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Content Creation 101: How To Create, Distribute, And Monetize Your Content

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During a recent conversation about networking and cross-promotion, a colleague expressed doubt about her ability to promote my business because she had little traffic on her website and social media. She said creating content would be futile because nobody would see it. The implication was, “I need to build an audience before creating content.” She had the equation totally backward. Create content first, and the audience will come, over time. In this article, we will go over several strategies that show you how to create content and help you build your audience online!

Introduction to Content Creation

Consider this analogy. You just moved into a house and want to host a party. Are you going to invite guests over to an unfurnished home? You need couches, chairs, tables, food, music, activities, etc. Is your website or social media page an unfurnished home? Do you provide anything to entice people to stick around? If not, don’t expect many people at your party. Would you visit an online magazine without any articles? How do you feel about a website when the last entry on the blog was 18 months ago? I get a mental image of tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town.

People are attracted to websites and social media pages that provide engaging, valuable, current, and relevant content. We live in a time where we can create and publish our own content whenever we want! We don’t need the Yellow Pages or an advertising firm to share our message. If you want to promote yourself and build your brand, content marketing is paramount. There is no excuse for failing to create content. If you are passionate about your project, there are plenty of formats you can choose to broadcast your message, including:

Blogs 

If you enjoy writing, this is a great vehicle to share stories about your product or service and to share yourself. You can incorporate pictures, link to other sites, and share on social media.

Social Media 

You can share your product or service on several outlets, both on your business and personal page. Share stories about the evolution and improvement of your product or service. Post pictures and show your product or service in action.

Shared Content 

Share articles relevant to your project, but it is critical that you add your own commentary. Don’t Just Share, Comment and Share!

Videos 

People want to know the real you, and this is a great vehicle to share yourself while sharing your product or service. People need to know if they like and trust you before they decide to buy from you. Live videos are starting to explode on social media, so get out of your comfort zone and try it.

Cross-Promotion 

Find strategic partners and cross-promote each other. Write guest blog posts, share each other’s content on social media, shoot a video together, or even create a page on your website where you promote and link to your partners.

Regardless of your preferred medium, the following factors are critical to creating quality content: Value, Patience, Relevancy, Non-Monetization, and Storytelling.

Provide Value For Your Audience

It’s all about your audience, not about you! You need to give them real value. Don’t waste people’s time talking about how great you or your product/service are. Talk about how your product/service will improve the reader/viewer’s life by filling a want or need. When I’m scanning a website, I’m looking for content that provides value to me. I’m subconsciously looking for content that makes me think, “I need to read/watch that.” I am looking for content that is conducive to my growth or appeals to my needs and wants.

Hooking Their Attention Within 15-30 seconds

Your titles and substantive content should demonstrate how the material will appeal to the reader/viewer’s self-interest. When reviewing content, I take about 15-30 seconds to decide if I’m receiving any value. Time is too precious and attention spans are too short. I’m sure cat video metrics might suggest otherwise, but I venture that most people don’t go online looking for cat videos. When I find myself sucked into trivial content online, it’s almost always by accident, and I get out of there as soon as I recognize I’m wasting my time.

Don’t Mislead Your Audience. Give Them What You Promised!

Give your content real value. Don’t lure people with the promise of content as a ruse to grab personal information or even worse, hit them with a paywall. Don’t do the bait and switch. Have you ever been tantalized by a link description, you click, and then presented with a landing page demanding your email address before revealing any content? When this happens, I know the content is just bait, and I will have to manually opt-out from daily email blasts to escape the funnel. You might generate some leads that way, but you aren’t giving value or building a positive brand. Provide value on the front end, no strings attached, you will draw more people in overtime, and you will build a brand that people appreciate. This leads to my next point.

Content Takes Time

It takes time to build a brand, so manage your expectations. Even if content unexpectedly goes viral, your fame will be short-lived if you don’t have other content to entice people to stick around or return.

