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Feeding the beast—content marketing

Content marketing, that trend that began long ago with the 1895 launch of the John Deere magazine The Furrow and the 1904 Jell-O recipe book, is the accepted norm today. Thanks to technology, consumers can get a lot of free information any time they want, and they want it all the time. This means that if you’re using content marketing, or what some call educational marketing, as a primary method to reach customers you’re looking at lots of hours of research and preparation. There’s always a need for new content to keep customers and search engines interested. The internet is a hungry beast. So, the question is when are you going to have time to create all of this fabulous content to feed it and still run your business?

Churning out content takes some effort, but it doesn’t have to become a time sucking chore. There are a few keys to making sure you’ve got plenty of fresh marketing content. To get your content marketing under control, and keep it that way, you need to systemize.

First, you need to keep a file of all your good ideas—no matter how undeveloped. If you’re “old school” then carry a notepad. Otherwise keep a document on your computer, tablet or phone where you can quickly record bits of marketing genius. And while we’re on the subject of keeping records, don’t forget to keep back-up copies of all your content marketing efforts.

Create a content marketing plan and schedule. This should include items like how often you intend to blog, when and where you can place articles or videos and important seasonal or industry tie in dates. Your social media schedule should also be part of this document. If you find this task overwhelming consider getting a coach to help with this step. Spreadsheets work beautifully for organizing this type of information.

Use ghostwriters with caution. The need to turn out lots of good content can make hiring a ghostwriter very tempting. Before you allow someone else to create the content that’s going to represent your business, ask yourself a few questions. First cover the basics, like is this a professional I can afford who can provide me with samples of work and references? Will this individual be able to capture the tone of my writing and brand? Then ask if writing is part of your declared area of expertise. If you’re trying to sell your writing or word smithing ability it’s best not to outsource.

Repurpose your best content. Not all of your potential clients or customers take in information in the same way. That really great blog post you just ran might make an equally great video or slide presentation. Your keynote speech to a local business network could be turned into an infographic that might go viral. Never assume that everyone in your target audience caught the first version of your information.

Using content to educate your target audience and to gently market your business is a very effective strategy. Done correctly content marketing doesn’t have to become a time sink. If you systemize your approach and repurpose your best material, then you should be able to keep the internet beast satisfied and still have time to operate your business.

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About Karen Southall Watts

In 2005, Karen Southall Watts drove alone, with most of her life in a station wagon, across the United States from North Carolina to the Northwest corner of Washington to start a new life. Karen has been a business consultant, college instructor, coach and speaker since 1999. Years of working in social services, experience as…