Win Hearts, Minds and Eyeballs with Compelling Advisory Content
When you clearly understand your prospects’ challenges, you’ve got a leg up in creating content. That’s because those problems – and your solutions – form the basis of ideas that you can then turn into compelling advisory content.
In earlier articles in this series, I demystified the process of brainstorming ideas and creating an ideal reader or client persona. In this article, I’ll define a three-step process for turning your brainstorming into compelling content that your ideal readers or prospects will eagerly consume.
Compelling content is key to client conversion. Targeted, well-written content with appropriate key words drives Google search results. Continually refreshing your website with current, targeted content will keep your search ranking strong and bring the rights types of prospects to your website.
You can also use targeted content in your email drip campaigns with prospects and in client communications to stay connected to your current clients. Cross-linking to related articles, videos, podcasts and other content on your site also serves to strengthen that all-important Google search ranking.
To get rolling on the process of turning your brainstorming into compelling content, you start by creating a list of ideas, then grouping those ideas into categories and then finally writing tentative headlines for each planned piece of content. That content could be a blog post, an email, a white paper, a podcast episode or a video.
Strategy 1: Create a List of Ideas
To craft a list of ideas, start by collecting thoughts about your most recent conversations with your clients and prospects. What are their worries or concerns? What keeps them up at night? What problems continually crop up in your conversations? These are the ones to focus on.
You can also surf the internet for news related to your area of expertise or the area of your practice you want to grow. Recent surveys are a rich vein of ideas – if your area of expertise is retirement, for example, you can google “retirement+surveys” or “retirement+news” to get relevant surveys and news. Make sure they are as recent as possible.
Keep track of those ideas on a handwritten or typed list or in a voice recording on your cell phone – whichever method works for you. If you’re super busy, take a few minutes a few times a week to brainstorm. By the end of the week, you should have a list of at least 10 to 12 potential ideas, if not more.
Strategy 2: Group related ideas together
With your list in hand, group your ideas together by topic. If you’re writing for suddenly single women, for example, you might have ideas for widows and divorcees. You want to separate those out because they are very different audiences.
Then, within those two groups, segregate your ideas even further. Coming up with a series of content, even if it is only two or three-piece series, is a great way to fuel your content machine because those related pieces of content are easy to backlink to each other, another way to improve your search engine optimization.
If you’re writing for divorced or divorcing women, for example, you might have ideas related to separating from your spouse, the divorce process and post-divorce finances. Grouping them in this way helps you keep your ideas manageable and logical.
Readers love article with steps because they are easy to navigate. Create steps with each individual piece of content and then within each piece of content to maximize this technique.
Strategy 3: Brainstorm headlines
Finally, with a list of topics grouped together by subjects, it’s time to brainstorm the headlines that will lure readers into your content. The best headlines move readers towards action with action verbs or break down topics into steps. Here are some examples of good and bad headlines on the topic of taxation in retirement:
WORSE: Taxes create retirement headaches
BETTER: 3 Strategies for minimizing taxes in retirement
What’s the difference: The first headline states the obvious and doesn’t suggest a solution. The second headline lets readers know that you’re offering a solution to a problem that’s stated within the headline.
Here’s another example of a retirement taxation headline:
WORSE: Taxes may rise in retirement, reducing income
BETTER: Maximize retirement income by reducing taxes
What’s the difference? The first headline is vague and boring. The second headline attracts readers by suggesting ways they can increase their income while reducing taxes in retirement. Again, think actionable – your goal in creating the content should be clear in the headline.
If you can’t think of engaging headlines, it may be because your ideas are too broad to be nailed down in an actionable headline.
To figure that out, determine whether your idea can easily be broken down into three or four steps. If it’s too complicated, chop it up even more to get to the point where it’s manageable from the headline point of view.
1f you want to write about the divorce process, for example, trying to write about the entire divorce process in one piece of content is way too much. Instead, break that up into several steps such as hiring a lawyer, spousal and child support, child custody and settlement. Then break each of these ideas down into one or more headlines.
A final word
Creating a pool of content that you can build out over a specific period – such as three or six months – will make the actual process of writing, filming or podcasting your content easier, because you’ll have a plan. In the remaining articles in this series, I’ll cover creating a content calendar, leveraging an article or blog template to write quickly and selecting images to go with your content.