How to put your content to work for you
Too many people are creating content every day just for the sake of creating content.
"Post 2x a day on Twitter."
"Show up where your customers are."
"Content is 20% of your job. The other 80% is distribution."
While all of these tactics and principles may be true, if your content doesn't work then the whole system is broken and will fail to deliver the outcomes you're after.
Specifically, more awareness, more leads, and more customers.
Instead, most creators hope that their content grows their audience, and they hope that audience turns into prospects, leads, and clients.
They hope that they are generating demand and desire for their products and services.
But - if you haven't realized by now - the hope strategy doesn't work.
So, instead of hoping, we're going to give each piece of content a job.
There are three job "buckets" that we'll put your future content in, and doing so will help you be more efficient with your time and more effective with your content.
Your New Content Buckets
You've got three types of content, each with different jobs and outcomes:
Awareness content is meant for the broadest distribution. You want people to share it, and the goal is to get this type of content in front of as much of your target audience as possible.
Your awareness content pulls people into your world. If it's doing its job well, it should screen out the people it's not for, as much as it pulls the right prospects in.
Your awareness content points to the next bucket...
Engagement content is where people go deeper. They get more context, and they can apply what you are teaching them.
There are two types, before and after a transaction occurs.
Your free long-form content talks about what people should do to get the outcomes they want. Your content after they give you an email address, phone number, or another way to contact them directly is to help them learn about how to do it.
Readers have given you permission to send this to them - they signed up for your newsletter or a free webinar using their email address. It's not behind a paywall yet, but it is longer in format than social media posts. This engagement content can span multiple emails, videos, or podcast episodes.
You want to have enough engagement content to allow people to go down a rabbit hole with your content, both before and after they sign up for your email newsletter. This is why I published the first draft of my book online for free, why I rebooted my podcast, and why I publish a weekly newsletter. (Join using the button at the bottom of the screen).
Delivery content is part of your product or service. You're delivering on a promise to your customer that they paid you for.
This can be a paid newsletter or private podcast, course material, community content, or videos that you're creating for your clients as you teach them something new and implement a service.
This is all of the content that's behind a paywall and is exclusively for your customers. This is where you help them implement the what and the how that you discussed in your awareness and engagement content.
When you craft your content this way, there's a logical progression from awareness to engagement to delivery.
Your audience discovers you and becomes a prospect, then engages further and becomes a lead, then has the desire to get the outcome you are promising so they become a customer.
Your awareness content is for your prospects, your engagement content is for your leads, and your delivery content is for your customers and clients.
A Content Example
Which type of content are you reading right now?
You're going deeper, and you've opted into reading it either by giving your email (newsletter) or clicking off a platform (social or Google) and onto this blog post.
There are sub-categories for each of the areas. You have short form and long form. On your platform and on other platforms.
Free and various versions of transaction - email, low-ticket, mid-ticket, high-ticket.
So, here's how this works.
Social media posts have value in and of themselves (sometimes referred to as "zero-click" content. They don't need to click to another page to get some value from reading a post.) When appropriate, they point to other free, long-form pieces of content on the same topic.
A percentage of those who see and read the social post will click through to the article, video, podcast, or blog post that you've linked to.
That piece of free, long-form content points to an opportunity to get the next step in exchange for an email or way to contact the reader. Like this:
That page has an email capture form which then enrolls the subscriber into an automated email sequence. The end of that sequence points to a sales sequence if they're ready to implement everything they've learned.
If they choose, they can buy my book, join my community, or get coaching or consulting. All of that content is reserved for customers and clients.
A big mistake many creators make is putting the sales pitch too early in the customer journey. If you've got a big ticket item like coaching or a membership community, it's (generally) too big a leap to go from casual follower on social media to customer of a $1,000+ product or service.
You've got to use your content strategically to walk them step by step, rather than push them to take a huge leap.
How To Get Started
Give your content a job. Put each type of content you create into the proper bucket.
Add calls to action to your awareness content to check out your engagement content. Add a throughline to your engagement content to pull people to become a client or customer.
Instead of random posts, cut your long-form pieces into snippets and use that as awareness content that more easily directs people to your engagement content.
Now, I've heard all of the common reasons that creators haven't done this yet.
"It feels like a ton of work!"
This is taking what you are already doing and doing it better. You are focusing on an outcome, not just an output. These are simple tweaks, rather than a huge overhaul.
"I can't do all this"
Do less. You don't have to be everywhere at once. Choose one platform to focus on and let the others go for 6-12 months.
Have one platform for engagement (blog, newsletter, youtube, podcast).
Get that whole system working to deliver the quality and quantity of leads and customers you need.
THEN expand when you're ready to add more. One social platform, one engagement platform, one delivery content (course, community, coaching, etc.)
"I don't know where to start"
Start with your product and work backward.
- What does someone need to believe in order to become a customer?
- Create long-form engagement content to help them believe those things.
- Then chop it up into smaller pieces for social.
- Create a connection that goes from awareness, to engagement, to delivery content.
Don't just create content. Create a content system where every piece has a job, and is contributing to the desired outcome of that system: more prospects, more leads, and more clients.
Since starting this in my own business the difference is night and day.
I went from 1 lead a week to 10 or more in less than a month. I'm spending less time on social media, and more time on long-form content that has a greater impact on those that engage with it.
I have more leads that are coming to sales conversations pre-sold because the content is doing the job of marketing and selling my business for me.
Want help implementing this content system? Start with the free scorecard and I'll send you a free email series to help you get started.