Tag Archives: Content Publishing

Help your customers with your content and grow your business

The biggest hurdle in the way of publishing high-quality content on a regular basis is what to write about? Sooner or later you run out of topics. Remember that quality and relevancy is of utmost importance. Never write and publish content just for the sake of it because it does more harm than good. So how do you go on producing quality content without compromising on quality?

Publish content to help your customers.

This involves knowing what your customers want (in terms of content consumption) and then producing content accordingly. The biggest purpose of investing in content marketing is creating a presence people can relate to. Familiarity breeds more business (provided it is positive and not negative) and it is the regular appearance of fresh and relevant content from your side that familiarizes your target customers with your presence. And what can generate more positive familiarity than constantly helping your customers?

But let’s be realistic, you cannot provide help for everything under the sun. By the end of the day what matters is how much your business grows – how much money it makes. So while creating helpful content you also have to create an appropriate context to relate that help to your core business. That’s why, in order to execute a high-performance content marketing strategy you need a dedicated person who can continuously find a context and then create matching content.

Whenever there is a problem, there is a solution. People invest in your product or service because it fulfills a certain requirement. Let’s suppose you sell a word processor. Already in the market there are plenty of word processors, and many of them are totally free (Google Docs, for instance). Still, people buy the MS Office Suite (or just MS Word). They spend lots of money fully knowing they are not going to use more than 80% of its features. Not just MS Word, there are other niche word processors. Then there are people who are not looking for a conventional word processor. I, for instance, use a full-screen simple text editor called Q10 because it plays the typing sound when I’m typing (helps me concentrate) and it also covers the entire screen to give you a distraction-free writing environment. Then there are writing applications for novelists, research writers, thesis writers and journalists. For bloggers there are inbuilt writing tools.

So you can see, just in the field of writing there are multiple working preferences. Why do people choose one application over another? Despite being a professional content writer why do I use just a text editor rather than a full-fledged word processor? I have strong preferences. Similarly, people looking for your product may have strong preferences but somehow are finding it difficult to make the switch. They either haven’t found you yet or haven’t fully realized or understood the benefit of using your product or service. You can help them decide by being there exactly when they need you.

How to create helpful content?

Helpful content can be of multiple dispositions. You can help people understand your product or service better. You can help people realize in how many ways they can benefit from your product or service. You can solve people’s problems that they might be facing while using your product or service. You can also help them by publishing case studies of how you have helped businesses and individuals do their jobs better with your product or service.

Then there can also be topical help that may not promote your product or service directly but it will certainly make people feel good about your presence. Recently Google decided to shut down its RSS feeds management service and people all over the web were clueless regarding what will happen to thousands of subscribers they have acquired over the years. I wrote a quick blog post on how you can move to another RSS feeds management service and retain most of the subscribers in the process.

Then some people wanted to know what is all the fuss about the Author Rank and what is the benefit of creating your own Authorship. I featured the topic in my weekly content writing newsletter and the response was great. These are just two examples of how I was able to help people through my content writing.

You will need to use your own discretion while writing helpful content.


Using latest news to create fresh content and improve SEO

A quick link to a nicely written article on how to improve your SEO using latest news. The writer has termed it as Newsjacking.

With search engines like Google attaching more and more importance to the freshness and topical significance the content that you publish, news automatically get higher importance. The only problem is what if your industry has no particular news to offer? Then you create a context. For instance, in my content writing and content marketing business, how can I use the latest news to highlight my content writing services in terms of getting some SEO benefits? That’s where creativity comes in. Let me use a small example.

Recently, Google decided to shut down its RSS feeds management service “Google Reader” and people to whom the RSS subscribers matter were really worried (most of them still are). So I quickly created a blog post explaining to them how they can salvage their RSS subscribers in the event of Google shutting down its RSS reader. As I mentioned above, the trick is, creating a context. RSS subscribers matter to those who regularly publish blogs and those who publish blogs need content for their blogs. This is just one example. In a similar manner, you can create a clever context and use topical news to get some leverage.


Content marketing doesn’t merely mean publishing more and more content

Before Panda and Penguin updates people were creating massive amounts of content to improve their search engine rankings. The 2012 updates from Google changed the game. Rankings disappeared overnight and businesses based on merely creating content for the purpose of getting higher search engine rankings were basically ruined.

It was also a year when content marketing evolved into a specialized profession. A glimpse of this E-Consultancy survey shows that over 90% companies recognize the overwhelming importance of content marketing. Coca-Cola, the biggest consumer brand in the world, has drawn out a 20-year content marketing strategy that is being considered as one of the most comprehensive paradigm shifts in the way brands are going to promote their products and services.

But no matter how mainstream it becomes, people are still confused about how to implement an effective content marketing strategy. Many still confuse it with creating and publishing lots of content. Of course you need content, but there is more to that.

