Get Clients Online
The Debilitating Content Roadblock (and how to beat it)
“You've got to have great content”. “It's brilliant content that brings you visitors and clients”. “You need to produce high quality content regularly”.
Yeah, yeah. Yada yada yada. Tell us something new.
Here's the problem. It's not that we don't know we need lots of great content. Of course we do. It's just that it's so damn hard to create it. Particularly if you actually have a real job to do that earns you money ;)
There are countless professionals and experts with a wealth of knowledge to share who just get stuck against this roadblock when it comes to getting content out of their head and onto paper or a website. And I count myself in that group every now and then too.
It's probably the most frustrating feeling you'll get. Knowing you have so much to share, but just not being able to get it out.
Here are some tips that might just help.
I can't promise they'll always get you over that roadblock: the reality is that you'll inevitably run into it sometime. But these tips will help make sure you don't run into it so often.
The first tip is to understand what sort of content your clients value.
There are two very different types of professionals when it comes to creating content.
One type of professional is the “teacher”. Coaches, consultants, trainers. People who are hired because their clients want access to their expertise and usually want to learn some of that expertise themselves.
I fit into this model. My clients want to get better at marketing and selling (or more accurately, they want to know how to win more clients). I know a little bit about marketing and selling. So I can write about my area of expertise and share the best practices I know and clients will find it useful.
The other model is the “do it for you” model. Lawyers, architects – people who are hired because their clients want what their expertise can do for them. But they don't particularly want to learn that expertise themselves.
If you're in this model you have a bit of a trickier task. You can't just share best practices in your field – clients aren't that interested. they don't want to know how you do your job – they just want the results.
In this case, what it's best to write about and to become known as an authority in is how your expertise is used. Write about when to use your service. How to get the best results from it. How to get great value for money when hiring someone like you.
Most clients don't much care how their architect goes about the process of designing buildings. What they do care about is knowing what type of buildings are the most cost effective or energy efficient to run. Which sort create the right conditions for creativity. How to avoid problems reselling your building etc.
The second tip is to focus on content that relates to the critical buying moments of truth for your clients.
There are two key points in their overall buying process when your clients are the most interested in your content.
The first is when they initially realise they have a problem or opportunity.
What's the first thing we do when we realise we have a problem that needs solving? We get onto google to find more about it.
So the more content we have on our site that relates to the initial problems our clients run into, the more interest we'll get from them.
In my case, initial problem searches are things like “how to get more clients”, “how to increase sales”, “how to win clients with linkedin”. They're not ready to hire anyone to help them in those areas yet. So they don't want to hear about my USP or why I'm better than my competitors. But they do want to find answers to the questions they're asking.
The more content I have in these areas, the more I catch people early and get a chance to build credibility and trust with them. That's why I encourage visitors to subscribe to my emails. It's where I give out my very best content and where I can keep in touch with people once they've found me via that initial problem.
The next buying moment of truth is when they've made the decision that they want to fix their problem. And that they need help to do it.
When your buyers flip over to that mode of thinking, what do they need to know?
Maybe it's what sort of solutions there are available on the market. Maybe it's how to find the best employment laywer. Maybe it's knowing how to run an RFP process to hire an architect.
Whatever it is, that's the next set of content you need to have on your site. Content that positions you as a trusted advisor to guide your potential clients through the buying process.
If you're ever looking for inspiration on what sort of things to focus your writing on, think “what's the first thing my clients need to know when they realise they have a problem?” and “what's the first thing my client need to know when they decide to fix that problem?”. You won't go far wrong.
The final tip is to put in the work to create great content.
There are two sorts of content that I find are both very well received by my audience, and that I can create without needing a spark of inspiration.
Both involve hard work.
The first sort of content is research content.
In The Number One Strategy Social Media Gurus Use To Win New Business I didn't just share an idea I had. I reported my research sharing screenshots and quotes from multiple social media experts. In 21 Of The Best Resources For Improving Website Conversions I reported, well, 21 of the best resources for doing just that.
Each post took me time to do the research for and pull together. But they didn't require flashes of inspiration or genius. Just hard work.
And they were incredibly well received. People like to see depth and research. Solid evidence, not just opinion.
The next sort of content that goes down well is reported experience
This is where you report the results of things you've tried in your own business.
Pat Flynn is well known in the internet marketing world for completely frank, open book reports of exactly where he makes his money.
I've been reporting on my goal to get 10,000 email subscribers by the end of the year in Project 10K.
Reporting on real life experience has so much more power than just sharing ideas. It feels real to your audience. It shows them that what you're suggesting could actually work.
And like research, it takes hard work.
You can't just say “here are three great ways of getting more email subscribers”. You have to test them and report back on what actually works.
That's why your audience will appreciate it much more – because it's real, and because it took work to create.
In both cases, creating this sort of content isn't easy. But it's systematic. You don't need sparks of genius or the muse to visit to do it. You just have to get off and do the work. Put the hours in.
And the truth is that most people won't. If you do, you have a tremendous advantage.
So those are my big three tips for breaking the content roadblock. Think about what your clients value. Think about what questions they're asking at key buying phases. Then put in the work to thoroughly research answers or test them yourself in the real world.
Do that and you'll not just break your roadblock and produce content. You'll produce great content.
So, do you have any tips for producing great content? What helped you produce some of your best work?
Do leave your thoughts in the comments box – I'd love to hear from you.