Businesses everywhere are experiencing lower returns on advertising investments as savvier customers seek real information to guide their purchase decisions. Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t set up to continue creating the volume of high-quality inbound content necessary to fill the top of the sales funnel over time.
In fact, when we survey customers about their No. 1 content challenge, the vast majority cites resource constraints. But we’re here to tell you that’s absolutely no reason to keep your content marketing efforts on the back burner. Even the smallest teams can execute a content marketing plan that works—with big results.
Wondering where to start? Here are five tips for nimble, sustainable content creation.
1. Build design templates
Starting from scratch on design for every single project can seriously slow you down. Up front, create design templates for white papers and ebooks, plus webpage and email templates with predefined CSS style sheets.
Templates make it faster and easier for design and copy to show how words and visuals play together, in the actual space (dimensions) of the piece, reducing rounds of edits. They also ensure you maintain consistent branding without feeling compelled to tweak formatting until the cows come home. Using InDesign? Make sure your production artist and designer work together to apply the right style sheets, especially if the content needs to go to print.
2. Get everyone on point, but only once a month
Everyone in your organization can contribute great content, and they’ll be more willing to do it if writing doesn’t get in the way of their other responsibilities. Be sure to share results to keep them motivated. People love seeing their work recognized and it can spark friendly competition within your organization to see who can create the best-performing content.
3. Create for cross-use
Making an ebook? Know how you’ll adjust it for Slideshare and then promote on LinkedIn. Have an amazing infographic? Slice it six ways for six different social sharing opportunities, building on specific topics of interest. You can find more ideas for repurposing existing content in this blog post.
4. Schedule around campaigns
Think about everything you’ll need to support a larger content initiative, rather than in terms of individual content pieces. You may know it takes three weeks to write, review and design a white paper, but it’s not going to promote itself. What other graphics and copy do you need for social? Landing pages? Emails? Is there a way to add even more value through a video or infographic? Plan accordingly.
5. Maintain a publishing calendar
Almost all of our content marketing projects include an editorial calendar. It clearly outlines:
- What’s in your content pipeline
- Intended audience(s)
- Who’s responsible for art, copy and production
- When the content will go live and on which channel(s)
We recommend planning content around specific themes 6 to 12 months out, but keep publishing dates flexible. If you need to create a blog or tweet around breaking industry news, simply shift or replace other content on the calendar to get the newsjacking effect you want.
No need to start from scratch. Fill out this form to download our free editorial calendar template, which can be customized for your business. And feel free to contact us if you need guidance around content planning, strategy and creation.