You’re currently reading Chapter 15 of The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-mail List.
What you might not know is:
- Which pieces of content you should create first
- How often you should create and publish your content
- How much time you should spend “engaging” your audience, how much time you should spend growing it, and how much time you should spend selling
That’s exactly what you’ll learn in this step-by-step guide to creating a content strategy for your online business.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Content Strategy and why do you need one?
- 2 When should you create your Content Strategy?
- 3 A High-Level Overview of Your Content Strategy
- 4 Content Matrix: How to Find (and Fill) Content Gaps
- 5 The 3 Types of Content You Need in Your Content Strategy
- 6 Debunking the myth of “audience engagement”
- 7 Content Schedule: How often should you publish new content?
- 8 3 Steps to Creating a Bulletproof Content Strategy
What is a Content Strategy and why do you need one?
Your Content Strategy is a strategic plan for creating new content for your online business.
It typically includes:
- WHAT you’ll be creating content about (from lead magnets to blog posts to blog post series)
- WHEN we’ll be creating the content (a rough or fixed timeline)
- WHY we’ll be creating it (how it helps our business)
A clear Content Strategy will help you:
- Get more clear on what content to create and when to create it
- Create content with your business strategy in mind
- Build SEO on your website and grow your audience
- Strategically launch new online programs
- Work with a team more easily
- Keep your audience engaged
- Balance growth, engagement and launching
The final Content Strategy can take shape in the form of an Editorial Calendar or Content Calendar, which I’ll also show you how to create at the end of this guide.
When should you create your Content Strategy?
When you’re just starting out with creating remarkable content and you only have a few hundred e-mail subscribers, you don’t really need a clearly-defined Content Strategy.
In fact, when your focus is learning how to create remarkable content (and how to do it consistently), creating a clear Content Strategy can be counter-productive (as it can lead to too much thinking and planning, and too little creating).
Most established entrepreneurs didn’t start out by having a clear content strategy. They just created content that their audience wanted.
For example, this is how Sam Gavis-Hughson from Byte by Byte started growing his e-mail list (that’s now at 10,000+ e-mail subscribers):
“I wasn’t very strategic with it. I just created a TON of content that people actually WANTED.”
Geraldine Lepere from Comme un Francaise said a similar thing:
“I had no content strategy for YouTube – I just recorded videos I wanted to see. I created new videos every week consistently for 7 weeks. The consistency is very important for my audience.”
Once you know how to create remarkable content and how to do it consistently (you’ve been publishing content consistently for a few months), then it makes sense to become more strategic with the content you publish.
At that point, you’ll notice that publishing “random”, unrelated content isn’t the best way to grow your business, and you’ll want to have a clearer idea of what exactly to publish when.
And when you start developing launching online programs, you’ll need to learn how to balance growing your audience with engaging it and launching your products and services – a new challenge you didn’t face before.
And that is when you know you need to develop a clearer content strategy for your business.
A High-Level Overview of Your Content Strategy
Before we go through the exact steps that will help you create your Content Strategy, let’s first look at it at a high level.
At a high level, your Content Strategy will help you:
- Fill in the Content Gaps and attract new audiences to your business (as well as solve new Problems Worth Solving for your existing audience)
- Turn your website into a “wikipedia page” for your audience where they can learn everything they need to know about the topic you’re teaching them
- Smoothly transition from growing your audience to engaging them and offering your products and services to them
Your Content Strategy will also help you turn your website into an “online textbook” for your audience – the go-to place to find help with your topic of expertise.
When you have a clear Content Strategy, growing your online business becomes as easy as “putting in the work”, and you no longer need to worry about “what to do next”. You can just put your head down and execute.
To create your Content Strategy, you need to:
- Know where the Content Gaps in your industry / website are (so you can strategically fill them)
- Understand the differences between Engagement, Growth and Launch Content (and which type of content to create when)
- Have the right tools to create a clear Content Strategy (Content Seasons, Content Stacking and Content Calendar)
Once you’re familiar with all of those, creating your Content Strategy becomes a piece of cake.
