The Lowdown: Learn how to create a content plan for a whole year in under 60 minutes by reading this They Ask You Answer summary.
We all know that content is king, however, the art of writing content is borderline impossible sometimes. This is especially true if you are a solopreneur or small business.
Finding the time to write is hard, promoting your writing is even more difficult… But knowing what to write about is probably the hardest part of all.
In They Ask You Answer, Marcus Sheridan tells the story of how he went from struggling pool guy to inbound marketing guru. His methods are simple but will be incredibly effective in building trust with your potential customers and increasing conversion rates.
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In the book, Sheridan encourages you to center your blog around answering the questions of your target market.
- Audible Audiobook
- Marcus Sheridan (Author) – Marcus Sheridan (Narrator)
- English (Publication Language)
- 12/24/2019 (Publication Date) – Gildan Media, LLC (Publisher)
The main three points you’ll learn from reading They Ask You Answer are:
- If the marketplace is asking for it, you must answer it
- Always be unbiased in your writing
- Use assignment selling to increase conversion rates
Lesson One: If the marketplace is asking for it, you must answer it
Now, I may be a tad biased here, as I am a content marketer and writer (excuse the cheeky self-plug), however, we put too much effort in making crazy extended content plans that over-arch covering a range of topics in sequence etc…
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for this. However, that is not when you’re starting out with content.
When you’re looking at starting (or restarting) your content marketing, the first thing you need to do is answer the questions that your potential clients are asking.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
Yet, so many bloggers and content marketing agencies make a simple thing seem very complicated.
Find out what your potential customers want to know, and answer it. Make each blog post an answer to your marketplaces’ questions.
These are the questions that you get emailed about, these are the questions you get asked about in sales meetings, these are the questions you get asked about on social media.
Rather than write the same response dozens of times in email, why not turn that answer into a blog post, to help the next person who wants to know the same thing.
The big-5 topics in they ask you answer
When answering the questions of potential customers, it is more than likely they will fall into these categories:
- Price – How much does (insert product) cost?
- Problems – What is the problem with (insert product)
- Versus and comparisons – (insert product) versus (another product), which is best?
- Reviews – Is (insert product) worth the money?
- Best in class – The best (insert product) on the market?
When creating your content plan from They Ask You Answer, make sure that all of your blog topics answer questions from the ‘big 5’.
Lesson Two: Always be unbiased in your writing
I have a question for you. Have you ever searched something for an answer online and thought you’ve found the perfect blog article only to find it is 500 words of blatant self-promotion with a ‘buy my product’ at the end?
I bet you clicked away and lost a lot of trust for that website.
Okay, now I have a second question… Who has written an article like that before?
*raises hand again*
The point is, being unbiased in your writing is hard. You want to write to sell your products and services (after all, it is called content marketing), but you need to do it without actually trying to sell.
Content marketing builds trust
One of the main benefits of content marketing is the trust you build with your readers. By contributing helpful content that answers questions, you become a trusted resource and stay top-of-mind.
That trust is the greatest asset you’ll have in your business.
When you write content that is too self-serving (my product is the best ever, blah, blah, blah), you lose the trust of your reader.
So, if you’re writing a ‘best in show’, or a review article, be honest.
If you’re writing a comparison article, be honest and say who your product or service is and is not suitable for.
Lesson Three: Use assignment selling to increase conversion rates
Besides generating leads through search results, They Ask You Answer content actually helps qualify and converts prospects.
The more content a prospect reads, the more data points they have on you and your business.
If a prospect reads 5 articles from you and then organize a sales call, they’re more likely to do business with you over someone who booked the call straight away.
The reason is, that the person who read the articles had five opportunities to say ‘nope, this person doesn’t have what I want….’ and turn away.
In other words, prospects are qualifying themselves to see if they’re a good fit.
In fact, the author found that reading over 30 pieces of content increased conversion rates in sales calls well above 80%!
Which makes sense, if you read 30 articles informative articles from someone and still want to meet them, you are ready to close a deal.
Use this knowledge to your advantage…
Rather than hope that a prospect reads over 30 articles is living in a dream land.
Instead, why not combine popular 30 pieces of content into an eBook and ensure prospects read it before taking a sales call with them? Almost like you’re a teacher setting homework
This is assignment selling.
Now three things may happen when you set an assignment
- They read the book and realizes they’re a bad fit
- The prospect doesn’t read the book, so you postpone the meeting until they do
- They read the book and you have a meeting.
By having prospects pull out of the process, you’re only meeting with the most qualified leads possible. This means that you should close at a huge percentage.
My Personal Takeaway
Reading They Ask You Answer changed the way I conduct my content marketing. I now write in a way that answers questions and helps bring in and qualify leads without me having to do that through sales meetings from tyre-kickers.
Put it into action
The first thing you should do is to write a list of every question that you get asked in your business.
If you’re struggling, use the ‘big 5’ as a guide and think of potential questions that could be asked.
You’ll be surprised how many you do once you get on a roll.
Realistically, you should be able to get 50+ without having to give it too much thought.
Congratulations, you have your next years’ content marketing plan.
You should consider buying this book if…
This book is perfect for anybody looking to start content marketing in their business. This also works well for industries where quality content is scarce. Lawyers, Real Estate Agents etc.. usually don’t see content as a way to grow a business, but considering the author made it work with swimming pools, I think you’ll be fine.
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