But then I started to read Baer’s “6 Lifelong Laws of Content Marketing” and a sense of rejuvenation washed over me. (I’m not kidding – it was like a marketing Baptism, people.) In his post, Baer really gives the quick and dirty of what content marketing costs, in terms of time and money. Perhaps it was his honesty but whatever the case, it’s a motivating article that I highly suggest you read.
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In reflecting on his stripped-down, no-frills explanation of the importance of content marketing, I came up with three strategies I’m currently using in order to solidify a consistent, rocking content marketing strategy that even Mr. Baer would be proud of.
Create a content team
While everyone says they’d love to write a blog on this-and-that, let’s be real honest with each other: those people are lying and most will never follow through – at least not consistently. And that’s what your content marketing needs: consistency.
As we continuously refine our process here at Synecore, we’ve designated specific people to commit to a weekly blog in their area of expertise. With all of the other days left (Baer says shoot for posting everyday and kill the blog if you can’t do two days a week), we have a designated content team that commits to writing blogs for the other days not dedicated to a “weekly” spot. These are then the people that are responsible for most of the blogs as well as eBooks and webinars (or other sorts of premium content).
A note to respond to Baer’s article: he suggests that higher level execs should be writing blogs; however, since we are a smaller agency with a very loose, if any, hierarchy of employees, this model doesn’t make a ton of sense to us. Therefore, we aim for more of a tightknit (and totally rad and awesome) content team.
Make a freakin’ calendar
Although they don’t have the same bureaucratic power as your seventh-grade teacher demanding your algebra homework, armed with a nasty ruler that needs not be used to exercise its full intimidation power…
…calendars do work to maintain consistency in your content marketing.
Our vision at Synecore is to create an editorial calendar each month, which includes a new campaign centered around a piece of premium content like an eBook. Couple that with a complimentary webinar and blogs, and we’ve got a solid month’s worth of content. In addition to the content that is part of our monthly campaign, we’ll sprinkle some timely posts in each week.
The editorial calendar, especially if displayed publicly in the office, is a great way to foster transparency and motivate your content team to keep up with their work. Nobody wants to be that guy that misses the deadline.
Avoid writer’s block
Many times people, myself included, feel as though they don’t have a burning idea for content in their head and thus are prevented from writing anything at all. While it’s easy to say, “Well, if you can’t find anything in your industry to write about, you need to re-think your career/entire existence,” I know that sometimes you’re just completely stuck. To avoid such frustrating existential dilemmas, I try to practice these habits to help with the idea-flow:
- Designate time in your day to reading industry articles and publications (I use feedly to get the most up-to-date posts in one place). Doing this will give you timely and relevant information or new research that will spark some ideas.
- Use personal experiences to inspire your content. Remember, you are actually a real person, not just a robot content creator. Your readers will appreciate that they can relate to your personal experiences and that connects them, consequently, to you as a writer. For example, I recently had a completely awesome social media interaction with one of my favorite brands, ModCloth. I did a little research on what others were saying about their social media strategy and voila: a blog!
- Help out your content team members. My colleague and I are the two main content creators for our company blog, Marketing Technology for Growth, and we often will shoot each other interesting articles that get our wheels turning (I must admit that he is usually filling me with ideas more so than I to him). Or one of us will be working on a blog and then get stuck in an “I-have-no idea-what-the-hell-I’m-writing-about” kind of moment. We hash it out in a quick (or not so quick) conversation and are left with more complex and thoughtful posts. #win
While there are significant time and cost investments in content marketing, content – in whatever form your company chooses – is useful and vital to your brand. The three tips I outlined above are what Synecore aims for, but make no mistake our strategy is not perfect. And when we get swamped and client work floods in, our own content marketing suffers. However, continuous refinement and improvement is what keeps you growing.
I’d love to hear your brand’s strategies for sticking to your content marketing. Please note that I work in a small agency (2-10 range), so these tricks mostly speak to smaller companies. However, if you’re part of a bigger company, I’d love to hear some of your content marketing motivators too!