By Teresa Ruiz Decker
Content sounds ridiculously fun and easy but it’s actually one of the most challenging parts of managing marketing. Nearly every organization struggles with producing consistent high-quality content at some time. Story ideas for content, especially at social good organizations, are always plentiful but the time, expertise and energy it takes to create great content is tough. Fortunately, creating content is worth the extra effort.
Storytelling aside, content marketing offers a slew of benefits, including:
Keeping your website fresh
Increasing traffic to your site
More direct sales leads
Greater brand visibility
Companies who invest in content marketing experience the benefits. Even as little as two posts per month can generate an average of 100 new visits to your website (see Hubspot's’ 2017 benchmark data). Even with all of these fantastic benefits, it’s important to remember content takes time. Time to plan and carve out goals, time to create consistently, time to post online and time to track results.
So how do you make the jump from wishfully thinking about content to actually publishing great content? It really comes down to vision + action. Here’s how to jump-start your content creation:
Know your goal
There are hundreds of reasons to start creating content. All that matters is that you choose one or two reasons that work for your organization. HINT: Your reason can’t be because everyone else is doing it. You need to have clear goals so you know if your content is actually doing its job and worth the investment. All of the reasons listed at the start of this article are solid. Just remember, any goal you choose should support your larger marketing and organizational goals.
If you’ve never blogged before or it has been a while, start with a smaller goal like 2-3 articles per month. Once you get the hang of it, you can add more on but starting small in the beginning gives you a chance to work out the kinks of content creation.
Determine your content mix
Are you looking to tell more stories about clients? Is thought leadership your goal? Or do you think how-tos and practical guides will be more impactful? Consider what’s doable for your team and what will resonate with your audience in light of your goals. If the sky’s the limit check out these 100+ ideas for content.
Create a process
It’s easy to get excited about creating stories, then forget what it actually takes to publish content. Before you jump in and start writing, figure out a few of these key items related to producing content:
Editing timeframe (how long should it take to turn things around?)
Rounds of revisions (Normally 2-3 is enough)
Sharing across your site, email and social media
Even if you don’t have all the answerings, this list should give you a good idea of what to keep in mind if you want to create content consistently.
Get your content calendar going (Here’s the template!)
Google Cal, spreadsheets, Word docs, apps, or even project management software — you can literally use just about anything to manage your content. The trick is to find out what works for your team. Here are a few ways to figure this out:
What tools do you already use regularly?
What’s easily accessible?
If you’re thinking a spreadsheet or Google sheet will work, then I’ve got a content calendar for you to try out.
I created this to be general enough that you could cover just about all the basic content needs for your organization, plus I added a few conditioning rules to provide status updates. I adapted and customized this from a HubSpot content calendar. Check it out and let me know if you find it helpful.
CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE
(Make a copy and jump in!)
And here’s an extra link if you need more ideas on how to create or customize your content calendar. Holler if you have questions. I’m here to help!