What is content and why writing is Important for Your Online Business with Nick Wolny
When he first started, Nick was doing digital marketing for multi-location fitness and yoga studios. What he found was that there was no real digital marketing strategy, even though they had email lists with over 60,000 people. Soon, by putting in really basic sequences and education in place, and automating that for people, they were able to win back a lot of business, educate people better about fitness and yoga so that they decide to become new members as well as effectively communicate that to their friends. The best thing about their strategy is that they had to create their content only once and never touch it again, it just worked on autopilot.
According to Nick, it is important that we distinguish between two buckets of content: social-based content and search-based content. The main disadvantage of social-based aka feed-based content (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) is that you have to keep depositing into it over and over. Search-based content is content that you create once, you set it up so that you can be discoverable from different people in the weeks and months to come and you don’t have to mess with it again.
Another important thing is having a media element in the picture. The media element removes the “skepticism factor” so that you can help people faster. Media is instant credibility; it removes skepticism for a lot of people in your audience. It allows you to be real, for your audience to lean in and listen to what you have to say.
- But media is changing. Outlets are looking for ways to create more content and how to be more cost-effective. There's an incentive for publishers to be able to quickly produce more content at a certain level of quality and more and more of these publishers are exploring contributed content- having their content not be written by an employee, but having their content be written by a thought leader or an industry expert. They are really beginning to delve into the world of opinion editorials (op-eds). This does two things:
- it is a really credible placement because the article was written by an expert instead of being one of the seven experts cited in the article;
- the author is more in control of their message and you are an obvious endorsement of that platform. This is a really powerful placement and one of the reasons why Nick helps people write better, but also write faster. Platforms like these require content on a regular basis and even your proposal to them needs to include a draft of your article
Writing good and writing fast is a big piece of the puzzle for a lot of people who want to create content online. It helps email marketing, blogs, outlining content for your videos, your podcasts, etc. According to Nick, when it comes to the actual creation of written content, what people mostly get stuck with is around: what to write, where to write it, and then actually writing it.
What to write?
It’s always good to be figuring out what topics are being presented already on the internet that relate to your expertise in some way. You feel like you need to talk about something that no one else has ever talked about ever before, but in this day and age of the internet, that doesn't really exist anymore. There is a term that was coined in like 2015-2016 called “peak content” and it refers to the fact that for the most part, everything that you could possibly write about has already been written and already exists on the internet. Marketing professionals call it blue ocean and red ocean.
Red ocean is full of sharks, there's a lot of competition; blue ocean is calm, there's lots of opportunity, no one's there yet.
But the thing is that red ocean is the more popular place; that's where the fish are, that’s where people are. So, it's about writing what people are searching for anyway and providing a new spin on it or just injecting that same topic with your unique personality and your unique outlook or approach, that is enough differentiation to potentially be new content. It's important to keep a bank of how your topics are being presented on the internet, who's writing about your expertise and how are they writing about it. There's a great tool called BuzzSumo , where you can type in any term and it will show you the most popular content on the internet with that term. Another great tool is a Filter option, under the Google search bar, where you can filter the content by publication date.
Where to write it?
It's good to see where other people in your industry are potentially writing for and it's also good to hop on to general places, like Reddit or online forums, where people are having conversations about what to check out. Maybe there're some free Facebook groups that are about your topic and you can see just what resources people are going to in order to get the information they need and then that's where you need to be.
How to actually write it?
Most people struggle with writing nowadays because they want it to be at a certain level from the very beginning. One of the things that Nick teaches in his course is the Dirty Draft. The Dirty Draft is your first draft and it’s just about getting the words on paper, even if sentences make no sense. Nick encourages people to free-write their first draft. Great tool for that is Most Dangerous Writing app, where you can choose a time window and if at any time you stop writing for more than 5 seconds, everything you’ve written gets deleted.
Once you got words on paper it’s much easier to go back and start editing. Finding little “nuggets” that you can expand on. This is your Second Draft, where you are doing some major surgery to get it to make sense. Not obsessing over what is the right word to use, you are just getting it to the point where it is logical.
After that, comes the Third Draft. This is where you clean the article and make it ready for presentation-make the article “sound” more like you, add additional examples, etc.
