How to Move From “Perfect” to Publishable Content
Both content marketers and event marketers can learn a lot from journalists: all of whom have to come up with innovative ideas, offer content that drives leads (or clicks!), and are deadline-driven. Did you know that a journalism degree is the most common educational background for content marketers? 22.5% of content marketers have a degree in journalism. I come from a journalism background, and how do you get your ideas? was the question I was asked most frequently. Now as a content writer I am still asked the same question.
But the question isn’t really how do you get your ideas, but how do you feed the demand for new content while engaging your audience? No one wants to churn out content that lacks value. For marketers, your content must be targeted to your demographic, and enable your prospects to read a post or leave an event with a new skill, idea, or way of thinking that they can apply to their own business. So the question then becomes: how do you get good ideas?
The demand for new content can be overwhelming, but producing quality work at a slow pace is no longer an option. When it comes to crafting value-driven content, Marketing Charts found that blogging was the most effective marketing tool. “When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered blogs as either important (34%) or useful (22%).” Content assets, infographics, and lists with backlinks (we’ll explain more about this later!) improve your website’s SEO, increase brand awareness, and also help fuel your event lifecycle. As any data-driven marketer knows, gated assets and infographics help produce qualified leads, and from there, you can segment your audience and market different products or services based on buying signals collected at the event. The key to all of this however, is creating content that hooks your prospects.
So, content and event marketers face many of the same challenges as do journalists when it comes to the constant demand for creating quality content. As a journalist, to be able to produce content quickly, you need to be a news machine. When a story breaks, you have to intuitively know what news source to go to, who you need to call for a quote, and where you need to be to get the story that hasn’t been covered. But you also can’t be too attached to your words. The question should never be is this perfect, but instead is it publishable?
The question is it publishable? is essential to developing content that drives demand, and is relevant to content marketing writing, especially when it comes to events. So what makes it publishable, of good quality, and of value to your audience? The question is designed to remind you to focus on what’s directly ahead, and it prevents you from micro-managing a sentence or going down the research rabbit-hole for hours. By focusing on what is practical and actionable for your audience, this question not only allows you to increase your content production, but also improve the quality of your content by ensuring it’s relevant.
Did you know that marketers who blog regularly are 13xs more likely to receive return on investment? But how do you maintain a successful B2B blog or get one up and running? Sure, creating content when you have a new feature or an exciting partnership to announce is easy, but how do you create and sustain a content editorial calendar that informs and inspires your audience, and drives leads for your company? How do you keep your content fresh, jargon free, and value-driven? None of us want our content to read like: blah blah blah event marketing blah blah blah.
You need a mix of content: some for top of the funnel and some for bottom of the funnel, and some more granular pieces featuring how-to’s and best practices for your audience. You need to be a resource for helpful data that your reader can’t find anywhere else. You need to use your imagination.
While most content marketers only create blog posts once a week, blogs with daily posts see 5 times the traffic. So the pressure to create timely, valuable, data-driven content is on, especially to establish your brand and get your messaging across.
While all of these statistics certainly show the importance of blogging regularly for B2B marketers, some of you might be asking yourselves, yes but HOW do you do this? How do you become a content machine when you’re managing multiple requests from different teams, all of which are considered top priorities? How do you not crumble under the weight of the content burden?
It sounds overly simple, but there is only one way to do this: you develop writing hacks, smarter ways to produce quality work faster. When you’re not feeling creative and you’re not inspired, there are go-to styles of blog posts that will help you get over your creative hump, and start cranking out content. Below are our top 10 tips for finding inspiration when you’re in a content rut, and what you can do to dig yourself out.
1. Find an Influencer
Whether it’s the reigning content queen Ann Handley, or SEO and marketing strategy expert Rand Fishkin, incorporating an Influencer guest blog program as part of your content strategy is instrumental to growing your marketing presence and aligning yourself with experts in the field. 84% of marketers have used influencer marketing campaigns, and 81% of marketers who use influencer marketing tactics have had an increase in audience engagement as a result.
When reaching out to an Influencer, first establish that you both have cross-over audiences. This means that if you have a limited social media and blog presence, you’ll want to build that up before doing any outreach. But once you have an established presence, the two of you can collaborate on Twitter Chats, blog posts, content assets, and joint social media campaigns. It’s a form of content marketing that keeps on giving, and that will feed your event lifecycle. This is content that you can use in email campaigns when targeting attendee prospects and that you can also recycle in print form at the event or when engaging in timely follow-up.
2. Know Your News Peg
Tying a post to a newsworthy item or event can increase your readership and shares 6xs! An example of this can be a pop-culture reference: 7 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn From Amber Rose and Kanye’s Twitter Feud. Actually, just kidding, you probably shouldn’t write THAT one. But if you do event marketing, writing about the Super Bowl, the Oscars, or the election makes your content marketing newsworthy and allows you to take an ordinary theme to extraordinary places. You can also create timely, event-based themed posts like we did when describing the top 9 events for event marketers. This way, you attract attention to the events that you are either hosting or where your prospects can find you. Now you’re creating content that informs your reader and inspires them to attend your events!
