How Thought Leaders Need To Think About Content Creation
By: Christina Hager
Creating great content is why your audience keeps coming back for more, and it’s why they refer others to you. It can drive traffic to your website, encourage customers to sign up to your mailing list or even be the tipping point that encourages them to buy products or services from you. That’s why, as a thought leader, you must absolutely have a plan around your content creation.
Don’t believe me?
According to HubSpot’s data, companies and brands that put out 16 or more posts a month receive 3.5 times more traffic to their website than companies that post four or fewer posts a month.
Great content can motivate your audience — but don’t think this means simply churning out tired, stale 500-word blog articles, posting massive amounts of videos to your site or simply updating your LinkedIn once a week. To reap the benefits, your focus should be on creating interesting, varied content that truly engages your audience and provides them with meaningful value.
Here are some tips on how to develop great content while building your thought leadership:
1. Get to know your audience.
It sounds basic, but it deserves repeating. Before you create your content, know who and where your audience is. Too often, thought leaders and businesses automatically assume what channels their audiences are on.
For instance, I’ve seen many people default to Facebook since it’s one of the largest and most established channels, or because they are most familiar with it. For some, this may be a good channel to start with. But if you are trying to target corporate individuals or book speaking engagements, it might not be the platform to immediately start building on, because, chances are, that’s not where your target audience “lives.” Instead, you could focus on LinkedIn and YouTube to distribute your message, develop your brand identity and build your search engine optimization (SEO) so that more people can find you.
By the same token, I’ve seen clients assume that, since they live in the corporate world of consulting, they only need to worry about LinkedIn, so they ignore all other channels. This is a mistake. These days, more and more CEOs are connecting with each other on Twitter. Not only that, but Twitter may be the easiest way for you to connect and engage with other thought leaders!
The point I’m trying to make is that you need to take time to drill down on your target demographic, deciding where and how you are going to engage with them. This will ultimately help in your content creation; once you know where your message is going to go, you can create content optimized with specific channels in mind.
2. Video is the future, and the future is now!
Video is everywhere. Think about the brands and thought leadership that spring to the top of your mind — they most likely all use striking, relevant video to get their identity and message across. Integrating video into your strategies will help draw eyes on you and allow people to know you better. You may not think you have a lot to say, but if you create short, “snackable” videos that you can tease out across social media, it can inspire more people to come to your website or blog.
Best of all, you don’t even have to spend a lot of time or resources to create great looking visual content. Cell phones, web tools and some good lighting make it possible for almost anyone to create a seemingly professionally shot video series.
The keys to making it work?
- Write your scripts ahead of time.
- Host your video on YouTube.
- Optimize it for the relevant channel with things like keywords in your title and captions.
- Stick to a consistent schedule for video distribution throughout all your channels.
3. Repurpose your content to save time and money and increase its shelf life.
No matter the content you create, your ability to repurpose it is critical to your success. If you write a great blog post, don’t just post it on your website and leave it there to die. Post a section, a paragraph or the URL on all your social media channels. This will encourage conversations and engagement as it drives traffic to your website. Then, wait a month and publish the same piece as an article on LinkedIn. This way, it will be seen by a totally new and different audience and be crawled by Google as new content, upping your SEO.
Not sure what else to do with that blog post? Try pulling out important quotes and stats from the article to tweet or include in your Instagram Story. If you’re artistically inclined or know someone who is, create compelling graphics with the best quotes and paragraphs on top of them, and then publish them on Facebook or Instagram.
Make a video about the blog post. You could talk about what inspired you to create it or even give a rundown about what is in it — this might serve as an extra nudge for people to read it! Host the video on your YouTube channel, and after a month, redistribute the YouTube link throughout all your social media and email lists.
If repurposed correctly, that one piece of content can have an extremely long life cycle, one that doesn’t just give up the ghost after 90 days. You can even update that same content every single year and republish it with a new title, more relevant examples or up-to-date stats. This is great for your Google indexing, and it also gives you an opportunity to adjust your content as needed.
Regardless of the budget or the time you have available to develop your digital presence, by creating a content creation plan in which you consider your audience and build great content around it, you will be building your digital footprint and setting yourself up for success.