Creating must-read, unmissable, bookmark-worthy content takes crazy amounts of time, effort, and balls of steel, but it's nothing you can't get under control with this little hack: schedule your content strategy and social efforts in blocks of time. (Get More Done at Work: 4 Tips For Managing Your To-Do List). How do the pros create content and how do they formulate their content marketing strategy? Monthly editorial meetings. This is where everyone gets together and discusses upcoming themes, holidays, events, and releases. It's the secret to always-fresh, timely, and smart content marketing.
Instead of spending each morning banging your head against the wall trying to come up with something to blog about, take one whole day to plan out every single piece of content you expect to execute in the next 30, 60, even 90 days if you can swing it. Really go for it, and I mean, throw yourself into this creative process and you will come up with some amazing ideas this is some real great content strategy. Write everything down. DO NOT EDIT YOURSELF at this point. Nothing gets erased, nothing goes in the trash. Nothing gets crossed off. Blog posts, videos, photos, all of it.
But maybe you're like "UGH. I'm just not getting enough ideas. I suck at this." And want to throw your notebook (and laptop?) into the nearest body of water, never to hear the words "content" or "social media" or "content strategy" ever again.
Three things: Take a deep breath. You do not suck. This stuff is hard. (See first paragraph.) Get a change of scenery and take your brainstorm sesh offsite. Go to the park, the beach, hell, go take a solo overnighter, anything to get a clear head and view of something other than the four office walls you stare at on a daily basis. But there is another way to brainstorm craploads of fan-frigging-tastic content ideas in one weekend, and as you may have guessed, it may also involve wine to get some content marketing done. But it also involves some company. Kinda like your very own editorial department.
Get the lowdown on unlocking your creativity, gathering a long list of killer content marketing ideas, and having massive amounts of fun after the break.
Want to know how to come up with some seriously inspired content strategy ideas? I love, love, LOVE doing this — create your own editorial department of sorts by gathering up some of your other business friends and running your very own content strategy hackathon. This 24-hour creative council is wildly gratifying and bolsters creative confidence for everyone involved. It doesn't even matter if your friends are in the same niche as you, in fact, that might even be better since you'll get a brand spankin' new perspective on what readers might want to see on your website.
For 24 hours, you and your business besties' only goal is to come up with the most diverse, addictive and mouth-wateringly creative content marketing ideas for one another. Set aside blocks of time (heyooo - another time block!) for each of you, and start throwing out ideas. Go all night! Don't stop! Get crazy! Be wildly unbridled. Don't erase anything! Every idea is write-downable! Take breaks for meals, walks, nature hikes, maybe even some yoga. Experiment with photography for your blog while you're at it. Embrace the idea of creation in every aspect. Breathe it in, bathe in it, and roll around in it. Let it envelop you completely. It might end up being your very favorite part of your business.
Your editorial "department" already sounds so much more exciting than the rest of them out there.
If you are still struggling to create content you can always reach out to us and have our team step in and help you. Why worry about anything we can create content that unique, original and creative for your business.
You want to create content like the pros? Having a monthly brainstorming session with yourself, your staff, or your gaggle of best business is the best way to plan content ahead of time. But the fun isn't over there, my friends. Professional bloggers also meet weekly to talk current events. The secret sauce behind timely content isn't just sticking to your monthly editorial calendar: it's updating and reworking what you've got to allow for news and unexpected events so have room for that in your content strategy.
Consider your editorial calendar a puzzle and content like pieces you're constantly moving and reworking to fit. Once those pieces make sense, it electrifies and energizes your blog.
You already knew this content strategy thing would be hard work, but it does not have to take over your life. One way to keep the content marketing train moving full steam ahead without flaking on the rest of your existence is to write all of your weekly content in one day. Take a few hours or half your slowest day of the week (we all have one - mine is Tuesday) and go on a writing binge. Get it all out there. Every post and video you had placed on your meticulously-planned editorial calendar for the next five to seven days.
But here's the catch — you must be willing to re-evaluate the upcoming week and totally wipe the slate clean if the posts you're about to write no longer seem relevant, timely, or provide value to your customers. Keep a journal or an app like Evernote on you at all times to write down new ideas and if your planned content seems stale (the kiss of death for new bloggers, but a trap that is easy to fall into), then kick that to the curb and jack up the volume with something new and fresh.
Get the lowdown on how you can stay on top of current happenings after the break.
You must read the news online or watch it, so you have a general idea of what is going on in the world. Always look at the top stories with an analytical eye. How can each topic be spun to fit your genre?
One simple, easy like Sunday morning way to stay on top of current happenings is by checking out reddit and other social media. Kicking your brain juices into high gear, we cover a few top topics that are trending, happening, and upcoming that anyone can cover no matter what their industry speciality.
Think and ask yourselves two things:
So you've planned out all your monthly content and take a fresh look at those posts on a weekly basis, maybe even write out an entire weeks worth of content in one day (with incredibly juicy headlines to boot). You're done, right?
This is the Internet. Things — and the news — move fast. You have to also check your content daily to ensure it's timely, accurate, and the most appropriate piece of work you could put forth to the world.
Let's say you offer a meal planning service and write a post about Paula Deen that just so happened to be scheduled to go live days following her diabetes announcement. If you don't take that off the timer, update it with the relevant news, and publish it immediately, you're giving away pageviews.
