The foundation of any successful inbound marketing strategy is consistent quality content. It's not easy to produce content day after day, let alone high-quality content. This is especially true in small teams where you’re responsible for more than copywriting. But I'm here to tell you that you can do it.
In fact, companies that are able to produce content consistently see the following benefits:
- establishes them as a trusted authority in their space
- generates website traffic and leads
- builds brand awareness and keeps them top of mind
- boosts SEO and Google love
- build the number of backlinks to their website.
Convinced that you need consistent, valuable content? Here are 5 simple actions your small team can take to consistently create high-quality content.
Develop a Content Strategy
Consistent, valuable content isn’t created overnight. It comes from having a solid plan in place. Developing a content strategy could warrant its own post entirely, but here are the basics:
Your content goals should tie into the overarching goals of the business. There’s no sense producing content for a soon-to-be-discontinued product. Nor does it make sense to promote content to one market when the business is focused on another.
Next, identify whom you're trying to help and the problem you're helping them solve. How old is your ideal customer? Where do they live? How often do they buy? Where do they search for information online?
Perform a Content Audit
Figure out what content you have, and what else you need to tell a cohesive story to your audience. Make sure you're creating content for all stages of the buyer's journey; consider the type of information the buyer is looking for and when. Smaller teams may want to focus on top-of-the-funnel content first to drive visitors to your website.
Chances are, you already have at least one detailed product brochure. But do you have content that addresses the problem that product solves? This type of content is what a buyer might look for first (top of the funnel), before looking for specific product information. If the buyer is looking for something that addresses his problem, you have to have that content in order for the buyer to find your site on his search results. Over time, you can mix in middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel content to help your sales teams close leads.
Next, determine what content formats you're going to create. Use formats your audience wants and expects. Where is your buyer consuming information? If they commute to work via public transportation, then videos (especially those with closed captions) are a good format choice. Do they drive to work? A podcast might work better. Do they typically read at their desk? If so, then webinars and slides might be the answer.
Look at competitor websites for content ideas. What are they blogging about? What aren’t they talking about? Search for those topics on Google. Look at what Google autocomplete suggests (in the search bar) to help identify what people are searching for in relation to that topic. Also, check out the Google Related Search section at the bottom of the Google results page.
Using a tool like Buzzsumo can help you see which articles have the greatest shares on social media. These topics are obviously topics that resonate! Think of ideas on the topic that haven’t already been covered or a different angle you can take. Maybe you can discuss the same idea in greater detail.
Identify which channels (blog, email, social media, etc.) you're going to use to broadcast your message. Once again, you’re going to need to rely on your trusty buyer personas to understand the places your potential customers search for information online. Take this into account when determining the relevant content formats.
Create a Content Calendar
After you’ve got a content strategy in place, decide on your cadence (weekly, bi-weekly, or more if you can manage it). This sets an expectation for your audience and will also help to keep you accountable (both internally and externally).
The next step is to flesh out a rough content calendar. Even a hand-drawn calendar will help you visualize your plan. There's no need to schedule more than 3 months in advance so you can be more responsive to changing market condition and/or business needs.
Using a content calendar allows you to focus on creating the right types of content - especially if you're running multiple campaigns or focusing on more than one product at a time. It also ensures you’re varying the types of posts you create (i.e. lists, how-to's, tutorials, Q&A, interviews, resources, etc.). One of the best things about using a content calendar, though, is that you’ll never miss out on the chance to include holidays, special events, product launches, campaigns, etc. in your content promotion strategy.
You don’t need anything fancy to create a content calendar. In fact, you can use something as simple as a Google Doc or a spreadsheet. If your website is in WordPress, the WordPress Editorial Calendar or CoSchedule are two great options.
Build Repeatable Processes (and Stick to Them)
Have documented processes in place to create efficiencies for your team. Plus, processes allow for anyone to come in and pick up right where another team member left off.
Project management tools like Asana or Trello help you break down tasks down into smaller subtasks and assign them out to team members (with due dates). Even if you are the one completing all the tasks, giving yourself due dates will help you stay organized.
A simple blog post task list could be as simple as this:
- Outline blog post topic
- Write first draft
- Edits including story gaps and fact-checking
- Edit draft for grammatical errors and word-smithing
- Final draft
- Add the blog post to your website
- Format for style
- Add images
- Optimize your post and images for search and sharing
- Include a call-to-action
- Publish your blog post
- Schedule social media posts
Set up similar processes for all the different types of content you produce (eBooks, infographics, videos, webinars, etc.) and document them.
Most importantly, be sure to use the processes. Once a year (at least), review the processes with your team to make sure they still work and adjust them as needed.
Outsourcing is another way to create content consistently; it doesn't always mean spending money. Make sure you're involving other departments in your content creation efforts. Sales and customer service departments can be a great source of input. They are on the front line and truly have a finger on the pulse of what your customers want.
Alternatively, your company owner, president, or C-suite can give you an entirely different perspective. Most of these people will be happy to help you. After all, you all want the business to succeed. Even if you can’t nail them down to write an article, consider interviewing them (video it if they agree!) or give them a list of questions to answer, which you can then turn into an article.
Another way to outsource content is to create a guest blogging program. The easiest way to start is by adding a “Write for us” link to your website asking for blog post submissions. Consider listing some guidelines for writers to set the right expectations if you choose this route. Often bloggers who want to build their personal brand will do so for free, or in exchange for a byline and backlink to their site. (Be careful not to add too many backlinks to other sites - unless they’re agreeing to link to your site in return!) You can also find guest bloggers by searching online forums or social media groups specifically aimed at writers.
Try interviewing industry experts or influencers. They want to be seen as thought leaders so are usually more than happy to answer questions or provide quotes on the state of your industry or some other newsworthy topic. As an added bonus, they’re more than likely to share your article with their own audiences.
If you have the funds, use a freelancer to help supplement your efforts. It doesn’t have to be expensive - a good blog post can cost as little as $50. Check out sites like Scripted, UpWork, and WriterAccess. These sites have hundreds of writers to choose from and most will allow you not only to request articles on specific topics but also to have writers pitch their ideas to you - super helpful when you’re facing writer’s block!
Finally, repurposing is a great way to maintain consistent content production. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel over and over! Analyze your top-performing content (based on metrics like page views, social shares, time on page, etc.) and think about how you could recycle it into a different format.
An ebook is a great example. Turn an existing ebook into presentation slides and host a webinar. Record the webinar and post it on YouTube or Vimeo. Share that link on your social media sites. And so on...
Think about places other than your blog or social media where you can share a post. Submit articles to industry publications, chime in on related threads on Reddit and Quora and point people back to your original post. The idea is to extend the life of your content and squeeze out every drop of content goodness. And in doing so, you’ll improve your SEO, reach new audiences, and reinforce your brand authority.
Set Your Team Up for Success
Content marketing requires a big commitment from your team. But, by taking simple steps like developing a strategy, building a calendar, creating repeatable processes, outsourcing to others, and repurposing existing content, you'll create habits that’ll set your whole team up for success (no matter the size).