The Profitable Content Formula

This week in Entrepreneur School, our wonderful guest is Anna Huff, founder of Midwest Social Creative. Anna helps entrepreneurs establish presence and authority online through their content.   

Today, Anna will be sharing her system for content planning and shows you how to use a single piece of content to fuel your content calendar.

Anna is a content marketing strategist who works with online entrepreneurs to help them build their brands. We all know that content is so important to help us to get our message out there, get exposure, and to get visibility. At the heart of Anna’s expertise in content, planning is her Profitable Content Formula, a strategy for creating content that reaches your audience effectively.

As a new entrepreneur creating content can be a struggle, if you’re inconsistent with your content, if you know that you want to show up consistently, but you are busy as an entrepreneur and it gets overwhelming, you might feel stuck.

We got into entrepreneurship because we wanted to have time freedom and money freedom. And it’s important that you can do that, but you can’t do that if you’re spending most of your time in content creation mode.

You’re not just creating content for the sake of creating content, you are creating content with intention, with purpose, and that content is going to take you where you want to go. 

All of this is what we’re going to talk about today, and the system that I’m going to be sharing with you is called the Profitable Content Formula. 

Profitable Content Formula Step One: Sustainable Foundations

The first step to creating content is developing and figuring out your niche. 

A lot of times we will have an offer in our head, and that offer, we have created is based solely on our preferences, thoughts, and opinions. And what happens is we’re not going to see them take off because we haven’t validated them with our audience. So it all starts with having a niche; knowing what your offer is, and making sure you have audience alignment.

The first step to finding your niche is doing Strategic Market Research to understand what your audience is struggling with, what they think they are struggling with, and what they want. And you cannot sell them what they need if they don’t realize that’s what they need; a lot of the time that’s where the disconnect is.

Through marketing research, things like doing coffee chats, putting out a questionnaire, getting face-to-face with people, and asking people what they think, this is how we get that feedback.

This is beyond an ICA profile. A lot of times there are these worksheets that require you to sit there and brainstorm, and just come up with this imaginary person and their personality traits, and maybe their age, what kind of food they like to eat, and all of these things. But at the core of knowing your person, your niche, you have to understand what it is that they feel like they’re struggling with. What they ate for dinner last night, doesn’t matter. It’s going to be more about what you can do to help them with where they feel like they are stuck; This is your offer.

The next piece is understanding what your Content Value Statement is. This is what you are, who you help, and how you help them.

It goes beyond just saying “I help women.” or “Eat healthily.” That’s not specific enough. You help women; that’s a subset of people, but what kind of women do you help? Are they moms? Are they not moms? Are they young? Are they middle-aged? Are they older? How can you break down that demographic and make it more descriptive?

This leads me to the Transformation Driver Model. In the Transformation Driver Model, what we do is look at who your person is before they interact with you and your content. We look at what their thoughts are, what their feelings are, and what they’re dealing with, and create a really clear description of that; this is what comes from market research.

With this information, we can create content that will help our niche find what they need.

Once you have identified your offer, and you understand who your ICA is, then you need to have some clear goals that are set for your content. One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs making is going into content creation without having a clear goal in mind. 

Do you want to get people on your email list? Do you want to get people into a Facebook group? Do you want to get people to comment on your posts? Once we have these things figured out, then we can begin to develop the content itself, which leads us to the second piece of this, which is content strategy.

Profitable Content Formula Step Two: Content Strategy

At the heart of content strategy, we have something called your core, or Anchor Content. For me, that is blog content. Now, a lot of people may not think blog content is all that important, because, well,m “that’s for like, bloggers right?” But blog content is very sustainable, and it greatly impacts how your business shows up online.

This anchor content is the core. It is the hub. It is the home for everything that you do. I often see many entrepreneurs relying on Instagram and Facebook for their businesses. All these are great, but they cannot be the only way that you are going to market your business. Because they are not the property of the internet that you own, and your content needs to live in a place that is truly yours.

And so your website, where you house all of your information, is going to be the place where you want to house all of your best content. You must create, optimize, and develop that anchor content so that it can make you visible on the internet through search.

Then we run into the issue of what kind of anchor content to post? 

