Marketing copywriter specialising in writing about technology, marketing, branding, strategy and thought leadership for Articulate Marketing. Avid learner of new things, from juggling to social media management.
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Keep a record of keywords and calls-to-action you’ve used.
Ensure that your content is delivered on time and on target.
An editorial calendar is like a roadmap for content creation; it tells you what, where and when to publish and which personasyou should be targeting.
So, if you’re ever stuck, you can quickly look at what’s been published recently and what topics need to be covered.
First, you need to carry out an audit of past content and establish which topics and keywords have been the most popular. Then, using your buyer personas, you can create a three-, six- or 12-month editorial schedule encompassing all relevant content: blog posts, informational videos, white papers, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
Content isn’t everything, but with a well-defined content strategy, a detailed editorial calendar and a good record of past topics, you’ll take a lot of the everyday stress out of content creation.
Blog like a pro
One of the cornerstones of an effective content marketing strategy, the blog can be an elusive beast. We’ve learned a thing or twoabout successful blogging, and we have some advice to share on the subject.
Write regularly. You don’t want to drown your customers in content. You should research how much information your ideal customers read and what other blogs they follow. Use the editorial calendar to plan it all out ahead of time. We look to get a post up once or twice a week on our own blog.
Variety is the spice of life. Don’t use the same format for each post. Long, short, formal, informal, ‘how to’, collation blogs, etc. Mix it up so readers are always surprised and have something novel to read.
Join the conversation. Say something interesting. It doesn’t have to be completely new, but try to provide a fresh angle on something. Make an interesting comparison or approach your subject in an unusual or unexpected way.
Be yourself. Some of the best blogs are idiosyncratic and personal. With the number of blogs out there, you need to stand out. If you’re using a ‘company voice’, make it personable and approachable, not dry and distant.
Regular readers are like gold. Having a post blow up might be satisfying, but it’s almost impossible to predict what will work. Deliberately trying to write a heavy hitter often has the opposite effect. Try to focus on your regular readers and write for them – they’re your most loyal customers.
Write for the screen – Check out how users read the web. This means short sentences, short paragraphs (one idea per paragraph), snappy headlines, highlighted key words, bullet points and keeping it short in general. Slash anything unnecessary.
Pictures are worth 1000 words – Use pictures to illustrate your point and attract readers. Stock photography is fine, but avoid using overly corporate images– you want to stand out from the crowd. Try searching photos under creative commons on Flickr or filtering out the copyright images on Google images.
Monitor stats –This doesn’t just mean getting obsessed with raw visitor numbers. Look at what sorts of posts are pulling in the heaviest traffic, which are revisited, which ones have comments and which ones people most like. This will give you more direction on where to go with your blog topics in the future.
How to create effective long-form content
Alongside blogs, long-form content – think eBooks, white papers and reports – is great atestablishing trust and building an audience. Long-form content, in contrast to a tweet or Facebook status, can more effectively position you as a knowledgeable thought leaderin your field.
Long-form content also has a major SEO advantageover short content, so a content strategy that includes it is essential. Ensure you’re including the right kind of keywords for your prospects and take the time to craft some rich, relevant content – it’ll be that much more visible when prospects start searching online.
You can also boost this kind of content before you’ve even created it. For example, if you’re writing an eBook, consider posting interesting facts and figures you find as you’re doing the research. This builds anticipation.
The first stage to creating exemplary long-form content is preparation and research. You need to know who you’re writing it for, and what questions they want answered. It needs to be persuasive and informative, which means lots of interesting facts, figures and details. Depending on the topic, you might also want to carry out some interviews with influential bloggers and thought leaders in the industry, among others, to add credibility and variety to your points.
So we’ve gone over the basics of setting a content marketing example. Always better to be the leader, not the follower. But, you might be wondering, ‘How can I best use the above tools to benefit my business?’
Well. You’re in luck.
Fill out the following checklists to assess your needs and establish how ready you are to implement the methods we’ve talked about. Once you’ve done that (or if you’re struggling to fill them out), we’d be happy to take a look at your website and give you a free inbound marketing assessment. We can tell you what’s missing, and how you might want to go about filling in the gaps.
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[Originally published as part of a Geek Guide to marketing, updated and refreshed in 2019]