Building a website is hard. But, creating content for a website is harder because you can do one of two things: 1.) You can burry your head in the sand, and hope you find a magic genie while you’re down there; or 2.) You can take a proactive, editorial-based approach to content creation.
Whether you take on Barbara Eden’s starring role yourself or outsource content creation, you want to ensure your website produces “genie-sized” results. Why? Fifty-six percent of sites that blog once per month have acquired a customer through their blogs, compared with 78 percent for sites that blog daily and 92 percent that blog more than once daily, according to HubSpot’s The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012 study.
So, how do you get started? Just rub that oil lamp of content strategy and make three wishes.
Three Magic Wishes for Content Creation
Wish #1: Rally the troops. Get all stakeholders to contribute to ideas for website content. When we worked through content creation at Proximity Marketing, we filled a white board with everything we thought our partners would like to learn from us. Salespeople, marketing folks, accounting/invoicing and customer service reps; creative staff, etc. joined forces to develop an initial list of content ideas. Not all ideas were excellent, but each fostered great subsequent conversations answering a critical question, “Is this something a prospect or customer would like to know?” The next step was to rinse and repeat. Depending on how often you publish content, expect to repeat this process a few times a year.
Wish #2: Have a plan and an owner. We hate this part, right? But, if you don’t have a plan, you won’t get results … just a headache. If you don’t assign an owner, you won’t generate leads but will generate a good case of the blame game. To avoid this, you must have a plan and assign an owner to manage it.
After creating our massive list of content ideas, the real work began. First, we translated the whiteboard into an editorial spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Prioritization of topics – Which topics did we want to roll out first, and which to roll out later?
- Assigning tasks with delivery dates – We ensured there was a level of accountability for assigned tasks.
- Assigning usage types – How would we use the content – in a blog, email newsletter, social media post, web verbiage, or e-book? We were looking for ways to use, re-use and maximize our content. (And, so should you).
- Assigning ownership – Who would pull our thoughts together into usable forms and publish them?
- Evaluating the end user group – We looked at striking a balance between the types of clients we have, the kind of clients we’d love to have and tackling those folks looking for the content we were creating.
- Determining the integration with lead generation programs. How do you create white papers, special deliverables and other programs that utilize our content and allow for new lead generation opportunities?
- Assigning associated tasks with content including SEO standards, creative imaging support and related materials. The words are not enough. SEO helps people find content. Creative imaging draws people in. Related materials continue the relationship after the content’s posted.
Wish #3: Find good partners and resources to maximize your efforts. Proximity Marketing is in a unique position with a social media expert on staff, skilled web developers, SEO experts, integrated marketers and content creators. It’s likely you don’t have these resources internally. It doesn’t mean you can’t create content, or you have to reinvent the wheel. After you create your editorial calendar, seek out professionals who will maximize your content creation efforts. These people live and die for this stuff.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But, the rewards you’ll reap will outshine the work. So, don’t be afraid to lean on experts in content creation, SEO, social media and integrated marketing.
Next, we’ll dive into the details of writing blog and social media posts. For now, get your head out of the sand, rub that lamp and get started on making your three wishes!