Content represents a massive marketing opportunity for companies of all sizes. An effective content marketing strategy can get your products or services in front of customers when it matters most – i.e. when they’re researching providers.
In other words, you can beat competitors with an effective content strategy. And we know that content marketing works.
According to HubSpot, companies that blog regularly:
- Generate 3 to 4 times the amount of traffic (of non-blogging sites)
- Increase traffic 4.5 times (when posting 16+ times per month)
- Create magnets that generate leads for longer periods of time
That sounds great, right?
Well, the problem: Blogging in volume is a challenge, especially for nimble teams without dedicated marketing departments. It’s time-intensive.
So how can you produce great content consistently and effectively?
The fastest way: Hire a content marketing company. This will allow you to produce lead magnets faster. But of course, it’s the most cost intensive.
The good news: You can do it yourself for free.
Even without an infinite budget, and even if you’re producing content by yourself, you can be an effective content marketer – without investing hours and hours of your time.You just have to work smarter.
Work like professional copywriters. Brainstorm, develop a content calendar, produce en masse, write meta-data in bulk, schedule your posts.
Rinse and repeat.
Plan Ahead to Maximize Growth
A little planning goes a long way in turning you into a content machine. Most importantly, planning makes your content marketing strategy actionable and aligned to specific goals.
So how can you plan for content success?
First, think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to grow brand awareness? Provide helpful information? Or generate sales?
Most likely, it’ll be a mix of all of those.
Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to go, you can start creating a roadmap for getting there. A few quick tips:
- Brainstorm Like a Maniac: Not knowing what you want to write slows you down. It eliminates any momentum you might have. So before getting started, build a file of potential article titles. Look at what your competitors are doing. Find topic they’re missing, steal the best ideas and adapt them into your own, and have at least 20 quality ideas on the back burner.
- Build Around Target Keywords: Keywords are a helpful tool for brainstorming. They give you an idea for what types of content your customers might be looking for. And they can help you design content that’s going to be effective. Use 3-4 focus keywords for each article idea.
- Develop a Long-Term Blog Calendar: A content calendar enables you to see long-term what you will be writing and gives you an idea of the scope of your content. Schedule out the next six months of articles. You’ll be able to see what topics are getting covered and what may need some attention.
- Create Article Templates: Another content writing hack: Create templates for your articles. Templates are documents that allow you to plug in the words when you’re ready to write. Create templates for all the types of content you will make like Q&As, How-Tos, Guides, Interviews, etc.
Emulate Professional Copywriters
Sitting down to write can be intimidating. A lot of times the words just don’t seem to come freely.
It happens to everyone – not just non-writers. Ask any professional content writers about “writer’s dread,” and you’ll see it affects even seasoned copywriters.
Yet, the pros know how to produce every day, even when “inspiration” just doesn’t seem to strike. They use a few copywriting tricks to ensure the words get produced quickly and without long periods of staring at the page. A few quick tips:
- Start with an Outline: Outlines aren’t just for high school English papers. They let writers know exactly what they want to say, and how they’re going to say it. So before you get started: Create a map for your article. Include a few bullet points for each section, any stats you might use, or cut and paste sources that you’ll edit later and make your own.
- Write Now, Edit Later: The writer and editor reside in different parts of your brain. And they don’t work well together. The editor loves to impede progress. If you want to produce quality blogs fast, shut off your internal editor. Just get the words down as quickly as possible. Say what you want to say. The editing, refining and optimizing comes later – so produce that first draft as quickly as possible.
- Produce in Batches: If you want to create content in volume, producing one article at a time just isn’t efficient. Instead, focus on producing 3-4 drafts at a time. You can then batch edit and write all your metadata later.
- Focus on the Headline: Advertising icon David Ogilvy had this to say about headlines: Five times as many people read them than the body of your article. So “when you have written your headline, you’ve spend 80 cents out of your dollar.” With web writing, that’s even more accurate. Readers are scanners. A strong headline gives them reason to dive in. Spend time crafting a killer headline.
Maximize Your Growth with Great Content
In 2018, blogging is a required digital marketing strategy. Companies that produce content that people want to read – whether they’re local, national or global – are handsomely rewarded with more sales and loyalty.
But it’s not easy.
Beyond the planning and writing, you’ll also need to focus on distribution. Social media makes that easier, and great, thought-provoking content can go viral and get your brand more visible. Guest blogging is another tactic, which can help you reach new readers.
Yet, regardless of how you grow readership, content is king.
Every business – from the local pizza joint, to a national insurance chain – is a publisher. If your business isn’t blogging, you’re leaving money on the table.
EXTRA: Blogging Tip
Share your content! Spend time writing engaging social media posts that will draw people to your blog. Refer to this article: