So, our clients (I know many of them will read this post), are busy people but very often we need QUALITY content from them and even though they want to give it to us they have very little time. Being the kind of guy who has the goalkeepers mentality (more on that later), I keep challenging myself to help those clients who want to get us content but can't. So here is the path to getting the content you want to succeed for clients who don't have time.
PART I --- 5-10 minutes Start with keyword research Go to Google and start querying questions if I worked in the motorcycle gear industry I might go to google and begin searching for "what is the best motorcycle" - DONT HIT ENTER - then just watch the suggestions come back. BINGO, now you got topics.
NOTE: The reason why I LOVE this strategy is that you know you are writing stuff that people are actually SEARCHING for. I can't tell you the amount of times a client only has time to write 1-2 high quality blog posts a month/quarter and instead of writing on topics where there is an audience, they write on topics where there is no audience even looking for that content.
OK, you get the point, stop reading and start googling
PART II --- 5-10 minutes (one time) Lay the groundwork for your pitch to the client
Now that we know there is demand, we still haven't tackled the hardest part producing the content. Now there are two ways to produce this content, either the cheap way by hiring some copywriter to knock out a low quality article - or getting a subject matter expert to produce it. In most industries I'd prefer to get the subject matter experts any day.
To get the content produced follow these steps: 1 - Ask the client how long their commute is, usually they will say 40+ minutes - if they are baller it is likely longer! 2 - Do the math, let the client know that they spend about 4-5 hours a week getting to and from work, they will be convinced that your 30 minutes once a month is a good investment, if not go get a new client. 3 - Now you have buy in...Go get a Google voice account, since you can record calls - 3 minutes (one time)
PART III --- 30 minutes 4 - What are you waiting for!!! Start asking questions. Have the client call your google voice number and just start peppering them with questions from your research in step 1.
You can download recorded calls! So now you have the conversation dowloaded, you can e-mail it to a third party to transcribe. You are almost there, stick with me, don't start cutting corners now and say, I'll hire someone in india to transcribe it for 3 bux.
Part IV --- Get it transcribed --- 0 minutes Assuming you are busy, don't do it yourself pay someone. Ideally that 3rd party is not some low quality company in india (that is the cheap way) - find someone who actually knows how to format a post for a blog with headlines and bullets - make it easy to read and people will read it. Pay the extra 10 bux to have an editor or blogger help you with it.
Here are some great posts on formatting posts for maximum readability and links:
BINGO, you have now given the client 95% of the work already done with minimal investment on their part.
Part V --- Tweaks / approval time - 10 minutes
Upsides to this strategy: 1 - Low time commitment for client 2 - Your company ends up doing most of the work 3 - Its easy to pitch to the client - you don't have 30 minutes for me 4 - It scales - others can join in if someone gets busy 5 - People can talk quicker than they can write 6 - If the SME is really enthusiastic one question can result in 4 blog posts not just 1! 7 - You are producing content that people are already searching for, meaning if you do it RIGHT (not crappy & quick) it will rank well and will naturally attract links b/c its a quality piece 8 - Your client gets atta-boys from bosses b/c they are adding quality content to the blog
Downsides to this strategy: NONE, SO GO FREAKING DO IT!
Still not convinced of going the high quality route? Two more reasons why you should use SME's over random low quality writers:
1 - Subject matter experts are going to be more on the cutting edge of whats new in the space making the piece more quality, and timely. This makes it easier for you to push it out and promote it to other SME's and...get links.! 2 - Subject matter experts know other subject matter experts, so at the end of your call ask your client, who else in their industry would be interested in or writes about this topic/issue. Also ask what sites people go to for this info. All of those questions help you promote the piece after it is done. This works especially well in B2B markets.
Praise to Rob Snell who shared this idea about a year ago during his keynote at Pubcon. He was specifically talking about his brother who isn't a blogger, but is a wealth of information on Dog supplies and how he used a similar strategy to get content out of his brother, Steve. BTW his keynote rocked, if you ever have a chance to see him, do it.