Adjust Your Expectations

You cannot have a mindset or expectation of immediate gratification. I once shared with a friend that I boosted a blog entry on FB, and he smugly responded, “What’s your ROI on that?” I wasn’t looking for immediate ROI! I boosted a blog post I thought would resonate. It led to hundreds of clicks, dozens of likes, and new followers on my business page. Certain people didn’t know about my business before, but they knew about it after. That’s the ROI I was looking for. The immediate business would have been great, but I am patiently building a brand here.

Play The Long Game

When you are creating content for your business, whether it’s a blog post, video, or social media post, don’t expect an immediate ROI. If you’re doing paid advertising, then you certainly want to track ROI, but this article is about content creation, not advertising. Content marketing is a long game.

No Instant Gratification Here…

Don’t get discouraged if your content receives little or no engagement at first. Keep plugging away, keep improving your craft, keep putting your message out there. The mere existence of substantive content on your website improves your SEO. Some people need to see you post multiple times before they click and check you out. Some people need to review your content several times before they engage or buy. Those people never would have engaged if you decided, after posting a couple of videos, that you weren’t getting enough ROI, and shut it down. There is no instant gratification or overnight success in business, and anything violating this rule is likely illegal or immoral.

Relevancy

Simply put, your content must be relevant to your business’s mission. By all means, have some variance in your content. Change it up. Be original. Push the envelope, but ensure that all of your content is somehow relevant to your business.

For example, if you own an auto body repair shop, don’t post about politics! (Avoiding politics is good advice to any business.)  If you own a nail salon, don’t post about gardening; if you’re an SEO consultant, don’t post about woodworking. You get the gist. I know someone in the printer repair business who shares random content on social media having no relation to his business, and every share includes a preamble pitch for his service. The shared content and the message have no synergy or place together. Would you prefer grapefruit with your steak or mashed potatoes with your steak? The whole point of content marketing is to increase brand awareness. This purpose is frustrated when you post irrelevant content.

Monetization

The subtext of your content is for people to create a mental association with your brand. You want people to associate your product or service with their needs, and quality content creates that connection. This is a legitimate quid pro quo. You provide valuable and engaging content, and consumers provide brand recognition and loyalty. Over time, that leads to revenue for your company. This kind of monetization is subtle, indirect and takes time, but is very powerful because the consumer ultimately initiates the sale.  

Don’t OVER-monetize Your Content

People are turned off by content that is overtly monetized. Unless one is shopping or sees an ad with cute animals, people do not actively seek advertising. Remember, people view your content because they are enticed by the proposition of receiving free value. People are guarded when they feel they are being sold, especially when they did not expect a sales pitch.

I once attended a “seminar,” where the ostensible purpose was to teach about marketing, but the speaker could not stop interrupting himself to pitch his coaching service. He would tease with some marketing nuggets, then pull away saying we could hear the best parts if we signed up for his program. “Seminar” was written in quotation marks because I felt I was attending a live infomercial against my will. I got fed up and walked out. I feel the same way when I’m viewing disingenuous content online. Don’t publish thinly-veiled advertorials. The value of your content is tainted when it is overtly monetized.

Don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with selling. If you want to overtly sell your product or service, then go for it! Just don’t be deceptive.

Story Telling

Facts tell stories to sell. Couch your messages in terms of stories, and people will engage with your content on a deeper level. People remember stories that touch them emotionally, and they remember the source of the story – your business. People are attracted to stories, it’s just human nature. Most people lack the attention span to delve into dense factual material, and you’ll lose most of your audience

Do not wait for an audience to build before you start creating content for your business. Start creating and publishing content now, and you will grow a following over time. If you seamlessly weave facts about your product or service into a story, while giving value and avoiding overt monetization, you can create powerful content and a powerful brand.

Business

17-Year-Old Drops Out To Create Exa Mask

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Before COVID-19 dominated our lives, Kylie Smith was already in the process of creating a face mask. Exa Mask, a startup mask company with impeccable timing, has raised over $77,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and has already shipped its first 1,000 units. 

