again. Use that money to buy new stock, and you can’t spend it on something else.
Spend money on refurbishing your office and you can’t spend the money on buying new stock. This is what economists refer to as “opportunity cost”.
That said, there are times when it’s possible to have your cake and eat it, because there is one commodity you can use again and again, and in many ways the more you use it the more you get out of it. That commodity is information content — and it’s one of the most powerful tools you have in the marketing of your business.
Good content can tell prospects about your products, your levels of service, your guarantees, the testimonials you’ve received and much more, and it really does turn your marketing into a powerhouse. It also sets you apart from your competitors, mainly because most businesses can’t be bothered to produce it.
No Need to Fear
Of course, it’s understandable when a business-owner doesn’t feel like producing content. After all, there’s nothing worse than looking at a blank sheet of paper and wondering what to write. It can seem like a form of torture. But it’s a fact that the most difficult thing about writing is knowing what to write, and once you’ve decided that, the actual writing becomes much easier.
And here’s even better news. If writing pages and pages of content fills you with dread, you can console yourself with the fact that you don’t need to write a word if you don’t want to, and I’ll cover that a little later.
Easy Content Creation
But first, assuming we will be writing the content, how do we decide what to write?
Where do we get our ideas from? That’s easy. We get them from our customers. And we do that by thinking of the main questions our customers ask.
So instead of staring at that forbidding blank sheet of paper and wondering how you’re ever going to fill it with words, simply write down the top ten or twelve questions your customers ask. If you can think of even more, all the better, because the more questions you have the more content you can create, and the better your long term results will be. Now think of the things your customers really need to know but often don’t ask. Again, write down as many questions as you can. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to create the content.
And now for that good news about not having to write your content if you don’t want to. Here’s how you do it.
Speak Your Mind
Get hold of a half-decent video camera and microphone. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on this, and you don’t need to make the video all slick and professional. In fact, the more “homely” the video the better, because it’s been pretty much proved by tests that a video featuring an average-looking man or woman rather than a “stuffed-shirt-in-a-suit” will get a better response, simply because a person in a suit reminds prospects of a salesman, whereas a casually-dressed person seems like one of them and therefore more trustworthy.
Then write a few notes on each of the questions, and simply make a video of yourself answering the questions. Each video doesn’t need to be much more than 2-3 minutes long. If you have, say, forty questions in total (easy for most businesses) that will give you about two hours worth of video, which in itself can be a great marketing tool.
These videos can be used as content on your website. They can also be added to video sites like YouTube to drive traffic to your site. Hint: give open access to some of the videos, but then ask for contact details (name and email) in order for prospects to access the rest. You’ll see why later.
The Next Step
And this is where it gets interesting, because those videos can easily be used to create yet another piece of content. Simply strip the soundtrack from them and instantly you have audio content which can be added to your website, used to create podcasts (which can be placed on podcast directories and used to drive traffic to the site, just like the videos), and even put on CDs, which can be used as part of a direct mail package.
And There’s More
But we haven’t finished yet, because the next stage is to have the recording transcribed.
There are many services that will do this for a small cost. And once you have the words in written format, there are several things you can do.
The transcript of each video can be used to create an article, which can be submitted to article directories, or even used as articles to submit to the press. They can also be used as the basis for emails. And they can also be put in one place to create an ebook or even a hardback book, which can be a great lead generator in itself.
It’s fairly cheap to create a hardback book nowadays — and the person who has a book on a subject is almost always seen as the expert in his field, the go-to guy. In fact, a printed “traditional” book can be the ultimate lead-generator — positioning you as the expert in the field.
Once you begin to think how much mileage you can get out of just a little content you’ll be amazed at what you can use it for. Each piece of content can be put into various formats and used as lead generators, whether it be videos, podcasts articles and books.
It takes a little work, but the rewards of having a number of lead-generators out there working for your business can be huge. And in fact the initial work is minimal, probably amounting to no more than a few days work in order to create pages and pages of written content and hours of video and audio.
There really is no excuse not to do it. And the great news is your competitors will be terrified of that blank page and probably never get around to doing a thing. But you know better — and can reap the rewards accordingly.