Product Creation Archive

Let’s talk about content creation. I’m sure you’ve heard that term thrown around in the past few years. It simply means that you share your knowledge and expertise – usually in the form of written content like blog posts and articles. The end goal is to attract a new audience and to build a closer relationship with your existing readers.

Through your writing, you get to show that you know your stuff. Your content positions you as the expert. It also allows potential customers and clients to find you. The days of opening the yellow pages or the classified section of your newspaper when you needed something are gone. Instead we turn to Google to find the help we need. And Google happens to love content.

That’s one of the big reasons why content creation is something you need to be working on. Without it you’re missing out on a huge chunk of your target market. But it goes deeper than that. As consumers we expect content on a company’s website. Even if your visitors find you via paid advertising or the recommendation of a friend, the first thing they’ll do is check you out online.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, a body shop, a financial adviser or an online baseball memorabilia seller. If you don’t have a strong web presence, you’re losing out on sales. This is particularly true if you’re selling online.

We have to know, like and trust someone before we buy from them. In the real world, you can do this on a personal level. You can talk to your clients across the counter. Online you do it through your blog, your articles and your emails. And guess what… all those things are content that you should be creating on a regular basis.

Take a look at your website right now. Try to look at it from a consumer’s point of view. lf you were your own best customer, what information would you like to see on there? If you’re passionate about what you do, or even if it’s just something you’ve done for a while, you have stories to share. Storytelling is a great way to share content. Start writing them down and publish them here and there.

Another quick way of creating content is to collect the questions your customers and prospects ask you. Take the question and your answer and publish them. Keep the question anonymous, or ask your customer if it is ok to share their name. Since you’re already answering the question – possibly by email, it shouldn’t take you long to write it up.

Get that content out there and see if it doesn’t get you more visitors and most importantly more business.

One way to get a lot of mileage out of your content and dramatically grow your reach is to have one of your posts or videos “go viral”. This means that it continues to get shared via social media from one person to the next. Having a viral post can get you a lot of traffic and if you do it right, you can grow your list and your business at the same time.

Your first goal will be to make something that it easy to share. Part of that is the topic (and we’ll talk more about that in a minute), the other part is making it technically easy to share your post or video. There’s a reason stories on certain sites get shared around a lot. The publishers have a big button right below the story to share it on Facebook, tweet the link or even email it to a friend.

Social media sites – particularly Facebook and Pinterest – are very visual. Find a great picture for your post that goes hand in hand with your story. Use it to enhance your post and grab the reader’s attention. Along with it you want a strong, attention-grabbing headline. Do you start to notice a theme here?

With all the “noise” of constant posts and articles online, it’s hard to stand out enough to be noticed. And without being noticed your content doesn’t stand a chance of going viral.

Once your content gets noticed, you need to give your readers a good reason to share it. Just providing good information isn’t enough. You need to evoke some strong emotions with your content. Make them laugh, make them cry or make them go “wow … I never thought of that”.

Clever and helpful things will get passed around, particularly if they have a new or unique twist to them. Remember when building things out of pallets was all the rage? It was new, fresh and something we could all do – at least in theory. Those posts got shared on Pinterest and Facebook like crazy. Until they were no longer new, fresh and unique.

Let’s recap. You come up with a great idea for some share-worthy content. You write it up, add a great headline and some killer graphics. Next it’s time to get the ball rolling. Share the content to your social media outlets. Share it multiple times and ask for shares, comments and likes. Call in some favors if you need to. You want to build up some steam in the beginning. Once you get the ball rolling your content will either take off and go viral, or it won’t.

Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt at creating a viral post doesn’t work as well as you hoped. This is going to be hit or miss. Keep trying and don’t even think about giving up. It will be well worth it when you get it all to click and have a post go viral.

Creating fresh content is great, but sometimes you and your audience are better served if you spend some time updating and improving existing content. Here are five different things you should look at when you revisit older content.

Updating Outdated Information

Things change. Depending on your niche, they change often and quickly. Scan through the post you’ve written and see if there’s any outdated information. Are you referring to links that no longer work? If it’s a “how to” type post, has the product or software you’re explaining changed? Are there different recommendations or did you learn more and can pass that new knowledge on to your readers?

Make updates as needed and present your readers with the best up to date information on the topic.

Adding And Making It Better

Next, read through the content again. Is there something you can add to it to make it even more helpful? Can you explain things differently to make it even better? Can you include some examples or illustrations to make it easier to understand?

Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your content. Your blog posts and articles are often the first impression people get of you and your business. Make it a great one.

