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What to do before writing your content

Content is King. We hear that A LOT. Everyone is talking about content and how important it is if you want to do well online. ‘Write valuable content’. You probably have heard that one too.

I mean, it’s almost impossible nowadays to talk about online marketing without mentioning content or social media. But it all seems like the same ol’ stuff. Create valuable content. Simple. But is it really?

Working with small businesses has taught me one thing. If you want to actually leverage content marketing you are going to have to do more than just create it. You need direction. You, as a business, need to know where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

Most big businesses invest time and money in creating a content strategy but small businesses tend to believe they can’t afford either. If you are a small business owner, don’t let the word “strategy” turn you away from content creation.

You don’t need to have a team solely working on the planning and execution of your content strategy. All you need to do is have the following 5 points clear and let your content flow from there.

Let’s take a look…

Tell your Story

Tell your story - what to do before writing your content
Build and tell your brand story – what to do before writing your content


You might not think about this but it is important. You have a story. Everyone does. Sit down and think about it.

Why are you doing what you are doing?

What drove you to found your business?

Do you wake up every morning and go to work?

Bernadette Jiwa says it quite nicely. “If you don’t have a story you are just another commodity. A replaceable cog in the consumption machine. You have no way to differentiate your brand or your business.”

Telling your story and building your brand story is what is going to make you stand out and make people care and want to buy your products or services.  Your business needs to tell a story.

Once you know your story, polish it and start living it. Write it on your website’s blog and make it a vital part of your business and the way you communicate and portray yourself to your customers and community.

To find out more about how to tell your story, check out our article on digital storytelling.

Find your Tribe


Find a niche for your brand - what to do before writing your content
Find a niche for your brand – what to do before writing your content


No. Don’t dust off your loincloth and move to the Amazon. Your tribe is right where you are. Your tribe is that niche that wants what you’re offering. Stop trying to reach EVERYONE. You won’t be able to compete if you are trying to reach everyone. Most businesses fail in understanding this and enter price wars or add meaningless attributes to their products or services. No one cares about those things. There. I said it. No one cares if you have 32 different toothpastes.

There is a tribe that cares about fluoride-free toothpaste, though. What if you were to create one and spread your story to the members of that tribe? I bet you’d be more successful than if you try to reach everyone and compete on prices.

It’s not about you. It’s about them


Mould your story around your customers - what to do before writing your content
Mould your story around your customers – what to do before writing your content


Knowing your brand story and talking about it doesn’t mean your business and what you do is about you. It isn’t. It’s about your customers. Your community. The real heroes.

You are here, doing what you do, to serve. They are looking to change something. You are here to guide and help them reach their goals. What if I’m a pest control business? How am I guiding anyone? How is this related to anything?!, I hear you ask.

Well that takes me to the next point

Be your tribe’s mentor


Create guides for customers through the content you create - what to do before writing your content
Create guides for customers through your content – what to do before writing your content


So, going back to the pest control business. Homeowners love their homes. They want a home where they can be happy, relaxed, and find peace. Not one where things are falling apart, and adds stress to their lives.

Be there for them. Create guides for them to check their homes at key times of the year.

Through your communication channels, you can help them, mentor them. Don’t be afraid to share something others aren’t. Marcus Sheridan started creating content where he answered customers’ questions, even the ones other pool businesses didn’t want to answer fearing the loss of potential customers.

He changed the way the industry worked and helped his tribe find the answers they were looking for.

Be the like Marcus Sheridan. Be the Mr. Kesuke Miyagi of your tribe and mentor them to reach their goals. Help them prevent termite infestations.

Share your hero’s story

Marketing has changed a lot since the Mad Men times. It’s not about pushing your brand and content down people’s throat as you’ve probably noticed. We are getting better and better at muting the messages we don’t want to hear.

Become an active member of your tribe and COMMUNICATE with them. Share their stories. Celebrate their success and be present. By playing an active role you’ll build trust and your tribe we’ll become more and more loyal. Listen to what they have to say. Engage.

Who is doing an excellent job at this?


Melissa Ambrosini and her path to wellness is a great example of creating valuable content
Melissa Ambrosini and her path to wellness is a great example of creating valuable content


Melissa Ambrosini started her Path to Wellness after struggling with her health. Since the start, she shared her story; her struggles and what led her to give up the life she was having to a more wholesome life.

She is not placing herself in the middle of the industry’s noise, trying to get everyone’s attention. Melissa’s tribe is not only people who are trying to be healthy but one that wants to change from the inside-out. Through emotional encouragement, a wholesome diet and exercise, Melissa is guiding her tribe to find their happiness.


Nudie is another great example of creating content for your 'tribe'
Nudie is another great example of creating content for your ‘tribe’


Nudie started 10 years ago when ‘Tall Tim’ (its founder) became a tad obsessed with juices and wanted to have a healthy and delicious juice while out and about with his family. They didn’t want to create a juice company and compete with all the other juice companies out there. No. ‘Tall Tim’ wanted something for him, and people like him. A juice made with nothing but real fruit. That is their tribe and main focus.

Their desire to bring clean juices without anything but real fruit made them stand out. And with their awesome communication and culture, they have created a pretty loyal customers’ base. They engage in different community events and are constantly sharing information on fruits on their social media.

If you want to see an example of the remarkable job they are doing you can read their story or why they are called “Nudie”. Might make you laugh a little.

So what now?

Tell your story to your tribe and make your business about them and not you. Don’t blow your own horn and push messages. Provide them with the tools they need through your content and marketing efforts and share their stories.

Start creating meaningful and valuable content. Remember, stories are powerful.

What are you doing to tell your story and connect with your tribe?



Images by alexkess, Zanthia, Rachel