There were many lightbulb moments at Shaa Wasmund’s Business Bootcamp on Friday. But the “flash of the blinkin’ obvious” for me was the Content Marketing session. I’ve been blathering on about content for years, but have never covered it head on. So, inspired by Matt Thomas’s (COO of Smarta.Com and Shaa’s business partner – pictured to the right) presentation (which he’d knocked up in 47 minutes!), I’m sharing Matt’s Top 10 Content Marketing Tips. If this doesn’t get you inspired to create content then nothing will!
As Matt says “Be Awesome – Create Content”
Why? Because content is king! Content is key to SEO (search engine optimisation), positioning yourself as an expert, and being visible online. Think front of mind; sharing value; getting noticed. It’s also key for PR (public relations) because when journalists are looking for an expert to interview they’ll often do a google search and see who comes up. If you’re not excited about writing there are lots of other ways tips to find and share great content. And once you’ve set your system up you can outsource a lot of this too!
Here are Matt’s Top 10 Content Marketing Tips
Just get writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect (but watch your grammar as typos and bad English are annoying). Start with your most compelling point and explain it, prove it. Weave a story around it. (Tip: If you can’t or won’t write – record yourself talking or get a friend to ask you some questions on your topic and get it transcribed.
#2 Make It Visual
It’s true that a picture’s worth a thousand words. Always find an eye-catching image for your blog posts and make sure to post your blog post links as picture posts on Facebook (so you get a lovely big newsfeed picture instead of a tiddly thumbnail)
Source royalty-free pictures (that you can use without breaching any copyright rules) from places like Flickr (check the license agreement), or I bigstockphoto.com (images are $1 each)
#3 Make Video
This is my biggest social media tip for 2015. Make video (whether it’s an Animoto style music over text, yourself on your phone video or Flipcam, or using Camtasis/ScreenFlow to talk over Powerpoint).
If you’re passionate about your topic it shouldn’t be hard to speak. Richard Branson said that short videos (1-2 mins) are the thing of the moment. We all like easy to digest sound bites. Take your blog posts and chop them into useful 1-2 minute “Top Tip” videos or share one thing of value in each one.
Tweetable: 26% of people watch video at least once a day
Blog posts with videos get 3x the inbound links (think traffic to your site) than plain text. And apparently Google now indexes the words spoken on the video. And don’t forget to put keywords in your title and description if you’re posting on YouTube. This is the world’s second largest search engine so it will help to drive traffic, and build your community and mailing list.
As well as posting on YouTube, post your video on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ for maximum effect.
Top Tip: Include a video with your blog posts or social media posts for even more traffic, links and leads! KABOOM!
And if you need a celebrity endorsement for Content Marketing or Video Marketing, watch this short video of Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing 2014. And don’t forget….[tweetable coming up…] “the story is everything”.
#4 Catch Your Ideas
Ideas can be very fleeting (Matt says you have 10 seconds to capture an idea before it’s gone) so make sure you’ve got a system for keeping track of those moments of inspiration or clever ideas. I’m very old fashioned and love writing notes in beautiful notebooks (the stationary at Shaa’s One Retreat was the best EVER. Bar None!)
More modern solutions are on your pc, phone, laptop, and there are some amazing tools like Evernote which will help you organise your notes and ideas. You can even clip links and text from magazine articles using the phone app scanner and pop them into your Evernote folders.
Top Tip: Always look for ideas when you’re out. Some of the best inspiration comes from industries different to yours, signposts, supermarket shelves, casual conversations with strangers in the Post Office queue…….keep your eyes and your mind open for ideas.
#5 Steal and Improve
Why reinvent the wheel? Follow other key bloggers and influencers in your field and share their pearls of wisdom. If their content is relevant to your audience it will help position you as a thought leader and someone who keeps up with the latest information in your field.
Better still take something someone has written and add your own unique spin on it (a bit like I’m doing with Matt’s presentation!). Or take an article from the newspaper and add your opinion. Perhaps take an article on a certain topic and explain to your readers how it impacts your industry or could apply to their businesses. Everyone likes to give their opinion so this is a really fun way to generate unique content.