This is where we can begin to brainstorm three to five Content Pillars. These can be the main ideas or themes of your content. The easiest way to do this is to brainstorm a bunch of content ideas, as many as you can think of. Then, find common themes or topics, and group your ideas into ‘content pillars’.

Content buckets are the core pieces of your business. For example, let’s say you were a productivity specialist. Your content pillars could be things like balancing work and home, marketing your business, scheduling and routines, etc.

Once you have these pillars, then you could create blog posts, Instagram posts, etc. under each of those pillars. The first type of content you would want to put out is called Awareness Content. Awareness content aims to help your audience validate the fact that they are struggling with X, Y, and Z. This is where the mistake posts come in; helping validate the audience’s mistakes and offer solutions to those.

The second type of content to put out is called Consideration Content, where you are nurturing the audience, and helping them to see that you provide the solutions to their problems.

Lastly, we have the Decision Content, which helps them decide to work with you, whatever that looks like; purchasing your product, or services. After you create those types of content through your anchor content, You’re ready to go to do the visibility piece, which is the third part of the profitable content formula.

Profitable Content Formula Step Three: Visibility / Traffic Trifecta

The first part of the Traffic Trifecta is through utilizing SEO; Search Engine Optimization. This system is what we will use to make sure the content you are putting out gets found. 

SEO, in short, is what people are searching for on Google. Most of the time, people go to Google to search for things to solve the problems they are having; questions, resources, etc. So, when you use SEO, you are optimizing your content for that specific search, which allows you to gain tons of traffic.

Utilizing SEO takes a lot of the pressure off of you, having to feel like you have to go out and sell yourself to somebody because now they’re coming to you.

So let’s say, for example, someone searches “how to change my sender email address on MailChimp?” You can use these common searches, or keywords that relate to your business or niche in your content. For example, your heading for a blog post, or article could quite literally be “How to change sender email addresses on MailChimp.” This is called a Long Tail Keyword.

In a way, it is quite similar to Instagram hashtags. Using these specific keywords, you can target the traffic of your audience through SEO.

The second element of the Traffic Trifecta is Pinterest. Pinterest is an amazing tool to be used for traffic because it is essentially another search engine; a visual search engine.

To utilize Pinterest, you will create images relating to your anchor content to post on Pinterest. And with that, you will use common keywords to publish those images that link back to your posts. This way,  people who search on Pinterest can find your content when exploring those niche keywords. You want to make sure that they are visually appealing, and you want to make sure that you’re using keywords within the image itself, as well as in the title and the description.

Now, the way that one might search on Pinterest can sometimes look different than how you might search on Google. A lot of times on Google we have very specific questions that we search, but when you go to Pinterest, we type in only a few keywords. For example, “wedding decor”, “prom dress”, etc.

Another great thing about Pinterest is that a lot of the time Pinterest content will show up in a search on Google, and that’s how people could find you as well. 

The final piece of the Traffic Trifecta is Instagram. What we get to do with your Instagram is take those core pieces of content and break them down to create multiple posts for your Instagram. Let’s say, for example, you have a core content piece about “content planning mistakes”. You could first create a reel that overviews three planning mistakes. Then you could break your content down by each mistake; making posts or reels. Lastly, you could create a carousel post of the main points, or do a life; telling a story, etc. Already, you have four days of content planned just by breaking it down.

In the end, consistency is more important than anything else. Whatever that looks like for you, if it’s every other week for blogging, then that’s what you have to start with. 

To recap, you have completed your sustainable foundations, which are having a clear niche and a clear offer and understanding and knowing who your audience is. Next, you developed your content strategy, utilize, ng anchor content, and make sure that your anchor content is reaching the audience. Lastly, we used our Traffic trifecta; SEO, Pinterest, Instagram, and their keywords and searches to create an inflow of traffic to your anchor content.

I truly hope that this strategy gives you some insight and tools to kickstart your business’s audience search, goals, and content planning.

We Thank Anna Huff for sharing her wisdom with us today for this interview and thank you to all the viewers who joined in real-time to send in questions for Anna. 

If you want to learn more about Anna’s work you can visit her website at theannahuff.com.

We have some more amazing speakers joining us in upcoming lives this spring. Our entire schedule is already up. You can sign up to get reminders at entrepreneurschool.ca.