And if you don't then take the time to follow that up with some recipe modifications hungry home cooks can make to reduce fat and calories, then you're just lazy and don't care about actually gaining traffic to your blog . . . or your business.
Daily check-ins are key for breaking news stories. I cannot emphasize this enough. Embed this into your routine in the morning. If you really want to make this blogging thing work, get up a few minutes earlier, check around the Internet for breaking news, and immediately start writing if there's something relevant to your industry that you can capitalize on.
This is how the pros succeed. This is how they bring in the big pageviews. This is how they land on — the holiest of holy — Page One of Google Search (with some help from inbound links, but we'll get into that later). And this is how you will become a well-trained, highly alert, content marketing-creating, audience-building machine for your business.
You will get to know your industry on an intimate level. Make love to it. Follow breaking news, and then make some of your own.
Get some ideas on where to look for news, how to keep up with it, and how to capitalize on trends with fresh angles after the break.
Get the pageview train rolling hard in your direction by searching the following places for news EVERY SINGLE MORNING:
If that's not enough, you can then break down each news item into every possible angle and spread your content strategy out over a few days. A few more hours of work will be worth it in pageviews. Going with that Paula Deen theme we had earlier, here's just a few angles you could take for follow-up stories:
So how are we feeling? Overwhelmed with creating content? I hope not cause we're not done yet. All that planning, writing, and news-following won't be worth diddly squat without marketing. In part four of this series, I'll talk about ways you can market this content out through social media, bloggers, journalists, and more.
In the meantime, I'd love to get your thoughts on the news process. Leave your questions in the comments!
There's a definite feeling of satisfaction when you finish an awesome piece of content. You grind away at it, work it, poke it, pound it to fit your voice, and finally after much effort, you let out a slow and long exhale, sit back with a cheshire cat smile, and marvel at your finished work. But before you light up that cigarette in your post-creation bliss, here's a heads up:
Whether it be a blog post, video, photo gallery, interview, white paper, or infographic, that shit ain't gonna sell itself, honey. It's now on to the marketing phase of the content strategy cycle, which is arguably the hardest, sweatiest, and dirtiest part of the job. But it can also be the most rewarding.
How do you market your content? With some targeted outreach and social interaction. Wipe that sweat off your brow and get ready for round two.
First, let's talk about social media, since it's generally the easiest way to get the word out about your masterpiece and should be step number one for content marketing. But where to link? Depends on your business. Finding the right social networks is key, but here's some action item suggestions for the top networks right now:
Don't go anywhere — we talk outreach after the break!
Let's talk about outreach, baby. Contacting other bloggers and press about your great content takes some finesse, but it's worth working up to over time. Say you've got a handful of daily must-read blogs who's readership would benefit from your content. Why not pitch these posts to the editors for reposting (also called guest blogging), to work into upcoming stories they may be drafting, or adding in a link to a current story live on their site?
Did you get a little shiver of fear down your spine just now? You may be all like "Woah, I don't know about that. How do I know my content is good enough? Why would these popular blogs want to link to me?"
Fact is, you will never know what kind of answer you will get unless you try.
Since you read these blogs daily, you know the subject matter. You know the community. Hell, you may even know exactly what each author writes about most. These sites are great options for pitching your ideas since you know them intimately.
And since you know them intimately, you know what they like. And you're an expert in your field as a business owner, so it's possible that your voice is exactly what is needed.
Professional bloggers are under tight deadlines, quick turnarounds, and sometimes even post quotas, so your email that offers up an insightful piece of content might make the cut to the main page because it might fit their content strategy. But how do you get there?
Before we go, I'd love it if you'd tell me one thing:
Creating content that makes readers salivate is hard work, and you're probably patting yourself on the back for following the previous steps in the series, and using your social channels to promote the crap out of your work. While you deserve a celebratory happy hour, we're not done, son.
There's still more to do to get the word out about the amazing content you just created.
Don't freak and mess up your fresh blow-out. I mean, don't you WANT your work to be seen? To be a wildfire that people can't turn away from? You spent months, weeks, and days planning it!
As long as this Content Marketing is as awesome as I think it is, you need to tell people where to find it. So let's talk blogger outreach after the break.
Marketing your content to bloggers is a delicate balance between self-promotion and ass-kissing, but it's somewhat easy to do if your content contains these elements:
So your content marketing — whether it be a blog post, video, photo gallery, infographic, et cetera — fits in these buckets. Now you're like, "But wait a minute, I don't get a lot of website traffic. These bloggers aren't going to link to me."
While this may be true for some (most popular bloggers don't want to take a risk on a site that isn't established), you will absolutely need to work your way up to the big guys.
Eventually, you will be able to pitch the big guys with confidence once you've gotten some solid links and coverage from the smaller sites, though you should never discount the little guys — they could turn out to be your traffic BFFs if you establish a great rapport.
Have some questions or opinions about blogger outreach? Let's chat it out in the comments.
What is your number one concern or hurdle when it comes to marketing your content?
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Abdul is the head of Marketing at Rank Today where he works with small to large businesses to help them grow userbase, target their ideal market prospects, increase their online presence and achieve better conversion rates and sales. He has also helped multiple startups reach enormous user growth, top trending status on the iOS App store as well as news coverage.
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