So let’s look at each of those in detail!
Content Matrix: How to Find (and Fill) Content Gaps
As a quick reminder, Content Gaps are Problems Worth Solving that your audience has, that nobody is solving well for them.
That’s where you, as an online entrepreneur, step in, fill those gaps, and attract avid readers and customers to your website (through both free content like blog posts and paid content like online courses).
For example, if you notice a lot of men ask you questions how to buy a great leather jacket each fall, and a quick Google search reveals there’s no remarkable content on that topic yet, you might want to write The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Leather Jacket.
That’s exactly what Peter Nguyen from The Essential Man did to successfully find (and fill) a Content Gap, and attract 1,000+ e-mail subscribers to his website in under 30 days.
You can fill the Content Gaps you discovered during the customer research phase of coming up with your Remarkable Content Ideas and while Finding Problems Worth Solving with paid and free content:
- Your Free Remarkable Content (blog posts, YouTube videos, epic lead magnets, etc.) will help you attract more potential customers to your business
- Your Paid Content (online courses, coaching services, workshops, e-books…) will help you turn your e-mail subscribers into paying customers
To help you visualize what filling the Content Gaps looks like in action, I analyzed the paid content strategy of Renaissance Periodization, a multi-million dollar company that sells online coaching and e-books about science-based weight loss and sports performance.
The reason why I share their example (even though it only includes paid content) is because I think they do such a great job of filling the gaps in the market.
In the Content Matrix below, I organized their e-books by Content Themes (nutrition, training, cooking, and other), and specific Problems Worth Solving:
You’ll notice that for every common Problem Worth Solving of their audience, they created a paid e-book that they sell to their audience.
Initially, they offered a few foundational products:
- The Renaissance Diet: This is an e-book about “scientific approach to losing fat and building muscle”, something that a lot of people in their audience want help with
- Scientific Principles of Strength Training: This is an e-book about the “scientific approach to strength training”. Similar to the diet e-book, but about training, not nutrition.
- The Renaissance Kitchen: This is a cookbook with recipes that fit into “The Renaissance Diet”
Later on, they also started selling additional products about smaller, more subtle problems:
- Recovering From Training: That’s an e-book about the science of recovery
- How Much Should I Train: What science says about frequency of training
- Big Flavor, Zero Fat: How to cook flavourful meals that fit within the Renaissance Diet, but don’t include any fat
This is only a fraction of their product suite (they also offer coaching services, “diet templates”, specific diet plans for Vegans, endurance athletes, etc.), and they do a really phenomenal job of filling gaps in the market that each address a Problem Worth Solving that nobody is solving well.
Let’s look at another example of a Content Matrix by analyzing some of the free content from Danny Margulies from Freelance to Win:
You’ll see that Danny’s content falls into a couple of main Content Themes (freelancing, upwork, copywriting, and “random” articles), and that he writes dedicated articles about different Problems Worth Solving.
You can use the Content Matrix to begin outlining your Content Strategy, or to analyze the Content Strategy of any online entrepreneur or company our there. Simply go through 5-10 pages of their recent content, organize their content into different themes, and voila, you’ll see exactly how they’re finning the Content Gaps in their industry.
You can create your own Content Matrix through 3 simple steps:
- Step #1: Identify Problems Worth Solving and Content Gaps in your industry
- Step #2: Organize these into Content Themes (different columns in the matrix)
- Step #3: For each of the Problems Worth Solving / Content Gaps, create a piece of free (or paid) content
If you’ve gone through my guide on creating Remarkable Content, you already have two thirds of this matrix made (you went over steps 1 & 2 in the Sticky Idea Matrix exercise).
The final step simply comes down to creating a dedicated piece of content to solve the Problems Worth Solving (that’s how you fill the gaps).
