In my previous blog, I talked on end about working in-house as a content marketer for a corporate client. I’m following this up with a list of helpful tips that I hope will inform and entertain.
- Be organized
- Be on time
- Stay ahead of the curve
- Keep your guidelines on hand
- Drink tea
- Be done by 3pm
- Know your questions
1) Content marketing requires you to be organized
If you’re like me, a writer at heart, then the tendency is to keep all your thoughts and blogs organized in your mind. Which is good to a point. The reality is that when blogs start piling up, emails pile up, F2F meetings pile up, your notes pile up, it’s difficult to keep all these things organized.
While there’s a certain amount of creative thinking that I like to keep bottled up, in order to keep the writing fresh, there are a lot of mandatory specifics that need to be addressed.
What I mean is: keep a log of the status of your blogs. If you have the situation where you’re writing for a corporate client, you may require two forms of approval. In my case, I require a third (which is ColdAd). So when time is of the essence, it’s great to have the status of each blog listed in a calendar somewhere of where you’re at with each blog.
This way, when the client asks the question of where their blogs are, you’ll have an answer pretty quick.
2) Content marketing is about deadlines
Because there are peak times when blogs should be published (we say on Fridays, twice a month), then you need to have your blogs out at that time.
What this means is that you need to have a decent work-back schedule. And it’s key to ask that clients require a 5-day window in which to approve your blogs. This way, you have some recourse in asking for extensions, delaying blogs, etc.
The tricky part is that each blog may have a different deadline, so refer to point #1 above. Have all your deadlines on a calendar so you can see at a glance what blogs are lagging behind in the schedule.
3) Stay ahead of the curve
If you’re looking ahead, you’ll see that your marketing plan is telling you what’s about to happen. Titles and blogs of the future are ready to be written at any time. So take advantage of any down time to start framing those articles.
Especially if you’re like me and are working on your 3rd cup of coffee and have nothing but energy.
4) Keep your guidelines on hand
Does your client require a 400-word blog, or a 2,000 word blog? How long should your tweets be? How many links do you need, and how many need to linked back to company pages?
These are marketing guidelines that I have to follow (and willingly too). I find having constraint and guidelines to be useful when constructing content. Rather than writing at my own pleasure, knowing that I’m meeting the expectations and mandatory requirements of the blog is in and of itself a creative activity.
In some cases, when dealing with long-tail keywords the game of SEO gets even more interesting. But what is always on my mind with great content marketing is keeping true to the voice of the client. And trying to remember that if someone is shopping for a high-yield bank account, they probably don’t care about your thoughts on the latest Dexter. But of course, for some products, readers do. So take a chance on content (sometimes). You may even be expanding what the client believes is their “true brand voice.”
5) Drink tea
I like coffee. But when you work from home, it’s all too easy to get trapped in the allure of having absolute energy. Coffee will eventually make you sick. Tea, on the other hand, seems to offer caffeine without the hazard. Is this a secret? Possibly. But it’s no fun writing blogs when you’re sick.
6) Be done by 3pm
The reason I put a time-limit on my day is because of the schedule of the client. In my experience, the client will be most active during the first part of the morning, and then again just before quitting. This may be due to the main operation of her or his job.
Whatever the reason, if you’re wanting answers to questions, then getting them in before 3pm might ensure they get answered.
7) Know your questions
If you’re doing phone interviews, or in-person meetings, the main thing is to have your questions prepared. My main list of questions is as follows:
- What is the main issue you want to address
- Explain to me (an undereducated English major), your main issue
- What is the product you’re offering that solves the issue?
- Who are you talking to (your key demographic?)
- Are they already familiar with the issue?
- Are they in the dark entirely about the issue (is this news to them?)
- In other words: how much do I have to explain this issue (I don’t want to condescend)
- What is the main hindrance keeping our target away from your target?
- Is it the cost?
- Is it that they don’t think they need it?
- Is it that they believe it’s all too confusing a subject?
From this list, I can get a pretty good impression of how to approach the subject matter, what tone to take and how to gently “sell” the product or service of the client. And this is the real benefit of content marketing. Answering questions before they’re asked. Allaying concerns before they’re felt. And generally, showing an area of expertise in the area that the target is searching for on the Internet.
Content marketing should feel like good writing
When you’re doing it right, the words seem to flow. Because you’ve done your research, you understand the tone/character of the blog. You’re now free to express yourself without it coming off as a content marketing strategy or some such mechanical thing.
This, in the end is what I like best about being a so-called content marketing specialist: I’m assembling a novel of characters and ideas. I’m building this story around the client and in the end we both profit from its telling.
Please tell me your experiences if you are a long-time content marketing blogger. Or even if you’re new at it. I know there’s plenty to talk about, so tell me what you think. Just remember to keep your clients’ names out of it. This is just between us.