Many of the folks we get coming to us at Ghost Blog Writers are consultants or consultancies.
Along the same lines we get some solo entrepreneurs or solopreneurs.
These folks have heard about content marketing and the value in blogging.
They want to provide answers to the questions their target customers are asking with blog posts. They want to build their reputation in their industry so they can attract more new clients over the long-term.
But there’s a catch…
Consultants are often busy servicing the needs of their clients. They don’t have a lot of extra time for marketing their own businesses.
If you’re a consultant or a solopreneur and have this challenge then we’re going to walk through the steps you can take to create content even if you’re too busy.
Step 1. Mindset: Content Marketing Is The First Interaction
One of the reasons I see consultants struggling with writing content, besides being too busy, is that they struggle to create content that gets a response.
When you’re not getting any response it’s difficult to find motivation to continue doing something.
Content marketing and blogging are long-term business plays. But it still requires the right approach otherwise you’re going to be waiting a very long time.
Think of content marketing like a local mixer at the Chamber of Commerce.
You’re at the bar getting a drink and in line you spark up a conversation with another person. Someone you’ve never met.
What would be the first words out of your mouth?
A: Hi. I’m a business consultant. Would you like to learn more about my services?
B: Hi. What kind of drink are you thinking about getting?
You’d probably go with Option B.
Most of us would.
Blogging is usually the first interaction with your prospective clients. You don’t know them. They don’t know you.
During the first interaction the person probably isn’t ready to learn about your business. That will come later.
Right now, though, they might have a question that you can help with.
Let’s go back to the earlier interaction.
The person says they’re not sure and they ask you what you would recommend.
You have experience with the various drinks. You make a recommendation. The person asks why. You provide some insight.
Now you’re forming a relationship. You’ve helped the person. They take the first sip and love the drink.
Chances are good that now the conversation will move into more business related discussion.
But it starts with building trust.
Content Marketing is all about helping your target clients with questions they’re asking.
Know this will save you time by not creating content that focuses too much on selling yourself.
Step 2. Separate Ideation From Creation
This is the biggest secret I know for saving time and creating content.
Let me ask you a quick question…
Have you ever sat in front of your computer at your scheduled time to write a blog post only to sit there wondering what to write about?
You’re not alone.
Writer’s Block comes from a lack of preparation. It’s difficult for anybody to create something on the spot from scratch.
That’s why separating the ideating from the creation works much more efficiently.
We’ll talk about schedule later, but let’s say you commit to creating one piece of content per week. That’s 52 pieces per year.
First, set aside time to brainstorm ideas. Try to create a list of 100 ideas. Once there, whittle it down to about 50 ideas by tossing out the really bad ones and the duplicates.
Now research some of the ideas to see what’s really been overdone; things that you feel you can’t really add to.
Get rid of those.
Whittle that list down to 26 ideas.
Now prioritize them. Space them out a bit depending on their exact focus.
You now have 26 ideas for content. You can sit down each week with an idea ready for you to write.
In another 5 months plan on doing this exercise again.
Step 3. Basic Is Okay
How do you find ideas?
You probably know some from talking with your current clients.
Focus on their:
You can also find these ideas by looking at industry websites, forums, blogs, publications, etc.
See what topics are most popular. Look at the sharing stats. Look at the comments.
Sometimes you can even find readers (your clients) asking questions they want answers to in comment sections or on social media.
You might find that these questions or their answers seem basic or obvious to you.
They might be…to you…
But to your client they’re not basic. They’re important.
Your clients are not consultants. They need the information you have. They’re experts in their field, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have questions about related fields.
That’s where you can come in and provide great value that will earn you trust, respect and new business.
Step 4. Consistency: Schedule & Word Count Commitment
Now comes the time to commit.
If you’re going to commit to anything with content marketing, make it consistency.
People appreciate consistency. They want to know they can rely on you for great content regularly.
In the NFL, there are players that are very talented and flashy. But they can also be inconsistent. Or even injury prone. These players drive coaches crazy.
There are also players with above average ability. They don’t make mistakes. They may not always make a splash play, but they never make mistakes and they’re always available.
Coaches love these players.
Now, your goal can certainly be to create amazing, splash-type content. But that should result from a commitment to a schedule.
In our work, 1-2 posts a week at 600-1,200 words per post is a great formula for long-term success.
After a year you have created 50-100 pieces of content and 30,000 to 120,000 words.
Consistency has benefits for you.
We’ll talk about quantity later, but with a regular schedule you’ll get better and better.
Take basketball for example. You could shoot 300 free throws today. Or you could shoot 10 free throws each day for a month.
With the latter strategy you would see more improvement over time and you’ll build a routine that will allow you to continually improve rather than doing something once in awhile.
Step 5. Research & Writing: Follow A Formula
Another key to saving time with content marketing is to follow formulas.
Here are a few:
List Posts: Lists posts are great. People love lists. They can scan the content. They can dive into the details. They’re also a great formula for the writer. You can create the list first and fill in the details later.
How To Posts: Let’s take the example of a dentist. They know that many people struggle with brushing their teeth. They create a step by step guide for brushing teeth. They first list out all the steps. Then they provide the details for each step.
Research: Research is great for content marketing. It’s a way to provide validation for what you’re discussing. Let’s say that dentist wants to add some context and validity to their post. Search for “teeth brushing study” on Google. You’ll find a result like this one: People Greatly Underestimate The Time They Spend Brushing Their Teeth. That would be great research to drive home the importance of proper brushing.
Step 6. Quantity > Quality
A final point here is the idea that quantity is better than quality.
Or put a different way, quantity leads to quality.
Let’s go back to the free throw example.
You could sit in your driveway reading books about how to shoot the perfect free throw. You could watch videos on YouTube. There are lots of things you could do to try to shoot the perfect free throw one time.
Or you could shoot 10 free throws a day for a month.
At the end of the month you’d be a much better free throw shooter if you just dive in and do it. Learn as you go. If you keep missing you’ll naturally adjust.
Knowledge certainly helps, but don’t let gaining knowledge stop you from getting into a routine with creating content.
You know that content marketing can be great for your consultancy. But you also know that you don’t really have time to create content.
My guess is that your biggest struggles result from the ideas above. Don’t let these paralyze you anymore.
Find your rhythm. Separate ideation from creation and commit to a consistent schedule.
Focus on the long-term. The longer you do it the better the results will be.