RETHINKING THE CREATION AND GENERATION OF SALES AND MARKETING CONTENT IN 2021
My Discovery and Exploration of the Process of Creating and Distributing Content on the Internet
In the year 2020, when it became evident that the world would be focusing on COVID 19 and governments, and people started reacting or acting, I knew it would be a good year to spend most of the year at home and study a topic. And I chose to study online marketing for the following reasons:
- Every business needs some form of online presence.
- I had never written or developed software and systems in that vertical market.
- My brief forays into the topic left me with little grasp of the concepts or software available.
- Curiosity. It always gets me.
Many people go to school to learn how to market ideas, products, and services online, but I decided to learn a different way. I wanted to learn from people that were successfully marketing ideas, products, and services online. So I started with Google and started digging into the stories, the lessons, and the content produced by people that I have followed for years online. This led me to obtain and purchase content and learning materials from:
This process then led me to purchase and study online courses that helped me understand specific aspects of the online digital marketing and social marketing experience from these two personalities that I had followed via podcasts, YouTube, and blogs for years. These courses included:
- Knowledge Revolution by Jason Stapleton
- Iconic Personal Brand Mastery by Jason Stapleton
- Podcasting Domination by Jason Stapleton
- Online Business Kickstarter by Jason Stapleton
- Influential Communications Workshop by Jason Stapleton
- How to Start and Monetize a Podcast by Tom Woods
- Start a Blog in Five Minutes by Tom Woods
- How to Build an Email List by Tom Woods
- How to Self Publish a Book By Tom Woods
- How to Earn Money as an Affiliate by Tom Woods
Since I wasn’t traveling and spent part of the year recovering from heart failure, I did a lot of reading and watching and observing. Starting with those two authors, and their course content, I expanded my exploration and learning materials into many areas of related interest which included:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Brand Development and Management
- Story Telling
- Digital Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Traffic Development and Management
- Much More
The exploration of these new topics then lead me to further explore topics and courses from authors that included:
MARKETING AND SELLING
I spent a considerable amount of time learning by reading and watching materials on marketing and selling online. I also looked at software that would help me with the process. But, since my focus was on learning how to do it and not necessarily on doing it, I wasn’t really sure what to do with any of my newfound knowledge and training resources.
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
I knew that, whatever I decided to do with my new information and knowledge, it would require that I be able to produce large amounts of content that could be used for documenting, training, marketing, and selling among other things, but I had no idea how to go about creating it. I knew that, ultimately, I needed to produce this content in these forms:
- Paper — Many people prefer to be able to print and read paper products.
- Video — Many people prefer to learn visually by watching videos.
- Audio — Many people are busy and just actively listen and learn.
- Text — The text form of content can be stored, presented, and transmitted digitally.
I had used Microsoft Word for years, as part of the many different versions of Microsoft Office, including Office 365, so I was quite familiar with it. I had even done extensive programming and coding to make Microsoft Word do fabulous things, so I knew it had possibilities for producing digital computer files in the formats that would be needed which included:
- Microsoft Word (*.docx) — Many businesses use this product to create and distribute content.
- Adobe Portable Document Format (*.pdf) — This format is popular for producing and distributing documents electronically.
- Open XML Paper Specification (*.xps) — This format isn’t as popular as a PDF but is used in a similar manner.
- Single File Web Page (*.mht, *.mhtml) — This file contains all the content including files, photos, and HTML text.
- Web Page (*.htm, *.html) — This is the file format most often displayed in internet browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
- Rich Text Format (*.rtf) — This file format has been around since the 1980s and can be used by many word processing software packages.
- Plain Text (*.txt) — Just the actual text or words that make up the content. No formatting of any kind. Just plain text.
- Open Document Text (*.odt) — This file format can be used by word processing applications like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and Microsoft Word.
- Word XML Document (*.xml) — This is the eXtensible Markup Language format for storing the document or content.
- ePub (*.epub) — This format is used to produce the electronic forms of books found on Amazon Kindle, etc.
I had also used Microsoft PowerPoint for years, to create presentations and slideshows, as part of the many different versions of Microsoft Office, including Office 365, so I was quite familiar with it as well. I had even done extensive programming and coding to make Microsoft PowerPoint do fabulous things, so I knew it had possibilities for producing digital computer files in the formats that also would be needed which included:
- PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx, *.pptm) — Presenters love to use PowerPoint Presentations and Slideshows.