Make sure your content is always relevant, dynamic, authentic, personal, local (if you’re working with local businesses you could take a national story and give a local angle to it). Most of all be YOU (trying to emulate someone else’s writing style doesn’t work. Your readers are following you so be yourself.
#6 Schedule and Plan
Like anything, it’s easier to work from a plan than stare at a blank piece of paper wondering what to write. What’s important is that you have a consistent output. If you’re blogging have a schedule to blog weekly or monthly. The more the better really but be realistic about what you’ll keep up with. For me a weekly blog post and ezine to my lists is enough. Add a video in the mix and you’re sharing 3 pieces of relevant, fresh content a week across all your social platforms. If that doesn’t help your search rankings and online profile I don’t know what will!
If you’re using WordPress (and I recommend you do) you can schedule posts for later, save drafts if you want to use your blog to store content ideas, or batch up blog posts so you’re writing say four a month which you then schedule to post every week.
Schedule your blog posts around a theme, special events, your product launches or events, upcoming webinars etc. and make sure your branding and message is consistent. Use a spreadsheet or tools like CoSchedule or Evernote to plan your content and keep track of ideas for future posts.
#7 Get Help!
This is a biggie. If all of the above sounds like a lot of work hire someone to help you. Use sites like fiverr.com, PeoplePerHour, Odesk, Elance to find writers. Some people love doing this stuff, and don’t charge the earth. That will free you up to focus on what you’re good at and make the biggest difference to your business.
#8 Distribute and Measure
Some marketers say you should spend 50% of your time creating content, and 50% distributing it. Have a plan for distributing your blog posts once they’re written. For example, my content syndication looks like this:
Publish Blog Post –>
a) Share on social media platforms
b) Convert blog post to slides and share on SlideShare
c) convert slides to video and share on social media sites and YouTube
d) extract the mp3 from the video for SoundCloud
e) Reshare blog posts after 2 and 4 weeks and 1-2 months (as relevant)
f) Repurpose blog posts. Chunk down into tweets and 1-2 minute videos. Chunk up into a free guide or ebook.
g) Convert “how to” blog posts into autoresponder series or training videos for your membership sites, or as bonuses for product launches
Measure the popularity of your posts using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Hootsuite Analytics. You want to know how many have read your blog post and how many have shared it. If you’re on WordPress there are some great social media tracking plug-in’s, such as Social Metrics (which also let you post from WordPress to less mainstream social sites like StumbleUpon).
At the end of each month look at your posts and see which ones have been most popular. And which formats (text, video, images, infographics) your audience have engaged most with. Then do more of those!
#9 Speak To People
Have conversations, don’t just broadcast. Share others’ content, comment and engage with their posts. Connect with like-minded people, and as Matt says [tweetable] “Grow Your Know”!
If you don’t know how to speak to people on Social Media, here’s one of my most popular blog posts “15 Ways To Get The Conversation Started On Social Media”
And the golden rule of social marketing and engagement (the holy grail of social marketing), always answer and respond to everyone that engages with you.
#10 Be Yourself
We touched on being authentic above, and it’s SO important. You’re unique and your readers love you the way you are (otherwise they wouldn’t be following you). So don’t try to be someone else or be too corporate or stiff. Write how you speak and talk about things that excite you. If you’re passionate about your topic you’ll inspire others (which is a much better way to get people to buy into what you’re doing – or buy your stuff – than a hard sell).
As Matt says [tweetable] “Content Your Passion” <– Matt Thomas tweetable!!
Talk about why you’ve started your business, why it works and what your vision is. Get people to buy into YOU!
One of Shaa’s success tweetables is that “being a master of ONE thing beats being good at ten things”. So if content marketing fires you up here are some resources to help you get masterful.
Create Epic Content (Copyblogger) – includes a 5-day plan and “the art of crushing your competition”
Corbett Barr (Think Traffic) – How To Write Epic Shit
And if you like a bit of controversy, Ryan Hanley’s The Lie Of Epic Content, who says:
It’s the every day grind of content creation that gets us to the Promise Land…
…not one piece of Epic content
Thanks for reading! Share some of your amazing content in the comments below – or your content marketing tips, tools and shortcuts – and I’ll share with my audience.