One of the biggest struggles for businesses of any size is creating content for your website, blog or even your latest email newsletter. As the director of content marketing at VerticalResponse, my team and I work together to make the most of our small team’s efforts. Today, I share some simple tips to help you and your team (even if you’re a team of one) create quality content.
You Don’t Have to Be a Writer to Write
Some journalists or writers may cringe when they read that subhead, but so many people are frozen with fear because they don’t consider themselves writers. You may think they’ve got to pay someone else to do it. But guess what? You know your business better than anyone you could ever hire. And, if you can tell a simple story, you can write for your business.
At VerticalResponse, we have our entire marketing team (very few whom are “writers”) pitch in to create content for our blog. Each person is expected to create one blog post per month. Once a month isn’t too overwhelming and it doesn’t take much time away from core job responsibilities. Once a quarter we have a brainstorm and each person brings a list of topics to write about that he or she thinks will add value to our prospects and customers. Because each content team member is typically familiar and usually quite passionate about the topics provided, it makes the writing and creation of content easier for all. In fact, almost everyone has some fun with it, and each person gets credit for every post with an author byline. This also encourages team members to share content on their own social media profiles. I love to see team members sharing their latest post on a social network, even with a little shameless self-promotion such as, “Check out my latest post for the VR Marketing blog!” That’s when I know we’re doing it right for both our readers and our writers.
Use Your Tools
Using some simple and affordable tools can make content creation and sharing much easier. Some of our favorites include Google Calendar, which we use as our editorial calendar to assign posts to our internal contributors. You can use it to assign a writer’s name, topic and even include keywords they can use in their post to optimize it right within the calendar. You can then send out reminders so that no one misses a deadline.
Within Google Drive you can also use Google Docs to share content that you may already have that people can draw inspiration from. We created a content inventory that has every guide, infographic, webinar, case study and customer testimonial we have including a link right to the piece so that people can easily access it. If you want to create your own, we’ve got a free template you can download here.
Next up is WordPress. We set up a multi-author WordPress (.org) blog, which makes it super easy for individual contributors or “authors” to log in, write and save a draft blog post. You can give each contributor different roles (author, editor, administrator) and capabilities, such as the ability to publish, edit other posts, comment, or none of the above. Once a contributor has finished a post, he or she can then alert your editing team that it’s ready for review. Within WordPress, editors can see who has edited each post before them, and even view what was changed. This makes for a streamlined and efficient workflow for everyone involved. You can set your permissions in WordPress so folks don’t accidentally publish a post before it’s ready to go. This is especially important if you have RSS feeds linked to your blog, or you are syndicating your content. There are also plenty of content management platforms out there, but they usually have a hefty price tag attached to them.
The last tool in our content tool shed is Thinkstock. We pay a small fee for the stock photo site so our writers have a plethora of images to choose from. Variety means we don’t run the risk of using the same pictures again and again. We recently also wrote about other options for images here.
We hope these content creation tips will help you and your team create the kind of content marketing that will keep your readers coming back for more! Win!
Have any content marketing creation tips to add to our list? Share them in the comments.