How to create the ultimate content bank
From Jade McAuley, Rebel Marketing
But I don’t know what to write about!!! And I don’t have any time!!! But I know sharing content is an awesome marketing tool but but but!!
These are the common complaints from people wanting to utilise the benefits of having a blog on their website or creating content for newsletters, social media etc. Ok they’re from me. But I’m pretty sure I’ve heard others having similar issues, and so I decided to find a solution.
Step 1 > You are a special and super awesome snowflake, for real
The first thing to overcome when you want to start creating content, is thinking that everyone knows the same things that you do. They really, really don’t. I have a client/mate who is a sparky and I remember him telling me about a whole day job that involved taking a roof off and putting it back on. It was no big deal to him, but I was enthralled – imagine taking a whole roof off!!! So firstly, put aside that silly notion – you have a wealth of experience, training, background and ideas that are all completely unique to you. Now let’s tap into that!
Step 2 > Set up a never-ending source of completely relevant and unique content ideas
Welcome to mind mapping! Start with your business, industry or profession in the centre. Now, what are the main departments or headers or subjects that you deal with? For example, for marketing I have websites, social media, advertising, copy writing, media and so on.
Then look at what splinters off each of those main headers. Using me as an example again, for websites I might have SEO, user experience, site mapping, functionality etc. Don’t feel the need to drill down too far, because you will probably start to notice that you are getting a lot of content themes in your mind map.
That’s right – this isn’t your topics list, these are just the themes! If I took just the SEO theme, I could have topics about how to do keyword research, why you want to rank on the first page of Google, the 5-step process to local search marketing and so on.
Once you have a bunch of themes in front of you – save it somewhere. I also keep a list of topic ideas that I’ve come up with from my mind mapping, but often just looking at the themes will be enough to spark an idea. Try it!
Step 3 > Actually sitting down and creating your content
So I’ve just started this new fad called trying to get my lazy butt organised, and one part of that is setting aside time once a fortnight to write content – with my handy topics list by my side, of course. For me, auto-scheduling this time in (as in, setting up a recurring calendar appointment) is the only way that I can get it done to a standard that I’m happy with. Sometimes I will knock out at post in the wee hours of the morning to hit a deadline, but I prefer to enjoy my writing rather than feel pressured about it.
Having said that, if you don’t think you’re a particularly good writer – you can still create awesome content, promise. Here are some strategies for creating content when you’re not a copy writer:
Delegate – just because you want to write about something, doesn’t mean it all has to come from you. Say you have a junior staff member learning about your industry – perfect. Get them to research and write 80% of the article, and then you can just finesse it and finish off the last 20%. You get content and they’ve gained some more knowledge – win win.
Go profesh – if you don’t have anyone you can pass off (sorry, delegate) the writing to, get a copy writer.
Don’t write articles – try different styles of content creation. There are all kinds of cool apps and programs online, many that are free, that can help you to create things like slideshows, cartoons, presentations, infographics and more. They require very little text – but can be a wonderfully visual form of communication instead.
Never rip something off from online though. Not only is this plagiarism, but imagine if you had someone take your work and stick their name all over it? Not cool.
Step 4 > Building your ever-handy content bank
Once you set yourself a schedule, stick with it. Sometimes you might bang out a few different pieces of content, things you could repurpose for guest columns, social media, your website and more. Sometimes you might only create on macdaddy piece. Sometimes you might take something you’ve previously created, and turn it into an infographic or some other style of content.
No matter what, just keep creating and saving it all into your content bank. Then – when you need an editorial piece for an advertising package or your website needs new content or you you’re asked to be a guest speaker, you have a whole bunch of pre-made original content just sitting there ready for you to use.
Bonus step > Getting your content out there into the big, bad world
Producing original, thought-provoking, helpful, inspiring, interesting content is a great way to demonstrate your expertise. It’s known as inbound marketing, whereby you attract prospects to you – as opposed to outbound, where you’re going to the client (ie TV, trade shows etc). Most businesses benefit from a mix of both inbound and outbound, but for your content marketing to work – you gotta get it out there!
I’ve already peppered a bunch of examples for how to use your content through the rest of the post, but I really wanted to focus on the advantages of having a blog-type page on your website. For some clients, I recommend doing a Latest News or Useful Info page instead – it really depends on your business. Basically it’s just having a page on your site somewhere that you can regularly upload new content to.
Adding fresh, relevant content to your website regularly makes Google really happy, and greatly benefits your website’s search ranking. While there is some more advanced stuff that can really make that fresh content an SEO powerhouse, for the moment – just consider how you could add a page to your site where you can regularly upload original pieces of content made your business, as well as things like media releases, event promotion, new industry news etc. It’s well worth it!