The last issue looked at why just about every website should have fresh content, often in the form of a blog. But actually getting content out the door isn’t easy.
This time, we’ll look at how to get in the habit of creating good content.
Notice when you’ve got something to share
The first step to creating content is to notice when you’ve got something to say. Get in the habit of noticing thoughts like, “Huh! That feels like a really useful piece of knowledge,” or “I wish more people knew this.” Those are the things you should be writing about. When you have a thought like this, jot it down! Before long, you’ll have a backlog of content waiting to get written.
If you’re feeling blocked, you can ask questions. List-based posts seem to both stimulate creativity and make for content that hooks the reader. So if you’re a long-haul trucker, ask yourself, “What are the four things drivers should know about sharing the road with truckers?” The answer would probably make a great and widely shared blog post.
Get on a schedule
There are a lot of reasons why the intent to publish content might not translate to action. Some might include shyness, a feeling that what you’re putting out there isn’t good enough, and the feeling that content generation is a “chore.”
The best way around these obstacles is to make content generation a habit. Poets are advised to write poetry every day, not only when they feel “inspired” and don’t have any other distractions, and the same principle applies here. Set yourself a reasonable, specific schedule—”I publish a short blog post once a week on Tuesdays”—and stick to it. In a little while, it’ll be a part of your rhythm, not something you debate with yourself about every week.
The first hints of success will do a lot to motivate you, too, so be sure to have some analytics in place to track how your content is doing. (More on that in the next post!) You’ll want to make it easy for people to share your content—one of WordPress’s hundreds of “social sharing” plugins will be good for this. And be sure to post your content through your social networks so that you can reach whatever readership you currently have.
If you’re just too busy
Good content doesn’t have to be an ocean of text (something I often fail to realize). It could be as simple as a picture from a trade show you went to, or a quick paragraph on why certain plants shouldn’t be left in direct sunlight.
More than anything, it’s about getting in the habit of sharing your knowledge with others; once you have that mentality, how often and how much you share may start to come more naturally.
If you’re still just too busy
It may make sense for you to hire someone to write content. It doesn’t even have to be a “professional blogger” or marketing firm—in fact, depending on the nature of your business, you’ll probably be better served with a little creativity.
Maybe your English major nephew understands your crafts business inside and out, and could use five hours a week of work for some extra money during school. Why not enlist him as your content creator?
If you’re a larger business, content creation can be a great, discrete job for interns. Please make sure you pay them for their work, though; they’re in a lot of debt.
In either case, the potential benefits to your business of sustained, fresh, relevant content are substantial; so if you’re too busy to create it, finding someone who can may be a win-win.
Fundamentally, content generation is knowing you have things to say, and saying them. Your expertise can help others—and they’ll return the favor with increased esteem for your brand, site traffic, and sales. Give it a try! If you need any help, we’d be happy to talk.