Creating content is a challenge for any firm.

    Even professional marketers say that producing content on a regular basis is one of the toughest marketing hurdles for them to overcome.

    For advice firms, it’s arguable that the challenge is even greater.

    Knowledge-rich but time-poor advisers, who are the lifeblood of the firm’s income, are often best placed to create content that resonates with the audience. But should they be doing high value client work, rather than creating content that supports the marketing effort?

    But content creation doesn’t need to be hard. Here are four tips to get you started:

    1) There are different forms of content

    It might be difficult and time-consuming to write blogs or guides, but don’t forget that content can take several forms and not all of them need to take hours of production time.

    A podcast, for example, might need resource from an in-house marketer (or a team member who is a whizz with tech), but an adviser could simply be the ‘guest’, calling in for a fifteen-minute slot on a specialist discussion point.

    Video, once you’ve done a few, can be quick and easy. Infographics need some design work, but collecting the statistics, quotes or short snippets of information doesn’t need to take long at all.

    2) Have a process for gathering inspiration

    Often the challenge is just knowing what to write about, and having that initial inspiration.

    Content ideas can come from a wide range of sources. Conversations with clients and colleagues, news articles, podcasts, TV, blogs - the list can be endless.

    Often we can think: "That would make a great story for us," and then forget about it as we move on to our next activity.

    Have a tool for capturing the moment, something that works for you. Like many others, I use Evernote - this app can capture web pages, photos, voice notes and much more. It allows you to capture the thought wherever you may be.

    Of course, there are plenty of other tools and methods, including the good old notebook. The trick is to find something that works for you, and stick to it.

    You can then refer back to these notes when you have time to write the content; your inspiration is all there.

    3) Tell a story

    The most engaging content is that which people can relate to. Telling a story is a great way to do this.

    It could be your own experience or that of a client. There are plenty of blogs about how to write in this style - a quick Google search will serve up plenty of tips and ideas.

    Creating an emotional engagement with the audience is a powerful approach. It’s all about being human and relating to your audience.

    Don’t just describe actions - try to focus on motivations and feelings. One approach that helps engage is by using anecdotes and personal references. The audience must be able to relate to the story.

    4) Assign time and resource properly

    Content won’t happen unless it has time assigned to it. The old ‘I’ll get round to it’ and ‘when I’ve finished everything else’ are the enemies of content production, which will always end up last on the list.

    If you are serious about engaging with content marketing and pursuing a strategy that works, you need to be serious about content production.

    Many a good content marketing strategy has been torpedoed from the off because of a lack of resource being allocated, as well as a lack of planning and internal communication.

    It may be there is someone in the business who enjoys writing, they may just not know what to write about. Could it be just the inspiration they need?

    Consider what works best in your business and the option of outsourcing if required.

    Content creation remains a pillar of any marketing strategy, and of engaging existing clients and building relationships with prospects.

    Establishing a method and process for making content creation a ‘business as usual’ activity will pay dividends for your firm. What are you waiting for...?

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