Over the last two days, I've provided you with some content creation cost guidelines and how to use content curation as an alternative to creating your own. In this Daily Golden Nugget, I'm explaining how you can tie both together in a complete content building and ROI concept.
As you build your content strategy, it's important to realize that you need content that will help close the sale, content to attract new potential customers, and content that builds awareness. In the past, as I've described these different content types to business owners, many have said that they would rather handle everything themselves instead of paying someone else to do it for them.
A business owner's time is more valuable than any other employee, freelancer, or agency.
My own company provides high level agency services for many businesses in the jewelry industry. Through the years, we've created content and curated information for several customers; although we didn't always call it "content creation" or "curation"--those are just the latest buzz words.
Based on my experience, I've mapped out six different levels of how content curation and content creation work together, inclusively I'll refer to it as "content management."
Every level of content management has different costs associated with it, and the tasks are performed for different reasons. All six content levels complement one another and no one should be employed to the exclusion of the others.
Here are my 6 identified levels of content in order of their most valuable to least valuable:
1. Business Owner Creates Content
2. Business Owner Curates Content
3. Business Owner Socially Engages
4. Hire Content Creator or Task an Employee
5. Hire Content Curator or Task an Employee
6. Hire Social Media Agency
I've spent a lot of time analyzing these 6 different levels to come up with the following explanations and evaluations. While many people have done great jobs to explain if curation or creation works better, and to give you content creation ideas, I can't find anyone explaining how it all fits together in layman terms.
And that's just it, customers of mine want to know how this all works in layman terms so they understand what they are paying for and what they should expect from it. The first item on the list above will cost the most money, be seen by the fewest people, but it ties into that old adage whereby 90% of your sales comes from 10% of your customers. Meanwhile, the last item on the list is the least expensive; it generates a lot of visibility to a massive audience that might not be interested in you right now.
My evaluation below takes into account a lot of important aspects of the content creation and curation process, and it explains how they both fit together, the costs, and returns. The goal here is to explain how you, the business owner, won't have to do all the work to build an audience and turn them into customers.
For simplicity sake, I'm going to assume that all the "content" being created or curated is written, blog type stuff. Keep in mind that content actually includes blogging, videos, photos that you publish on your website or share socially, micro blogging on Twitter, and any other online activity that will garner attention.
I'm also assuming that the hourly value of a business owner is at least $50.
Business Owner Creates Content
As the business owner, the blogs you write need to be better than everyone else's work. You need to write something based in reality, perhaps even telling a true story about a previous customer you helped. Because every industry focuses on a specific set of customer needs, the stories of how you helped a previous customer will certainly resonate with future customers with the same needs.
These stories can be as long as they need to be, and the really long ones might even qualify as in-Depth Articles in Google search. Make the story interesting enough for people to want to read on their own. During your storytelling, you probably will use all those important keywords and phrases that will attract future visitors.
The story needs to convey one simple truth: that you are the best choice for the reader's needs because the reader has the same needs as the previous customer illustrated in your story.
Don't be alarmed by the fact that very few people will read this story of yours. Google Analytics will report these pages have very few readers, but those readers are your high value customers who are willing to spend money if you can prove that you can meet their needs.
Make sure to include appropriate photos to accompany the story along with links to appropriate areas of your online product catalog or instructions of how to directly contact you. You have to give them specific links to those contact instructions which include driving directions, phone numbers, and email addresses.
Your story is supposed to convert the reader to a paying customer, so do not clutter your page with other offers or distractions. Let the reader stay focused. You should do some research about web page conversion optimization for these in-depth stories.
I estimate that it will take at least 4 hours to write a blog once you establish a routine of your own. That equates to about $200 labor cost.
Business Owner Curates Content
I like to explain this content level as something you do when you are inspired. Whenever you spend time on the internet, you are bound to come across stuff that you feel your audience would like to read. I'm not talking about the latest cat meme or trending Twitter hashtag, but rather, something that you really feel is important for your customers to read because it relates to your industry.
In fact, it doesn't have to be something that all your customers would want to read, just the few who will appreciate the time you took to share. The trick here is not to simply click a Like or a Share button, but to explain to your social media friends why you are sharing it with them.
You can summarize the content and/or comment on it why it is good or bad information. Remember that not everything you find on the internet is true, and you might need to assert your professional expertise to refute something that's completely false.
As the business owner, you can curate the content you find to your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter feeds according to who in your audience might find it interesting. While you might take the time to choose who to share content with on Facebook, it's much easier to share appropriate content to specific audiences on Google+.
Your curated content could be posted to the blog on your website, or it can be directly shared to Facebook and Google+. Twitters limitation of 140 characters doesn't allow for proper curation and commenting that you should be doing.
If you follow my instructions here and actually write a real comment of 50 words or more for each piece of content you find, then you are adding real value for your customers. The true value of that commentary will be lost if you share it to social media directly. It's better to publish it to your blog as a short post with a link to the original content. You can then share a single sentence description of your curated commentary to social networks.
The key point here is that you want to build a closer rapport with your existing customers by using curation as a method of customer service. Sharing content won't convert someone to a customer directly, but it maintains top-of-mind awareness and it helps to build additional organic traffic when you curate to your own blog.
I estimate that it will take about 2 hours to curate a few good items of content. Your labor cost on that would be about $100.
This topic turned out to be much larger and more in-depth than I expected, so I'm continuing this tomorrow.
Make sure to come back and keep reading because I'm putting together a really cool infographic you'll be able to refer back to.