Creating the content that you audience wants to read, see, hear or watch isn't easy for anyone, even the ones who live it and breath it on a daily basis. Corey Eridon, Inbound Marketing Content Manager at HubSpot, is certainly one of those people.
The Hubspot content machine doesn't happen by accident, and at the July 8 HUGME (Hubspot User Group-Maine) meetup, Corey shared some of her content tips, hacks, and strategies to execute your content marketing strategy despite the challenges we all face.
Content Marketing Strategy: What Do You Write About?
The content you create, whether it is written (blog posts, e-books, landing pages, emails) or visual (video, me-me's, infographics) depends on who you want to have a conversation with. So the first step is to develop buyer persona profiles so that you (and your team) can start to escape the industry lingo, get in your audience's mindset, and collaborate effectively together.
The adage of 'write what you know' is still true today. If you are a solopreneur, a one man team, or even a member of a team- it's unlikely you are a subject matter expert in everything that you need to write about. Corey's advice: Treat your company like a newspaper does. Here are her tips to get started and keep going:
- Use an editorial calendar. While creating content is everyone's job, managing it should fall to one person who organizes it and makes sure it happens on schedule. If you are a one man show, set aside time to create a calendar to keep yourself on track. (I actually carve time out as if it was an appointment I had to keep. This way the daily emergencies don't overshadow your need to create content.)
- Source topics from sales and customer service. They (or you) are on the front lines with prospects and customers everyday. Find out what questions they are asking and how your team is answering them. Learn what language style they use and mimic that in your content.
- Have weekly pitch meetings. There are likely lots of ideas floating around your office, but not everyone is a writer. Help your colleagues flesh out their ideas and brainstorm together to create your content calendar. Act as an interviewer and ask questions of your resident subject matter expert to learn about a subject you know nothing about.
- Submission requirements that come from the top. Content, like social media, isn't a one person job- it's everyone's job. Your company brand should have many voices that represent your culture. Creating a content culture starts at the top (yes- even the CEO should be writing a blog posts). When leadership understands that the content you create is a company asset, the investment into content marketing is like your money earning interest in the bank. At Hubspot, 70% of their monthly leads come from older blog posts because new people find them in search engines.
- Revamp old content. Things change and the facts that you wrote about 6 months ago might not be as true today. If the changes are minor like updating the image, the call to action, or a few sentences, simply update it with the original post date and make a note to the reader when it was updated. If you are doing a major overhaul, redate it- but make sure you don't change the url of the original post or you will lose any SEO mojo you had gained to date.
- Slice and dice premium content. Thinking about writing a 40 page e-book? Before you invest that much time, break it down into smaller blog posts to see how much interest there is. Then compile the posts into the e-book, adding some more depth to it.
- React to outside content. Did you competitor do a great piece but you have a different angle? Do you find yourself writing blog comments on colleagues content that is longer than a paragraph? Write your own post and link back to their original content.
- Accept guest bloggers. Add a different voice to your blog, expand your audience, and get some fresh perspective. Great content doesn't always have to be yours. Offer to guest post for them as well and gain inbound links and visibility to a new audience.
- Turn presentations into slide shares. And write blog post about them (case in point.) For an example, download Corey's slides on slideshare.
- Transcribe videos. Good for SEO, easy for you.
- Tie your promotional campaigns to your content strategy. No man is an island, and neither is your content. Have an event coming up? What topics are attendees going to discuss there? What product or service features will you be talking about there? Build the momentum with your content calendar.
- Re-promote your most successful content on social media. The initial publish is a flash in the pan on social media. Continue to feed your content through social media by taking small pieces of an infographic and sharing it on Facebook, or quotes from your top articles on Twitter and link to the original content on your site. Not only does this put it in front of more, (new) eyeballs- it also gives you an opportunity to test and dissect your content to see what is resonating with your audience.
- Write now, edit later. We tend to want our content to be 100% done and perfect. But all this does is create stalls that delay your content. The beauty of the web is that anything can be updated.
- Brain dump when inspiration strikes. I like to use Evernote to snap pictures and dictate a few sentences. Others might always and a notepad on hand, or a doc that they record their ideas in.
- Get a content partner. Have a co-worker, colleague, or even a content coach to help you edit and brainstorm your ideas. Creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum.
Download the July 8, 2013 HUGME slides for more of Corey's tips, or share your content marketing hacks in the comment below.