Content is a word that seems to pop up everywhere these days and while we probably know it’s important, we may not know how to apply it to our own businesses.
The dictionary definition of content in the sense to which we’re referring is:
All that is contained or dealt with in a piece of writing, etc.; substance.
I would go on to say that it’s something valuable, that when consumed by a person benefits them in some way. It’s the meat of the subject, the crux. It doesn’t have to be serious as it could be something funny. It could be on any topic. Content is the good bit!
I am now going to give you the most important tip you will ever receive about content creation. Are you ready?
Always Carry a Notebook
Perhaps it’s not the exciting tip you were hoping for, but let me explain why the most successful people in life are always recording their ideas and thoughts either on paper or electronically. It’s because they know that some things only come to you once and you have to be ready. It can often be when you’re right in the middle of something . . . taking a walk, lifting weights at the gym, doing some shopping or trying to get to sleep, etc. Sometimes it might be a Eureka moment, more often than not it’s a small detail that needs attention. Write it down as you may forget it later.
When I say write it down, it doesn’t have to be paper. Evernote is a fantastic app that allows you to record information digitally and access it, wherever you are, on one of your devices. The biggest advantage of Evernote is how you can search for information (notes, documents, photos, audio) in a range of different ways including by date and location. It can even scan an image with handwritten text for your search terms.
It’s also good to get into the habit of not censoring yourself – any idea is a good idea. Even if this may not be 100% true it’s a good way to train yourself into coming up with more good ideas. There is nothing more exciting than when you feel you are on a creative roll. I never try to stop myself when I get this kind of inspiration because it’s the equivalent of making hay while the sun is shining.
At the other end of the spectrum when you’re feeling like you have no good ideas or you can’t think what content to produce, this should be the perfect time to review your notes. Some may seem pointless or were items you needed to action but others will stand out, seem more relevant or even increase in value over time.
I was a radio presenter for many years and I believe content creation was at the heart of everything good that I did. There were times when it felt relentless but I am so thankful for that training and now content creation is second nature. I hope to share as much of this knowledge as I can in these blog posts.
Google is Looking for Great Content
It is the ambition of most companies to rank at the top of Google for their keywords. It is Google’s ambition to connect its users with the content for which they are searching. So if you are not producing the content your customers want, you are missing out. Creating content alone may not get you to the top of Google if you have a competitive keyword but it will be a massive headstart. I would always start this way and then move on to advertising and SEO when content is being produced consistently. Google can change its algorithm at any time, leaving SEO tricks useless but content will always be the commodity in which they trade.
Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative told me a great analogy the other day, how Google is like the host of a cocktail party. When you get discussing a certain topic Google will introduce you to the person you might like to meet. If you want Google to see you as that expert, you have to be consistently generating the content in your niche. If you start chopping and changing direction, it is possible Google may penalise you.
Aim to Make Evergreen Content
Another reason content should trump advertising is that the most valuable content doesn’t date. Some things will always ring true. One of the business books I most highly recommend is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (affiliate link). If you haven’t heard about this classic book from 1937 I would really recommend buying a copy. Napoleon Hill was commissioned (but with no pay) by one of the world’s richest men at the time, Andrew Carnegie, to put in 20 years of research to find out what makes people successful. He interviewed over 500 of the wealthiest people in America and came up with his own philosophy. What staggers me is how timeless this information is. He has distilled his learnings down to lessons which will always be true, regardless of new inventions like mobile technology or the Internet, or changes in how we live, etc.
Everyone has Content at Their Finger Tips
As we get towards the end of this article you may be thinking that you don’t know enough to blog, podcast or make videos for your business and particularly do this continually. Well, I say you do! Quite often once you’ve learnt something it’s very difficult to cast your mind back to what it was like before you gained that knowledge. Thus you have a blindspot for the many things you know. One of my goals for the next few years is to build or renovate an energy efficient home and so I set up a podcast about my research. I believe one of the strengths of this podcast is that I am a complete outsider and people can follow my journey, no doubt as I make many mistakes. I am constantly interviewing very knowledgeable people and yet my questioning is limited by my own knowledge. So, I see this podcast naturally digging deeper as I and the House Planning Help community grows in understanding.
In my next post I will look at how you can generate content for your business.