When you’re creating your Content Matrix, don’t worry too much about when you should publish your content, in which order you should publish it, or if you should charge for it vs. give it away for free.
We’ll cover all of these shortly as we flesh out your full Content Strategy.
The 3 Types of Content You Need in Your Content Strategy
To begin fleshing out your Content Strategy, let’s first make a clear distinction between 3 different types of content:
- Growth Content: Content that helps us get more readers and customers
- Engagement Content: Content that helps us build trust with our readers and keep them engaged
- Launch Content: Content that helps us launch new products and services
It’s important to make a distinction between these 3 types of content because each of these types of content helps us work towards a different objective in our business.
If we create the wrong content for the objective we want to achieve, we’ll likely end up disappointed.
A great example is a common mistake I see among many online entrepreneurs. They spend a lot of time creating Engagement Content rather than Growth Content, and their e-mail list naturally doesn’t grow, because they aren’t attracting any new readers (we talked about this when we talked about the biggest mistakes that prevent entrepreneurs from getting 1,000+ e-mail subscribers).
By understanding the subtle differences between these 3 Content Types and how to use each of them to strategically grow your online business, you’ll be able to become a lot more strategic with the content you publish.
Growth Content is arguably the most important type of content in your business (besides Launch Content). When we talk about creating Remarkable Content to grow your e-mail list, we’re typically talking about Growth Content.
Growth Content helps you grow your audience, get a fresh flood of new buyers to your online business, and build your SEO (it’s often SEO-optimized, so that potential readers can find it through Google).
The formula for creating Growth Content is fairly simple: Create Content that solves Problems Worth Solving.
Growth Content can include lead magnets, blog posts, YouTube videos, blog post series and Ultimate Guides – all the different types of free content that you publish on your blog to attract more readers over time.
When you’re creating Growth Content, it’s crucial that you always create a piece of content around a Problem Worth Solving (otherwise, you’re typically creating Engagement Content).
Here are some examples of Growth Content ideas, together with Problems Worth Solving (in brackets):
- The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Leather Jacket (how to buy a leather jacket)
- The History of Gin & Tonic (gin tonic history)
- 5 Steps to Writing Your First Song (how to write a song)
- The Complete Guide to Launching Your First Online Course (how to launch an online course)
- How to Make Perfect Pasta From Scratch (how to make pasta)
Notice there’s very little “thought leadership” involved – most Growth Content simply answers a question your audience already has.
Engagement Content is content that helps you build trust with your readers and keep them “engaged” so you stay “top of mind” as a go-to expert on the topic you teach.
Engagement Content is less important than Growth & Launch content for your business, and it’s a lot less important than most people think (though there are a handful of situations when creating it makes sense).
The Engagement Content typically doesn’t solve a core Problem Worth Solving of our audience, or fills a Content Gap, and therefore typically doesn’t do much for our website traffic / SEO in the long run.
Instead, Engagement Content involves more “thought leadership” and sharing views and opinions we want to share, stories from our personal life so our readers get to know us better, etc.
It’s usually more fun and light content, and easier to consume. It’s great for mixing things up, having fun while writing, and sharing your personality (and sometimes doing Customer Research).
Most of your Engagement Content will either be Engagement E-mails or Blog Posts (many of the Engagement E-mails you send will not get published on your website).
Here are some examples of Engagement Content:
- “LOL at this avocado toast advice from a millionaire”
- “3 of my favorite fashion trends this fall”
- “It’s official – she’s pregnant and I’m gonna be a dad”
- “Why I love butter”
- “The 3 TV shows I absolutely HATE (but everyone else loves)”
Notice how none of this content is about a specific Problem Worth Solving – it’s really more about sharing opinions, life updates, and your personality.
Perhaps the most useful aspect of creating Engagement Content is using it for customer research purposes.
