Here’s the secret: In order to succeed at content marketing, you need to create high quality content on a consistent basis. But for most entrepreneurs and small business owners, this is easier said than done.
Most of us seem to think there are only two options:
Spend hours doing all of the work yourself. But that can be time consuming, even for the best writers among us.
Or, you can outsource your content marketing to an expensive agency or freelancer. Either way, it seems like content marketing just isn’t worth the time, or expense.
In this article, I hope to introduce you to a third solution: A way to outsource some components of your content marketing so that you save both time and money.
Here are the 6 steps busy entrepreneurs can take to create great content on a budget:
1. Choose a Title
Before you can even write your post, you need to choose a title for the post. This sets the entire direction for the piece of content; everything from the topic to the outline to the tone of the piece.
But what should you write about?
Ideally, you’d like to write about something that you know your audience will want to read, share, and link back to.
So, how do you find a topic that will fit each of those requirements?
The answer: Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo allows you to analyze what content performs best and helps you find key influencers to promote your content.
The first thing you do is enter your topic into their search bar. In this case, I want to discover topics to write about regarding content marketing.
After I enter the topic “content marketing” and hit “Go!”, I’m shown a list of the most shared titles on the topic. This will give me an indication of which posts get shared, so I can create something similar.
(The image above only shows the first four topics to save space.)
Researching your topic and creating your headline should take no more than 10 minutes.
2. Create an Outline
Once you develop your topic, you’ll need to create an outline.
In a “step by step” post such as “5 Steps to Create Great Content”, each step makes up a separate component of the outline.
In a list post, each numbered item is a separate component of the outline.
You get the idea.
The outline will give you guidance on how you’ll actually write the post. The entire outline should take you no more than 10 minutes to create.
Many popular blogs see higher engagement when they use data in their posts.
I like to think of my blog posts like I’m a lawyer trying to convince a jury that my client is innocent. During the trial, I’m going to tell stories and get my client to recall his or her account of what happened. And I’m going to support those stories with evidence to make my case as strong as I possibly can.
My blog post is also trying to make a case. I’m trying to convince my audience that my ideas are worth listening to. Sure I can give you theory. But once that theory is backed up by tangible evidence, then it becomes much more compelling.
Here is an idea of research materials that you can include in your post:
- Data that you have accrued over time. This data can come from Google Analytics and other business intelligence software that you deploy to state your case.
- Research that has been published in academic papers.
- Use case studies that others have published to support your case.
- Find any other images that help make your blog post more visual. Not only will the images make your post look nicer, but they will allow you to share your post on a wider variety of social networks like Instagram and Pinterest giving you the ability to get more traffic.
This sounds like a lot of work, right?
Well, luckily, the Universe invented Fiverr.
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can get things done for you for just $5 – including hiring a virtual assistant.
When I hire a virtual assistant, I give them specific instructions on what I want them to do.
For instance, I might say something like: “I need you to find me three sources that state writing a blog post that is over 1500 words will bring more traffic to your blog. I would like one of the sources to be academic research. I would like the other two sources to be a case study. “
It should take you no more than 15 minutes to hire the personal assistant if that’s the direction you choose to go.
4. Write the Post
Now it’s time to write the post.
This is by far the most time consuming part of the entire content creation process. However, now that you have your title, your outline, and your research, you will save a lot of time compared to starting with a blank page.
Here are a few tips on writing a great blog post:
- Engage with your audience. In order to do this, I use “I” and “you” a lot. This allows my reader to get drawn into the post and feel more invested in the stories.
- Which brings us to my second point: tell stories. While I don’t have any personal data to back this up, I feel that the more personal story that I tell, the more readers will engage with it. For instance, check out this post from Jon Morrow. Jon tells the story about how he’s paralyzed from the neck down and fought for his life as an infant. Five years after it was written, it continues to be one of the most shared posts on Copyblogger.
- Finally, use simple words. We aren’t trying to write a brilliant peace of literature. We’re trying to solve a problem that your readers may have. Always KISS!
Let’s say you have absolutely no time or inclination to actually write your blog post. You can hire a blogger using the Problogger Job Board.
For $50, you can post a job on the job board for 30 days. The cost it takes to have the post written for you will vary depending on your vertical.
There are some pros and cons to doing this:
- It takes up less of your time.
- If you’re not a good writer, you’ll be able to hire one.
- It can get expensive. Especially if you’re looking to write more than one post a week.
- You won’t be able to tell personal stories, which tend to increase engagement.
5. Create Graphics
Now that you’re finished with the content of your blog, you may want to amend some of your images for points of emphasis or even create a simple thumbnail for your blog.
To do this, you can use the service Swiftly, where you can get small design projects done in under an hour for just $19.
Even if you’re a designer, using Swiftly to do small projects like this is a great way for you to save time and work on higher value tasks.
6. Promote Content
Now that you have your post ready to go, it’s time to promote your content.
Of course you can update your social media profiles and post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and everywhere else you’re active.
However, if you’re looking to expand your reach and introduce your content to new audiences, there are several niche websites available to promote your content.
For instance, I might promote this content on sites like Inbound.org and Growthhackers.com. These are two popular marketing sites that appreciate high value content about marketing and growth.
I might also promote it in Reddit under the subreddit marketing, entrepreneurship, and social media.
And finally, I’ll promote it in the various LinkedIn groups that I’m affiliated with.
Most entrepreneurs know they need to create content in order to market their businesses. The trouble is finding the time to do that.
Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll be able to establish a routine that will help you quickly create high quality content, even if you’re working on a budget.