We're already at Episode 2! Let's assume that means double the value!
In this episode, I discuss how to do content marketing when it's not your top priority right now. Even if you can't dedicate all of the time and budget you'd like at this time, there are ways to get a head start for when you are ready to invest in the strategy. Listen for these tips you can start implementing tomorrow.
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Episode 2: Show Notes
Thank you to Anuj Adhiya from GrowthHackers and PlanitWide for his question:
Here's a summary of what I talk about on the podcast regarding how you can start up the basis for a content marketing plan now so that you're ready to hit the ground running in the future when you have the proper time, budget, and resources.
When you're just starting out with content marketing, it's important to develop your on-site content first. This will help your site's SEO value and give people a better understanding of your company when they land on your page.
But it's tough to make quality content when you don't have a lot of time. So here are some ways to create good content a little more quickly:
- Only focus on the most important keywords. Even preliminary keyword research can help you figure out what kind of content you need to create, meaning you're not wasting time creating articles and graphics you don't absolutely need right now.
- Create resources that double as sales materials. When coming up with ideas for content, consider what it is potential customers or clients want to know about your product or service. Then, for those questions that are further down in the funnel, produce on-site content but also sales resources – as the need is similar – and the content can have double the use, saving you time.
- Take the time you have to curate content. Curating content isn't necessarily a quick task, but it is faster than creating content from scratch. Consider what your audience wants to hear more about, and find the best resources for that information to present to them.
- Update old posts. If you've run a blog in the past or have years-old on-site content, a great way to refresh your site is to update them. Look through your blog posts and see which need to better reflect the tips and strategies of the current day. Then, update them (under the same URL), but change the title to explain it has been refreshed by adding the relevant month or year.
- Talk to your audience! If you already have a following because of your other marketing strategies, like on social or through your email list, then ask them – what kind of content are you looking for? What questions do you want answered? This will give you a shortcut to knowing exactly what you need to produce so you don't waste any resources.
Truth be told, if you're low on time or budget to create content, you definitely won't be able to promote anything. Successfully promoting content takes a lot of effort, because you'll be competing with countless other brands doing the very same thing. Quality is key.
However, there are ways you can start preparing for your future strategy now so that you're ahead of the game when the time comes to get started.
The primary way to do this is to begin building relationships with writers and influencers. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Dedicate some time to your own social profiles. Tweet out or post industry news and tips to show your involvement in the space and gain more social attention within your vertical. This will help when you go to interact with influencers later.
- When reaching out to influencers, talk about them first. Don't immediately try pitching your content. Compliment them via Twitter or email about an article they wrote recently or something similar, and leave it at that.
- Additionally, share the influencer's work and engage with it. If you've produced content, you know how awesome it is when someone shares what you've done or comments on its quality, so do that for others! It'll go a long way in building a genuine connection with someone.
- Don't stick to influencers' main site/blog; explore their other projects, too. If you like a personal blog, app, podcast, etc. that person creates, let them know! This is a great way to form a rapport.
BONUS TIP: Once you've formed genuine, human connections with influencers, ask them what kind of content they're looking for! If they'd like to do a piece about a particular topic or concept in your vertical, this can help direct you to a great idea that has a much higher chance of getting published.
Mentioned Links & Additional Resources:
- How to Repurpose Content
- How Outreach Teams Can Build Relationships With Writers
Have a question you want to submit to the podcast?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Have any additional advice for Anuj? Post it below! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Amanda Milligan: Welcome to Ask Amanda About Marketing, a podcast in which I, Amanda, or occasionally a special guest, answers your questions about inbound marketing. Straightforward, right? If you want to submit a question, e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you. Let's get right to it.
I'm excited about this week's question because I realize it's one I haven't really talked much about, and a question we haven't really addressed in our blog. So, I thought it would be perfect for the podcast.
This week's question comes from Anuj Adhiya, who is the Director of Engagement and Analytics at GrowthHackers, and his question was this:
How about content marketing for whom content marketing isn't a priority? How can you, if at all, start something that could be put on autopilot from the get-go that can at least tide you over until you can put the appropriate resources behind it?
That is a great question, and I have to start with a bit of a disclaimer because I don't think that there's ever a time where you can put content marketing strategies on autopilot. I think for content marketing to be successful, it has to be an ongoing effort, which is what makes it challenging but also what makes it pay out.
That being said, I do think that if you're in a position where you can't allot a lot of resources to content marketing at this time, there are things you can do now to set yourself up for success in the future when you do have that time and budget.
I just want to make a note here that during editing, I did notice that I said "allot a lot of resources" and I consider cutting it, but you know what? I'm just going to own it. I like it. It sounds silly but whatever it's it makes grammatical sense and it's going to stay.
