A brand spanking New Year is the perfect time to use your brand of authority to make your content sticky with your ideal audience.
But how do you avoid scatter-shot tactics that dilute your impact and waste your time?
You get strategic by making five key decisions before creating your next piece of content.
Who’s it for? I once read a book draft that careened back and forth between beginner and advanced expert topics. When I asked “Who’s this for”, the author didn’t have a clue (which meant they’d wasted literally hundreds of hours).
But it’s not just books—every single email, podcast episode, blog post, video needs a clear, targeted audience. And the more niche you go, generally the better. (If you struggle with clarity on that, you might try my Client Avatar worksheet which you can download here.)
What’s my point of view? Your point of view is how you see the world you and your target audience live in. It’s the transformation you make in your audience—fleshed out into a belief system.
Maybe you believe that creativity isn’t just for the chosen few (creativity consultant). Or that everyone is a leader and their job is to find their voice (leadership consultant). Or that going cheap costs too much (designer).
Your belief system drives your content—and for that matter everything related to your brand. Let’s say you believe everyone is creative: if you were podcasting, you might interview everyday front-line folks making creative breakthroughs, not the same handful of celebrity innovators everyone else talks about.
Having an articulate, well-thought out point of view is like a giant neon sign pointing to the stickiest way to teach your brand of expertise.
What themes do I want to build the base of my authority? Even when you have a clear target audience and point of view, you still have plenty of choices on the themes—or lanes—of content you’ll embrace.
The creativity consultant—if say he’s focusing on a niche of B2B SaaS technology companies—might decide to write about increasing creativity in teams, mindset (how to think about creativity), creativity for software developers…you get the idea.
Choosing no more than a handful of themes will keep you focused, while still giving you plenty of depth to write about.
What format(s) suits me best? You want this to be about what comes naturally to you because that’s where your greatest chance for differentiation—and therefore stickiness—lies.
When are you firing on all cylinders: writing long-form content, drafting short snappy emails, interviewing podcast guests and/or video/live speaking?
If you’re just getting started, pick only one format and pour your efforts into that. The key is to find your rhythm, which means you’ll want to spend at least six (yes, six) months before pivoting to another format. It takes time and experimentation to get into the groove that attracts your ideal audience.
Which platforms will I play on? Think of platforms as engagement and distribution systems for your content.
Your website is a platform. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like are platforms and there are countless other sites and people with platforms that might cater to your audience.
Ground zero is always your own site, since it’s your real estate and no one can ever take it away.
But other platforms offer you the opportunity to steadily reach and engage and grow new tribe members. If you’re just getting your sea legs, you might try picking a single social media platform to share your content.
And once you’ve got some traction, it’s time to try a little collaboration to grow your audience—like posting a piece on a complementary site or having them guest on your podcast.
It’s not that making your authority content sticky is hard—it’s that it’s almost impossible if you haven’t FIRST decided how to position yourself.