Spending hours writing a single blog post is not scaleable. If you have a lot of clients or manage a large brand you understand the need to create a lot of high quality content.
The problem with content marketing is that it is getting harder to produce content that stands out. In the semantic web, your content has to pass the four V’s test. You need volume (longer posts), variety (different content formats), veracity (reference sites), and velocity (speed at which content is produced). In other words, you need to make killer content, and you need to do it quickly.
Creating Quality Content is Difficult and Time Consuming
If you ask Jon Morrow, he will tell you that he spends well over 10 hours on some of his posts. Why? He learned early that people can tell the difference. Just like how your teacher could when you spent 15 minutes writing your report.
Eric Enge, another well respected internet marketer had this advice to share on his Digital Marketing Excellence show this past month:
You really have to write something that is a little more effort than what someone else can do on their own by researching a few minutes on the web.
Trying to create high quality content at scale, makes it that much harder. So what do you do?
Research Ideas Until You Find A Topic With Strong Social Signals
You don’t want to waste your time creating content on a topic that has no chance of being read and shared. During the brainstorming phase look for articles that have a lot of shares and backlinks. That is how you will know if the topic is interesting. For more information on conducting a social signal analysis see my post here.
With proper research, you can come up with 100’s ideas for shareable content. The problem is, you don’t have time to write 100 articles. Here are some ideas that will help you scale your content creation process.
Create a Table of Contents
Do me a favor and pretend you are in school for a minute. Which essay do you think will get a better grade? One that is written free form or one that was written from an outline? Drafting an outline of your ideas make the writing process easier and more organized. What you include in your table of contents (TOC) might be a little different from mine.
Generally speaking, your table of contents should start with the headline and business purpose. Before you start churning out content, think about how it ties into your overall brand vision. Include a statement on how this content will support that vision. You should also include instructions to the writer such as due date.
Your TOC should also include 3-5
keywords key points that you want to make, in your own words. If you add too many points, the article may lose focus. Within each section, include references that the writer should include, this puts veracity on your side and helps build credibility of your message. Including links to other sites can make your post more useful (and bookmarkable) but it will also enable you to build a relationship with sites you are wanting to build a relationship with.
Finally, your table of contents should also include the author bio. You can’t expect a writer to sound like someone they don’t know. Include a short bio and links to any social profiles that they have. Below is a cheat sheet that you can reference:
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Leverage Your Expert
If you are in a niche industry, chances are you have an expert within your company. Unless you are in the publishing industry, your expert doesn’t have time to sit and write. This is where you can conduct an interview, create a TOC, hire a writer, then make the expert an editor (not a writer). This can result in some really high quality content without having to wait three months for the expert to get to it.
Quality content requires the effort and engagement of a real expert. A rented writer can provide a lot of value and make the job easier, but the expert still needs to own the result. – Eric Enge
Don’t have an expert? Try combining your own research with a roundup of ideas from other experts. After the content is created you can ping the people that inspired you and then share it with your audience. This is another good way to make sure the shareable aspect in embedded into the idea of the content.
Find a Regular Cast Of Good Writers
An outsourced writer can be your best friend, especially when you hate to write. Good writers are hard to find. Get a handful of people that are responsive and can interpret your TOC. By adding a few extra writers, you have just dramatically improved the amount of quality content you can produce. A lot of times internet marketers, and SEOs only provide keywords and links to writers. This is a sure way to produce crap. Give a writer a TOC and they will love you.
Because you did the research, understand the brand and business purpose, you should always have a final edit of the headline and content. The headline of any piece of content, whether blog post, email, or brochure is important. Give your content a fighting chance by spending a final few minutes on the headline. Also ensure that the content delivers on the promise.
Why You Should Use Table Of Contents
A table of contents is not just something found in books, or an annoying Microsoft Word function. They are a content strategists best friend. I have found that TOC’s can be a powerful way to speed up my own writing. It can also help you scale content creation, while maintaining a high level of quality.
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