Content marketing is a powerful marketing tool that companies are using to attract prospects and generate leads online. But in spite of its growing popularity, producing enough quality content remains an ongoing challenge for marketers and business owners alike.
Marketers are well aware that their websites need a steady influx of fresh, quality content to keep the visitors coming and the search engines happy. Content is after all the heart and soul of any successful lead generation, inbound marketing, SEO or social media strategy. But producing magnetic content, and enough of it, is much easier said than done. So here are a few ideas to help you jumpstart your content creation.
1. Develop a content roadmap
Planning plays such a critical role in the success of your content marketing program and your content creation efforts. You have to know where you are going if you want to get there. But don’t get mired in the details. The key is to consider your buyer personas and have a general quarterly plan for the topics you’re going to cover on your blog, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, etc. and who is going to be responsible for the creation.
2. Keep a running list of topics and ideas
It’s incredibly helpful to keep a running list of topics that you might want to cover in the future. A topic that might not work now might be perfect down the road. And it’s much easier to peruse a list of topics you’ve already come up with than to be constantly starting from scratch when putting together your roadmap or editorial calendar.
3. Talk to people outside the marketing department
Don’t create content in a silo! It’s important to talk with people around your organization to get a sense of the topics and content that would be beneficial to your prospects and customers. Talk with your sales team, front-line or field employees, operations, production, etc. to uncover valuable topics and generate content.
And don’t stay confined to the walls of your business; speak with your best customers and listen closely to comments and feedback from prospects to discover ideas for future content.
4. Get extra mileage from existing content
Be sure to get as much mileage as you can from each topic. Instead of one long blog post, try creating a multi-part series of posts. And repurpose! Turn a whitepaper into a webinar, a series of blog posts and a string of social media updates. Presentations and even proposals can also be a hunting ground of great ideas for content.
5. Respond to industry news, reports and research
Almost every day there is new information that emerges in your industry. Instead of just sharing this information on social media, newsjack! Look for opportunities to respond in the form of blog articles, guides and webinars with your own commentary and twist.
What’s your company’s take on a new report or industry trend? Part of thought leadership is taking a position and having a voice on current issues and trends in your industry. So take the opportunity to leverage content as a means to do so.
6. Create evergreen content
While newsjacking is helpful for a continuous flow of content ideas, don’t let all your energy be focused on time-sensitive topics. Instead, plan for topics that have a long shelf life, content that your audience will find valuable year in and year out. Evergreen blog posts can be a steady, ongoing stream of social media content and over time can form the basis for additional content such as eBooks, presentations and webinars.
7. Generate visual content
Visual content is highly engaging and effective at helping you get your message across. Try creating how-to videos that walk your audience through a process or interview a subject matter expert in your company. Do you attend tradeshows or conferences? Take your video camera along to snag an interview with a speaker or cover the tradeshow like the media. And don’t forget infographics. There is a lot of data and research out there that would be well served by being visualized through infographics.
8. Recruit help
Don’t do it all by yourself. Seek out subject matter experts in your company who are willing to write on topics that you’ve outlined in your roadmap. Often, non-marketing folks can get bogged down by worrying that they don’t know how to write a blog post or they don’t understand what an eBook is. The fact is, all you really need is what’s in their head to be put on paper. So it might be best to have them simply write an “article” on a particular topic and let the marketing team slice, dice and edit into various formats such as blog posts, whitepapers, etc.
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There are a plethora of reasons why creating content is such a challenge for many businesses. Magnetic content requires good planning, strong writing, eye-catching design, industry knowledge and a steady stream of ideas. Hopefully we’ve provided a few ideas to help with your content creation efforts.