For example, if you wrote an article or an e-mail to your e-mail subscribers about your biggest YouTube pet peeves (probably not something that will help you grow your business), you could ask your readers what their pet peeves are, take notes, use the data to improve your own videos in the future, and indirectly grow your online business through this type of content.
The final type of Content you’ll use in your business is Launch Content (content that helps you launch new products and services).
Launch Content is very important for bringing in revenue to your business (you can’t run a business if you don’t sell your products and services), and usually takes form of sales e-mails, sales funnels, and sales pages.
Launch Content CAN include some Engagement Content or Growth Content as well, especially in the e-mails and blog posts leading up to a product launch.
Here are some examples of Launch Content:
- Introducing The Essential Wardrobe (sales page)
- “Is Write More Every Day right for me?” (sales email)
- “3 secrets to making perfect pizza dough every time” (engagement email leading up to a launch)
While this type of content typically won’t help you grow your e-mail list, it’s important that we cover it here because it does fit into the Content Strategy puzzle.
The Blurred Lines Between Content Types
In theory, we have just 3 different Content Types, and in an ideal world, you’d create Growth Content when you want to grow your audience, Engagement Content when you want to engage with your readers, and Launch Content when you want to sell a product or a service.
In reality, things are a little more complicated:
- Launch Content can serve as Growth Content and Engagement Content: For example, if you wrote an Ultimate Guide to Songwriting and used it in the beginning of your product launch, you’d be able to attract new readers and engage existing readers
- Growth Content can serve as Engagement Content: Every piece of growth content you create with the intention to grow your audience will typically engage your existing readers as well
- Pure Engagement Content usually doesn’t serve as Growth Content or Launch Content: If you had this random idea to write an article about why you love butter, that article probably won’t help you grow your e-mail list or launch a new product or a service
Now you can see why Engagement Content is the least valuable to your online business – because it does little more for your business than “engages” your audience, or serves as a way to collect customer research.
Because of these blurred lines, you should try to create content that serves more than one purpose as often as you can. I call this type of content Multipurpose Content.
For example, you should focus on creating Growth Content that always doubles as Engagement Content (rather than creating pure Engagement Content).
A guide on “How to Buy a Leather Jacket” will engage your audience just as well as “my 3 favorite fashion trends this fall”, and likely do a lot more for the growth of your online business in the long run.
And when you’re writing the “engagement” part of a sales sequence (the part before you open the cart and send out sales e-mails), create Launch Content content that will also serve as Growth Content.
Don’t just write a few “engagement e-mails” that only your e-mail subscribers ever see – instead, create Growth Content that you can tie into the launch sequence, to both attract new readers and add value to existing ones.
You should only use Engagement Content sparingly when…
- You need it for customer research
- You really feel like writing something fun
- You’re bored of talking about your expertise
As a benchmark, you should spend 80-90% of your time creating Growth / Launch Content, and only 10-20% of your time on Engagement Content.
Debunking the myth of “audience engagement”
At this point, it makes sense to address a common myth of “audience engagement”. There’s a big myth in the industry that you should e-mail your audience and send them new content every 1-2 weeks to keep them “engaged”.
From my experience, you don’t really need to do that. For example, I’ve had times in my business when I didn’t e-mail my list for more than a month because I was working on other parts of my business behind the scenes, and nothing really changed (my e-mail open rates, click-through rates and sales essentially stayed the same).
In other worlds, the world won’t end if you don’t e-mail your audience every SINGLE week, and your audience won’t hate you or forget about you overnight.
Now of course, this CAN become an issue in two cases.
The first case is if you’re REALLY inconsistent with content creation (and have times when you create a few blog posts, then disappear for months at a time). In that case, the lack of consistency will not just disappoint your readers, it also won’t help you bring many new readers to your website.
The second case is if you only e-mail your audience when you have something to sell to them (only sending Launch Content without any Growth Content or Engagement Content). In that case, your readers will sooner or later get bored of a sales pitch after sales pitch and stop opening your e-mails or unsubscribe from your e-mail list.