- Adobe Portable Document Format (*.pdf) — This format is popular for producing and distributing presentations and slideshows electronically.
- Open XML Paper Specification (*.xps) — This format isn’t as popular as a PDF, but is used in a similar manner.
- MPEG-4 Video (*.mp4) — This is the popular format used for playing and watching videos on computers and the internet.
- Windows Media Video (*.wmf) — This is a Microsoft Media-specific movie format.
- Animated GIF Format (*.gif) — This is the popular format that is used to animate graphics.
- OpenDocument Presentation (*.odp) — This file format can be used by Presentation editing applications like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and Microsoft Word.
- Graphics Formats (*.gif, *.jpg, *.png, *.tif, *.bmp, *.wmf, *.emf, *.svg) — These are the popular image formats used on computers and on the internet.
- Many Others
While I get frustrated with Microsoft and its marketing of the Office product line, it is highly available and can be easily obtained by either purchasing it one time, or in subscription form for as little as $6.95 per month in its various forms. And I wanted to use a method of producing files that was highly available to most people. I also knew that I could write software and code to automate many of the tedious tasks associated with Microsoft Office. You can learn more about the Office line of products at the link below:
WHAT TO WRITE AND WHAT TO PRODUCE
I had decided on a method and software that I would use to produce content for marketing online, but I had no idea what to write about or what to produce. I just knew that I needed to write lots of content to be able to refine the process and software for producing the content, but I had no specific products or services that I wanted to sell. I’m a dreamer, so I had lots of ideas and thoughts but no specific direction or goals, other than refining and developing a process and software.
PUBLISH 365 CHALLENGE
Then, in December of 2020, Jason Stapleton introduced his Publish 365 Challenge and challenged me, and a bunch of other entrepreneurs, to create content each day of the year 2021, and the timing was perfect. I could use his challenge as a catalyst to produce my content and develop my processes and software as needed. You can read more about the Publish 365 Challenge, and join it at this link:
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
I decided to produce a daily newsletter on SubStack to start with, a daily blog on Medium, and a daily video on YouTube on a variety of topics. Since I was just using the content to improve my processes and to develop and write software, I wanted the content and writing to look nice and be good, but I didn’t really care if I was actually selling or marketing an idea, a product, or a service. The content morphed into many things, including things I was thinking about and little lessons that may help others, and I distributed this content using the pages or channels below as, and when, appropriate:
- TomSeest on SubStack
- TDSeest on Medium
- Tom Seest on YouTube
- TomSeest on LinkedIn
- Tom.Seest on Facebook
- TomSeest on MeWe
- TomSeest on Gab
- TomSeest on Twitter
My early process involved opening up Microsoft Word to a blank document and just typing out my thoughts for the day. I usually organized my thoughts into paragraphs. I discovered that in order to move these thoughts in an organized form into Microsoft PowerPoint that I needed to organize my thoughts in the form of the following hierarchy. This text would then be displayed in the “Outline” view and transfer nicely into PowerPoint, where I could make the presentation and videos.
- Post Title — This was the main title for the post.
- Sub Title — This was the sub title of the post.
- Paragraph or Slide Title — This was a title for each paragraph of thought. This would become a slide in PowerPoint.
- Paragraph or Slide Text — This was the actual text for the paragraph and contained most of my thoughts.
- Bullet Points — I often wanted to use bullet points for a paragraph.
- Image or Photo — I wanted to display an interesting photo that might or might not relate to the paragraph.
When I first started the process, it would take me about four to six hours per night to produce all the files, in the formats I wanted, using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. While I was accomplishing great things with these two tools, I knew that a dedicated schedule of four to six hours per night was not sustainable, as I do have a family and somewhat of a life. So I performed some basic automation code, using the built in macros and automation capabilities in Microsoft Office, and got my process down to two to three hours per day to create the content and post it to my media channels. But this simply wasn’t good enough. I needed to do more automation and free up more time.
I then started creating a set of software screens with the help of another developer and quickly automated many of the tasks that were tedious and consumed time in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. While not completely done, I can now produce and distribute these daily newsletters, blog posts, and videos in less than an hour on most days, depending on the length or duration of the content. On most days, it takes about a half hour of my time.
DOES IT SCALE THOUGH?
