This essay originally was published on October 28, 2021, with the email subject line CT No. 100: "Writing the foundation of a business," alongside a review of contract management tool Bonsai. The original archived issue is no longer in a web format from an accidental deletion 😬, so please contact me if you would like a copy,
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Four quick facts for the productivity-obsessed entrepreneurial types with newsletter hopes and dreams:
Each issue takes 1.5 workdays to create, write and optimize for the website.
Clients who contacted me directly because of/through the newsletter comprise 25% of my annual revenue (projected), and that's rapidly growing.
My newsletter open rates are between 35 & 45%.
With both the newsletter and client projects, I hit capacity between 40 and 45 hours a week, and I'm aiming to work a little less.
Bulletpoints aside, my process for writing The Content Technologist each week is flexible and probably too loose far many. Rooted in a client services rather than mass audience or community model, nearly every content decision derives from how I can attract and keep good clients.
Phase 1: Ideation: Thursday–Monday
Immediately after I press send on Thursday's newsletter, I start working on the following week's. I'm scrawling notes and catching up on reading, scanning Twitter. Sometimes I smoke sativa, jot down new ideas, and think about what I'd like to read and how best to write it. Sometimes I explore new tools while I'm watching reruns of The Amazing Race or catching up on podcasts. Ongoing passive ideation and note-taking, either digitally or physically, is core to my process.
My Workflowy setup captures the best of those ideas, and I have a long list of potential topics for the weeks when I'm feeling less creative. That notebook also serves as a reminder to cover content equally from across my pillars, so I'm creating rather than reacting in the content development process.
Ideas that make it into fully formed essays originate from one of four places:
Answers to common questions from current or potential clients
Explanation of a complex process I've developed that I would like to sell to clients and execute more often
Current events or trends about which I have something new to say... as long as they relate to my pre-determined content pillars
The first three of those directly impact revenue generation, since my business model is Marketing Agency and not Media Company. The final one is inherent to blogging, to my style, and can help with subscriber growth. Commenting on current digital discourse also shows potential and current clients that I am paying attention and acting deliberately in an ever-evolving digital content market.
All fall into a successful B2B content marketing strategy: Create content that directly showcases your services and unique expertise to your highest-value clients.