How often do you sit staring blankly at an equally blank screen, wishing that by some form of osmosis it would fill with beautifully crafted content?
It’s a constant battle, isn’t it? Crafting fresh, relevant, and engaging content isn’t easy — even if you know your stuff.
You need a system to help you speed up the process, so you can get back to the hundred other things on your to-do list.
Introducing the 13 Box Content Development System
This blog series is designed to provide you with a system that will not only help you to organize your thoughts and craft content faster — but also to do it with purpose, clarity, and focus.
In short, we are going to give you a system to help you to create insanely good content.
As we get started, you need to take notice of those 3 powerful words: Purpose – Clarity – Focus. These three words, and their relationship to each other and your business, are critical to the development of both your content and strategy.
The core component of this series, The 13 Box System, is used by thousands of people around the world, including members of the content team at Constant Contact. It’s a structure I use in my own business to help clients build authority and achieve success.
What you’re going to get:
Here’s a breakdown of the series so you can see what’s coming:
- Part 1: Laying the foundation: That’s this post. It’s an introduction, but at the end you’ll be asked three questions that most businesses either cannot answer or struggle to answer. Knowing the answers to these questions is fundamental to establishing clarity and alignment between your business and your target audience.
- Part 2: Purpose – Clarity – Focus: With over 50 years of combined experience in both the online and business coaching industries, we are still staggered by the number of businesses that don’t have any form of strategy. In part 2, we’ll teach you how to develop a one-page marketing strategy.
- Part 3: Answering the right now specific: In this post we’ll explain the basics of search psychology, and how to use available tools and analysis as a basis for content that converts. This isn’t about bean counting, it’s about practical steps with practical applications.
- Part 4: Creating Insanely Good Content (part 1): Here we will introduce you to the content tool box, provide a walk through, and explain how to use the structure.
- Part 5: Creating Insanely Good Content (part 2): Next, we will run through 3 practice writing sessions covering:
- Blog content
- Website content
- Email content
- Part 6: The Grand Prize – Putting it all together: In this conclusion post we will bring everything together so you can see the big picture. We’ll cover how strategy focuses you on your market, how understanding search attracts that market, and how you can use content to influence and guide prospects through a series of touchpoints and into your pipeline or sales funnel.
Obviously we’re going to be packing a lot of information into this series, so to help you along the way we will be including video and downloadable content. Our suggestion would be that you set some time aside to work through each part of the series as it’s released.
As a result of this series you will:
- Have a clearly defined 1-page marketing strategy
- Understand search psychology as it applies to your business, and how to use this information in the development of content
- Have a system to help you craft insanely good content for any online channel
- Write content with purpose, clarity, and focus
- Achieve greater engagement through your content
- Start positioning yourself as an authority or influencer within your market
One thing that we really, really, need to emphasis here is: None of this is rocket science. People like simplicity, and the bottom line of good content creation is the shared journey. But, as we work through this series it may seem a little disjointed at first, a little like a jigsaw puzzle as we examine the pieces before finally bringing it all together into a complete picture and easy-to-use system.
What’s the catch?
Yes there is a catch… if you can call it that. We want your feedback, the good and the bad. Tell us your experiences with using what you’ve learned through the series so others can learn from you.
Let us know if you think we haven’t covered something enough, or need to include something more. We want to help you as much as possible through this series, and to do that we need you to be part of the conversation.
Ok, now let’s get to learning
Let’s close this out with the 3 questions I mentioned earlier. We’ve asked these questions during our initial client meetings for a number of years because the answers reveal everything we need to know about the level of strategic thinking the prospect has given to their business.
The first thing you need to do is click the link to the first worksheet below — download it, print it, and answer the questions on in it. Then come back and continue reading.
Once you’ve read through the explanation to the questions below you’ll probably want to answer the questions again. Then, once you’ve done that, either pin the worksheet to your notice board or put it somewhere safe; we’ll be coming back to it through the series.
