Content marketing is all the rage. The amount of content published online every second is insane. The craze around it is not anywhere near dying down. As the competition for user eyeballs is getting more and more intense, marketers are striving to find new strategies that actually work. Obviously, excellent articles require excellent writers. Just some kind of yeah-whatever-writing level is no longer enough. It’s not 2010 anymore, when you could hire a $10 per article freelancer to put together some SEO-packed texts and rest assured thinking your content marketing mission is complete.
Unfortunately for marketers and luckily for users, Google is constantly changing its algorithms. Now, the content you are writing should be superb. There’s literally no choice, but creating epic content holding enormous value to the reader. If you still opt for the no-value watery texts, it’s just a question of time when the big G pushes you far down in its search results.
That said, how do you stand out in the ocean of high-quality content? Moreover, how do you find time or resources to create content for your company on a regular basis? Hiring a good copywriter is a pain. Hiring an excellent copywriter in-house is close to impossible these days. I know this first hand. However, the content should be still written. Today, I’ll share some of the hacks we’ve used at Chanty to come up with the excellent articles without even involving a copywriter. While some of them let you completely outsource the writing, others can help to significantly save your time.
1. Let your colleagues become the source of knowledge
Every single one of your colleagues is a bank of knowledge and valuable advice. Don’t ignore that when creating your next piece of content. E.g. we’ve asked our team members a question: “What do you need for effective team collaboration?” The results have been reflected in this article.
The article sourced by our colleagues
Not only this approach helps you save on a copywriter. An article based on an expert opinion of your colleagues provides extra value for the readers. Moreover, by sharing team member insights you have a higher chance to establish a better connection between your company and your potential customers.
This approach works pretty much for every niche. Are you a software engineering company? – You can work on a piece “What makes software engineers happy / drives mad?”
Working in a young team? – Dive into “What do millennials really want from work?”
Building a productivity app? – Run a productivity challenge (e.g. try Pomodoro Technique or give up coffee for a few weeks) within your team. Share the results with your readers afterward.
You’ll be surprised to discover the bright ideas your colleagues will share that you haven’t thought of before. While two heads are known to be better than one, several heads of your team could absolutely work wonders.
2. Leverage the good old co-marketing
Co-marketing can drastically save your time and effort. It a nutshell, it’s partnering with another company (or companies) to jointly promote each other products or services. Let me give you two examples of how cooperating with other companies helped us in creating great content.
- About a year ago I got to know Adam Hempy, the CEO at Better Proposals. He was fascinated by our content marketing activity. Adam hasn’t had much experience in content marketing in the past. At the same time, he’s a hell of a writer. Later on, we happened to cooperate with OpenView blog editor and agreed to write a guest post. We didn’t have a writer available by that time so we asked Adam if he was free for this co-marketing gig. He wrote an exceptional article including both our tools (Chanty and Better Proposals) to the article. As a result, Chanty has saved time on writing and Adam didn’t have to spend long hours outreaching editors. Yet, we both received an extra exposure for our products along with a backlink. Win-win!
- My ex-colleague and I are good friends. We are both heading marketing departments in non-competing companies. Moreover, our offices are five minutes away. Every now and then we try to use every opportunity to market each other. Recently, we’ve joined our efforts while writing articles on (ironically) co-marketing for Contently and Rebrandly blogs. Each of us wrote one article, but received an exposure on two blogs. Another win-win.
3. Post a request at Help A Reporter Out (HARO.com)
If you aren’t familiar with HARO, you should definitely give it a try. It’s a platform that connects experts with journalists (or those looking for an expert opinion). If the Alexa rank of your website is one million or less, you are free to post a request for an expert answer on HARO. Sometimes, though, you’ll get replies that aren’t very relative or a number of comments with a very little value. Obviously, you won’t be including these into your article. However, with time and a bit of luck, you’ll be able to find your gem.
Here’s what head of marketing at Daxx has to say about HARO:
“HARO turned out to be a very efficient way to double the content production for our corporate blog with minimum resources spent. From only one HARO query we’ve managed to get four high-quality interviews. This means +1 blog post every week. And these blog posts are great! They feature photos, share real-life experience of the company. What’s even more important is HARO lets you build connections that you can use for co-marketing activities in the future.”
This is how submitted HARO query looks like
4. Outreach experts via email or social media
HARO is great, but when it comes to getting a reply from a top-tier expert, your chances are quite low with this platform to say the least. Once you face the need to interview a world-class company, the only way to achieve it is to reach out directly. It’s exactly how we managed to interview companies like Stack Overflow, GoDaddy, GitHub and Buffer. As result, we were able to post the articles on Growth Marketing Conference and Technology Advice.
Our outreach email to Hootsuite
Even the greatest companies don’t mind to get an extra exposure. Therefore, my advice is – don’t be afraid to write a direct email to the person clearly explaining:
- what kind of post you are working on (include a topic name)
- where and when it’s going to be published
- which question or questions do you want this person to answer
- why this person’s answer is important (does he or she have a particular expertise on a topic you are covering?)
Here’s one pro tip – make sure the blog you are writing for is a well-known one. Clearly, big companies won’t be interested in exposure on a no-name blog. If you mention a platform that rings a bell, your chances for an interview will dramatically improve.
Keep in mind though, outreaching a busy top manager from a big company isn’t a cakewalk. You should be ready for a number of follow-ups. If you’ve exhausted all of your patience with email outreach, try social media. If possible, go with LinkedIn and Twitter first as Facebook is for more personal communication. This is where you should establish some trust first – follow, like and leave insightful comment on the posts of the person you want to interview. This will help you break the ice and start a conversation.
5. Let guest contributors in
As we’ve started seeing some exposure with Chanty blog, a handful of guest writers had knocked onto our doors asking for a publication. This is when our team thought it would be a nice idea to put together a contributor’s guideline page. After all, guest posts are a great source of fresh content on a regular basis.
Once it was live, the deluge of guest blogging requests started attacking our inbox. For some time we’ve accepted guest posts to our blog and even made a dedicated section for them. However, the amount of low-quality articles required a lot of our proofreading time. Eventually, we had to stop accepting guest posts as it took too much of our time. However, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Here’s an advice based on our experience:
- Be picky. Don’t just publish every other post you receive hoping it’ll increase your traffic.
- No fluff. The content should be unique, detailed and contain an actionable advice.
- Check the record. Has the author written amazing articles in the past?
- Excessive backlinks. Get rid of them unless they are super relevant.
- Spammy anchors. Just remove them.
- Require links to sources. By sources, I mean recent industry researches and studies from credible websites.
The one huge issue with guest blogging is keeping up with the overall quality of your blog. Accept only the best content and watch out for irrelevant backlinks to prevent your blog from ruining. As Corey Wainwright has nailed it in this article for Hubspot: “Never sacrifice a great user experience to scratch your contributor’s inbound link itch.”
In the end…
I’ve listed several ideas that we’ve actually tried with our team on how to create content without a copywriter. Sourcing ideas from other people whether they are your colleagues, employees in a world-class company or HARO experts is one way to go. Guest writers could also provide a valuable input to your blog in a form of useful content. Moreover, partnering up with another company is sure to help you on a mission to create content with less effort and more results.
Does it mean you can now run a blog without a copywriter? Hell no. But our advice will surely let you save a whopping amount of time while creating content that’s more insightful, personal and expertise-based.
If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!