Seven years ago, I delved full-force, head-first, neck-deep into the industry of content marketing.
Throughout my seven-year, full-time career as a self-taught expert, I’ve been hands-on in creating, producing, and training on internal content services that have answered a demand and fulfilled a need for our clients, with the help of an amazing remote team I assembled.
To date, my agency (bootstrapped and on zero outside funding) has sold over $4 million worth of content services to over 5,000 clients.
I was born with a natural love for both “writing and the internet” – a writer by 12, and an entrepreneur by 16, writing books, creating companies, and learning how to make money online when I wasn’t in school. But at age 19, I found myself in college trying to get a degree I didn’t even want (R.N.). I think I would have made a terrible nurse – the trade just wasn’t for me. So I dropped out, went and followed my heart, and taught myself online writing. I became a top freelancer fast, and within three months had more work than I could handle. Within 5 minutes of that realization, I created an agency at age 20, and Express Writers was born.
And now, one of my 2017 goals has just happened. After five months of hard work, and over 400 hours of heart, soul, energy and 5 a.m. mornings, my ultimate industry course is finally here.
It’s targeted to the entrepreneur, freelancer, and agency staff member: and within this course, I’ve created an entire curriculum with practical advice on how to build, execute, track and maintain content that works – from A to Z. We’re talking all the way from finding your audience and building a persona for any audience, to planning out your keywords, building an editorial calendar, promoting your content, publishing, analyzing, and auditing – from beginner level, all the way to advanced.
I created this course because I believe that with the right strategy and execution knowledge in place, anything is possible through great content marketing.
By itself, content marketing has fueled my business the past 6 years. (Here’s a case study I wrote about that late last year. Neil Patel wrote about my agency as an example of a content creation business that does what they say.) We physically live out what we preach – content drives 95-99% of our agency leads and has brought over 5,000 clients right into our doors.
Beta launch of our Content Strategy Certification Course is complete! The course launched as a school September 1, 2017. Check it out here.
Why There’s a Tremendous Industry Need for a Practical Content Strategist Certification Course
In the industry, here’s what I’ve come to realize:
1. Businesses today know they need content marketing more than ever.
Back when I was on the phones in 2011, I had to convince people why they needed it. Today, 89% of B2B marketers now invest in content marketing – and we see it. My staff and I have to “convince” on the “why content” question a lot less.
2. But, businesses don’t know what they need in content, or how to make their content marketing work well for them (read: ROI).
I think of great content marketing like a well-oiled, rotating water wheel. You have to show up daily and consistently put content out to get something back. If you have your process, people and a source of amazing content ideas down pat, success happens. (For me, content marketing produces 90%+ of my business leads.)
But getting there is such a struggle. What do you invest in, how often, where do you put it – and how do you know if it’ll net rankings (or brand awareness/traction – whichever goal you’re going for)? Wait – do you have a goal?
All of that is the meat of content strategy.
And if you don’t know strategy or have a working one implemented, your content marketing return on investment (ROI) is going to be much, much lower that it could be. The cool part: if you do know it, returns can be HUGE.
To date, I’ve created products instead of “knowledge.”
But it’s time to delve in, head first. I believe that knowledge is power.
Personally, my road to success has been self-carved, and self-created.
What I taught myself fuels my expertise.
And since the landing page for the course went out in early May, I’ve gone so much more indepth than I said I would with the course content.
This insane task is, easily, the best thing I’ve ever done in my industry.
I’ve considered renaming my course “Ultimate Content Marketing Certification,” because my students are going to learn everything in the fundamentals of brand content marketing.
I’ve even slated top experts to appear on video with me which will go in certain modules of the course to give my students that much more depth on the subject. While building the course, I put in days that started at 5 a.m. and ended only when I crashed in bed at 10 p.m.
Easily, you could start a content marketing agency after you take my course. Easily, assemble your own content team. Easily, teach your clients (or your boss’ clients) amazing content techniques that result in trackable ROI. Show them who to target, what to create, what to track, how to measure, how to update = for tangible, working, worthwhile content results.
Check out my new course, live at: www.contentstrategycourse.com
Exploring the Content Marketing Ecosphere: How Does Content Strategy Fit In as An Integral Part?
Here’s a few crazy stats about this industry of content marketing:
- It’ll be worth $313 billion by 2019.
- Billions of funding have been put into content marketing startups by now – VC investors realize the value of the industry and SaaS creators/entrepreneurs within it.
- And 91% of B2B marketers that are “very committed to content marketing” see success (CMI).
