Is easier content marketing even possible? It is now. But it didn’t used to be …
I used to sit at my keyboard and sweat. My stomach would churn. I’d feel panicky.
And this would happen on a weekly basis.
It wasn’t pretty. Why did I do that to myself?
Well, I was on a mission …
Want some free training on content creation? Scroll down to #2: Work with the 4-Day Content Creation System
Back in early 2010, I put myself in a precarious professional position. On purpose.
After spending decades as a designer who provided visual solutions to problems, suddenly I found myself providing written solutions to problems.
And after decades running an offline business, I decided to start this online business — which includes the post you’re reading right now.
I knew I wanted to build an audience around the idea that strategic marketing and smart design decisions help you build a recognizable brand.
I knew for sure that anyone can learn the basic principles of both, and apply them to their business.
But to find the people I wanted to help, I needed to write to them. I needed to create helpful written content online — content that would get my site found, and keep readers engaged.
Somehow, I needed to come up with a process for easier content marketing — because I was juggling my old business, my new business, a family, a life …
Easier content marketing happens when systems and processes come to the rescue
When you run a business by yourself, you’re acutely aware that time is limited.
There’s only one of you, so you naturally start looking for ways to work more efficiently.
In my design business, everything I was able to develop a process or system for, I did. Processes made mundane tasks go faster. They freed up time for the more interesting tasks on my plate.
It wasn’t long before I developed some systems and processes for easier content marketing too.
My content marketing strategy helped — a lot. Every time I sat down to write a piece of content, I approached it with the same set of tools, and used the same basic steps.
The words began to flow with ease. I sweated and fretted a whole lot less and began (to my surprise) to enjoy the process.
An easier content marketing secret that’s too good not to share
Because I like to teach, I didn’t want to sit on this system I’d developed and not share it. I began to write posts for Copyblogger where I spelled out some of my thinking on creating content with ease.
Here are a few of them:
- A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week
- How to Write Subheads that Hook (and Re-hook) Your Readers
- 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content
When I look back at the 100+ posts I’ve written for Copyblogger, the site I managed, I realize that I was working out the content for my books as I created content for Copyblogger.
I met so many people who were baffled by content marketing.
Their question was always, “Where do I start? And what do I do?”
My two Master Content books were written to answer these questions.
Here are the best “how to make content marketing easier” tips from each book:
#1: Use the 7 Essential Elements of Content Marketing
Effective content marketing uses the same seven elements over and over.
There are best practices for each element. It’s important to use them all! If you don’t, you may create a piece of content — but not a piece of content marketing.
The Seven Essential Elements of Effective Content Marketing:
- First sentence
- Main copy
- Call to action
I wrote a chapter about each of these seven elements in my first book, Master Content Marketing. I think that’s why lots of people say the keep a copy next to them whenever they write content.
#2: Work with the 4-Day Content Creation System
Easier content marketing becomes a reality when you commit to blocking out time to create content — and you spread that time out over several days.
Because creative projects are easier — and creators feel less stress — when they have time to rest and revisit their work more than once.
The 4-Day Content Creation System:
- Day 1: Write your headline and subheads
- Day 2: Write or record your first draft
- Day 3: Polish and prepare to publish
- Day 4: Publish and promote
If your content requires research, you can add a “Day 0” at the beginning to give yourself time to do that before you begin writing.
#3: Know where you are in the Website Lifecycle
Just like we’re all born in our birthday suits, we all start our content marketing journey with blank, empty websites.
You can almost hear the echo …
It’s daunting. But when you have a plan in hand, you can get to work and start filling it with content marketing that attracts the exact right people to your website!
That’s where the Website Lifecycle approach comes in.
The Website Lifecycle recognizes that your goals as a content creator change depending on where your website is in its growth stage.
Here’s a quick overview. Where are you in this Website Lifecycle?
Birth through Year 1
On a brand-new website, you’ll focus on populating your pages with helpful content that establishes your expertise.
- A new piece every week
- Clear, consistent categories
- Polished content that makes a great impression
Years 2 through 5
Your website is still new at this stage, and you’ve built an audience. You can create content to help with their real-life challenges.
- A new piece at least every other week
- Deep-dive content that delivers in-depth information
- Multimedia content that expands your message
Year 6 and beyond
It’s time to put on a new hat and start to approach your content like a resource librarian because now you are the proud owner of a website that’s full of useful, helpful content.
You may continue to publish every other week — but there’s more to do. Help visitors find what they need on your site and keep your content fresh with regular updates.
- Develop an updating habit
- Get a clear view of what content is most popular and interlink existing content
- Master multimedia content
Looking for easier content marketing? Start with this free workshop
Here’s a fast, fun way to learn about the tips in this article — register and start watching my Content Profit Formula workshop.
It’s free! And I go into detail about the 7 Essential Elements of Content Marketing, the 4-Day Content Creation System, and much more.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on September 21, 2016 and has been updated with the best guidance, tips, and resources. Enjoy!