So I've gone down a bit of a rabbit hole.
This time, however, it's a strategic rabbit hole (does such a thing exist?).
Let me give you a quick little backstory before we get into the heart of this post.
When I started blogging and writing content 7 1/2 years ago, I didn't have much of a strategy. There was plenty of information available about blogging (not quite as much as there is today or the same quality, but it was still available) but I didn't dive into any of it. When I started my business, I thought I'd be an information, marketer. I wasn't thinking web development or creating websites at ALL. Furthest thing from my mind. Then I found WordPress and the rest are, as they say, history.
Creating content was always part of what I did, but it wasn't based on a strategy with a clear direction and focus. Over the years, I got better at creating content and started looking more heavily at my analytics to see what people wanted most from me (novel idea, I know). This was getting closer to a strategy, but I still didn't ever define the strategy and look at the end goal. Fortunately for me I stuck with it (tenacity instead of strategy I guess).
All of that is changing now.
All of this started thanks to Dan Norris and his new book Content Machine (if you haven't picked up the book I cannot recommend it enough. I bought the Kindle version then had to have the paperback too. I do this way more often than I care to admit).
As someone who only got into paid traffic a couple of years ago (I certainly sound like a slow learner here, huh?), I always knew content was valuable, but not ever having gone about it the right way I didn't know how valuable it was. Dan's book has changed all that for me. When I read that Dan grew WP Curve to a 7-figure business in 18 months through content marketing, I had to stop reading and take that in for a minute.
Clearly it was a hell of a lot of work but the work he put into creating the content was part of his business strategy. If you're in this for the long haul, creating epic content is brilliant and should be a part of your business strategy. Of course, you need to make sure you share your content and that it's optimized, but that's another post (and one I don't feel qualified to write about just yet).
Which is the rabbit hole I've gone down.
I am consuming as MUCH as I can about content AND... better yet, I'm implementing it.
It's easy as business owners to get caught up in tasks and client work. As I mentioned in a previous post, my rule is no client work before noon (and yes, I break this rule sometimes). I know myself, and my creative juices are much better the first part of the day so when it comes to creating (anything). I need to do it earlier rather than later. What happened over the last couple of years though as I stepped into paid advertising was I started judging myself for not getting into paid traffic sooner (gotta love that little voice in our heads that keeps us from really showing up, right?). Mainly because I had some great results right out of the gate, which I attribute more to beginner's luck than skill.
But the thing with paid traffic is that you also need to have a strategy (you're starting to see the pattern here, right?).
And with paid traffic, just like writing content, you have to be consistent. You need to measure what you're doing - what's working and course correct along the way.
Too often people try something, don't get the results they wanted (ever sold something and no one bought it? Nothing like crickets chirping...) and give up. I know because I've done that myself. I stopped throwing in the towel a couple of years ago when I hired mentors who helped me with all of this. And again, I'm somewhat tenacious, so I just kept going, even if it was at a slower pace than the people around me.
Where Most Web Developers #FAIL
They look at creating content as something that gets done after the work is done, if they have time, or when they get around to it.
I've worked with many WordPress business owners who create websites for clients but never get around to creating content for their own business. And I get it... you have work to do. Work that people are PAYING you to do.
But here's the rub.
You're not building your business. All your time is spent building your clients businesses.
AND... if you aren't creating content and growing your site, to what degree are you helping your clients? #foodforthought
(talking in hashtags is so annoying but so ridiculously addictive. #justsayin)
One thing I hear over and over again is that people don't know what to write about. With more than enough great sites out that there that do plugin and theme reviews or share WordPress news, how do you stand out? What differentiates you from all the other WordPress blogs, agency sites or web dev sites that are writing about WordPress?
YOU are what makes your writing and content unique.
Someone once left me a review on my podcast that said, "This isn't about WordPress, she talks mainly about her business."
It's called "The WordPress Chick Podcast."
It's my show, my business, and I'm sharing my experiences. Do I talk about WordPress? Often. But not every episode. I'd lose my mind. There are so many other things that go into my business. I own the fact that I'm not a coder or programmer yet I've built a solid, sustainable business around WordPress. But let's be clear. WordPress is simply the vehicle. It's not the business.
Consulting the Magic 8 Ball
Because this isn't based on hard core data (yes, I totally get the contradiction to my measuring and tracking statement above) nor do I have a crystal ball, but it's time to scale up your content.
If you haven't been creating content or had a solid strategy for it, you need to do this NOW.
The search engines have always wanted quality content and as it's getting harder and more costly to do paid advertising (not that it will ever go away). Provide value and be unique. I've seen a handful of big marketers (who have made a ton online through paid traffic in the IM space) stepping up their content and focusing on relationships.
As a quick example, let's talk about Facebook for a second.
When I share something on Facebook that is maybe just a quick headline, image and link, I get a few clicks or engagements. When I write at least a paragraph (kind of a mini-post) and write in my voice, my engagement goes through the roof.
I tested this recently on a post I wrote on 'Overhauling The WordPress Chick - Part 1" (a post on my site outlining this new content strategy and the work that is involved). I wrote a mini-post, then shared the image and link. Within an hour, I had 20 post clicks and three comments. This isn't always the case but without a doubt the posts I share where I write a little more get way more engagement (video is a whole other can of worms that will get you tons of reach on Facebook, but that's also for another post).
Here's a gold nugget for you
If you're someone who does do paid advertising (or are thinking of starting), what if you started adding retargeting pixels to your content? Your site?
As an example, I'm setting up retargeting pixels for different content categories and will be testing paid traffic to content. Then when I want to market something specific to someone who listens to the podcast or is interested in lead generation (as an example), I have a custom audience (and build a look-alike audience as well). Keep in mind I'm not an ad specialist nor do I play one on TV (I've always wanted to use that line. Such a dork). I simply know what works for me.
What makes me most excited about this shift to a content strategy is that I love creating content. It doesn't feel like work, I get to provide value, and I get to show up as myself.
A pretty awesome combination if I do say so myself.