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How to Write More Without a Content Marketing Plan

About This Talk

This talk is by Philip Morgan. Catch Philip online by:

Questions

Where do I get an email list from?
How big of an email list do I need to start publishing 3x a week?
3x a week is a lot – will I have that much to say?
How long do I need to do the 3x a week publishing before I know if content marketing is working for me?

Timestamps

1:00 Intro
2:53 Why You Might Not Need a Content Marketing Plan
16:55 Why You Need a Point of View
19:45 Publishing 3x Per Week
38:15 Q+A

Why Content Marketing Plans Are a Roadblock

There’s a huge amount of information created every day on Facebook, the Internet, and all across every channel you can imaging. Translation: there’s an oversupply of information. 

The common advice about how to do content marketing is to create a content plan or editorial calendar. You might also be told to create buyer personas, refine your messaging, or creating a singular plan that you set and stick to. 

As a service provider, there’s a compounding problem that comes with all of this: your content is an investment that won’t be monetized in the near term, and you may choose to find more billable hours or value priced projects instead of investing in marketing. 

The common advice of building a content marketing plan is like buying a Formula 1 race car instead of a car that can move you around town. 

The flaws in the advice to start with a content marketing plan are:

  • You don’t have a clear idea of traffic flow from Google
  • You don’t understand what happens once people reach your site
  • When you observe which content is doing well and decide to emulate it, you’ll end up creating more of what’s already there and in oversupply
  • The deadlines you’ve imposed on yourself will always be second to revenue and client work

Want to Write More? You Need a Point of View

If you want to create lasting, valuable, effective marketing through writing, you need to develop a strong point of view. It may seem out of reach, but it’s possible. 

Instead of a content marketing plan, use these 4 pillars to create great marketing:

  1. Build a habit
  2. Inventory your assumptions
  3. Inventory your fears
  4. Build a feedback loop that is based on real people, not Google Analytics – so you need an email list

Build a Habit

To start building a habit, have a trigger. It could be time of day, after an existing routine or habit, a time block on your calendar – it doesn’t much matter. 

Inventory Your Assumptions

You might have some assumptions abo

ut content marketing that are getting in the way. One assumption might be about what good content marketing is, and your assumptions may not apply to the audience and clients you want to reach. 

Check your assumptions about content type, humor, entertainment, and more and test them against the audience you want to reach. And don’t overthink it: get some content out to just a few people, ask for feedback, and keep iterating. You have to keep going. 

Inventory Your Fear

What do you feel about publishing? As soon as you hit the publish button, you’ll have some fears bubbling up. You might be afraid of having a strong point of view, or saying the wrong thing, or trying and failing. Be honest with yourself about the fears you have, and begin to question whether 

Build a Feedback Loop

Publish to an email list 3x a week and commit to it. For the first 4-6 weeks, you’ll be in a lot pain! That’s okay. Think about it like going to the gym: at first it’s really difficult, but eventually the pain subsides and (mostly) goes away. 

Writing More to Create Value

Writing more isn’t just for your clients, it’s for you too. As you write more, you’ll begin to clarify your own thinking, develop your point of view, and get out better and better information. 

At some point, you’ll write and publish so much that you feel you’ve covered it all. Philip calls this “hitting the wall.” Keep going! As you push through, you’ll begin to cover less obvious topics, ones that are more mysterious and harder to cover. That’s the good stuff. 

It’ll take a lot of work to get to the point of developing a point of view, but this is the process to do it in predictable and measured way. 

Starting Your List to Write More

A few attendees of the talk had questions about 1) email frequency and 2) how to get your first email subscribers. Philip and Liston agree on both. 

For email frequency, the way to develop your point of view is to write and publish often. Three times a week works, just as Philip described. If you’re worried that three times a week will prove to be too much for some people, there’s nothing to worry about because you’re right. Just be upfront about the purpose of your email list and your expected frequency. 

Reach out to a limited list of people directly and get their permission to be on your newsletter. Your list, and everyone else’s list – including the Serve Don’t Sell newsletter! – always starts with one person and goes from there. Philip suggests you envision the number of people on your list in a room together. Even if you only have 10 or 20 people to start, that’s a lot of people listening to what you have to say three times a week. 

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