Before you keep reading
Did you really do the first step? Come on now, you have to eat your greens, before you get your dessert…
Ok. Let’s get started with ‘Purpose’.
Question 1: Why do you need a website?
(If, by chance, your website isn’t the hub of your online presence then simply exchange ‘website’ for whatever that channel is; blog, Facebook Page, etc.)
Even after all these years of asking this question, the number 1 response still stumps us. Can you guess what it is?
“Because my competition has one,” followed by something like, “Well, you need to be online these days, don’t you?”
The answer to this question is all about the purpose of your website. Without a purpose, you can’t have clarity or focus.
Generally speaking, your purpose will fall into one of the following themes:
- To Inform
- To Influence
- To Educate
- To Entertain
When thinking about purpose we need to clarify a few points briefly:
- Firstly, don’t confuse purpose with outcome. When you think outcomes, you’re thinking about what’s good for you, purpose is about your market audience and their higher good.
- Yes, it’s okay to have overlap with your purpose theme, most businesses will. But try to concentrate on the dominant purpose.
- If the website is the online extension of your off-line business, then you’ll want to create alignment between the two.
You may also be thinking that we missed, driving business as a purpose. In most situations, making the sale is a result of your website, not its purpose, and we’ll speak to that in the next question.
Okay, let’s write a quick example answer to the question. I’ll use this blog series as an example:
“The purpose of this blog series is to enable and empower business owners to create insanely good content by educating them about the power of purpose, clarity, and focus that comes from the 13 box content development system.”
Question 2: What do you want visitors to do as a result of visiting your site?
Chances are you pretty much nailed the answer to this question. Although we do get a large percentage of clients who aren’t quite sure what they they’re looking for.
Think about what you define as a conversion. A conversion is simply a desired action being taken by a visitor to your site. It could be:
- To subscribe to a newsletter
- To download an ebook or report
- To request more information
- To make a purchase
We’re going to come back to this question in a later post and drill down inside it because often you’ll need to develop a number of touchpoints between their first visit and getting to your ultimate conversion goal.
Our example, (and we’re being honest here), would look something like this:
“As a result of this blog series we will influence readers to purchase a 13 Box product or program.”
As you can see, we are being transparent here; you don’t have to be as candid with your audience.
Question 3: What business are you in?
This question throws virtually everyone we ask — and it’s meant to.
Almost every person we ask this question to will reply with a generic industry type response. A business coach might say, “I’m in the coaching or professional development business.” A retailer might respond with: “I’m in the retail business,” while a web designer might answer, “I’m in the web design business.”
In reality, the business you are in has little to do with the industry you’re in. When you think about the answer to this question, what you want to be thinking about is: What is it that your client will feel as a result of what you do?
Try to drill down to the emotional level because decisions are often based on emotion and backed with logic.
If you think about insurance, for example, you could say that at the emotional level they provide “peace of mind” to their clients. If you’re a builder, you don’t build houses you “create homes,” or if you sell home lighting you could say you’re in the ambience business.
The key is that it’s all about your audience, and nothing about you. Take your time answering this question, get out another piece of paper, and just write down all the emotional level attributes that a client might associate with having purchased a product or service from you. You can even go one better and call a few of your loyal clients and actually ask them directly.
For our example we have to think at the 13 Box business level, and it looks like this:
“We are in the business of unlocking and empowering clients to communicate their business with confidence, passion, and persuasion.”
Take a look at what you just achieved in answering these 3 simple questions:
- You know your ‘Why,’ you’ve articulated your purpose, and opened the door to clarity and focus.
- You know ‘What’ result you are trying to achieve.
- You now have the emotional connector between ‘Why’ and ‘What’.
Knowing the answers to these three questions actually makes your job infinitely easier, and — believe me — you’ve just elevated yourself into a new level of thinking.
We look forward to hearing your feedback and will do our best to answer any questions you may have. Let us know how we can help by leaving us a comment!