3.Tools Like Uber-Suggest Are Your Friend
If you don’t know Neil Patel, the founder of Kissmetrics, you’ve been sleeping. Get on that, right quick! One of his top 7 ways of generating ideas for blog content that will increase your blog traffic by 206% is to use the tool Uber-Suggest. You just enter a phrase into the app, and it comes up with hundreds of related, SEO friendly topics for you to write about. How easy is that?
4. Preview and Write Roundups
Sometimes writing a roundup can feel, how can I say this diplomatically…lazy. But considering that 80% of readers don’t make it through reading all of your blog post, delivering bite-size, concise content in roundup form repackages it so that the average reader consumes your whole post. Writing roundups or previews of events is a less time-consuming way of creating new content, by repurposing other people’s content. It’s a proven tactic: 48% of marketers aggregate their content from third-party sources. Plus, it’s a great way to increase your SEO for your blog with backlinks, which will help you increase traffic over the long term. Not to mention, doing this affiliates your brand with the expertise of the original source and builds brand awareness, which you can leverage for events that you host and attend.
5. Be Counter-Intuitive
One of the most effective ways of getting your headline shared is if your reader hates it. No really! If your headline has a negative connotation or uses counter-intuitive logic, the post will actually get more shares. These types of posts have higher emotional value, and controversy generates conversation, so this is a great tactic to increase engagement with your blog followers, existing customers, and prospects. Once the conversation gets started, you make your company accessible to your audience, and open the possibility of talking to customers and prospects about new opportunities, cross-selling, and upselling.
Your customers and fellow marketers love sharing these types of posts to inspire conversations on their own blogs and fan pages. This also explains why posts like “Why Content is No Longer King” or “7 Deadly Marketing Sins” are so popular. So look at the blog post headlines that are written on top marketing blogs, and write exactly the opposite.
6. Let The Quizzes Begin
The New York Times did a study to find out what content was the most read across the internet, and found that 8 out of 10 top posts were all quizzes. (Buzzfeed, anyone!?!) Some of us relate taking and sharing the results of quizzes to the “Be Like Bill” meme and shudder thinking about writing one. But what if your quiz wasn’t about what kind of persona your customer is, but it provided actual value? So, a quiz entitled What You Don’t Know About Event Marketing could ask your reader about effective lead generation, email campaigns, and tactics to increase Event ROI and actually educate your reader, while at the same time proving that your company and blog are run by experts in the field.
7. Meet Your New BFF: Stat Listicles
A listicle is a numbered list, that states brief facts about its subject. Listicles are the 2nd most shared type of content on social media. They are easy to read and communicate insights concisely. Listicles with uneven numbers are the most popular. If you’re looking for the perfect number to use, “Top 10” is the most shared type of listicle, which is exactly why we made this a Top 10 post. 🙂 The more you link your tips and best practices to other sources, you are integrating content for continuity and providing backlinks – great for SEO and increasing brand awareness. Ready, set, list!
8. Develop Your Marketing Strategy Across Channels
81% of marketers have integrated their blog and social media promotion. This isn’t the easiest way to generate content ideas, but it does produce the most effective long-term results, so it is well worth the effort. Brainstorm with your creative and social media teams about different potential themes for assets or blog posts. Then you want to see how that could be coordinated to yield out-of-the-box marketing, from drip-campaigns to quizzes shared via social media.
Essentially, think of all the different ways to promote a piece of media before it has been completed so that you can incorporate your ideas into the content creation, not in the revision stage, which we all know, is a pain. If you do this, you can cater specific content for upcoming events so that your demand generation and event marketing teams are armed with valuable content when they talk to attendees about your company’s products and services.
9. Recycle Evergreen Content
What’s evergreen content? Content that never gets old and features actionable advice. There are at least 24 types of evergreen content that are proven to boost traffic, leads and social media shareability. Case Studies, infographics, checklists, failure and success stories are some of the most effective forms of evergreen content. But once you have evergreen content, how can you use the same information to create new content? You can use statistics that you featured in your infographic for a whole new piece, you can write a What We Learned From Our Most Successful Piece of Content post, or you can do a roundup post that includes your best evergreen content of the year, like we did. Practice what you preach, right?
10. Write a How-To Post
Did you know that headlines with the phrase “How To” are some of the top 25 performing headlines across all blogs? It makes sense, marketers, event professionals, and really, everyone with a brain is looking for best practices and tips to increase their skills, deepen their knowledge, and gain expertise. So, start with the basics. Sometimes as content marketers, we assume that our audience knows as much about a subject as we do, and we are gravely mistaken. A well known marketing automation blog once stated that one of their most popular posts of all-time was, “How To Create A Facebook Fanpage,” and while that would seem like too basic of a topic for someone using marketing automation not to know, sometimes your audience could use a refresher/primer on a topic before you give them an in-depth crash course.
As a content creator, it’s natural to run out of ideas, but that doesn’t mean you have to run out of content. Whether it’s writing listicles, producing quizzes, or creating counter-intuitive blog posts, there are many writing hacks that you can use in order to hit the ground running with your content marketing game. And once you’ve created all of that content, it’s only the beginning, as it fuels your email and event marketing campaigns. So start writing, stop stalling, and start publishing!