But in general, your readers will care a lot more about getting quality advice or interesting content from you regularly than to hear from you every single day or week.
For example, no-one will hate you if you spend a few weeks writing an Ultimate Guide for your readers about a major Problem Worth Solving. The opposite – they’ll be excited when you do share it with them, and they’ll understand it took you longer to create than a typical piece of content.
Great content takes time to create, and if you focus on e-mailing your readers all the time, you might rush content creation (or create content that’s not as remarkable as it could be), and hurt yourself more in the long run than help yourself.
You also shouldn’t worry about sending “engagement e-mails” during the times when you’re working on a big project (or taking a vacation) – instead, focus on the things you ARE working on in the moment to avoid slowing down your progress.
Think about it. With the experts from different industries you follow, do you spend time thinking each day why they aren’t e-mailing you? Probably not, but you’re happy when you do receive an e-mail from them.
Content Schedule: How often should you publish new content?
So if you shouldn’t worry about sending e-mails or creating new content for your audience every single week, how often SHOULD you publish new content?
Unfortunately, there’s no one definitive answer to this question, though there are guidelines you can follow that can help you find a Content Schedule that works for you.
- How many e-mail subscribers do you currently have? If you have less than 1,000 e-mail subscribers, your main focus should be creating as much Growth Content as you can, and you shouldn’t worry about Engagement Content at all (there’s not enough people to “engage)
- Do you run your online business full-time or on the side? The more time you have for your online business each week, the more content you can create. You might be able to publish a remarkable piece of content 2-4x/month if you run your business full time, while you might only publish new content 1-2x/month if you run your business on the side.
- Do you have a team to support you with content creation? If you have a team to help you create or edit content, you’ll be able to create more content in less time (that’s how 7-8 figure entrepreneurs create so much content – they have a team of copywriters creating content FOR them).
- Are you currently launching a product or a service? During your product launches, you’ll typically e-mail your audience 3-5 times a week (a lot more frequently than when you’re not launching anything)
- Is your priority to grow your e-mail list right now? If yes, you should publish as much content as you can humanly create. The more content you create, the more your e-mail list will grow.
- How long does it take you to create content? If you’re writing 2,000-3,000 word blog posts, you might be able to publish up to 1-2 a week. If you’re writing 10,000-20,000 word guides, you’ll likely be able to publish 1-2/month. The more time you spend researching / editing your content, the less you’ll be able to create.
- What kind of content do your readers love most? If your readers love quick and easy to digest content, you’ll create more content in shorter periods of time. If your readers love in-depth, thorough, well-researched content, your content will take you longer to create.
- Are you running a blog or a YouTube channel? Consistently publishing a piece of content every WEEK seems to be crucial for YouTube list-building, while it’s not as important for blogging.
- How much time do you spend promoting your content? If promoting your content comes easy for you / works well, you’ll spend less time creating it. If you hate content promotion, you’ll spend more time creating content instead.
As you can see, there are A LOT of factors that come into play when it comes to figuring out your ideal publishing schedule.
For a part-time entrepreneur that writes really long, detailed guides, publishing one guide a month will work great – while a full-time entrepreneur with a copywriter might want to publish one remarkable piece of content every week.
Instead of trying to fit into a mold, create a Content Schedule that works for you. Create a schedule that:
- Stretches You: You shouldn’t feel like you’re slacking or coasting with content creation
- You Can Keep Up With: 80% of the time, you should be able to create all the content you want to create in a week
- You Can Get Ahead Of: Through intense periods of content creation, you should be able to get ahead of your schedule, so you can create content weeks (or months) in advance for times when you’re developing products or taking time off from your business
For example, if you have roughly 10 hours a week available for content creation (that’s roughly 2-3 days), and each piece of content takes you 5-10 hours to create, that means that:
- You’ll need to put in the work regularly (otherwise you’ll break the consistency)
- You’ll be able to keep up with your content schedule on most weeks
- On some weeks, you’ll be able to create more content than planned and get ahead with content creation
I recommend trying out a Content Schedule that you THINK will work for you, giving it a shot for a month, and then tweaking it.
