Managing the Content Mill – Part One
Most internet businesses these days thrive on content. In such an age where content is deemed as king, I’d say the queen is far from lonely!
With many pieces being published left, right and centre, we are drowning in stuff to read. It’s no surprise that when it comes to creating content for your internet business, it can seem like a daunting process as a result.
As a work at home mum, you may not have time to deal with the back and forth content creation process you see others implementing. That’s why I’ve included some tips on how you can create content plans, develop a sustainable editorial calendar while also managing the content creation process – from brief to publishing.
There are a great deal of tips here that can be used for any type of business, at any stage in its journey. The most important part is that whatever strategy you choose, make sure you can commit to it and that it is sustainable in the context of your life!
Types of content
Before we start talking about content plans, it’s worth looking at the different types of content that your business may need created and the different functions it may serve.
We’re talking about more that just content formats here. Text, image, video and audio are examples of different content formats. However, types of content can also vary according to publication type. For instance, you may need content for social media, standard website pages, blog pages, newsletters, information products and so on.
There is no shortage of types of content you may need to be creating for your business and each format type has a different process you need to account for as does each publication type.
It’s worth keeping this in mind as you read on as I’ll offer general tips that you can tweak to suit these differences that each content and publication type requires.
Content Plans That Never Run Dry
Managing content can often feel like a never ending process – akin to a content mill that just keeps going and going!
However, it can often feel like your ideas are exhausted quite quickly in the process. You might have already reached the point where you’re struggling to find ideas worth writing about and adding to your site.
This is where a good content plan can really help. Depending on your type of business, you can leverage different strategies to keep the content ideas flowing.
Content Heavy Online Business
If you’re running an online business that relies on content (such as a blog) it can be easy to exhaust your ideas quickly. “There’s only so much that can be written about my topic” you might be thinking.
And that may be true! But there is always more value you can add to your readers.
When creating a content plan for a content heavy site, ideally you want a balance between attraction pieces shared through social media as well as long pieces that offer more depth and juicy info. You also want to consider repurposing your content into different formats and spacing out their release.
If you’re just starting out, create cornerstone pieces first. These are long posts that offer a heap of information on one specific topic in your niche. It can be an “A to Z Guide” or an “Ultimate Beginners Guide”. Create as many of these as you need to cover all the main subtopics in your niche to great depth. Ideally, embed SEO strategies into the creation process to assist the content being found organically through search engines.
Then you can build hubs around these content pieces which help explore the topic from different angles. I like referring to forums, Facebook groups, subreddits, Quora questions, “People also ask” on Google, Answer the Public and any other hub where people ask specific niche related questions. These offer valuable ideas for things to add to your content plan.
Once you have enough ideas, then brainstorm how you can repurpose the content to create new formats. Perhaps you can turn your cornerstone pieces into podcast episodes. Or you can create instructional videos to support content that sells a product to help people understand how it works. User generated content may be another avenue you can explore.
Some tools that can help in this journey include Ahrefs Content Explorer and BuzzSumo. They offer great competitor insights and also ideas on existing high performing content in your niche.
Other Internet Business
If you run an internet business that doesn’t run on content, you may not need as many ideas to keep producing the content you do need. For instance, ecommerce businesses or ones that rely on funnels often need less ongoing content created than full scale authority blogs.
The content they do need, however, must perform specific functions to help the business achieve its goals. Outreach content that draws backlinks to the site is an example of this. I have yet to find an example of a business that does not benefit from creating killer cornerstone pieces, so look to start with these and go from there.
You can create supporting articles around them (best if these add value as opposed to being ‘fluff’ pieces). You could also use these supporting pieces as guest posts that you add to other people’s blogs and then point back to your cornerstone content.
If your site doesn’t need much content, don’t saturate it with content. Simple. Instead, find ways you can leverage content on other sites to get more people coming back to your site.
Here’s four of my top tips to help make content calendars easy. Are there some things you can do now to put all this into action? I’ll give you the other four tips in Part Two!
Despina is a best-selling author and educator who is passionate about using the potential that the digital world offers to create a life of freedom and abundance. She writes about education, marketing, career development and personal development on despina.online, her personal blog.