March 21, 2017 | By: Tony Mastri

7 Content Marketing Hacks from MARION

Content marketing has become an integral part of many marketing plans, but if there is one thing that we know about content marketing is that it’s easier said than done.

Continuously coming up with content that is relevant and engaging is not an easy task.  It takes patience, perseverance and consistency to create the articles, whitepapers, and eBooks that your content marketing strategy runs on.

Here are 7 of the best hacks around for keeping your content engine running at full capacity.

1. Create a Headline Swipe File

As much as we’d like to take credit for this hack, this is one that we picked up from Impulse Creative.

A headline swipe file is a simple document where you can collect content ideas in the form of great headlines and share them with your entire team.

Headlines will generally take the form of fill in the blanks:

[desired result] On A Budget With [blank]

They can also be combined as list fill in the blanks:

[x] Ways To [blank] On A Budget

These headline templates can go a long way in helping you to come up with creative and engaging headlines that will draw in your audience.

2. NewsJack Popular Topics

One part of managing a successful digital advertising campaign is staying relevant on the internet, and your content is no different.

Finding popular threads are a great way to generate content ideas that are relevant, appealing, and current.  You may consider creating a dedicated feed on an app like Feedly, specifically for your newsjacking needs.

Once you find an article or a topic that you think is a good fit, there are a number of ways to newsjack the article in an appropriate way:

  • Approach the topic from another vantage point
  • Write a response to the article
  • Compile a list of the best articles on the subject
  • Elaborate on a single point made in an article

Be creative with how you use the topic, and whatever you do, don’t just rip off the article.  It’s ok to reach the same conclusion, make a few of the same points, or reference the original article (especially with a friendly link), just don’t plagiarize.

3. Use All the Tools at Your Disposal

Great content writing is as much about organization and planning as it is about your writing abilities.  Use all the tools at your disposal, including the people working around you and even Houston internet marketing services, to generate and organize your ideas.

Create a way for others within your organization to contribute ideas or even the content itself.  This space for collaboration can be as simple as a shared document.

There are tools that can make this process even more simple.  Evernote is a great solution for Mac users. For those of us working in a Microsoft environment, OneNote is a hidden gem in the Office suite.  Both applications allow you to organize your ideas in a virtually infinite number of ways and collect and share easily.

In addition, a content marketing calendar can be an invaluable tool.  Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are fine for maintaining your content marketing calendars.  If you aren’t sure how you’d even get started with a content calendar, check out a few of the content calendar templates available out on the web, that’s a good place to start.

4. Create a Writing Environment for Yourself

Once you’ve got a topic in mind and a working title, it’s time to get down to the business of writing.  Don’t expect to get much done if you haven’t created the right environment.

Start by closing your office door.  If you work in an open office environment, large noise canceling headphones will do.  The idea is not to be disturbed while writing and both closing your door and putting on headphones sends the signal that you’re getting down to business and don’t wanna chat.

Regardless of whether you put on your headphones or not, turn on some tunes.  Having said that, abandon the Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, Beatles or whatever your go-to jam is, and go with a lyric-free alternative.

You may want to go with a nice classical selection, or simply type in the word “ambient” into Pandora and see where it takes you.  The point is that music can be a great way to get into the zone, or it can be a great distraction.

Make yourself a drink.  Maybe it’s coffee, maybe it’s tea, or maybe it’s something a bit stronger.  Having something to sip keeps you from getting up to get something, and your choice of libation, whether caffeine or alcohol, can help you get into the zone.

5. Re-Write Old Articles or Posts

You put a lot of time and effort into the posts that your write.  After a couple of years, they can become dated, but that doesn’t mean that they are not still relevant today.

Reading through your past articles and finding posts that can be recycled is a great way to create fresh content from established URLs.

Try completely starting fresh with the title, or post an update overviewing how the subject has evolved since the original post.  This type of content can be very engaging for users and often has the added benefit of being good for your SEO.

6. Re-Use Content Across Different Mediums

Like our content marketing hack number five, use your old blogs posts and other content to create new forms of content from it.

For example, you can take several blog posts discussing different aspects of the same topic and combine them into an eBook that you can use as a lead generation tool.  Similarly, you can transcribe your last webinar and offer it up as an eBook or whitepaper.

Or, for the enterprising marketer, perhaps you will want to take this approach in reverse and create a marketing video, or podcast from the content you have written for an article or eBook.

7. Write Directly to Your Buyer Persona(s)

Quite often, the easiest way to break through your writer’s block is to remember who you are creating content for.  Your buyer persona(s) should be top of mind when you sit down to write every single blog post.

Is this a topic that would interest your buyer persona(s)?  What level of knowledge will they have on the subject?  How can you best communicate your message to them?  These are the types of questions that can inform and enlighten your content topics and writing.

Lastly, use your brand style guide to keep your copy and tone of voice consistent across your various content pieces, especially if you have multiple people within your organization writing.

The Take-Away

Content writing is a time-consuming and creatively draining endeavor. Hopefully, these seven hacks from our marketing firm in Houston can help you generate better content more consistently.

If you find yourself struggling to produce quality content on a regular basis for your website, you may be holding back the potential it has to generate more traffic, more leads, and more customers.

Contact us about our blog and content marketing services to see if it makes sense for you to work with professional writers to generate content for your website.

26 Lead Generation Tips

About Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION, is an experienced agency and in-house digital marketer. With a proven background in content strategy, relationship-based link building, and technical SEO, he makes data-informed decisions that drive client growth.

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