So, you basically go through three different mindsets for the same article.
Pairing a pitch with a draft, might be a good idea. (in some guidelines, if they don't want a piece, they will explicitly say that- for instance: please do not send manuscripts or please do not send completed articles) A lot of media, especially now, when teams are leaner than ever and they're responsible for more content than ever, are looking for how to make their job easier. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes and one of the best ways to do that is to write the article for them. Another tip to keep in mind is that if you write an article that doesn't get placed right away, save it because you can always use it later. For instance, a lot of outlets, after accepting your pitch, won’t give you a lot of time to provide a full article, it might even be just a few hours. Putting a new spin on an old article or having something halfway there, can help you a lot
Going back to writing speed. If you're interested in an outlet that talks about current events, then it doesn't work for them to jump off of something that some politicians said or that some world leader said and publish it a week later. That's way too late. And that is why many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and small business owners kind of shy away from that world. It’s because, by design, PR and media are reactive and with entrepreneurship, we celebrate being proactive and being ahead of the curve.
So, that spirit of being willing and setting your business up to where you can drop everything and go with it, that's where you can start to draw up these opportunities. And the advantage of that similar to what we were saying at the beginning of this conversation with creating content once and having it work over and over again, the same is true for media when you use it correctly. Once you got a placement and make you own, you can use that forever and ever and ever to create credibility and to show off your smarts. Yes, procuring the placement can sometimes be a little wild, but once you have it you own it
- When it comes to email marketing, time, and time again email gets the best financial return of investment. Studies show that for larger agencies and companies the average return is about $42 for every dollar spent on email marketing. Another important thing to think about is that if you are building your audience on other platforms, you're building on a third-party platform. It is a privately-owned platform; they can decide at any time to redesign or recalibrate their algorithm to show different materials in a different way. And you can't fault them, as a publicly-traded company they have to work to be as profitable as possible. How are they profitable? With ads. So. it makes sense for them to say- we're just going to turn down the distribution on your page unless you're willing to pay to play.
With email, you have someone's private contact information. And so, you don’t have to deal with that barrier between you and your audience. Naysayers will talk about how emails have a low open rate but:
- people are still going to continue to see your name in their inbox over and over again
- many people are sleeping on, what Nick calls a Welcome email sequence, which is that in the first week or two weeks of someone being on your subscriber list, they're really into what you are doing and those open rates are sky-high. You want to communicate to people who gave you your contact information. Maybe they are not buying right away, but that’s okay, they are there, they are engaged, they see you as an expert and many of them become the majority of your clients. A piece of the puzzle that many people are missing is that they do not have this welcome email sequence aka autoresponder sequence. Again, you write that content once, you plug it in and then it is educating people over and over again about who you are and what you do.
Nick has an amazing tool that he is actually giving away as a gift to you as my listeners. If you are someone who is interested in creating this welcome email sequence, which Nick is strongly encouraging you to do, because it's going to pull its weight for you over and over again, then this tool is for you. It is a Welcome email workbook, it's a fillable PDF where Nick goes through the psychology of what each of the emails can consist of and it’s particularly good for coaches or personal brands. Nick introduces the methodology of 5 emails and then he actually gives you proms for each email, where all you have to do is go in and click and write about yourself. You are basically, going to have the road map for each of these emails. After that you just take the emails, you plug them into your email provider and you set up your welcome email sequence.
- Nick also has an amazing mini-course called The Prolific Writer Playbook. If you know that you want a system to write faster, write more articles, swipe Nick’s system for how he pumps out articles and potentially pitch articles to different outlets, different international website, then this course is for you
- He also has a new program coming out called The Online Writing Success System, which is a little bit more robust. It's going to address all of the different writing that you're going to experiences as an online business owner. Writing for regular email newsletters, writing for social media, how to write social media copy, knowing what content to prioritize in what order
- A couple of times a year, Nick also does a live 8-week program called Fast Content Formula, which is all about speed. The next time that will launch will be in August 2020.
I hope this interview with Nick Wolny has been helpful! Don’t forget to check out more business tips on the blog and visit our store for some cool masterclasses! If you have any questions, please reach out. You can always email me.
Want to get in touch with Nick? Go check out his website.