For advisors, thought leaders and game-changers, your content—your body of work—is a serious asset.
Successful authors know this. They’re used to trading words for money and are well versed in the value of book deals, copyrights and licensing fees.
But if you haven’t published (yet), you may be vastly underestimating the value of the blogs, white papers, videos and assorted training materials you’ve spent precious days, months and years developing.
Not to mention that idea floating in your head. You know the one. You’ve been flirting with it for a while but have yet to buckle down and build it out into something tangible.
It breaks my heart when I meet a talented creator who hasn’t quite figured out how to put their works to their highest, best use. To create revenue and—ultimately—build wealth from their content.
Don’t let that be you.
Instead, explore your content like you’re going on a treasure hunt. Keep an open mind and you just may surprise yourself with the value you have locked away.
The rule: just because you did something five or 10 or even 20 years ago, doesn’t mean it can’t still be relevant. Just don’t assume all you have to do is dust it off. Times have changed and your work needs to look, read, play and sound current. Right-now modern and up-to-date.
Okay then. Let’s do this.
Destination One: Your client work. We’re talking about the tools, content and supporting systems you’ve developed for your direct (private) client consulting, coaching and teaching. You may have used it 1 to 1 or in group meetings and private workshops, events and training. Note to new consultants: try recasting your experiences as consulting or coaching engagements to fully realize their value.
Some examples: client presentations, consulting deliverables, worksheets, calculators, projection models, coaching assessments, surveys, private research studies.
Destination Two: Your published content. Think anything and everything that’s seen the light of day beyond your private client work. This is your public self—your shared ideas and tools.
Some examples: blog and guest blog posts, e-newsletters and mailings, videos, articles, books, speeches, public workshops, webinars, interviews conducted or granted, media mentions, digital or physical products, white papers, surveys, research studies.
Destination Three: Your unpublished ideas. There may well be untapped gold here, but if you don’t get in the habit of jotting down your ideas, you may never uncover it. Keeping your musings front and center tends to encourage synchronicity with the people and circumstances that will bring your best ideas to life.
Some examples: the book idea you’ve toyed with, a new kind of client that might appreciate your work, a new service to add to your repertoire, a potential alliance, a new way to get paid.
This excavation is something I do with every client, whether they are building an emerging pool of authority assets or have amassed a lifetime body of work.
It’s essential. Because without doing some spadework, you’ll never fully realize the power of what you already have.
So—set yourself the task of exploring your existing content this week. Inventory your assets. Make a master list.
And then come back to this space next week (or sign up on the pink bar above) and I’ll show you how to start unlocking that revenue.
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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