Content is king but where do you start?

In a recent post I wrote about Adopting the Publisher Model in order to simultaneously increase your chances of being found online as well as build trust with your prospects and customers.

The mere thought of publishing a regular stream of content is daunting, particularly when you’re already busy with your day job. It’s something else that needs to be done, in an already busy schedule, however there are ways to make it more manageable.

For starters, you can create an Editorial Calendar. Identify monthly themes that are relevant to your target market, in the same way a magazine publisher will plan their monthly features at the start of the year, and it immediately provides some structure around what you have to create, and the task a little less daunting. Instead of 52 individual posts and no idea what to write about, you have 4 posts around a particular topic each month, which seems much more achievable.

Your editorial calendar can include both the creation of, and publication of your content, so you’re also scheduling deadlines for when the work needs to be completed by. This becomes even more beneficial if you’re publishing content across multiple media, for example, blog posts, podcasts and video. You can define particular days for releasing specific media, for example, new blog every Monday, new podcast every Wednesday and a new video every Friday.

To be more productive, you can also create the content in batches. For example, you may record the videos fortnightly, and the podcasts monthly, which is a more effective use of your time.

If you’re running a WordPress blog, there is a plugin that allows you to schedule the publication of your posts in advance, called strangely enough, WordPress Editorial Calendar so your content can be published on auto-pilot (assuming the posts are written in advance of course!).

One of the hardest parts of creating content is getting ideas on what to write or produce, certainly in the beginning. Getting your staff involved in content ideas is a great way to share the load. Set-up a shared document on your network or using free software like Google Docs and get staff to submit ideas based around your monthly themes.

You can take this a step further by inviting staff members to contribute. Instead of you having the sole responsibility for content creation and being under pressure to write a new blog post every week, you can substantially ease the load by enrolling your staff in the task. Say there are 4-5 people in the business who could write blog posts, they each have the responsibility of writing 1 post a month which is not too onerous, and if you stagger the delivery it means you’re publishing 1 post a week.

You’ll probably find your staff are happy to contribute, as it’s a great form of recognition. It also allows you to present a different point of view on particular topics, for example, you may have some employees who are very analytical, and others that are more conceptual, and so it will keep the content fresh by presenting alternative views on different topics.

Obviously there needs to be some quality control, so you may start with a smaller number of contributors so you can set some benchmarks and guidelines for participation, and expand the number of contributors over time. You’ll probably discover different employees are better suited to different media, for example, one person may be more comfortable producing a short 3-minute video than they are writing blog posts.

How do you plan the creation and publication of your content? Is it done on the fly, or do you plan it out in advance?

  • Another way you can get ideas is reading the press and seeing what is topical at the moment. You can then do some research and write your thoughts on what to do. That is one strategy I use for our blog.

    If you use twitter you can also see what the key conversations are for the day and that can also provide some fuel.

  • Thanks for your feedback. Agree, using twitter and other social media platforms (like blogs) are a great way to see what’s topical and generating interest and it’s certainly something that I do.

    It can add to the stress for people who are just starting out, hence why I suggest having an editorial calendar, as it provides a framework for what they have to do which makes it more manageable. Once you get into the swing of it, it’s then a lot easier to overlay ‘topics of the day’ that you pick up through the press and social media.

    Cheers, Joel