So let’s get back to the actual important information in this podcast. I’m going to break down the question into two parts: on-site content and promotions, which at Fractl, like a lot of the content marketing we do involves the promotional component, which is why I want to include it here too, because it's not really worth making amazing content of no one is going to see it.
So, when you don't have a lot of resources, one of the best things to do is to consider how you can improve your on-site content. The first way to do this (this is really basic and you've probably read this in a lot of different blogs and Moz talks about a lot) is building a keyword list.
What are going to be the most important keywords for you based on your current goals right now? So, presumably if you don't have the time or resources for content marketing, you are doing some kind of marketing initiatives and there are goals to those marketing initiatives. So, consider what your eventual content marketing goals are going to be; or, you know, either what keywords you're working on now that need improvement or which ones you haven't gotten the chance to tackle, but are definitely going to be important in the future.
Make a list of these keywords, prioritize them, and then you can start kind of deciding: what can you work on now? And what do you need to queue up in the future? Just because you can't create content right this second, it doesn't mean that you can't be collecting the resources that you'll need to eventually create that content. So if you have an idea of what's coming down the pipeline, you can collect data sets. You can build connections with people who might be good, you know, people to interview for this topic. There are a lot of different things you can do in little bite-size pieces now that will make the job a lot easier down the line.
If you do have a bit of time to make some content, I have a few ideas of ways you can make content that either doubles the something else or is easy to create now, so that you can at least get something on your site and get the very foundation set for later. So here are some of those ideas.
First, create resources that work well for your target audiences and also double as sales materials. So a lot of the time, the question that general audiences might have or maybe somebody who's midway in the funnel are going to be similar to the questions that potential clients are going to have, or potential customers. So make a list of those questions. See which ones overlap for varying audiences and different levels of your sales funnel and do those pieces of content first. I think sometimes it's easy when you're doing thorough research on your different audiences to forget that a lot of the time, not only did the audience's overlap on occasion but so do their concerns and their questions. So this is something important to consider right up front and prioritize the ones that do have overlap. That way, when you're putting in that extra time and effort, at least the resulting product is going to end up benefiting you in multiple ways.
The next thing I would suggest is creating curated content and that can take many different forms. I've seen a lot of debates about this on various blog posts and such. I think that the important thing to do to make sure it provides value for your audience's is to consider your particular industry. So not everything that works for other Industries is necessarily going to apply to yours and be as beneficial to your listeners or readers. So, consider what your potential customers or clients value and what do you can package together to make life easier for them.
So the reason this is a little easier than the typical type of content that involves a lot of research is that this still involves research. You're still going out there and looking for the best things, but a) hopefully you've already have kind of a list of these things since you're following them yourself, and b) you’re stringing them together in a curated way that still provides value but doesn't demand that you're creating all of that initial content. So, the content that other people are making can still be valuable to your audiences and what you're doing is putting in the effort to go and find that for them.
A lot of people don't have time to explore all these different sites and read reviews and you know, read a million different blogs and listen to a million different podcasts to know what's going to work best for them. So, you doing that does add value and that's a good way to start building content on your site.
The third tip for creating content that you can get together a little more quickly is potentially updating old blog posts. Look at the content you've already created. Explore what's already out there that you've made on your site or maybe in a newsletter or an email list and see how you can repurpose these things. Sometimes, repurposing can mean, you know, looking at the information that was in that original post and thinking, would this make a great SlideShare? Would this make a good topic for a podcast? Think about how that topic is better suited maybe for another medium. So, you can look at the content and ask yourself, how can this be reframed in a way that's more easily digestible?
Sometimes that means looking at an e-book or a blog post and thinking, is this made up of a series of really straightforward tips that would translate well into a SlideShare? But sometimes it's looking at something shorter like a SlideShare and considering if there is there a way I can expand upon this and add more actionable tips and examples that would make it more valuable to readers.
So, a lot of the time, just going back and taking a look at what you've already produced and seeing how you can update it or enhance it in some way is a great way to be publishing something without starting from scratch. Then, as the word "update" suggests, sometimes you have content that's just kind of old, especially if it's a couple of years old and you're in an industry where things are changing.
It was a really easy opportunity to take that content and update it based on the current practices and, you know, norms in your industry. And just make sure that when you do that, you're publishing the original one, you're just republishing it and making a note in the the title or the headline that you've updated the text to reflect the current year.
The last bit of advice I want to add on is not as much about actually creating the content but coming up with ideas for content. A lot of the time, the ideation process is the most time-consuming. If you don't start with a solid idea, the content you create is just not going to be compelling enough or relevant enough to your audience. So make sure that's also a priority early on in your content marketing strategy, even when you don't have a lot of time to do it.
Don't bypass that stage because it's really important. So if you're looking for a quick idea for what's going to be valuable, why don't you ask your audience? Message or email list, you know, include the question on a blog post wherever you are already interacting with your potential customers. Sometimes if you don't have a lot of time, literally just ask them. What questions do you have? What do you want from us that's going to be helpful for you? This is a great way to get the questions that you can answer in your content. That's really gonna satisfy your readers and provide something that they're actually going to find useful.
All right. So let's jump into the promotion side of things. I'll be totally honest with you: if you don't have time to even be creating good content, thorough content, you definitely don't have time to be promoting anything. Promotions takes a lot longer than shooting an email to somebody whose address you found somewhere on the web because they wrote something once that you thought was cool. That's just not gonna cut it. Neither is emailing 50 people be seeing them and saying hey check this out.
People are swarmed with emails. You probably know this. You probably are as well. So think about how discerning you are when you're clicking on subject lines and multiply that by 10 at least for people who are writers and are getting pitched all the time.
There's just not a chance that if you don't have time that you're gonna be able to do this in a successful way, but if you are planning on promoting in the future, there are definitely things you can be doing now to set yourself up for later and that's what I'm going to talk about now.
Like I just alluded to, it's really important that you start building connections with people that you plan to pitch because that's going to go a long way and improving your chances of them even clicking in the subject line, let alone reading your email. So that's what I'm going to talk about. When you have this time where you're really strapped and you can't actually do promotions, what you can start to do is start building relationships with people who are influencers in your industry.
Okay. So how do you actually reach out to influencers? Here are some tips.
The first thing is, you have to have some sort of a social foundation on your own, social profiles for people to take you seriously. So if you're not already active on social, start posting things about your own industry or own brand and show that you're active there and that you care about the industry and the different news sources that are coming out. That'll help maybe give you an initial boost. We saw that at Fractl when we started tweeting and using Facebook a little bit more when we were actually posting things we cared about. We were getting a little more attention.
So start there, then when you have a basis for a LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, start trying to build genuine connections with people. Don't go into it thinking about who you can pitch. Go into it thinking about who makes sense to build a relationship with in this industry, who has opinions that are going to matter to me to my consumers, to my clients. So look for those people and then engage with them. Tweet at them. Email them, but not about your own content or your own ambitions or anything like that.
I talked to the Fractl’s promotions team actually to get some tips about the types of things to talk about with different people you're trying to connect with, so I'm going to give you those tips now.
One of the media relations specialists put it in a way that I think is great. And she said: "you know how parents complain when you only call when you need something? That's the same idea when you're talking to writers."
People don't like to only be approached when you need something from them. So, when you're starting to build a rapport, compliment something that they wrote recently that she really liked, or you know, like or favorite something on Twitter, or share something on Twitter that you enjoyed that they did just to show that you appreciate their work.
Then, while it's nice to shoot them an email or a tweet saying you really enjoyed something, another cool way to engage them is to actually comment on the original article, you know, if you've ever published something before, you appreciate when people engage directly by liking the actual post and sharing the post but also just in the comments. That shows a lot for the quality of the piece and if you do that for others, it's going to mean a lot to them.
Then, go a little further and instead of only commenting or liking the things that are on the publication that you're interested in, look to see what else they're working on. Are they writing a book? Do they have their own podcast? See how you like those different things and if you think that they are really well done, shoot them an email about that. You know, engage with them outside of their direct work because it's when you actually connect with people on a personal level that you'll start building real connections.
I think about when people approach you, okay, you're going to appreciate when they're saying the work you do is great. But you're going to feel differently about them as they're talking about something else in their personal lives that they actually have a genuine interest in, who you are, and in which you are passionate about. So, just take that approach when communicating with people. Don't think that they're just the screen name or they're just a Twitter handle. There is a human being behind that text.
Finally, when you're a little further on in the process and there's an understanding that their publication might be great for some of your content, ask them what they would like to see from you. Just like I mentioned, asking your audience is a great way to get ideas for content, so is asking these potential publishers.
They might already have an idea on their mind that they can't execute themselves, or maybe they don't have time. They keep putting it on the back burner and you might have the perfect data set for it or you might be struggling to find an idea and they provide it for you. If they give it to you and you execute it well, they're much more likely to publish it and in a timely manner. So it's a really positive position to be in and if you're able to build that connection where you feel comfortable asking it's a great strategically.
So, I think that wraps up all the tips I have in terms of what you can do when content marketing is not a priority now or cannot be executed fully now, but will be in the future and how you can set yourself up to get really high performance later on, based on what you have available to you now.
Thanks again for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, click subscribe. Don't leave me with the realization that I'm talking to no one and please rate and review on iTunes so I can keep making this podcast better and your lives easier. Take care.