The road to a successful business is paved with them. And it can, understandably, drive entrepreneurs a little nutty, a lotta overwhelmed, and (hopefully no more than) a smidgen paralyzed into inaction.
The equally awful and beautiful truth is that anything can work.
I teach entrepreneurs to use content to grow their businesses by being generous with their smarts and connecting their generosity strategically to their offers whilst cultivating an outlet to explore something they love.
Others teach entrepreneurs to use paid advertising. Or Instagram. Or public speaking. Or media. It goes on and on and on.
The only real secret to knowing what decisions to make for your business is to follow what delights you.
Sounds fluffy, I realize, but stay with me on this for a minute.
Truth Nugget #1: You can make anything work.
It's true. If you work any strategy long enough, learn everything you can about it and fully immerse yourself in it – it will work and you will see results.
But if you choose something you enjoy, you'll barely notice the work. You'll just be having fun using a strategy to explore and express on a topic you love (your business).
And this is important, because of …
Truth Nugget #2: It takes time for anything to work.
You can't try something once and quit because you don't see the results you were hoping for.
If there were a strategy that did allow you to succeed overnight, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't work anymore.
If you decide to try something (like content, or one of the other multitude of biz-building strategies out there), stick with it long enough to really know whether it's (a) having the impact you want; and (b) if you enjoy it.
And because you have to stick with something long enough to see results, things are going to go much smoother if it's something you like.
For instance, if you HATE doing video (and it's not just because you're scared of it), trying to make yourself do 30 days of Facebook Lives to gain some momentum in your business is going to be torture. And so even though, everyone's been saying video is the next big thing (for years), that doesn't have to be true for you. And you aren't missing out on anything, by taking a hard pass.
But if it's something you enjoy, sticking with it will be a pleasure.
So because anything can work and this leads to that nutty overwhelm paralysis mentioned above, there's really only one decision factor you should let determine what's wrong and right for you: Do you enjoy it?
The Content Empire Roadmap
If you do decide that content is for you then I've created a little resource to help you focus in on the 7 steps needed to build a strong content foundation (no matter what channels you'll use to publish your content).
I'm often asked how I'd build a content strategy if I were just starting again or what I would do to fix a content strategy that wasn't delivering on the hoped-for ROI.
And for me, I have a roadmap that I use for myself, my one-on-one clients and in my signature program, Your Content, Your Empire. Even if the specifics vary from business to business, I go through these 7 steps every single time.
How to Use the Content Empire Roadmap in your Business
Do you have a single offer in your business (or single type of offer)?
Complete the steps in the Content Empire Roadmap for that offer.
Do you have multiple offers that clients or customers choose from (versus purchasing them all in a sequence)?
Complete the Content Empire Roadmap steps for each offer. Some of the work in certain steps will overlap, but each offer should be important enough to warrant getting a full content strategy build.
Do you have multiple offers that each lead to the next?
Clients or customers usually begin with the first offer, and then you sell them on the next and then next. This is called an Ascension Business Model.
Start by completing the entire roadmap for the initial offer. Then Steps 1 to 5 for each subsequence offer.
People who are coming into your business will usually come for the lowest tier offer (unless they're making a decision after talking to you on a consult call, you're running a special launch or promotion for one of the other offers or they're a referral).
Step 1 – Build Your Offer Layers
Building a strong relationship between your paid offers and content topics is an important step before we start creating your content empire strategy.
This allows us to put your paid offers at the centre of every piece of content you create – not in a selfish way but in a way that you can be more of service to the people who need your services or products the most. There is no shame in selling especially if you are also providing a ton a free value.
What it means to put your paid offers at the centre of your content strategy:
- Content you release prepares readers to take the “next step” with you
- Your free content offers a preview or taster of your paid offers
- Your content is highly valuable to very targeted readers, who because of this careful alignment are also high-quality leads
Step 2 – Your Offer: Start in the Centre
Pull together everything about your offer into a single Outstanding Offer Docket.
The docket will include everything you'll need to market your offer – testimonials, basic details, marketing copy. If you need some help pulling your offer docket together, download the Content Empire Roadmap (with the complete checklist):
Step 3 – Your Freebie: Validate Your Leads
The next step is to choose, create and set up the delivery for a freebie that validates leads for your offer.
Meaning that if someone chooses to sign up for, download and use your freebie, they're likely perfect candidates for your paid offer. It also means that they're probably interested in your offer too.
Since in step 1, we built your offer layers so that everything was connected to the next layer, there's a logical relationship between each level (offer, freemium content, blog content, promotion posts).
This is a common roadblock for people in their content strategies – they create a freebie that either has no relationship to their offers OR they create a freebie that replaces the need for their offer.
Example: A web designer creating a freebie that promises to teach leads to DIY design their own websites. Why would they need you after they've used it?
Step 4 – Your Sales Funnel: Convert Your Leads
The next step is to create a bridge between your freebie and your offer by using an email sequence.
The goal of an email sequence is to:
- Support subscribers in getting the most out of the freebie by fully implementing it
- Positioning your paid offer
- Engaging your subscriber by welcoming them into your community
As long as it accomplishes these three things, you can create your sequence any way you please. If you want to know the exact emails I include in many of the funnels I create for myself or clients.
Step 5 – Your Content: Woo Your Traffic
How do people get to your freebie? Usually by visiting your website, reading something that lets them know you're the real deal and then making a decision that it's worth it to fork over their email address.
That's the purpose of your blog content (whether it's written, video or podcast episodes with transcripts).
Your blog can be a main driver of traffic to your website and a reason for people to actually visit. The more traffic to your website, the more people who will sign up for the free and paid offers on your website.
So make sure that you're creating content around topics that your clients need and want to read about and that your blog posts make a great impression.
Step 6 – Promotion: Attract High-Quality Traffic
Finally, we get to what many assume is the bulk of a content strategy – social media and promotion content. This is any content that we publish on websites other than our own with the goal of getting people to click and come back to our websites or landing pages.
There are so many different types but they fall into 4 buckets:
- Paid promo: Facebook ads, sponsorships, banner ads, Google ads, Pinterest ads
- Earned promo: Guest posting, teaching, interviews, round-ups, influencers
- Shared promo: Social media, readers sharing your content
- Owned promo: Getting your email list to visit your website
Step 7 – Measure, Optimize and Scale
“What's measured gets managed,” Peter Drucker.
If you have a goal of reaching 100, 500, 1000 or 10,000 email subscribers (it doesn't matter) – measure every single one coming in. To throw a little woo into the mix, we attract more of what we pay attention to.
Make sure you're measuring on a regular basis and using that information to help you decide what to do more or less of with your content and marketing.
Want a copy of this roadmap and the 4-page accompanying checklist that breaks down each step?
Download the Content Empire Roadmap by clicking on the image below.