If it’s too hard for you to keep up with it, change it to a less frequent schedule. If it seems to be too easy to keep up with it, change it to a more frequent schedule.
Ideally, you’ll be able to create a backlog of 1-2 months of content in advance (to plan for time off and product development), and THEN take the pedal off the metal and spend less time on content creation.
To help you with finding the frequency that works for you, here are a few additional guidelines you can keep in mind:
- Create the MOST content you can create: More content is always better (as long as you keep the quality high).
- Stay top of mind: Rather than “engaging” your audience, focus on staying “top of mind” for them. Publishing an incredible piece of content 1x/month will definitely help you do that.
- Quality over quantity: You should never sacrifice quality for quantity (or rush a piece of content just to get it done on a certain day). Always make remarkable content first, THEN focus on creating MORE of it.
- Don’t get lost in small details: Don’t worry about sending out your content at a “perfect time” or “perfect day” until you have thousands of e-mail subscribers. These small details won’t matter nearly as much as creating remarkable content consistently.
- Don’t engage when there’s no-one to engage: Don’t worry about sending “weekly e-mails” to your audience when you have 143 e-mail subscribers. Create Growth Content instead and grow your e-mail list (which will automatically engage your audience as well)
- Ignore cookie cutter advice: Ignore anyone who says you should e-mail your list 1x/week or 2x/week. Staying top of mind matters, but your frequency depends on so many factors that it doesn’t make sense to follow this generic advice.
- Tweak your frequency to your current business goal: When you’re launching a products, service, or a new lead magnet, you’ll send more e-mails than when you’re just creating content, and that’s ok.
Again, use these guidelines to create a working version of your Content Schedule, then iterate through it to find a schedule that works for you.
Finally, feel free to experiment with different types of content and different schedules over time, like Peter Nguyen from The Essential Man:
“I spent a few months publishing 1 EPIC piece of content a month, and then thought I should create content more frequently. I switched to posting shorter content 1x/week, and compared my results. After a few months, the EPIC content was a clear winner as it kept bringing in new readers over time (rather than just creating small spikes in traffic”.
Ultimately, you can only find a schedule that works for you by experimenting with different schedules, so feel free to do that after a few months (and then continue with your “winning” schedule).
3 Steps to Creating a Bulletproof Content Strategy
So far, we’ve covered what kind of content you should create, the types of content you should create, how often you should create your content.
Now, let’s start putting the pieces together to create an actual Content Strategy.
We’ll do that through the following steps:
- Step #1: Create Content Seasons
- Step #2: Use Content Stacking
- Step #3: Create your Editorial Calendar
Using these 3 steps, you’ll always be able to create a clear Content Strategy for your online business.
Step #1: Content Seasons
The first tool you can use to create your Content Strategy are what I call “Content Seasons”.
Rather than creating “random content”, it’s better to create congruent content that fits into a similar Content Theme (that you already have defined from your Content Matrix).
For example, if you’re a stylist, instead of writing about leather jackets one day, chino pants the next day, and dressing for weddings the next day, you could create 5-10 pieces of content that all talk about fall style.
Then, when spring comes around, you’d create a new Content Season around spring style, or, if you realized a lot of your readers are asking you how to dress for weddings or conferences, you could create Content Seasons around those topics.
As you might have noticed, my current Content Season is all about list building, while in the future, I might to another Content Season around creating online courses, another one around launching, etc.
That’s how you can eventually fill out the Content Gaps in your Content Matrix, end up with a Content Portfolio like the example we shared earlier from Danny Margulies from Freelance to Win:
Content Seasons help you teach your audience about one topic at a time and keep them hyper-engaged, and is also great for SEO as you’re creating content libraries for different topics on your website
(and building out your Online Textbook / Wikipedia one theme at a time).