Only 61% of content marketers have a documented content strategy.
And out of the 89% of marketers that actually do content marketing, only 3% rate their content marketing as “very successful.”
Per the CMI study, here are those two stats in contrast. 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing:
Yet only 3% rate it as extremely successful:
What causes the drop?
A lack of direction with content strategy.
OK, great – next logical question:
But what the heck is a content strategy?
Ah, great question.
It can be hard to even answer this one.
Because as Michele Linn of CMI said so aptly, your “editorial calendar is not a content strategy.”
The truth: content marketing without a solid content strategy is nothing. And a viable, content strategy is the arena, the action area of your content marketing.
And my course solves these problems.
Strategizing for and creating great content, publishing and managing the content that goes into your content marketing, is all a part of what goes into content strategy.
Here are the other moving parts and tasks that make up the whole of a great content strategy that can be put into action and churn out ROI at the other end (and this is what my course teaches, in whole):
- Knowing your position of authority and differentiation in the field.
- Knowing how to define your audience (and customer) persona, and creating a persona for each of your main target audiences.
- Creating a brand style guidelines that includes your persona so your writers never mess up on brand voice and target audience.
- Being able to define your exact customer needs, and create content for their defined pain points at all points in the sales cycle.
- Planning worthwhile topics that attract and hold the attention of your ideal customer.
- Knowing how to use Quora, BuzzSumo, and online forums to research hot topics that will make it top-read on your publication platforms.
- Defining and going after your best guest blogging opportunities.
- Being aware of key directions your content focus should be in for definite return on content investment.
- Discovering the right keywords for your niche and brand that will result in ROI (finding them CAN be second nature once you know how).
- Creating a monthly editorial calendar using one of the easiest tools in the market.
- Focusing, mapping out, and creating content types worth your time.
- Pre-publication, knowing how to prep and optimize your content for SEO to make sure people Googling your keywords can find your content.
- If it’s for your clients, you’ll need to know how to set content expectations in terms of measurable ROI.
- Being able to measure the actual ROI of your content, adjust accordingly, and maintaining and updating your best posts for more results.
- Knowing content promotion fundamentals, email marketing, and a ground-floor social media marketing strategy.
Why Should You Listen to Me Teach Content Strategy?
You could go to anyone, right? So why listen to me teach content strategy?
Here’s the thing.
The bones of this course were already written and taught by me three years ago – and have proven results in ROI.
In my agency, internally, I’ve trained effective Content Strategists that today deliver on services like content planning, keyword reports, and consultation.
We have an internal notebook that I created just for this role, and candidates in my team that progress to eligibility for the training (after client satisfaction rates are solidified, successful content writing has happened, editorial training, etc.), receive 1:1 mentoring and real-time critique from me after they take the training. The final step in the training has always been to create a fictional content strategy. If they pass, they’re golden – and clients love their work with the reports they get.
Here’s another thing.
The course is based on the training I wrote three years ago and update seasonally since – but it’s 10x better.
I’ve talked to my Strategists, analyzed the training myself, and realized we needed more. Videos, cheat sheets, shortcuts, and more tactics, knowledge, and strategy lessons.
So, the idea for the certification course was born.
The idea went bigger when I realized the continual need in the industry that I couldn’t just answer easily with a “product:” implementing a working, ROI-focused content strategy.
I think that giving brands and marketers the keys to the success of their own content will result in amazing things.
It is one of the most up-to-date strategy courses in the industry.
You’ll be ready to start implementing immediately once you go through the materials, because I’ve created my course around actionable teaching that translates to skills you can take home today and start earning your customer’s love, trust and business with, or use to build and create amazing content for your own brand.
We’ve sold literally thousands of these products in the past 6 years, and the strategies have resulted in serious brand ROI. Last year, I even built and launched a new content level from the ground up to answer an industry need: and today, people are buying it – and experiencing online results from this level for their brand.
Everything at Express Writers, from products to staff roles, is a result of my “ear to the ground” attitude in the industry. I’m building, teaching, and creating based on real industry needs.
We’ve been our own guinea pigs, too. And what I test on us results in success – we’ve netted top 3 positions in Google for long-tail, low comp keywords by creating in-depth, visual and long-form content strategically around it.
OK, enough convincing.
Sign up at contentstrategycourse.com!
I’m even partnering up with industry experts and some amazing SEO/content tools to make big things happen for my students!
Get ready, world – REAL, proven and practical content strategy education is comin’ at ya!