I think my content marketing team is lost. I wasn’t able to articulate where I needed them to go, so they all wandered off in different directions. I think one of my writers fell off the trail and is now drifting aimless through the endless internet forest (poor fella, probably got tangled up in Facebook).
And as a result, my company’s content marketing efforts are not moving in the right direction—UPWARD. Are you sure this content marketing thing works? And, if it does, how do I get my content marketing team back on the right path to success?
Sad Sal from Sagging Sales
Dear Sad Sal,
Don’t be too hard on yourself or on your team of talent. The internet is a gigantic and often confusing place, especially if you are not familiar with the established trails and terminology of content marketing. Going in the wrong direction can take your content marketing efforts into the dry gully. Leading your team in the right way, however, can take your company to the highest peaks of success.
You may be glad to know that content marketing is working, very, very well. About 77 percent of internet users read company blogs, according to Content Marketing Institute, and these blogs turn into growth and higher conversion rates for the SMBs that use them. In fact, small businesses that blog enjoy 126 percent more growth than those that who do not produce a blog. And content marketing has six times higher conversion rates than traditional marketing.
To get those killer results from your content marketing, though, you have to pick the best talent, onboard them successfully, and guide them along the rugged trail.
The key is to understand that when your talent wanders down the wrong path, you need to guide them back to the right road. And when your GPS is broken and the directions are not clear, everyone gets lost.
Here are a few tips to get your content marketing team where you need it to go:
Tips to Reaching Content Marketing Nirvana
Establish firm boundaries to keep writers on the trail. Writers can be easily distracted by the wealth of resources hiding just a few steps off the beaten path. Without clear instructions to help them stay on the straight and narrow, it is easy for them to get lost on the Information Superhighway.
Try to avoid sharing too much of the big picture at first, as this might lead your content marketing team astray. Maybe take some test drives on simple orders to see if you can drive the team in one direction down the trail. Lead the new team down a beginner’s trail at first, just to test the tone and style flexing.
Keep your writer fit and active by developing a regular content production schedule. Only the fittest content marketing team can ride the most rugged trails. Frequent exercise in the form of regular posts keeps a team strong. Businesses that publish 16 posts or more each month get nearly 3.5 times more traffic than those that put out zero to four articles monthly.
Adhering to a content production schedule also helps your content marketing team stay calm. Writers are a skittery bunch who balk at surprises, so most respond well to the confines of a regular schedule. Always approach slowly from the front and speak softly with your instructions, especially in the morning.
Tune in your writers by defining your target audience. Crafting buyer or customer personas helps your wordsmith create content that taps into your consumers’ interests, wants and needs. WriterAccess makes that super simple with built-in persona builders that take minutes to create. Providing content that resonates with your prospective clients helps you get more leads and sales.
Develop Customer Journey Maps that become the GPS for great content. Crafting Customer Journey Maps helps writers understand what customers are thinking and feeling at different stages of their journey. Providing this information to writers helps them create content that better connects and motivates customers from stage to stage, transforming browsers into believers, and believers into buyers.
Think of keywords as brain teasers, not burdensome tasks. Develop a list of words your future customers are likely to type into a search engine to find you. Include these keywords in every blog, white paper, brochure, blast and post. There are a bunch of fancy programs you can use to come up with a zillion obscure keywords if you like, but start with a list of simple keywords for use in every project. If you are a chiropractor in Concord, for example, use “chiropractor in Concord” or “Concord chiropractor” as keywords.
Make your instructions, specifications and requirements simple. For freelancers, time is money. The more clear your instructions are with each order, the more time writers can spend writing vs interpreting complexity. Show examples. Create bullet points of “Don’t Do This Please.” Pinpoint the reading level using some cool Flesch-Kincaid index tools inside of WriterAccess.
Don’t give up on outsourcing, just perfect it instead for the long haul. Writers are bright creatures and very few bite, but they are a delicate breed. Using a content marketing platform like WriterAccess puts you in the drivers seat to find writers, place orders, optimizing content and manage the workflow with next-gen tools. Content Marketing Institute says that 62 percent of B2C marketers and 56 percent of B2B marketers outsource content creation. But the key is to put things on autopilot, and to spend a bit more time up front educating freelancers to get them aligned with your goals for the long run.
With proper care and direction, your writer can produce great content that drives up sales. I hope some of these tips help you get your content marketing team where you want them to go, Sad Sal, so that your sales can go from sagging to spectacular.
Byron White worked with Lynn H. on this post. Lynn has been a professional writer, providing exceptional content online and offline, for nearly 20 years. In that time, she has penned thousands of articles for doctors, universities, researchers, small businesses, nursing organizations, sole proprietors and more. Lynn writes everything from blogs to white papers; her specialty is putting complex scientific concepts in simple terms. She specializes in medical writing, creating informative and engaging content for professionals in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical manufacturing, chiropractics, optometry, emergency care, plastic surgery and others.