Plus, how to feel reinvigorated about content marketing on a daily basis.
Content marketing is a vital part of most marketing efforts nowadays; by writing appropriate content, companies raise their credibility with prospective customers and increase their web presence (see also: Essential Ingredients for Writing a High-Quality Blog Post). It’s overwhelming to create content on top of the rest of your responsibilities, but if you break it down into steps you can incorporate it into your day-to-day workflow.
Step 1: Idea Generation
You can’t write anything good without a good idea. Fortunately, idea generation is easier than an intimidating, blank computer screen suggests (see also: Generating Ideas the Dada Way). Here are four tips:
- Pay attention to customers. What complaints and questions do they have? Address them!
- Read. Pay acute attention to your industry. The more you read, the more questions you’ll have. It’s likely your customers have the same questions.
- Talk. Discuss these ideas with coworkers, in and out of the marketing department. A seed of an idea or even a seemingly bad idea, can take new life with a third party’s input.
- Pay attention to coworkers. It may be difficult to see what’s interesting about your company when it’s where you spend 40 hours a week, but if you take a step back and look at what your coworkers are achieving, you’ll likely find stories to interest your readers.
Step 2: Pitching Ideas
If you are not the head of content, or you’d like to publish content on other sites — like the Huffington Post or Tech Crunch — you’ll need to pitch your ideas to the decision-maker. It may sound scary, but pitching boils down to telling the right person why your idea is great.
Pitching works differently depending on whether you’re pitching to your boss or a third party. Third party pitches are done in writing, while pitching to a coworker or boss can be a casual conversation. Regardless, keep your pitch short — decision makers are often busy. Begin with explaining what question your idea seeks to answer, how you plan to answer it and why you are qualified to write it. Remember: a rejected pitch does not mean that you’ve done a bad job. Reworking an idea can be the difference between an accepted or rejected pitch.
Step 3: Write Your First Draft
This is often the hardest step for writers. The secret is to give yourself permission to write a bad first draft and let your fingers fly.
Step 4: Edit
Start editing by reading your draft and ensuring you’ve hit your major points. Pay attention to which parts of the post grab your attention and which parts bore. Consider revising or deleting passages that seem irrelevant or boring.
Next, read it aloud to catch awkward phrasing or grammatical issues.
Step 5: Revision Cycle
Keep editing and rewriting until you feel the draft is about as good as you can make it. Send it to someone you trust for critical feedback. Take his or her suggestions into account and revise further. You may need to revise several times before you get it right.
Step 6: Format the Post
Your last step before submission is to format your post to meet the editor’s guidelines. Some blog owners may want subheads or bulleted lists, photos, hyperlinks, keywords or a particular font. Afterwords, review the post one final time to catch any errors.
Step 7: Submit
This last part involves pressing one button, so why does it merit an entire step? Because this is the step where you give yourself a pat on the back. It may seem trivial to praise yourself, but it actually helps build confidence and self-esteem. Something you might want on the days where you have a marathon of work ahead of you.
Content marketing may seem difficult at first, but the more you practice going through the seven-step process, the easier it gets. As an added bonus, breaking up your work into chunks makes it seem easier and far less stressful.
What are your content management tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.