Introduction - Content Marketing Hacks
Creating remarkable content constantly can get challenging. I know what it's like to stare at the screen and feel blank. Finding the right topics to write about in a relevant and compelling way, on a schedule, does not always help to get your creative juices flowing. As with any muscle, it's important to keep exercising the idea muscle so that it doesn't atrophy. This post will cover some useful hacks to help you find topics to write about, and then share them wisely.
Step 1 - monitor trends
- Check out what's trending and seeing if you can newsjack it by either:
- Contributing with an edge of your own
- Consolidating info and adding your two cents
- Bringing old content back to life and repurposing it or providing relevant updates.
- Monitor relevant industry terms and phrases on Twitter and keep track of trends on Google Trends, YouTube trends and Reddit (Needless to say, don't forget to keep your eyes on the ball and stay in line with your general keywords strategy. Just don't let your keywords constrain you down to boring/ dull posts. Incorporate then wisely).
- Builtvisible created an incredible free content discovery tool, that I strongly recommend downloading and integrating in your ongoing content creation stratetgy. It's basically a Google spreadsheet that aggregates content and news sources and can help you stay on top of relevant trends and find new content ideas (you will need to install a script and I can't vouch that it's safe but we use it at our agency and did not encounter any problems – we love it!).
(screenshot of the content discovery tool's trends section)
Step 2 - choose a topic
If you have a general idea in mind, and still need inspiration, there are many topic generating tools out there. Even if you do not end up using the suggested topics, you'd be amazed how helpful these ideas can be in order to generate your own thoughts.
These are my two ultimate favorites, but Google around and see if you find tools that you like, as long as it gets you writing – it's a win.
1. The HubSpot blog topic generator will prompt you to write up to three keywords that you'd like to use within your blog posts.
Type in relevant keywords and get "out of the box" topic ideas which combine those keywords.
2. In answer the public, ask the (somewhat creepy) seeker for content ideas.
The results are actually also great for presenting and will help you with lots of directions:
Step 3 - check your headline
Make sure to check your headline using this headline analyzing tool. You will be able to see how it ranks in comparison to the industry average, and receive an emotional marketing value score. You will even be able to check which emotion (intellectual, empathetic or spiritual) your headline will potentially impact. I got a 71.43 score for the headline of this post. It "appeals equally to people's empathetic and spiritual spheres". Sweet.
Only do this once you have finished writing your content - your title should reflect the final result of your content and not what you set off to write in the first place (sometimes there is a significant difference between the two).
Step 4 - use automation for posting on social media
Don't be afraid of automation - If you have a wordpress site, add plugins such as this social media auto publisher, in order to automatically publish posts to networks such as Linkedin, Facebok and Twitter.
Alternatively, on IFTTT (if this then that) you can create brilliant "recipes" of conditioned terms without knowing one word of coding. For example: create recipes to automatically post your Facebook posts to your Linkedin, or post your blog posts to Twitter (you can even send yourself reminders to put on sunscreen when the UV index is high. It's endless).
If you'd like to learn more about how to make the best use out of social media, read this post for best practices.
Step 5 - see if you can cooperate with influencers
You can find the influencers in your field by searching Google and social networks for relevant terms and hashtags. A great tweak is to also search for the leading influencers on Klout – simply search for relevant terms, and a list of the top experts for that topic will be displayed along with their klout score representing their influence (50 and up is pretty good).
Make a list of influencers who you are following and would like to reach out to.
Try to cooperate with them and exchange content to broaden your reach. Don't be a spammer and make sure to provide value and not just ask for it. The reality is influencers that are ranked higher than you in the food chain, will be less motivated to write for you or let you write for them. Meanwhile, sharing your content could be feasible even with big shots.
Checkout Favstar in order to learn what type of content they get the most likes and retweets out of. Reach out to them with content that you know works for them and that they would be inclined to share. (p.s. favstar isn't flawless, if you know of better solutions please drop me a note).
Sometimes you may want to reach out to an influencer via Linkedin. Yet Linkedin sometimes require the email address of the recipient in order to approve the communication. A nice hack (please use it sparingly - don't be a spammer, think long-term) is this email finding tool. I've tried it several times and it worked like a charm. Another great tool that you should try is ContactOut, a simple browser extension which is believed to be one of the best freemium email outreach tools available out there. Also, "knowledge is power" - if you're emailing influencers directly, you can install Hubspot's free Sidekick tool in order to track email opens and clicks (it's great for daily use regardless of influencers).
Finally, a great option for getting your content posted on other blogs is via MyBlogGuest. It's a blogging community where you can write guest posts for blogger who are seeking such (It can also be a great solution for spicing up your editorial calendar with great content written by others).
There are fantastic tools and hacks that can help you boost your content marketing strategy. Monitoring trends is a great way to get inspired and create relevant and compelling content.
Make sure you choose the right topic, check that your headline has a high emotional score, share your content as much as possible and cooperate with the right people. It's fun! If you have any more tips, please share them with me in the comments bellow or simply give me a shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus PR tip: It's always a good idea to keep building your reputation and striving to become an influencer yourself. That's a subject for an entire new post but, for a potentially rather "quick win" check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out). It's a site where journalists post subject requests in order to find sources for their stories. Know what you are signing up for – you will receive emails between 2-3 times a day. If you end up responding to a request and being approached - make sure you know what you are talking about and don't burn the opportunity – they do not appreciate it when people waste their time.