Developed with TR-90 Nylon, a super high-quality material, Exa Mask stands out from the N95 masks we’ve become so familiar with. Exa Masks are capable of:

  • Allowing one to breathe easily without constraints of a traditional mask
  • A detachable shield that allows wearers to eat and drink while still being protected
  • Eliminate that super annoying fogging when wearing glasses or sunglasses
  • Filter out 95% of particles, protecting against disease, pollution, and environmental debris
  • Control allergies and prevent the inhalation of smog and pollution

A Trip To Beijing

Smith was inspired in 2017 when she made a trip to Beijing with her father and co-founder, Rick Smith. Because of the pollution in Beijing, Smith and her father were required to buy an expensive, cumbersome mask. 

Like any entrepreneur, Smith saw an opportunity to create something better. 

I designed Exa Mask so that it would be the last mask you’ll ever need to buy. Exa Mask’s filters are replaceable and the face shield is washable, so the mask is completely reusable — while also offering consistent protection over time.” 

She spent the next two years designing and developing the innovative mask. And then COVID hit…

A Pandemic Opportunity

When COVID-19 hit, Kylie decided to dedicate 100% of her time to this venture and dropped out of high school. Some parents might find that mortifying. Her father, Rick, did not. 

In the face of a pandemic, finding fresh solutions to unforeseen problems is more critical than ever. I am extremely proud of Kylie for following in my entrepreneurial footsteps and designing such a unique product that can help keep people safe.” 

It’s interesting that Smith came up with Exa Mask well before anyone knew we would be dominated by medical masks (and the irritating debates that followed). Some would see that as lucky. One wonders whether Smith would have the success it has now if it were not for a pandemic. 

Exa Mask Explained

Exa Mask has three parts to it: an air frame, a replaceable filter, and a washable shield. A complete seal is formed around the nose while the mask hovers above the wearer’s face. This allows for clearer breathing and speech, eliminates fogging around glasses, and is apparently pretty comfortable for an extended period of time. 

Funny enough, this mask was designed to combat pollution and smoke, as opposed to an airborne virus. So, for those in California dealing with forest fires are protected in ways that the common medical mask cannot. 

What’s Next?

Next for Exa Mask, I’d love to see schools as well as airlines and retail employees using Exa Mask. Exa Mask was designed for all day wear, so it is ideal for those populations who need to wear masks for their jobs.” 

We expect to see a lot more from Kylie Smith. If Exa Mask is any indication, Smith is one of the rare people in our world. The kind who has a nose for good business and knows how to stay ahead of the trends. While everyone on our planet has millions of ideas they wonder how to implement, Smith is one who finds a way to get things done. 

Smith is so confident and dedicated to her product that she dropped out of high school to pursue it full time. That can be very scary, but when you have a product as quality as this, you’re going to be set up for success.

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DoNotPay: The World’s First Robot Lawyer

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In legal trouble? Want to contest a parking ticket? Need to sue that sonuva-whaaat? Can’t afford a lawyer? Better Call Saul? Nah, he’s not real. Instead, you should check out DoNotPay, the world’s first robot lawyer. 

RoboJurist, The Lawyernator, Optimus Habeus Corpus: these are names founder Justin Browder could have used in his creation of DoNotPay. Alas, that’s not the case. 

While it’s not literally a robot, DoNotPay is a legal services chatbot that offers a range of legal services. Anything from consumer protection to immigration status is within DoNotPay’s capabilities. DoNotPay is a downloadable legal subscription service that uses artificial intelligence in a clever manner. 

A Little Lawyer in Your Pocket

Essentially, DoNotPay helps users draft legal letters. Let’s say you have a parking ticket you want to contest. You tell the chatbot your problem and the AI provides the correct legal language to use. Think of it like legal Mad Libs. You write your side of the story, and DoNotPay edits it to make it sound like it came from the desk of Saul Goodman. 

If you were the kind of person to turn to your lawyer friend for free legal advice: no more. DoNotPay allows the common layperson to handle their own legal battles with the help of a downloadable app. The app is so easy to use that it boasts that users can, “fight corporations, beat bureaucracy, and sue anyone at the press of a button.”

Because our society isn’t litigious enough, right? 

