At the start of a new funnel project, one of our critical exercises is to work with the customer to understand what kind of content they’ll be creating and promoting.
The problem is that thinking of content topics can be hard. It can be difficult to think of something that’s interesting, useful for the reader and that you know enough about to write 500 words on.
I see a lot of businesses commit the cardinal sin of content, which is to write about themselves. I see lots of blog posts, emails and updates talking about awards they’ve won or new team members.
Your content needs to be focused on your audience and customers, not you. Rather than seeing content as a spotlight for your business, use content as a spotlight for their business. Shine a light on their life and problems and you’ll have greater success with your content.
As funnel builders, the fastest and most cost effective way to rise above your competition is to create content. When you’re working with clients, it’s vital that you make sure that they also build content for their audience.
I’m going to show you the four content prompts I use to quickly think of video topics, blog posts, emails, interviews, books, sales campaigns and webinars.
What’s a disruptive idea I could share?
A disruptive idea is something that is considered common sense or a common belief, but which is in fact false. You’re challenging conventional wisdom and populist theory with another idea that could even be considered controversial.
For example, a disruptive idea in the digital marketing space would be that your website doesn’t need more traffic. You should focus on conversions first, and the traffic will sort itself out.
Or in the health space, that running doesn’t burn that many calories. Disruptive ideas might divide your audience, but it’s showing them you take a stance for something and that you have different ideas.
What’s some insight that I could share?
Insight is something that your customer doesn’t know, but they should, as it will affect them in a positive way. As opposed to disruptive idea, which goes against a common belief.
Insight is something that isn’t common knowledge, but typically has a positive angle to it. Insight is something that offers a new idea or a new way of looking at something.
For example, insight with digital marketing might be that I can tell you your customers favourite hobbies for free, by using Facebook custom audiences. Or that a niche is really just an overlap of what you’re good at, what people will pay for and what you love to do.
It should be something that a customers says “I didn’t know that. That’s cool” when they hear it. It could be a process or model that explains something, or an idea that makes a larger strategy easier to understand.
For example the Campaign Matrix for new/current customers/products. Insight makes a goal easier to reach.
What’s changing in their environment that they need to be aware of?
Changing refers to the threat, or opportunity within the market that your customers should be aware of. They need to be ready to take advantage of a certain opportunity or prepare for a threat.
The changing marketplace or environment can be divided into three areas. Technology, economic and sociological.
Ideally we want a change in all three sectors. Usually two threats and one opportunity. But if you have a threat and an opportunity in each sector then that’s great too.
For example, a massive threat in the tech space is time wasting apps. Phone notifications and apps that distract from workflow, cause concentration problems and reduce attention spans.
It’s important that the threat or opportunity is presented to the customer from the perspective of their life, not your work. For example, if I do email marketing for authors. I want to make sure that the change I tell them about, is relevant to their life as an author first and email marketing second. Authors don’t care about AI campaigns unless it affects their life.
What’s a myth that they believe, which is preventing them from starting?
A myth is something that your customer or audience believe to be true, that isn’t. Similar to a disruptive idea, a myth might be something considered common wisdom or popular. But again, is incorrect.
A myth however is usually a belief that prevents someone from taking action. It’s usually a mistake or something they’ve tried in the past that gave them a bad experience, or an objection to starting in the first place.
For example a common myth in digital marketing is that Facebook ads are expensive and don’t work. And when they’re done badly that’s correct. However adverts should pay for themselves and technically, be free.
Another myth or misconception is that SEO is dead. You’ve tried SEO and hired an SEO guy and it didn’t help. A myth can usually be argued that it wasn’t the customer’s fault that they did something in the past, because they didn’t know better. It’s similar to an objection that prevents them from doing something.
Rinse and repeat
These content prompts help me create nurture campaigns, sales copy, pitches, blog post ideas and video topics. I’ll usually write lots at a time and then pick my way through them when I need to write some new content.
If you want another awesome exercise to learn how I create two years worth of content in under a couple of hours, sign up to our 10×10 Matrix exercise below, for free/