Improve The Look Of Your Posts

While you’re in there editing away, see what you can do about formatting. Use some headings, bolding and lists as needed. Break up longer paragraphs to make easier to read your posts. And let’s not forget about images. Do you have an image that enhances the content and grabs the reader’s attention? Remember images will also help bring in social traffic from sites like Facebook and Pinterest.

Is It SEO Friendly?

A quick SEO audit is always a good idea. What keyword or key phrase are you trying to rank for? Is it in your post title, your post url and in your content? Are you using related phrases? And let’s not forget about alt tags and image file names. Some little tweaks may be just what you need to cash in on more free search engine traffic.

What’s Your Goal With The Post

Each piece of content should have a goal. What do you want your readers to do when they are done reading it? Should they engage with you via comments? Join your list? Buy a product? Be clear on what your intent is and then craft a strong call to action if applicable to get them to take action.

Content creation is an important part of any online business. Let’s talk about three popular forms of content and how you can use them to market your business, grow a relationship with your audience and show off your expertise.

Blog Posts

Let’s start with something quick and easy – blog posts. You can share tips, ideas, customer comments, pictures, stories and just about anything else related to your online business on your blog.

Your goal should be twofold. You want to share content that attracts new visitors that might be interested in your products and services, and grow your relationship with your existing readership. Not every post has to do both, but strive for a balance.

For example if you’re a personal trainer, you may want to write some posts about how hiring a trainer will push you to the next level or help you lose weight and get back in shape. At the same time you may also want to share nutritional tips that will help your current clients. Mix and match and get it the habit of blogging a few times per week.

Emails

We’re not talking about one-on-one emails here. Instead, these are the emails you sent to your existing lists of prospects and customers. For many businesses the bulk of their purchases are a direct result of their email marketing campaigns. And those emails are content combined with offers.

They may be a weekly or monthly newsletter where you share some tips, articles and a coupon for your latest product. Or they could be emails where you share what’s going on in your shop, in your life or anything fun and interesting you come across. Of course you will have some offers mixed in there as well… this is how you make your money after all.

Short Reports or White Papers

Let’s wrap this up by talking about short reports or white papers. They are the same thing, just different terms used by people in different industries. The basic idea is to write a short paper on a particular topic and distribute it as a pdf.

Your goal is to share your expertise, grow your reach and get more eyeballs to your website. These short reports are also often used as an “ethical bribe” or reward for signing up for a mailing list.

Growing your list should always be one of your top priorities and having compelling short reports as an enticement will work in your favor. An easy way to create them is to look at some of the popular posts on your blog. Do you have a few related blog posts you could compile into a report? Another option is to take a popular blog post and expand on the topic.

But don’t just stop there. Short reports and white papers can be spread far and wide on the web. There are document sharing sites you can submit them too or offer them to your colleagues as bonuses for their products.

Are you using all three types of content creation in your business? If not, make your first goal to try all three. If you are already using all of them, step up your game and crank out more quality content to grow your reach and your business.

You’ve spent a good chunk of your morning writing an epic blog post. You know it’s gonna take off and help you grow your readership by leaps and bounds. But first you need to give it a little nudge. You need to get the ball rolling so that it can get shared around via social media and help grow your traffic and your business. That’s what this article is all about – spreading your content via social media?

Before you do anything else, make sure it is easy to share your post. Do you have social media buttons on your blog? Can your visitors share your epic post on Facebook or Pinterest with the click of a button? Do you have important quotes or key statement set up to tweet? If not, go do that right now.

As you start to get traffic, your social shares will go up. You want to make it as easy as possible now, to take full advantage of the visitors you’re about to send to your blog.

Next it’s time to get the ball rolling. Start by sharing your new post on your own social media profiles. Start pinning it to your own boards and any appropriate group boards. Share it on your Facebook profile or page. From there you may also want to share in any appropriate groups you belong to. And don’t forget to tweet as well.

Don’t stop at sharing it once and hoping for the best. Come back in a few hours and repost it in a slightly different way. If you didn’t post a picture the first go around, do it now. Use a different bit of text and call to action to get readers to click through to your post. This is particularly important for Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms move fast and if your readers happen to not be online when you post, chances are they’ll never see it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for comments likes and shares. That’s how your social posts will start to gain momentum. And that’s what you need to grow your reach and get things to spread far and wide.

Encourage comments, likes and shares on Facebook regularly. They, along with post clicks, go toward your engagement score. The higher your score the more people Facebook shows your post to. Which brings up a good general point about social media. To get traction, you want to be active on your social platforms on a regular basis. Make it a habit to post several times per day, sharing some of your own content along with other related content. Having an active following on any social media platform is the key to getting them to spread your content for you.

