Alina’s business is based on educating people on how to grow their wealth through syndicated real estate investments, and content marketing is a fundamental part of her offering, so I was happy to help.
Useful content is therefore key for a successful content marketing plan.
If the Washington Post is happy to use a program to write some of its news stories, then I’d say that content creation robots are here to stay, and will only become more prevalent in the future. But for the moment, content creation is still very much a manual process.
While I admit that sometimes it would be nice to plug in a topic and some keywords and have an intelligent, well-crafted and inspiring piece get spat out, we are not there yet (and in my opinion that’s a good thing…!)
High quality content is fundamental to a successful content marketing program, and the key to high quality content is personalisation. Content must not only be personalised to suit the audience’s interests and needs, it must also reflect the personality of the author, as the whole point is to deliver value while making a real and human connection.
Not only that, but taking the time to explore topics and communicate with our audience gives us the in-depth, on-the-ground knowledge that we need to make sure our business stays relevant.
So to answer the first part of Alina’s question:
But as someone who has also embarked on sharing (what I hope! is) valuable content every week, I get it.
Any tools we can use to make the creative process easier are welcome.
So to answer the second part of Alina’s question, here are some tools to make hand-crafting unique content a little bit easier:
Idea Generation Tools:
1. Your audience and their questions
There is no point creating a series of in depth articles about a subject that nobody cares anything about, and that is irrelevant to your audience. By taking the time to ask your audience questions, you get to learn what is important to them and what they need help with. By crafting thoughtful responses, you deliver value.
2. Questions asked in other blogs or forums that are relevant to your niche
In that case, it would be useful to visit other blogs and forums about the same topic, where people freely share their issues and questions. Using the same philosophy outlined above, pay attention to the kind of questions being asked, and generate content to answer them. This content should be more complete and informative than what is already being shared online, so that you are again delivering value by giving that little bit extra.
Then answer those questions as fully and completely as you can.
4. HubSpot’s Topic Generator
With these tools, the other danger is that you can find yourself drifting away from your audience as you get caught up in suggestions made by an algorithm.
Use this for inspiration, competitor research and also to discover authors and blogs that you would find worth following.
Content Creation Tools:
1. Map out your article
You can do this by simply typing out a list in Word, or writing it out on a piece of paper. If you’d like something a little bit more high tech, try Workflowy. This will do the same thing, with the bonus that you can access your list of ideas online.
To get started, map out the major sections:
- Intro: what the article is about, and why you are writing it
- Middle: 3-5 sections that flesh out and support the idea you outlined in the intro
- Conclusion: A summary of the main point of the article and any takeaways for your audience
Once you’ve done that you can break each of the middle sections into smaller pieces if you need to.
2. Record yourself speaking
Take your topic, place yourself in front of a camera or microphone, and start speaking. If your topic is in the form of a question, this makes your process even easier. Imagine you are explaining how or why to do something to a friend that asked you that question. You’ll find that you’ll have soon recorded a bunch of information with little to no problem.
Then take that recording and transcribe it. Then clean up the transcription so that it reads better. Presto, you’re done!
This is great for actually creating the content, but as a bonus you can use this to help get your creative juices flowing if you find yourself stuck at the “mapping out your article” stage I outlined above.
4. Analyse Your Headline
A clear, catchy and enticing headline is key for the success of your article.
In today’s continually scrolling world you typically have 5 seconds or less to capture someone’s attention and inspire them to read your article.
That is why it’s always a good idea to test various titles before pressing publish.
5. Grade and Improve Your Content
- Ask your audience
- Answer their questions, by recording yourself speaking and transcribing the result.
All the rest is there to help make your writing better. But if you follow the above 2 steps, and as long as you do it consistently, you’re well on your way.
What’s your greatest stumbling block in creating consistent, quality content?
Let me know in the comments below!
And if this all seems a bit too much and you’d like to talk about how you can get your content marketing plan in place, contact me to get started.