One of the biggest pain points I see with both marketing agencies and with companies attempting to create their own content is the ability to create thought leadership quality content on a consistent basis when using a hired writer. This ability becomes extremely important with the recent launch of Google’s new Hummingbird search algorithm. This new iteration is said to make Google a smarter, faster search engine that will eventually show only the highest quality content that best answers each search query. The agencies and companies that have the processes and ability to utilize outside writers to create thought leadership quality content will win the search engine game and eventually industry market share.
So how can these businesses produce high-level content that isn’t just a revamped version of someone else’s work? Well, it all begins with having a process in place to help your ghost writers extract information directly from the subject matter experts themselves. Here at 98toGo, we recognized the value of creating high quality content early on, so we created a process to help us accomplish this task. I’m writing this article to give you an inside look into our process and how we work with writers, in the hopes that you can create your own similar process and perhaps help us improve ours. Please read the article and leave us any comments you might have on how we can improve this process, and if this article helps your business please pay it forward.
Step 1: Think of Your Ideal Customer
I understand that your business most likely has several different types of target customers. You can repeat this process for each of them in the future, but for now I want you to focus on your ideal customer. Meaning, if you could only do business with one type of customer, who would it be? What type of industry are they in? What is their title? Are they a man or woman? The more descriptive you are with this activity the easier it will be for your writer to craft a piece of content that speaks directly to that person.
What problems do they have that cause them to begin researching solutions?
Now that you have your ideal customer in mind, brainstorm with your staff around the big problems that your ideal customers are facing. People don’t just wake up one day and call your business to buy from you. No, they first have problems that trigger them to start their search for a solution. You need to have a deep understanding of what those problems are for your ideal customer.
What Questions are they asking in Google to find these solutions?
Once you understand the big problems facing your ideal customers, it’s time to start thinking about the questions they ask the search engines to begin researching solutions to these problems. When thinking about these questions, we want to start broad and then get more specific as we come up with more questions.
If you think about it, this is exactly how you probably do research online. If you didn’t know much about a subject, you would start your research with a broad question. As you read and learn more about the subject you would take what you’ve learned, go back to the search engine and make a more informed search using a more specific question until you found the solution you were looking for.
Can you answer these questions in a purely educational manner?
Ok now that you have the questions your ideal customer is typing into the search engine, I want you to think about how you could briefly and succinctly answer each of these questions in one or two sentences. For instance, if a budget conscious business wanted to increase the traffic to their website they might type “How can I increase traffic to my website for cheap?” our answer might be “To get traffic to a website on a budget, create valuable content and distribute it using social media.” These answers should be purely educational and not promotional in any way. The goal here is to be helpful without being sales-y.
Step 2: Formulate eye-catching titles from this customer Q & A
Using the information from this focused Q & A session, it’s time to come up with a catchy titles for each question and answer that will get your ideal customers to take action, click through to your site, and read your amazing piece of content. If you don’t fancy yourself a great copywriter, you’re in luck, Copyblogger has created a fantastic resource to help you come up with sexy headlines that get clicks. Use it!
Step 3: Have a writer interview you on each of these titles
At this point you should have a ton of great information about who your ideal customers are, what their biggest pain points and problems are, what questions they use to search for solutions to these problems, and how you, the subject matter expert, would answer these questions. Now it’s time for your writer to interview you on each title to help you expand on the answers previously given. To simplify this interview process, 98toGo has created an interview template with questions to help you get the juices flowing. This template should be used as a guide for the writer only. If you have a good writer, they should be able to ask follow-up questions to extract the hidden gems that produce a thought leadership quality article.
As you can see creating this thought leadership content using a hired writer isn’t as tough as agencies and companies tend to make it out to be. But IT IS very important to truly understand the business you’re writing for and the customers who buy from them. Once you understand those dynamics, then creating the content comes much, much easier.
So I hope this article at the very least helps you kick-start your content marketing strategy and helps you to start pumping out more extraordinary content. So now that you’ve heard our process, we’d love to hear from you. How you would improve it? Let us know some of the tips and tricks you use to create amazing content for your business or for your clients.
image credit: http://www.coolage.in/2013/09/30/googles-new-precise-and-fast-algorithm-hummingbird/