Mackenzie | March 19, 2019 | Content Marketing
Content creation. One of the easiest, cheapest ways to get your company name out there. For some reason, it usually ends up being the most difficult, too.
As a content writer, or as the person who writes the website, blogs, or content offers for your company, you probably already know that content creation is hard. There's just no getting around it. Whether you've hit a wall coming up with new topics, or you're struggling to keep to a regular writing schedule, it's tough to continually put out quality content that you're proud of, and that gets the job done.
If you're at a point where you're feeling stuck, here are a few tips to jumpstart your content creation, in a way that also helps boost your inbound marketing strategy.
The first, and best tip for any writing endeavor, whether you're blogging, writing a content offer, or even writing the next great American novel, is to write what you know.
When you're writing about something you're interested in, and have a breadth of knowledge on, your writing is going to be more engaging and targeted without you even trying.
If you're a B2B, write about your product and how it solves problems in industrial manufacturing settings.
If you're a home developer, write about your community — that's what people care about and want to know before they consider moving.
The point is, don't try to write something just to rank for a keyword or key phrase. While that's also an important aspect of content creation, it's more important that your content is honest, true, and meaningful. That's what will keep people engaged and coming back to read more.
We all get stuck. Every content writer on the internet has thought at one point: there's nothing else to say about this topic.
Luckily, we're usually wrong.
When you're stuck like that, your pillar pages are a great place to turn. After all, you wrote them to be a comprehensive overview of your key products, services, and methodologies, right?
Let's hope so.
Examine your pillar pages to see which sections could benefit from a little more information, an example, or further clarification. Then, write that blog.
This tactic helps you expand your company's overall content marketing strategy too, as the blog you write to support your pillar page can become a new subtopic. By linking properly, you can help boost traffic to that pillar page.
This is not a perfect fix, but it can help get the creative juices flowing when you're having trouble thinking of content ideas. Topic generators are usually simple bots that string together words, phrases and questions to come up with a blog topic or title for you. Usually, the ideas they come up with are generic and boring, but they're also a pretty good place to start.
If the topic generator gives you "10 Myths about Penguins", spin that to fit your company in a way that's more engaging. "10 Unbelievable Myths About Industrial Manufacturers"
Or something like that.
If you have a few content ideas in mind, it's good to check out the keywords. Which of the topics you're considering has the highest search volume, and the lowest competition?
I use the WhatsMySERP tool, and Neil Patel's new UberSuggest to determine which keywords have the most potential, and to see which phrases my competition is already ranking for. Then, I can hit the best key phrase topics with some great, engaging content.
Tools like these will give you a better idea of what to write, and more importantly, how to frame it.
They help you discover the intent of consumers — what they're looking for when they search your topic keyword — which helps you write content your ideal buyer wants to read.
If after using all of those tools you're still stuck — hit the water cooler.
Ask your coworkers what some of their biggest frustrations are with clients. (It doesn't matter what your company does, your coworkers will always have client pain points.)
Can you turn those frustrations into a blog post or content offer that could solve the frustration?
Let's say your sales team gets frustrated when leads come to them without understanding the full range of products you offer. Creating a content offer or PDF download that lists out all of your products with a short description of each could solve this problem.
That PDF could be entered into a marketing workflow for MQLs, ensuring those leads have the right information before they're transferred over to sales. Or your sales team can direct leads to that offer when they realize they don't know about all of your available products.
Your coworkers, especially those who work directly with clients, will also have a good idea of the questions your clients ask all the time.
You can take those FAQs, and turn them into blogs, or even a longer FAQ page or PDF download that clients can be directed to when they have questions.
With a few topics finally in mind, it's time to get to the actual writing process. For most content writers, getting started is the hardest part. I like to give myself a little extra prep time by considering my target buyer personas.
Who are they? What are their pain points? What interests them in their day-to-day life? Is there a way you can make your blog post or content offer hyper-specific to their needs, wants, and business goals?
It's always helpful to include examples in your content that speak to a specific situation that your target buyer might encounter. This makes content more immediately and obviously useful to them, which boosts conversions.
If you're a content writer, you've heard it a thousand times — write an outline.
Probably less than half of us do it less than half of the time.
If you're like me, you might feel like structuring a blog post outline is a waste of time. You're probably going to change the structure and layout when you finish anyway. But, an outline has a very significant purpose: it keeps us on track.
Writing an outline helps shorten the time it takes you to write a blog. It also makes it easier to come back to writing if you're interrupted by another task or a meeting. With an outline in place, it's easy to see where you left off, and what you still need to write.
Even if you only start with four or five bullet points, it breaks up the work you have to do into smaller sections, making it easier to get started. And really, getting started is the hardest part.
Like I just said, getting started is the hardest part of content creation. It's tough to work up the energy to write a full-length content offer or pillar page — they're intimidating.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is just block out time, sit in front of your computer, and write. Make sure your coffee is next to you, turn off those Slack notifications, and shut the world out. Deep work is real.
If you're thinking, "There's no way I can block out hours on my schedule!" think again.
Schedule a meeting with yourself for a few hours on a day when your calendar isn't already full of meetings. Make it public or don't, but make sure the time is reserved for your content creation.
Studies have shown that it's harder to get into writing and other creative projects than it is to start smaller tasks like emailing or posting social media content. Dedicating a bit of time to write a tough piece of content ensures you have the brain space, and the uninterrupted time necessary to get the whole thing done, and done well.
Content creation really all comes down to time. Time to research potential topics, time to research each topic's keywords, and then time to write, edit, and refine each piece of content.
We hope these tips helped break that writer's block! Content creation is key to a quality inbound marketing strategy, and while it can be difficult and frustrating at times, the payoff of qualified leads makes it worth it.
If you're struggling to keep your content marketing strategy running, or if you have questions about content creation, let us know.
At Evenbound, we're all about helping our clients grow. We use inbound and outbound marketing strategies to deliver you the qualified traffic and leads you need for serious growth. And we have a lot of fun doing it.
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