Yesterday, I attended Neil Patel’s webinar – How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Won’t Put You to Sleep.
KISSmetrics is a powerful analytics tool that we plan on deploying in the near future. We’ve been a Crazy Egg customer since 2007 – it’s a wonderful heat-mapping tool that displays how users are interacting with our webpages.
The focus of the webinar was on content. Inbound marketing starts with great content. It’s how you connect with audiences, make an impression, obtain traffic and build links. Marketing automation tools like Marketo and HubSpot play an important role in inbound marketing, but they’re not very effective if you’re not consistently creating content.
If you’re just starting your inbound program, Neil suggests the following:
For most busy marketers at small to mid-size companies, the hardest part is that last point – sticking to a regular schedule to generate content. It’s not easy to consistently generate content that’s high-quality. You know the feeling … your next article is due tomorrow morning and you’ve hit the wall – writer’s block.
To avoid this last-minute panic, take a more proactive approach by establishing a content generation process that you and your team can follow.
Inbound marketing isn’t a single event – it’s a continuous process.
Taking the time to set up your procedures to generate content will help you avoid burnout, by keeping your idea pipeline filled and giving yourself enough time for writing, design and promotion. Think like a publisher, instead of an article writer.
Here’s a 5-step approach that we use:
1. Create a content schedule. Hold a brainstorming session to outline topics for a given timeframe. For example, if you’re going to post 2 articles per week for an entire year (52 weeks, minus 2 weeks for holidays), list 100 topics. Just record a one-sentence description of the topic. You can build it out later.
When brainstorming, I like to think about:
Neil suggests that you research your competitors’ blogs and social shares and track the results in Excel to see what people are writing about and reading. This gives you an idea of what’s out there.
After you’ve completed your topic list, sequence the topics, placing 2 topics per week on the calendar for the 50 work weeks in the year.
When opportunities arise for new, timely content, add it to the calendar, pushing back other less time-sensitive topics.
2. Create an article outline. For the topics due next month, I create a bulleted list of the points I want to convey in the article. This outlines the flow of the article, which is tremendously helpful when it’s time to write. It also allows other writers to step in and write if needed.
3. Determine how to distribute the content. Before I start writing, I like to think about how to best leverage the content. How many different ways can I share an idea? A blog article is a given, but can I:
It’s also helpful to create content at least a week ahead of when it’s scheduled to go live, to give you and your team enough time to produce quality content and optimize your distribution.
4. Promote each piece of content. To get the word out, Neil suggests that you compile a list of top bloggers and influential social media experts in your space and message them directly, asking them to retweet your content or to share it with their readers.
5. Optimize around high-performing content and writers. Track conversion metrics for your content (and make sure to optimize each around a keyword or phrase.) Use cohort analysis (measuring engagement of content over time) to show what content or writers are generating the best results.
Generating ROI from inbound marketing takes time, effort and discipline. This process should help.
To quote Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz:
There’s no black magic in internet marketing.
There were a ton of great tips in the webinar, but if you don’t have an extra hour to view the recorded session, here are some more highlights:
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR MARKETING PROJECT