Content development is a long-term marketing investment. It takes a lot of immediate efforts and tends to generate the ROI over a long period of time. Some blogs may even fail to generate any return on investment. Many small business owners and marketers start content marketing with great enthusiasm but soon they find it overwhelming to continue. On the extreme opposite, several players have built their online and offline business empires based on the great content.
Today, no online marketer can grow their online presence without having a sound content strategy and its efficient implementation. I have worked with various businesses who get enormous benefits from the piece of blogs they wrote three to five years back. That is the power of content. Once you create a great piece of content, it helps you during the entire lifetime of your business.
Being a business owner you have the competency to do your business successfully and may find content development a time-consuming affair. If you believe that good content can benefit your business, however, find it difficult to curate regular content, following tips can be of immense help. Please note that the belief in content marketing is necessary to make it successful as it is a long-term marketing strategy. If you start content marketing today, expect the results in three to six months down the line.
Develop an Action Plan
Never put a random piece of content on your website even if it is brilliant and may be liked or shared by many people. The end objective of any marketing activity including content marketing is to attract visitors who are willing to purchase your products or services. Therefore, having a sound strategy will help you drive better ROI from the efforts. Convert the strategy into a 1-Page action plan that should include your niche, tone, type of articles and topics for the month. To ensure smooth implementation, you may plan to curate one blog per week, fortnight or a month. Gradually, you can increase the frequency based on the performance, bandwidth, and feedback. Don’t put a stressful action plan that diverts your attention from your primary business.
Prepare an Outline
Most new writers directly start writing the content in Microsoft Word. They may get several ideas at one time while feel completely clueless the very next moment. Not only it takes time, but at the end, the output is unimpressive. Despite having the expert knowledge, you may struggle to put your experience in words. It happens with all of us when we start writing. However, overcoming this is easier than you might think. Before you start writing the article, do a quick research on the topic. Recall conversations with team members or customers and try to answer some of their queries through your blog. Note down all important points that you wish to put on the blog. Prepare an outline on a physical paper (and not on Evernote or word document) about what all you are going to write. Arrange it in a logical manner starting from introduction to conclusion. Divide entire content into several subsections and write all the main bullet points under each sub-section that you intend to write in the final article.
Initially, you may take a lot of time to prepare a layout. However, once you write 8-10 articles, it becomes a routine task. Making an accurate outline in advance may be demanding, but, it saves your 50% of the writing time and makes the writing an enjoyable experience. Later on, if you decide to outsource the content development task to freelancers, the outline will prove to be a backbone for the successful collaboration with freelancers. (a little secret: to write this article I used almost three pages of A5 sheets to prepare the outline of this article).
Write Brief and Simple Content
Don’t imitate the writing style of popular magazines or top players in your industry. Adopt your original style and write short content using simple terms. Don’t feel the pressure of getting it right the very first time. Use active voice and be concise. At some point, you may find it difficult to concentrate or unable to recall right words. However, you can overcome this by writing one section of the content at once. Never set a target in term of number of words (word limit) or the keywords placement on the blog. The emphasis should be on the shortest possible article that is loved by your audience.
Editing and Proofreading
Hire a human proofreader or use a software like Grammarly to proofread articles. You can hire freelance proofreaders through sites like Upwork and Guru. Even if you have a brilliant command over language, it is important to get it edited and proofread before publishing. Having a proofreader also improves your speed of writing as you will be confident that another eye will go through the content and fix the inadvertent errors.
Upgrade Existing Content
Some blogs are evergreen while many require constant up gradation to keep them relevant in future. Once you have a significant number of articles on the website, you should spend some time in upgrading the old articles. You can also repackage them to put them in different formats such as infographics, slides, videos, etc. to appeal to a different audience. You may also combine related articles to develop an ebook that addresses a particular problem. It will increase content marketing efficiency. Repackaging the old content and republishing it will help you generate new traffic as well as an organic ranking.
Initially, you may find it confusing and unproductive to write blogs that don’t contribute directly to your top line or the bottom line in the short term. However, over time your expertise in delivering content that matters will increase and so will be your speed of writing. In the medium to long-term, you will witness the results of your hard work. It is better not to get diverted by initial setbacks and maintain consistency. Not all blogs will perform excellently. However, a majority of them will benefit you during the entire lifetime of your business.
You may also decide to hire a freelancer once you know what works better for your business. As the blog becomes popular, you may also allow other experts in your industry to write guest posts. And, at this time you can simply sit back and enjoy the growing popularity of your company’s blog.
Image: Author’s Own