Adjust How You Think About Content (It Could Actually Lessen Your Workload)

    by Michelle Bodnar

    Date

    September 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    content-workContent is one of the more important aspects of your website, but it can also be the biggest pain. Although it makes good sense for SEO and lead generation purposes to keep updating your social media sites and keep up a blog, business owners -- and even some marketers -- are generally not writers. Thus, having to come up with topics, read over submissions, and create original content is quite groan-worthy for many.

    If implemented properly, though, content can easily lessen your overall workload plus save costs. Re-think your relationship with the words on your website and instead of fighting against the content creation burden, put them to work for you and your business. Here's how.

    Create Once, and Create Well

    Think of content as an investment, if only for the SEO value it will provide. When you create one blog post -- just one day of content creation effort -- it's indexed in search engines forever. If you create one blog post, and create it well, that can drive results for your business in the form of traffic and leads for years and years to come.

    So while one hour today may seem impossible, that one hour of work could drive hundreds or thousands of leads in, say, ten years.

    Talk about ROI.

    This concept of creating once, and creating well, should be applied to marketers at any stage -- but none is more critical than marketers undergoing a website redesign. If that's you, now is the ideal time to invest in carefully choosing your page structure, and thoughtfully crafting content to perform well for both readers and search engines. A successful build (or rebuild) will make your website an enduring presence online. A great keyword strategy combined with appropriate content and site structure turns your website into a 24-hour marketing machine for your company!

    Crowdsource Content

    Part of investing in content means investing in a process to source it that is actually sustainable. In other words -- you shouldn't be the only content creator in your company. This is important for your sanity, sure, but it's also important if you want to build a content creation machine that helps contribute to growing your business, and supporting that larger business.

    Make use of those people out there that actually love content and are good at it. Ask around your office if someone is a closet writer and has the skills necessary to take on your blogging and content work. They could be a member of the marketing team, or any other team -- often the people on the front lines of lead and customer communication are the best equipped for roles like this. (More on that in a second.) 

    If that doesn’t work, your next best option is to outsource -- Zerys, for instance, is a very effective online content marketplace for business owners to obtain content in an easy, cost-effective manner. 

    Wherever your content comes from -- and chances are, it will be a variety of sources -- creating that sustainable pipeline now will make your life easier, and your content investment easier to predict and manage. Oh, and it'll also get rid of that manic running around you do when you remember you haven't updated your blog in a week.

    Work Closely With Sales

    Keeping the needs of your sales team met should be priority one for any business. If they're not being included in your content planning, you are missing a huge opportunity to lighten your workload -- and theirs!

    Your sales team has very “real-world” experience with your products and services that you or your marketing team may not have. Their input is essential for figuring out what people really want to know. They can let you know exactly what they need to make their job easier -- both in terms of sales enablement content, and generated more qualified leads -- that will allow them to make bigger and better sales.

    Take the time to align your content strategy with the needs of your sales team, then, so your effort produces the kinds of leads they actually want to work (and turn into real business). And of course, create content that addresses the FAQs they receive every day to make their time more productive. Wouldn't you rather Sales spent time closing business, rather than answering the same question a hundred times? Your content as the power to do that.

    (Tip: Don’t stop there, either! Your sales team also very likely has great suggestions for social media content and blog ideas. Content creation should always be a team effort. The more people you get involved, the more your website will grow into the robust and energetic internet presence you want it to be.)

    Recycle and Reuse

    Proper analysis is pivotal to reducing your overall workload and saving you money on ineffective content creation. Once you know what performs well, there’s no reason to keep re-inventing the wheel. Creating blog after blog in the hopes that something will work without really looking into what you’ve done in the past will not only waste more time, it will also cost more money.

    Content is malleable. It can take many forms, and be reused over and over. For instance, if you have a great FAQs page that you’re really proud of, turn those questions into social media content. Collate the material on your site for a downloadable ebook. Turn some successful content pieces into visual content -- like a SlideShare or infographic.

    Content is a commitment, and provides the building blocks of your site. Think of it as your website’s infrastructure -- if is it carelessly installed and then ignored it will eventually weaken, and so will your online presence. With a strong start and regular maintenance, though, it can remain strong and sturdy for a very long time, and yield a high return on your investment.

    This guest post is by Michelle Bodnar, content manager at Calgary's Emphasize Design. Find us on Twitter at @emphasizedesign and visit the Emphasize Resource Centre for more online and inbound marketing tips!

    Image credit: blumpy

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