Writing quality content for your online business is a lot of work. Even if you are enjoying the process of sitting down and coming up with blog posts, newsletters, short reports and eBooks, it takes a lot of time out of your day. You might as well get the most bang for your buck. And the easiest way to do that is to recycle your content.

Turn emails and Facebook conversations into blog posts. You spend a lot of time crafting helpful emails to your customers and prospects. Along the same lines, you’re growing your reach by sharing helpful tips on your Facebook page, or answering questions there. Make sure you make the most of that content by turning it into blog posts. Not only will it make your writing quicker it also makes it easier for your audience to find the answers to those questions. If one of them asks, chances are quite a few others have the same question.

Turn your blog posts into Kindle books and short reports. This is very easy to you. Copy and paste a few related posts into a word document, add an intro, write some transitions, do a little formatting and you have a report to share with your readers. Or upload it to Amazon and sell it as a low priced Kindle book.

You can make it even easier by planning a series of blog posts with the purpose of recycling them into a Kindle book once they are done. Doing a little bit of planning ahead of time, will make sure you content flows and you can work on your new book as you’re writing your blog posts. In fact, you can write an entire print book this way. Have you heard of the book turned major motion picture “The Martian”? It was written in chunks and published on the author’s blog.

An added benefit of doing this is that your blog readers will do some of the editing work for you by pointing out spelling errors you’ve missed and questioning things when you’re writing doesn’t quite make sense.

Now let’s take it a step further. By turning your short reports and kindle books into larger information products, you can recycle them yet again. Let’s say you start with a blog post series where you share various tips about email marketing. You compile everything into a kindle book, adding a little intro and some transitions as needed. Then take that document, expand on it a little bit, record a few videos where you’re walking your students through the various steps and techniques and you have yourself a home study course on email marketing that you can offer at a much higher price point. And it all started with just a handful of blog posts.

Incorporating User Created Content > Product Creation

Posted February 14, 2016 By Callie

Creating content is all about finding new audiences and engaging your readers. A great way to accomplish both is to incorporate some user generated content on your blog, your Facebook page and in your newsletter. Readers love being part of your website, your brand and your platform. It drives up engagement and a feeling of community.

A great place to start is to use the emails and comments you get from your audience in future blog posts. Not only does it make for a quick blog post, the person that shared a tip or asked a question will appreciated being “featured” on your blog. If you are using the person’s name, ask permission first. It’s also a great way to get your feet wet, hear more from your readers and see how they react to content that is at least partially written by fellow readers.

Next you can ask for submissions from your readers. You can gather questions this way that you can then answer or ask them to share their favorite tip with you. If you are selling products, ask your customers to share their favorite features or how they are using your products in new and innovative ways.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest make user generated content even simpler. You can use them to your advantage in two different ways. The first way is to ask them a question or have them share their favorite tip or idea. Once you have several answers, take a screenshot of the conversation or image collection and use it as the main part of a blog post. Add a little intro and a link back to the post, tweet or Pinterest board so readers can go back and participate.

You can also make your social media platforms interactive. Encourage readers to post to your page and open up your Pinterest boards for collaboration. Your readers will feel like they are part of your community and you can slow down a little on social media posts yourself.

Of course this is just scratching the surface of user generated content. You can allow users to post directly to your WordPress site or add a forum to your site. Start small and see what type of format your audience prefers. As you add more and more interaction and options for your readers to share their questions and ideas, your engagement will go up and you get more user generated content to share.

Let’s talk about making your content pretty and easy to read. You only have a few seconds to convince a potential reader that they should invest their valuable time to read your latest blog post. Part of that job will be done by your article title, the rest will be any graphics and formatting that allows for easy scanning.

In addition to readers, you also want to use formatting to show the search engines what your post is all about. We’ll go into more detail on what you should do there in a minute. I recommend you always start with the reader in mind first. If you can’t entice someone to read your post, it doesn’t matter how well you rank in Google for it.

Formatting For Readers

Always format with your readers in mind first. After you’ve written your post, article, short report or eBook go over it and see how you can make it easier to read. Use bolding, headlines, lists and the likes to your advantage.

With blog posts in particular, it’s important to make it easy for readers to scan. Break the content up into different sections and use headlines for each section. Bold important concepts or keywords.

Save your work and come back a little while later with fresh eyes. Can you quickly scan the post and get an idea of what it is about? If not, keep formatting.