While DoNotPay has won an award from the American Bar Association for increasing legal access, there have been mixed reviews

DoNotPay is useful in that it helps users avoid legal roadblocks that usually make pursuing action costly, complicated, or not worth the effort. For people who don’t know what to do when sent a threatening legal document, now you have an artificial lawyer in your pocket. In that regard, DoNotPay is very useful.

When the Little Guy Sues the Big Guy

If DoNotPay sounds familiar, that may be because of its role in the Equifax debacle. For regular folk, being able to get justice from a big company without having to pay expensive lawyer fees is a big deal. 

Lawyers must be a little peeved to see some know-it-all robot step into their territory, no? 

Well, you’d think that…

AI in Law Firms Today

Sally Hobson, a barrister at the London-based law firm The 36 Group, used AI in a murder trial. The complicated case required analyzing over 10,000 documents. Hobson used a software, developed by Luminance, that accomplished the task four weeks faster than it would have taken humans. 

Historically you had a lot of [document checking] technologies that were no better than keyword searches, like hitting Control-F on your laptop,” says Eleanor Weaver, chief executive of Luminance. 

So, lawyers using an AI is not exactly unheard of. The technology is capable of scanning documents far quicker than any human can, and is capable of learning incredibly quickly. While that terrifies conspiracy theorists and excites science fiction writers, AI in the legal world is a very useful tool. 

Lawyer’s Bark Worse Than Their Bite

If you’re aware of the term “legalese,” you’re well aware how complicated and confusing legal phrases can be. Attack dog lawyers count on people being intimidated by legalese so that they can get what they want. A scary-sounding letter from a lawyer can bully someone into submission. 

DoNotPay is offering help to the people who can’t afford a lawyer. With their AI, DoNotPay is able to help someone who didn’t spend three years in law school take charge of their own legal battles. 

Next time you want to contest a parking ticket, or if you want to take on a big company that has wronged you, you might want to download DoNotPay.

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Startup Central

WoodSpoon Delivers The Chef To Your Home

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WoodSpoon is shaking up the food delivery game.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed an explosion in food delivery. Just this year alone, the global online food delivery industry has reached $126.91 billion and is on the rise

Restaurants that originally had no delivery service quickly adapted to keep their lights on. And just like that, the quality of delivery skyrocketed as upscale sit-down restaurants and their chefs adapted to survive.  

Personal Chef At Your Door

We’re all familiar with many of these delivery services. Like WoodSpoon, these services bring higher quality meals to your front door. Some even have you assemble meals to make you feel like a cook.

But where does WoodSpoon stand out?

Started in 2019 by chefs Oren Saar and Merav Kalish, WoodSpoon’s mission is to bring chefs together to share their talents with their local community. 

It works like you’d expect: you peruse the options and local chef’s specialties, you order, they deliver, you eat. The only difference between WoodSpoon and other delivery services is the quality of food. These chefs are preparing what they’d normally cook for their friends and family and sharing it with you. It’s like having your own professional chef. 

You can order dishes you normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t, cook for yourself. Chicken sate, Caribbean fried porn, cauliflower rice stuffed peppers, and more mouth-watering options are available on WoodSpoon. These are the best quality dishes you can find without actually hiring a professional home chef. 

Fancy, right? 

Back For Seconds

WoodSpoon proudly boasts 16,000 active customers and 150 active chefs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens with a 50% month-over-month growth. According to Saar, 35% of their customers have ordered at least four times in seventeen days. 

And now, they’re expanding. After raising $14 Million in fundraising, WoodSpoon is poised to blow up.

For the consumer, a simplified and easy-to-navigate interface that allows users to browse by meal or chef. For the chef, all you have to do is focus on the food. WoodSpoon takes care of the packaging and delivery logistics.

There’s no question the quality of food delivery has evolved in the past year. Restaurants not normally equipped for take-out quickly adapted and made the best of a super unfortunate situation. WoodSpoon brings delivery to a new level by packaging a chef’s talent and delivering it to your front door.

In a matter of time, WoodSpoon will be in your city. And you’ll be tasting some of the best quality food you’ve had. 

Bon appetit.

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