Do you ever wonder how some people come up with great content consistently, with no struggles?
I used to. I often found myself shuffling the topics in my sparkfile, trying to pick the one to write about. I tried my best, but I still felt that others came up with much more interesting content.
Then I found out the secret – the top guys have a system to create killer content. The great content doesn’t just happen, it’s created through a process.
6 simple steps to create killer content
Very few people are born with exceptional content marketing skills. The rest of us are just following a system. That’s the easiest way to immediately level up your content marketing skills. It works for any type of content and makes it easy to outsource some of work. It works when you’re creating content alone and it works when you have a team.
1. Create a content marketing strategy – but keep it simple
Strategy is a boring word for action plan. You need an action plan because otherwise you’ll waste time creating content and resources that don’t take you towards your goals.
You can start by drawing out how people are supposed to consume your content and where. Include all the content you have: blogs, podcasts, videos, social media profiles, email lists, newsletters and drip courses.
When you have that big picture, you can easily see if it works and if it’s simple enough. Every piece of content, every email list and every blog should have a purpose. You’ll use them to guide the prospect closer to buying, step by step.
I recently did this and found out that I was wasting hours each week trying to keep irrelevant sites and newsletters up-to-date.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Content marketing always leaves a trace. You can study what other people have done and see what worked for them.
2. Fill up an editorial calendar – become excited about your work
If you aren’t excited about your content, why should your readers be? The easiest way to create excitement is fill up your editorial calendar with awesome content topics.
After you’re done, you can take a look at the topics that you’ll be covering during the next 3 months and feel excited and proud. It will also take off so much pressure from the actual work!
You can start by brainstorming as many topics you can come up with. If you have a team, why not brainstorm together?
The idea isn’t to nail the headlines – it’s to collect topics you want to cover and messages you want to deliver to make the best possible impact. Do add short notes that explain what the story is about, so you don’t forget.
You can also use a tool to find the most popular content that other people have created. I use BuzzSumo, but there are several tools available.
When you have enough topics, just pick the best ones to your editorial calendar.
A good editorial calendar also includes the guest posts that you’re planning to write, deadlines, writers and links to finished content. That way you can collaborate with your content creation team.
3. Use a post template
Using a post template speeds up the publishing phase and makes it possible to hire a content manager.
Content manager moves the content you created into the programs that’ll publish it. She can fill in and schedule WordPress blog posts for you, schedule the messages for social media and fill in your newsletter template. She can also find the stock photos needed for the post.
What does a good post template include?
Obviously, it includes the content to be published. In addition it may contain title, final URL, URLs to the images, categories for WordPress, SEO keyword, SEO meta description and notes about the content. It may include social media messages and messages to people who are mentioned in the post. I also have a section for brainstorming different headlines.
You can also take the template one step further. People sometimes use predefined templates for their post structure too. In fact, this post is loosely following Michael Hyatt’s post template.
4. Run a little headline workshop
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.”, says CopyBlogger Brian Clark.
The headline is the single biggest factor determining whether or not your content will get read. Why not give it some attention?
A social media expert Laura Roeder introduced me to ‘the headline workshop’. Instead of creating one headline for your post, try to come up with 15. Now you can pick the best headline that truly brings out your content. Plus, you can use the alternative headlines for social media updates.
The headlines aren’t created out of the blue either. Most people use so called “headline swipe file”, a collection of headlines that have been proved to work. You can get your first sweep file by downloading the free Magnetic Headlines ebook from CopyBlogger.
5. Market your content – make sure your message gets noticed
Now that your content is noteworthy, the last step is to get people to notice it. That’s done with marketing.
Remember those 15 headlines you wrote? You can use them to link to your content in Twitter, Facebook and other social medias. They also work in your email newsletter. They work when you link your content in different forums and other online hubs where people can find it.
The more ways you can come to get visibility for your post, the better. One of the tactics was mentioned already before – people love to know when you write about them! So why not drop them an email or a social media message and let them know?
6. Reuse evergreen content in social media
This is something that experts have strong opinions about, but it has been a life-saver for me. You can give your readers a feeling that you have an unlimited stash of superb content.
Guy Kawasaki, the marketing legend with 1.46 million Twitter followers shows that it really works:
“The reason for repeated tweets is to maximize traffic and therefore advertising sales. I’ve found that each tweet gets approximately the same amount of clickthroughs. Why get 600 page views when you can get 2,400?“
If you wait long enough before reposting, it doesn’t really matter that the content isn’t new and it doesn’t annoy your followers.
It’ll take a bit effort to ramp up this system. Especially If you’ve been just winging it by now.
However, you won’t need to regret it. Seeing the results and having the joy of producing top-class content will be worth it.
If you’re already using a similar system, I’d love to hear about it. How does your system look like?
If you want a whole set of tips to generate leads with content marketing such as ways to repurpose your content into other forms, insights on which format you should focus on, techniques to measure the results and other data points, download the eBook “How to generate leads through Content Marketing“.
Image by Daniele Marlenek.