Become a thought leader; Be Original

A resource for folks considering a post-retirement career

To become a thought leader you must be original by creating high-quality content. To do this you’ll need:

Goals for your research

A process for sampling and analyzing your data Questions

A process for managing the project

It’s important to figure out how much time and resources you’ll need to complete the research. A market research template can make it easier for you to organize and compile your research.

Then, you’ll want to decide the best format and channels to present your research to create a stellar content offer

Tools and Templates

Great content helps your audience solve a problem faster than they could figure it out. This makes tools like calculators, swipe files, and checklists invaluable. It means that your templates can be helpful for your fans both now and later.

And these helpful lead magnets don’t just give you a chance to help out your community. They’re also excellent resources for leads and to create advocates for your brand.

If someone uses one of your templates regularly, they’re more likely to tell someone else about it. This makes content offer a great way to grow your following by word of mouth. And word of mouth is one of the most trusted sources for consumers. This makes this type of original content offer a win-win. You can easily create a template with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, which most people use daily.

As you start building, Be original and remember that creating something useful is more important than making it look perfect.

Kits and Workbooks

Once you’ve put together a few of the resources listed above, you might be ready to create a more extensive content offer

Kits and workbook content offers usually include a range of different resources that work together. For example, say you’ve made several templates for social media captions on other platforms. You can put these together to create the ultimate social media caption kit.

To keep your leads from getting information overload, think about structure. Breaking your kit or workbook into bite-sized pieces is a good idea. You’ll also want to use graphics and other media to break up dense sections of text to keep things engaging.

A workbook or kit might also include:

Worksheets

A Q&A

Schedules Journal prompts

Content Planning and Strategy

You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement. So, there should be no content creation without a plan. Otherwise, you risk getting derailed from your goal.

A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone to how you will promote and eventually repurpose your content. Let’s go over how to create your content plan step-by-step.

Set your content goals.

Like a traditional marketing campaign, your content strategy should be centred on your marketing goals (which should, in turn, be derived from your company goals).

Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between

— as long as they’re SMART goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.

Once you determine that, each piece of content you create should be aligned with your goal and contribute to your desired outcome.

In sum, start with your goals, then create your original content.

Create a buyer persona.

The key to creating successful inbound content is to make each reader feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend. You should be aware of their obstacles, pain points, challenges, and fears.

Similarly, it would be best if you understood their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies. Always remember that you are marketing to humans that want to feel connected.

Ideally, you’d know and be able to speak directly to every individual that visits your website, but you can’t. The solution? Create a buyer persona.

Your buyer persona is the person you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character represents your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.

Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and who will happily consume your content.

Still trying to figure out where to start? Use another HubSpot tool, Make My Persona, to build out your buyer persona.

Rely on the buyer’s journey.

If you’ve ever had a headache, the first thing you likely did was try to figure out the cause. Perhaps you were dehydrated, caffeine depleted, or maybe you were sick. After you diagnosed the problem, you moved on to solutions — drink some water, grab an espresso, or take some medicine. Finally, you decide between solutions: Evian or tap water? Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee. Aleve or Tylenol? Hopefully, your headache then subsides, and you are able to go about your day.

This is a representation of the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution, which involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s essential to use your content to appeal to each stage.

Creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey ensures that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.

You also want to select a format for your content so that it’s tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor in the awareness stage won’t want a live demo of your product, but they would read a quick checklist or blog post that helps them better understand their problem. A prospect in the decision stage doesn’t need to know about all the possible solutions, they need a consultation or demo that shows them that your product is the right solution. Always meet your audience where they are.

Here’s a guide to the best content formats for each stage of the buyer’s journey:

Perform a content audit.

Whether you’ve been creating content for a while without any clear direction or following a strategy all along, every marketing department can benefit from a content audit. Just because you didn’t start with a clearly defined plan doesn’t mean that the content you already have won’t fit into one.

A content audit is simply taking inventory of the work you’ve already done, then organizing it under your new content plan.

Here’s how you’d perform your content audit:

1.         Gather all your content in a spreadsheet.

2.         Create columns for target keywords, buyer persona, buyer’s journey stage, format, and the main topic, then fill these in for each content piece.

3.         Add columns for your key metrics, like page views, shares, engagement, etc.

4.         Finally, categorize each post (using highlights or another column) by those that are doing well, need improvement, should be rewritten, or can be merged with another post.

While a content audit may seem tedious, all the manual labor will be worth the increased traffic and leads. Plus, you’ll have a verified plan moving forward.

If this process seems overwhelming, check out this post for more guidance.

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