In order to implement a successful content marketing strategy, you need to understand why people would look for your content. Why they would like to read or consume what you have published, but be it video, text or images? “Why” is very important. If you understand this “why”, 90% of your problem is solved.

If you are in the entertainment industry, then people access your content to get entertained. They may also access your content to know more about the people who entertain them (for instance, celebrities and players). If you are a news agency then people will access different categories of your content according to their interests such as politics, sports, industry, technology or science. If you are selling smart phones people want to know their various features and advantages over other smart phones.

Different people have different content needs and as a content marketer it’s your job to figure out what they’re looking for. Once you have sorted that out, you need to find out what format your target audience prefers, and tools and services your target audience uses in order to find the content it is looking for.

So content marketing doesn’t just involve publishing lots of content to improve your search engine rankings. It’s primary objectives are

  • Finding out what content your audience is looking for
  • Creating content that your audience is looking for
  • Publishing relevant and topical content as the need arises
  • Making that content available in a format your audience prefers
  • Making that content scalable so that it is accessible across multiple devices and platforms
  • Optimizing that content so that it is easier to find it on search engines
  • Making it easier and attractive to share that content on social media and social networking websites
  • Streamlining existing content and producing new content according to rapidly changing preferences of your audience

These may seem like lots of points, but whether you are a big business or small enterprise, in one way or another you can implement these points to drastically cut down your costs on conventional advertising.


The difference between content marketing and content strategy

Suppose you want to reach a destination “A”. In order to reach “A” you start walking and let us call that walking content marketing. Content strategy is the path that you take to ensure a safe and speedy arrival at “A”. If content marketing is an action, then content strategy is the brain behind that action.

Strategy, as we all know, is a series of actions that we take in order to arrive at a desired result. There is no use performing tasks without having an idea of what you need to do, at what time, for whom, and how.

Does content marketing precede content strategy or is it the other way around? Ideally, it is the other way around and in fact they both need to go parallel. But if I work for you, I would start with the latter.

Content strategy

As mentioned above, our actions must be well thought of if we want to achieve something. Here is what content strategy involves:

  • Knowing why you want to publish and distribute content
  • Figuring out whom you are going to target, and why
  • Devising data collection and analysis methodologies
  • Creating a content writing and publishing roadmap to figure out what themes and subjects you will be focusing on
  • Shortlisting channels (search engines, PPC marketing, social media or promotional campaigns) you will be using to disseminate your content
  • Drawing up an audience engagement policy
  • Deciding what content formats you will be putting your energies into

First of all you need to know what is the purpose of publishing and distributing content and exactly why you need content marketing? How it can serve your business and help you promote your cause?

In order to be a successful communicator, you must know whom you’re going to communicate to. You should know your audience, you should know what they want, what they’re looking for, what are their concerns.

Data insight is a great power. When you set in motion your content marketing strategy, you will need to constantly analyze your data so that you can make timely changes.

A content writing and publishing roadmap is needed so that you remain focused and you always know what you’re going to published in order to cater to your core audience.

Merely publishing content doesn’t help you much these days. This is where content marketing comes in. You need to promote and broadcast your content so that it reaches the maximum number of people. For that you need to shortlist channels that you’re going to use to distribute your content, for example search engines, social networking websites like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter.

You also need to constantly engage your audience. Unlike conventional marketing, content marketing involves two-way communication between you and your audience (your customers and clients). Without meaningful and regular engagement it’s difficult to establish a rapport and make yourself more relatable and identifiable.

Content can be of multiple formats and if you have limited budget, you cannot target all the existing formats. For example, you can have written content (content writing, etc.), videos, presentation slides on SlideShare, images on your own blog, Facebook and Pinterest, sketches, infographics and basically, everything that you can use to communicate data and ideas. You may like to do something like content writing or images in the beginning and later on start focusing on other formats of content too.

This basically sums up your content strategy.

Content marketing

This involves folding your sleeves and actually getting down to the work. According to the parameters drawn during the strategy part, you start writing, publishing and distributing your content. Content marketing is the operational part. You have to ensure regular publishing of blog posts, articles and all the necessary business pages that you think can help your customers and clients understand your point of view better.

After publishing your content you need to make sure that it reaches your target audience. You have to distribute your content using the pre-decided channels. Content marketing is more repetitive and might also be the most difficult because it is your persistence that pays off finally. No matter what great content strategy you have devised for yourself, unless you can implement it over a long period of time, it is not going to work.

What should a small business focus on, content marketing or content strategy?

Actually, strategy is always there, whether you consciously implement it or not. I know many bloggers and entrepreneurs who built their business on the strength of their content and there was always an underlying content strategy in the way they published and promoted their content. They had a clear idea of what they wanted to publish and for whom. Of course all of them confess that they wasted lots of time and effort figuring out what worked and what didn’t. This is where a pre-defined strategy can help you. It can help you optimize your effort, reduce content marketing time cycle and give you structured results instead of haphazardly doing things, getting random results and then taking the next steps accordingly.


