Convert Your Content Into Revenue (Part 2)

Last week I showed you how to explore your content like you’re going on a treasure hunt.

If you followed my map, you’ve now got a full inventory of your content gems—from your client work, your published pieces and your ideas-still-in-formation.

You’ve done the prep work. Now you can dive in, assess your works logically AND indulge in a little magical thinking.

Step 1: Look for themes. Try taking a first pass through your content collection and marking your most treasured pieces with a star. Don’t judge why (yet), just search out your favorites.

Then, step back and peruse your starred list. What themes tie some or all of them together? You’re looking for things like similar topics, or an angle—maybe you’re the consummate devil’s advocate—a type of client, industry or specialty. Be sure to also think outside of the sand box you’re currently playing in.

One consultant presented himself as an expert on multiple generations, but as we dug down, it turns out his REAL touchpoint was the Millennial cohort. Focusing his work more narrowly shot up his speaking fees practically overnight.

Another had a broad array of PR content for small businesses, the result of working in a smaller city where that was the only game in town. But when she started working with healthcare professionals—and narrowed her niche even more deeply to integrative health experts—her practice took off nationally.

Step 2: Do your homework. It’s not enough to just focus your content on something that makes just you happy (unless you have a trust fund and are dabbling just for fun). You want to ensure that 1) There’s an audience for what you’re developing and 2) There is a road to revenue that makes sense for you.

It’s not unusual to decide on a topic/audience/specialty and then get discouraged when you discover 30 other people already in your niche. That is NOT a bad thing—it actually means you’ve hit on an existing audience with a demonstrated need. Bingo! Now your trick becomes to find YOUR corner of that niche—with a compelling and unique message—to claim your share of the audience.

Once you’ve hit on your message and audience, you want to explore how best to make your money. This is not to be trifled with—do both short and long range thinking to ensure any investment you make will support your brand and your business.

Take the financial advisor with a very successful, mostly off-line, business. Over two years, he built up his on-line reputation by publishing in two prestigious digital outlets as well as starting a weekly blog and developing a commanding Twitter presence. His goal was to create a pipeline into his firm and it’s working beautifully.

But he’s also perfectly positioned to develop on-line products—and yet he doesn’t. Why? He has a team of financial advisors to keep busy and a single new client is worth well into five figures every year. The financials and his existing commitments don’t pay for him to invest in a different strategy.

But maybe you’re firmly committed to creating alternative revenue streams to your one-to-one consulting, advisory or coaching practice. Then your homework is to pour over everything you can source in your area of specialty.

Buy a training program so you can see how it’s assembled. Take the free webinars and training offered by various experts—some of whom you may even consider your competition. Soak it in—and take great notes. Because it will surprise you how many examples and resources are at your fingertips.

Step 3: Lay out a plan. Well, “duh”, you may be thinking. You wouldn’t dream of advising or consulting or coaching your clients without a plan. But do you always create one for yourself?

Exactly. We’re not talking multiple spreadsheets here, just—at least at first—an outline of what you plan to do, key dates, time commitments and cost. Because it’s way easier than you might imagine for this project of yours to turn into a black hole that sucks up your resources without delivering a commensurate return.

So let’s say you decide to focus your content to attract entrepreneurs and business owners with dysfunctional executive teams. You’re ultimate goal is to guide them to work together more seamlessly and increase not only revenue, but team harmony.

Your big-picture plan might look something like this:

  • Rework 10 prior blog posts to hit on the five key problems facing dysfunctional executive teams—and how to solve them.
  • Distribute these posts through my social media accounts. Share posts with my posse and ask them to share with their social media audiences.
  • Depending on responses, develop a ________(survey, 1-pager, worksheet) to give away on my website to attract more of my target clients.
  • Based on feedback from my target market, set up a ______ (survey, webinar, e-course, etc.) to build my digital list with more target clients.

Step 4: Strap on the training wheels. Once you have your focus and are drafting your plan, it’s tempting to pitch your article idea to The New York Times or your consulting process to Google, but think training wheels.

Like the plan just above, let the results and feedback from each step inform your next.

Let’s say you’ve decided to develop an on-line course. Do NOT start with an 8-week foray into every problem your buyer might want to solve. Nope. Try starting with a free email course on one small area your clients struggle with and build a list of people who want more.

Or begin with a paid course—think a price point just under $100—that is short, sweet and reeks of value. You’ll spend a lot less development time and then your students will TELL YOU what they want next.

Let’s be 100% clear. Turning your content into revenue isn’t something you do in a day if you’re just starting to create. But if you’ve been steadily building a body of work, simply leveraging it in new ways for your sweet-spot audience(s) can pay huge dividends.

Whether you need to re-think, re-purpose or just use your prior works as a springboard—just start. And you’ll be one step closer to building the revenue you know your work deserves.

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1 Comment

  • Been pushing a friend and colleague with whom I am collaborating on a training program aimed at members and officers of labor unions, focusing first on my client unions, to turn some great presentations he does on mediation and dispute resolution into a series of books and manuals. I suspect the media we ultimately produce for the training also lend themselves to publication. I am sharing these two blogs with the colleague to further the inducement.

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