"HOW THE HECK ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GENERATE ALL OF THAT CONTENT?"
That's the biggest dilemma facing small- to medium-sized businesses when it comes to launching and maintaining an effective inbound marketing campaign. We get it, you need to stay focused on your business. Sure, you want the meaningful blogs and helpful whitepapers, but the reality is, you're lucky if you squeak out a piece once a month or update your social media sites. Well, fear not. Here are 7 practical steps to get your content engine started.
1. MOBILIZE EVERY EMPLOYEE, WE MEAN EVERY EMPLOYEE.
Creating a 'culture of content' takes time. But it starts with everyone knowing that content is king, and that every person needs to help generate their fair share. We suggest starting with an all-hands-on-deck meeting to explain the importance of the inbound marketing program and the ROI it produces. It's also a good forum to set expectations and appoint a gatekeeper from Marketing to help manage the flow of content. To really jumpstart the process, take the lead and set an example by getting out that first blog, e-book, or white paper.
It's not just marketing and sales people who should contribute. Many people in your organization have valuable information and a seasoned point of view. From Accounting to HR to R&D, there are fascinating facets of your business, with experts who can offer truly useful information.
Don't expect your people to actually write all of the material. Instead, focus on content. Then reserve the wordsmithing and editing to your key people or inbound partner.
Three great side effects of all of this? Everyone becomes a better writer, thought leader, and published author. Nice.
2. ESTABLISH GOALS AND ALIGN WITH YOUR BRAND STRATEGIES.
Establish goals for your team – like 3 blogs per week, 1 e-book per quarter, etc. Set it all up in an editorial calendar, then use it to brainstorm and nail down content a quarter at a time. Be sure it's front and center with all stakeholders.
Inbound marketing builds your brand with every piece of content. So make sure everything you're creating is in line with your brand purpose and promise – and your selling strategies. Revisit your vision, mission, and values to make sure everything you produce is 'on brand.'
3. KNOCK OFF THE WRITER'S BLOCK.
Everyone stares at that white piece of paper. But getting started isn't that hard. Just begin writing. Find a topic that matters to you and your customers. And start writing like you're speaking to them one-on-one. Be as specific as possible. Offer truly insightful information, and forget the selling. Soon you'll get the hang of it.
Stumped on where to begin? How about focusing on the top 10 to 15 questions customers always ask you? There's enough content right there to fill an e-book, white paper, and a couple of blogs. And it helps to have a catchy title. Try this great HubSpot title generator to get your creative juices flowing.
4. WRITE. REPURPOSE. REPEAT.
The great thing about generating content is that every single piece builds a library of digital materials that can be repurposed and repackaged again and again. You can turn blogs into an e-book with a little deeper dive and a tool like Designrr. Break a white paper down into a simple PPT and post the deck on a website like SlideShare. Combine several blogs together into an interesting round up. And turn written words into visual infographics. All rich stuff for your homepage, social media sites, email blasts, and more.
5. DON'T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE IT UP...
Study what works and what doesn't. Everyone reading your blog? Write more. No one reading your e-books and white papers? Conduct a quick survey to find out why. Never created a video? Now's the time to see how one flies. Webinars? Podcasts? You can experiment until you find the perfect mix.
6...THEN MEASURE UP.
Always analyze how you're doing by measuring the performance of your landing page submissions, new contact rates, website traffic and page views, inbound links, and social media shares. You'll get a crystal clear picture of what's working and what's not.
7. INVEST IN THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
It's inevitable that, at some point, you'll need to hire inside or outside people. Don't fret. That's a good sign that your inbound machine is racing at full speed. Editors and proofreaders can really help the quality of content. Having an inbound marketing agency [like TRUSTinbound] doing a lot of the heavy lifting is a smart and strategic way to go too.
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