How to keep on creating fresh content for your content marketing strategy

One of the greatest hurdles faced by content marketing is creating fresh, engaging content regularly. You need more content to cover possibly every topic under your niche and in order to draw attention to that content from people as well as search engines it needs to be highly relevant, useful and well structured.

When you initiate your content marketing strategy as a serious business it is given that you’re going to pursue quality no matter what. It’s regularity you need to worry about. Some businesses publish new content every day, some prefer it twice or thrice a week, some make it a weekly affair and some even do it once or twice a month. The frequency primarily depends on where you are publishing your content. You might be publishing it under your regular business website, on your blog, on other blogs (guest blogging, for instance), news and analysis websites (Washington Post, Huffington Post, Techcrunch, etc.) or social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Listed below are a few ways you can get a ton of quality content on an ongoing basis.

Maintain an editorial calendar

An editorial calendar keeps you focused and it also helps you know which topics you have already covered, which topics you need to improve upon and where you have to publish more.

As already mentioned a well-managed content marketing strategy requires you to publish content on varied platforms. Just focusing on one publishing platform might not be a good approach. For instance, if you are just publishing high-quality content under your own website it may not get the kind of attention it deserves. You need to spread your content so that it also becomes visible at other places. It means you have to generate content for other blogs (it is called guest blogging), niche publications, article directories, wikis and social networking websites.

Without an editorial calendar keeping track of all these platforms can prove to be a gargantuan task and unless you have a team you won’t be able to focus on all of them on a daily basis. On Facebook and Twitter you will need to be pretty regular as visibility matters a lot there. You can allocate certain days to your own blog and others for external publications. Accordingly you can create topics for your own blog as well as other blogs. You can use an Excel sheet to create your editorial calendar. Some also prefer Google calendar.

Use your existing content to create new content

You can get lots of interesting ideas from your existing content. For instance, I can write a completely new blog post (300-500 words or more) on this very topic – How to create new content from your existing content.

Whenever you cover a topic there are many subtopics that you simply touch upon. They may need further elaboration but it might not be within the scope of the current topic. There might be some bullet points that need blog posts and articles exclusively for themselves. This is also an added advantage. Once you have created content around those words, you can hyperlink to this newly created content from existing articles and blog posts and improve your SEO.

Update and improve your existing content

There is always some scope for improving your existing content and once you have updated it, it is as good as new. Suppose you wrote a blog post in the times of MySpace that might not be relevant today. Either you can mention this in the blog post or make necessary changes.

Maintain an ideas file

Ideas are hard to come by especially when you are sitting and thinking about them. They are random dust motes that need to be captured as soon as they manifest. You can maintain an ideas file to do this. As soon as you get an idea for a new blog post or a new update on Twitter and Facebook, quickly jot it down in your ideas file.

My personal favorite for this is Google Docs because you can access them from any device. This way you don’t necessarily have to be in front of your computer or laptop in case a new idea strikes you. You can use your mobile phone or your tablet to save the idea.

If writing seems to be a problem, you can record your ideas using audio, video and photographs.

Make regular content publishing a part of your thinking process

The more you think the more ideas you get. It’s like building a particular muscle in your body. If you keep using your arms, lifting weights with them, they grow stronger and stronger. In the same manner, if you keep on thinking about different writing topics for your content marketing you will keep on getting new ideas.

Track conversations on Facebook and Twitter

Most of the time it is just gibberish on Facebook and Twitter so you might have to use some tools to track relevant conversations. You can use hash tags; for instance if you want to track conversations on content marketing you may try following the hash tag #contentmarketing. Similarly you can join dedicated pages on Facebook. Pay close attention to the sort of questions people ask and out of those questions try to make new articles and blog posts.

Look for questions and issues in various question/answer forums and websites

Have you ever seen the “Answers” tab in LinkedIn? Similarly have you been following questions on Quora? Try to find out what sort of questions people are asking in your particular niche and then create content around those questions.

Engage your audience

You will be able to engage your audience through your blog as well as social networking profiles. Initially it may take some time but if you post relevant content for a sustained period gradually you will build an audience you will be able to engage with. Ask them questions. Request them to let you know what they would like to read on your blog and what sort of issues they would like you to address.

Follow other blogs and websites

This is an oft-repeated advice. You can get lots of content writing and content publishing ideas from other blogs and websites. Just as you can use your own pre-existing content to create new writing ideas, you can also get ideas from others’ writings.

As already mentioned above, quality as well as persistence is required for a successful content marketing strategy and generating new content writing ideas is as important as having a content strategy in place.