I wondered if the process would scale out well if I doubled my production, so I introduced a second set of social media channels to see how well the software would work with an entirely different type of content. For years, I’ve been known for having a dry, punishing sense of humor, so I decided to produce a daily Newsletter channel and YouTube videos of puns, sarcasm, and dad jokes. Nothing serious and nothing that I had to look for, since I had collected and shared the nonsense for years on Facebook.
CURATOR OF NONSENSE
I became a curator of nonsensical images and posts from Facebook, and started sharing it daily using the same tool I had created for the more serious marketing work. Most of this work or writing, punning, sarcasm, or dad jokes is not original content from me. I appreciate the finer art and curate or collect from various sources on the Internet. All original copyright notices are reflected in the images and the watermarks for the images. You can see this content and consume it daily at these links listed below:
- ThatPunGuy on SubStack
- ThatPunGuy on YouTube
- ThatPunGuy on MeWe
- ThatPunGuy on Gab
- ThatPunGuy1 on Twitter
- ThatPunGuy on Facebook
So, currently, I spend one to one and a half hours a day producing and distributing content, in digital form, in a variety of places on the Internet. And I continue to learn from the daily experience, the daily processes, and continue to improve the software on nights and on weekends. Currently, my process looks like this:
- I type out my thoughts, in an organized way, into my software.
- My software creates the Microsoft Word file formats.
- My wife takes the Microsoft Word content and proof reads it, as she is a professional proof reader (grammar Nazi).
- I re-import the edited and proofed document back into my software.
- I read the contents of each screen into my software, and it stores this as audio content files.
- I create the PowerPoint Presentation using the software I created from the Microsoft Word document and the digital media files.
- I use Microsoft PowerPoint to produce all the video, presentation, and graphic file formats that I want for my content that day.
- I upload the content to my Blogger, Substack, Medium, and YouTube channels in the native digital formats required for each.
- I share the links to the content on the various social platforms like Facebook, MeWe, Twitter, Gab, SlideShare, and LinkedIn.
I still have some ideas and probably another month of weekends and evenings before I’ll be done with the software that I use for this process. But it works really well, and I fix any bugs as I find them. While software is really never done, I think I’ve squeezed the maximum amount of time and process improvements out of this piece of automation. The picture shown here is what the screen looked like when I produced the previous slide or paragraph of content.
WHAT WORD PROCESSING FILES GET PRODUCED?
As I type the content into my software on the screen that you just saw, it produces all the Microsoft Word files that are pictured here for each of the slides or paragraphs that can be distributed to the various web sites and social media platforms:
WHAT PRESENTATION, AUDIO, AND VIDEO FILES GET PRODUCED?
The software produces all the images, audio, and video formats as pictured here, when I’m done proofing the presentation and movie:
WHAT GRAPHIC OR IMAGE FILES GET PRODUCED?
This picture shows a screen snapshot of all the image and graphic files that get produced for each slide of content that make up the presentation and the movie.
GOOD SUMMARY AND OVERVIEW
I think I’ve done a great job of outlining and summarizing the steps and software that I have created and use to produce all sorts and forms of digital content for social media marketing of ideas, products and services, and I’ll continue to seek clarity, learn from my daily process, and improve the process and software. I still have other parts of the process that I want to automate and improve like the distribution of the various media formats that I produce.
You can review all the content in its digital form, for this Newsletter, Blog, and Video by browsing to the DropBox link below and reviewing each digital asset. The software is working well and producing nice looking content.
CONTENT PROCESS AND SOFTWARE
I’ve helped produce a nice, easy to use, process and system for producing nice looking content on a daily basis, but I’m not really quite sure yet what I’m going to do with it. I have some ideas for what I can use it for, and I’m weighing the alternatives. Please let me know if you have additional ideas or thoughts that are listed here by commenting on this post or video.
- Sell the service of producing content for businesses.
- Sell the software as a service to produce the content for businesses.
- Produce my own learning material content as courses.
- Sell the software as Windows-based software to produce content.
- Produce content to sell other ideas, software, and services that I develop in the future.
I will continue to make daily dumps of my thoughts, as I clarify my vision for this software, my thoughts, and my vision for the future. I don’t know that I am confident that I know what the future holds, but I am confident that I will do my best in my time remaining here on this planet called earth. Feel free to follow my ramblings at the links listed below: