The more research you do online about the subject of content marketing, the more conflicting information you’ll find. I’m not going to sit here and tell you my methods are the only way to succeed, or even the right way for you.
Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/drachmann/
But, since it’s worked well for me so far, I’ll let you know how I would do it if I were starting from scratch tomorrow.
Here are a few questions I’d ask myself:
- Who is my target audience?
- What do they want and need to know about my area of expertise?
- How far can I narrow down my subject while still having plenty to say?
- What valuable information would people likely be willing to pay for?
- And how can I best offer it to them free?
The answers to these questions should give me a starting point for brainstorming content ideas. I would sit down for an hour or two and generate a minimum of 100 ideas that would appeal to my target audience, and can be communicated in ways my target audience will appreciate.
For each of the ideas I come up with, I’d try to quickly outline two or three main points I want to cover under that topic.
Then, I’d think about which content format might be most appropriate for each subject I’ve written down.
Many will work well as textual blog posts. Others may do better as videos, or presentations. Some may include audio, such as interviews with other experts. Many will be able to be re-purposed in multiple formats, which works even better.
Next, I’d need to be brutally honest with myself:
- What schedule can I commit to for creating content regularly?
- What can I commit to doing to distribute and promote my content?
- How long can I realistically keep up the schedule I’m arranging?
These were tough questions to answer truthfully, especially when I was just starting out. But now I’m not surprised at the amount of time it takes to make this happen.
Of course, it could be different for you.
But, unless words flow fast and smooth from your mind to your fingertips, and you know social media like the back of your hand, you’re probably going to find the entire blogging/syndicating/retweeting thing a bit overwhelming.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, many would-be success stories have never occurred because the hopeful content marketers got caught up in one thing or another and found they were unable or unwilling to stick to their content creation schedule.
I’ll stress again, it’s not easy. But it’s so worth it.
Once I had a realistic idea in mind and in writing as to how much content I could produce and how often, I’d set up an official editorial calendar.
You can do this on any paper or on-screen calendar program you like, as long as it’s something you plan to keep in front of you at all times.
This becomes your Bible, where you look for guidance when times get hard.
I’d insert my 100 or more ideas for blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. into the calendar on the days I want to publish them over the course of the next several months, making sure to build in time for plenty of research and rewriting.
Then, I’d buckle down and start pounding out the content using the Instant Expert and Killer Content cycles we went over in previous posts.
This whole series has been about strategy to some extent, but of course I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the more advanced strategy details you’ll eventually want to know.
A lot of those details will come to you through experience, but for more inspiration and information on the subject than I could ever provide you, I’ve included a Recommended Reading page that includes some great books on strategy.
Above all, have fun.
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: If you’re not having fun, your audience can tell, and they’re not going to have much fun either.