Content Seasons could last anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year.
The length of your Content Seasons will depend on how broad the topic you’re covering is, how much you have to say about a certain topic, and how long your audience will stay interested ina certain topic.
It will also depend on the actual seasons of the year:
- As a stylist, you might want to have dedicated seasons for spring, fall, etc.
- As an English teacher, you might want to have different seasons about certain events, like Valentine’s day, or New Year’s Eve
- As a weight-loss coach, you might create different seasons around “getting ready for summer”, or “surviving thanksgiving”.
Remember, the Content Seasons will always come out of Content Themes, which will come from Problems Worth Solving of your audience.
To begin creating your Content Strategy, simply choose a collection of 5-10 big Problems Worth Solving within a Content Theme, and put them in an order that makes sense (start with basics, then move on to advanced topics).
Once you have your Content Season outlined, combine it with your Content Schedule, and you’ll already have a much clearer idea of which content to publish when.
Step #2: Content Stacking
The second step of creating your Content Strategy will help you balance Growth Content (to attract new potential customers to your website) with Launch Content (to sell your products and services).
You’ll do that through the principle of Content Stacking, which means stacking Launch Content on top of Growth Content.
After you spend a few weeks (or months) talking about a certain Content Theme, you can create an online product or a service (like an online course) for your readers that want more support with their Problems Worth Solving.
This way, you’ll start your Content Season with new Growth Content, grow your audience (and engage your existing audience), and then monetize your business through Launch Content in the second half of your Content Season to sell your product or service to new and old readers.
Here’s how Christina Rebuffet from Speak English in Christina does that in her business:
“We have seasons of content (american english month, etc.). Every month is dedicated to a specific program we are selling. Every course video is a subject related to the program (so is the lead magnet). Subjects we talk about always correlate to the big programs.”
Christina creates Growth Content (YouTube videos about American English), which lead to her Relevant Lead Magnet (American English Survival Kit) to help her build an e-mail list, and she finishes her Content Seasons through Launch Content (selling her Master Real American English online course).
Every element, from Growth Content to an Epic Lead Magnet to Launch Content stacks on top of each other, and helps her turn first-time readers into paying customers.
Danny Margulies from Freelance to Win stacks his content in a similar way:
“On my website, I teach people how to become copywriters, then how they can get more clients for their copy business, then how to write copy better. Some people learn how to write copy for free, then get courses for other topics. Free content is so good, that people join the paid courses too.”
When you look at your Content Strategy through the lenses of Content Seasons and Content Stacking, it all starts to make sense (and you’ll notice these concept with any online business you choose to study).
In terms of your own Content Strategy, your next step is simple. Once you create a new Content Season and grow your e-mail list by hundreds (or thousands) of e-mail subscribers, create and sell a new product or a service (or sell one of your existing products or services) to wrap up the Content Season – then move on to the next one.
This way, you’ll turn your online business into a well-oiled machine. You’ll continue to get more and more website visitors that will convert into e-mail subscribers and paying customers.
NOTE: You don’t ALWAYS have to finish your Content Seasons with Launch Content. If you’d prefer to end the season early, create another Content Season around a different topic to grow your audience more, you should by all means do that!
What should you charge for, and what should you give away for free?
At this point, I know you’ll have this question on your mind.
You might also have the concern of “am I giving away too much?”.
We had a detailed conversation around these 2 topics with Danny Margulies when I interviewed him about how he built an e-mail list of 40,000+ e-mail subscribers.
Here’s what he said:
“You want to be generous with your content. I’ve heard a lot of people say “If I put too much out there, there will be nothing else for my coaching / courses”.
My experience is the OPPOSITE.
For example, there’s a site I subscribe to, that charges $60 per seminar. There are lots of old seminars available online for free. They get better at them every year though, so even though there are hundreds of hours of old content online free, I still buy new content from them. You can also always include MORE in a course than in free content (community / coaching / personal access / other resources that don’t make sense to release free).”
I couldn’t agree with Danny more. Your goal should always be to create the BEST free AND paid content out there, and be generous with your content.
When you’re creating remarkable content, don’t hold anything back (like I’m not holding anything back with this guide). Create the best free content you can possible create, as it will help you fuel your business for years to come.
Then, when you finish creating your free content, think about how you can make your coaching or online course even better.
Know that people don’t buy online programs just for “information” – many of them will want personal access to you, feedback on their unique situations and challenges, a community of like-minded people, additional support and accountability…
And these things will be hard for you to provide through free content.
For example, even though I held nothing back as I wrote my list-building guide to over 100,000 words, I still tens of hours of interviews with established online entrepreneurs saved that I could include in an online course.
No matter how long or detailed I make this guide, there’s no way I could pull out all the knowledge from those interviews (or the guide would be 2-3x longer), or bring the same experience to you through it.
I also can’t really coach you on list-building through this guide (even though I could look at your website and tell you within 10 minutes how to optimize it to collect more e-mail subscribers), or give you a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help you grow your online business.
There will always be more that you can include in an online course, so be generous with the content that you give away and hold nothing back!
Step #3: Editorial Calendar
The final step of creating your Content Strategy is to create your Content Calendar or Editorial Calendar.
Your Editorial Calendar will help you keep your Content Strategy in one place, so you always know what content you’re creating, when you’ll publish it, etc.
Over time, once you hire a team to help you create new content, your Editorial Calendar will become an invaluable tool in your online business.
With an Editorial Calendar, you can create a Content Strategy for your next month (or even 3, 6 or 12 months).
With your Editorial Calendar, the key is to know WHAT content you’ll be creating (and publishing) and WHEN, so you know what content you’ll be creating next every month
There are many different ways to create your own Editorial Calendar, and you have to find an approach that works for you.
For example, you could create a “nerdy” spreadsheet like Luke McIntosh from Become a Bassist that includes your new content, Relevant Lead Magnets (opt-in bonuses) and a checklist of all the things you need to do to publish a piece of content:
Or, you could keep things a lot simpler, and simply create a list of topics you want to cover in a notepad or a Google Document.
For example, let’s say you were a food blogger, your simple Editorial Calendar could look like this:
- October: Cheese & Wine Season, Halloween Season
- November: Thanksgiving Foods Season
- December: Christmas and New Years Food Season
- January: Winter Remedies Season
You can get as nerdy or as simplistic with your Editorial Calendar as possible. As long as you create your Remarkable Content Ideas through Problems Worth Solving, and apply the principles of Content Seasons and Content Stacking to your calendar, you’ll be fine.
Note that you can also be as strict or as flexible with this calendar, based on how you function:
- If you love structure and sticking with a pre-planned schedule, then be strict with exact dates for creating and publishing your content
- If you’re more of a rebel and usually don’t stick with what you plan, write out the calendar but feel free to keep it flexible and allow yourself to change seasons around along the way
There’s no right or wrong way to create your Editorial Calendar. Follow the principles outlined in this guide, have fun with it, and create it in a way that works for you!
This concludes the final step of creating your Content Strategy for your online business. If you followed the steps above, you’ll now have a clear idea exactly what content to create (and when to create it).
You now also know everything you need to know to use Remarkable Content to build an e-mail list of 5,000+ e-mail subscribers – now it’s up to you to go and put in the work to make it happen :).
In the final chapter of this guide, we’ll touch on Advanced List-Building Strategies, which you’ll be able to use to grow your e-mail list to 10,000-20,000 e-mail subscribers (and beyond).
Continue to Chapter 16: Advanced List-Building Strategies
Your Turn: How did you create your content strategy / editorial calendar?
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