Formatting For SEO

Here’s some good news. Much of what you’re doing to help your readers scan your posts will also help with Search Engine Optimization. Once you’re done formatting for readers, go over the post one more time and make sure some of the highlights and headlines include your keywords.

Don’t overdo it, most of what the search engines need should already be there. As you work on graphics for your posts (something we’ll look at next), use some of your key words  here and there in the file names for your graphics along with the alt text.

Using Images and Graphics

As you are writing the titles and alt descriptions for your images, keep Pinterest in mind. You alt tag is what’s pulled as the description of the pin. For good search results for both your site and your pins, make sure you use your keyword in the description, but other than that focus on getting pinners to click through to your site for the full post. Having text on your images also helps both on Pinterest and on your own site when readers are deciding whether or not they want to read your post.

Use clean, pretty and compelling images and use a program like Pickmonkey to add text. This could be an interesting quote from the post or article, the title of your post or a question or statement that grabs their attention. Again, keep both your website visitors and social media users in mind when creating your graphics.

Are You Monetizing Your Content? > Product Creation

Posted February 13, 2016 By Callie

Content is great and it one of my favorite ways to market my business, but without a plan and some monetization, it won’t pay the bills at the end of the month. It’s important to think about how you will profit from each piece of content you create. Not all of it will generate cash immediately, but you should have some sort of plan to benefit from your writing.

Let’s look at direct and indirect monetization and then walk through a simple process to make sure your content works as hard as you do.

Direct Monetization

The first option is direct monetization. This can take a variety of forms. You may have advertisements on your site that result in revenue for you. Or maybe you’re linking to one of your books or information products. That’s another form of direct monetization.

Another popular option is to link to products you’re mentioning or recommending in your content that you are an affiliate for. Your affiliate commission is another way you can directly benefit from the things you write and share.

Indirect Monetization

My favorite form of indirect monetization is to use my blog and any other type of content I have out there to grow my list. Here the first goal is to capture your reader’s email address. This allows you to get in touch with them over and over again. You can build a relationship and make offers a little further down the road.

The added benefit of indirect monetization is that you’re growing another asset. You are growing your audience and you have a way to get back in touch with them. They may not be interested in the product you mention in your post, but might pull out their wallet for a different offer you make a week later.

Make A Plan And Make Your Content Work Hard For You

Look at your content and think about what your goal will be. Sometimes it will be to write a great review post and make some direct affiliate commissions. Sometimes it will be a more personal piece with the intent of allowing your readers to get to know you better. Sometimes it will be a rocking information piece with a strong call to action at the end that invites reader to sign up to learn more from you.

Take a minute to think about what your goal is with each piece of content and then write or edit it to make sure that goal is fulfilled.

You know you should be creating lots of content on a regular basis, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with fresh ideas. When you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know what to write about, try one (or several) of these creative brainstorming hacks.

Look Through Your Emails

Start by looking through your recent email conversations. Chances are that a client or customer asked you a great question or you shared a tip with someone. Use the email exchange as the start of your blog post. Copy and paste it right into your WordPress post. Not having a blank page in front of you is sometimes all it takes to get going.

Save emails that you think will make good future content starters in a folder. They’ll be waiting for you anytime you need a fresh idea.

Look At Comments And Social Media Posts

A similar idea is to look at comments you’ve gotten on your blog or on your social media posts. Does something spark an idea there? Both of these are great places to start conversations with your target audience. Take what you’ve started there and expand on the idea in a blog post.

If you’d like link back to the social media post or the blog post where the comment first appeared to drive traffic to either place. Not only are you getting content ideas, you’re also driving up engagement with your readers.

Keep An Eye On Industry News and Trends

Browse through your favorite industry or niche news sites and blogs and take note of any hot topics or trends. Use them as a starting point to share your point of view. How does this apply to you, your business, your products or your particular audience? How will this news or trend affect your customers and clients?

Not only do you get ideas that are current and interesting, your readers are more likely to share this type of content via social media.

The Table of Content Trick

Here’s a quick hack that never fails me. Look up a couple of books in your niche on Amazon. Look at the preview feature. You can usually see the table of content for the book. Use the topics you find there to inspire you to write blog posts, emails and short reports. Take one content heading and go from there. Each book you look at should easily give you 2 or 3 good topics to run with.

Spend 15 minutes browsing tables of content on Amazon and you should have a list of blog post topics to last you for the month. Go ahead and save them as drafts in WordPress and you’ve got everything you need to get your blogging done for the coming weeks.