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My content marketing notes

Here are some things I’ve learned from QuickSprout’s Advanced Content Marketing Guide:

Build a strong foundation

  • It also helps to establish thought leadership in a niche.
  • Set objectives (prospecting, sales, marketing, etc.) and make a plan (3-6 months).
  • Create benchmarks to measure growth.
  • How does content marketing fit into your overall marketing plan?
  • Create core message (what’s the main benefit of your offer to customers?).
  • Do competitive analysis. Find the gap.
  • Determine your target audience.
  • Choose the publishing platform for your content (YouTube, WordPress, etc.).
  • Choose social media channels.
  • Set objectives for each channel.

Generate clickable ideas

  • Challenges: producing enough content and producing engaging content that gets read.
  • Capture your content ideas on paper, Excel, and other tools.
  • Set up Google Alerts for your primary keywords (keep up with the trends).
  • Use feedly to monitor easily other blogs and your niche.
  • Read bestselling books about your niche. Keep an eye on thought leaders.
  • Use Google. Do a search but let Google autocomplete it for you.
  • Look for a unique angle about your topics.
  • Add ideas to your editorial calendar (this is important).
  • Listen to what your customers and readers are saying. What are their frequent requests and questions? You can get content ideas from those.

How to plan your content for maximum productivity

  • Set up your Editorial Planner to plan and track your content.
  • Set up categories for your content.
  • Finalize your publication schedule. Set clear deadlines.
  • Set up a workflow for content creation. Define the processes and specific tasks.
  • Focus on one idea at a time.

Learn to write content like a pro

  • Here are the steps: choose topic and approach, research, organize, write, cool off, edit.
  • Check your editorial planner. Focus on one idea.
  • Narrow your approach.
  • Do the research. Check out statistics, quotes, stories, case studies, etc.
  • Ask yourself: What do the readers need to know about this topic?
  • Use the most recent research.
  • Organize your ideas. Plan the intro, body, summary or conclusion, and call to action (tell people what to do next).
  • Create a rough outline. Offer a fresh perspective.
  • Write your rough draft. Start with one section. Focus on that.
  • Just start writing. You can always edit later.
  • When it comes to editing, set aside blocks of time. Evaluate the flow and logic of your ideas.
  • Make your title descriptive.
  • Check your grammar and spelling.

12 Content writing secrets of professional writers

  • Act fast. Once you get an idea, develop it. Add notes and other ideas.
  • Immediately gather reference materials from the web.
  • Keep the momentum. Save the file where you’re writing the ideas and reference materials.
  • Write in your own unique voice. How to start developing it? Read the content made by your favorite writers. Study how they write (the style, article structure, presentation of ideas, etc.).
  • Focus only one thing. What’s your main point?
  • Depth and length should match when it comes to writing content.
  • Find a unique angle. What makes your article different?
  • Spend more time on the title. This is the one thing that helps readers decide if they should click the link and read the whole article.
  • The goal of the title is to get the first sentence read. The goal of that first sentence is to make the second sentence read. And so on.
  • Write a compelling introduction.
  • No hype.
  • Make a compelling close. This is as important as the introduction.
  • Plain writing is the best. People want short paragraphs, words, and sentences.
  • Do a lot of editing. Be ruthless.

Templates for quick and easy content creation

  • Example. Just make a short intro. Then provide examples how people benefited from something.
  • Point-Illustration-Explanation. You start with a point or statement. You illustrate how it works. Then you explain why it works.
  • Thought leadership. You start with something that readers already know. Then you lead people to a conclusion.
  • The inverted pyramid structure. You give the most important information right on the first paragraph. Then the less relevant information follows on the succeeding paragraphs.
  • The interview. This is good for podcasts and videos. You can also create a written content (maybe in a Q&A format).
  • The list. It’s powerful. People love lists. The headlines you can make with lists attract more clicks.
  • The link post. You enumerate links to other content (or yours). This could be a useful resource to readers.
  • Book review. It’s a great way to build thought leadership. You introduce the book and the author. You make a summary of the main points. Then you provide your own opinion.
  • Product review. Similar to book review.
  • How-to articles. One of the most popular. People often start a search by “How to ….”
  • Case study. You provide a summary. Then you go to challenges, solutions, results, and resources. This will help people understand the value of your product or service.
  • Media post. Slide shows, audio, video, and infographics could be more engaging. Many people prefer those formats when consuming content.

Overcoming common content marketing roadblocks

  • Set a hard deadline.
  • Hire good content writers. Look for experienced ones with success records.
  • Use LinkedIn and Upwork to find writers.
  • Produce great content fast by recording what you say. Then hire someone to transcribe it all for you.
  • Always respond to comments.
  • Repurpose your existing content. Take out one sentence from your previous article. Expand that. Or use another person’s content then expand on that.
  • Focus on KPIs, not on vanity metrics.
  • Always check the facts.

The other side of content creation: optimize for search

  • Choose your primary keyword and include it in the title.
  • Use your keywords naturally in the content.
  • Produce a lot of relevant content related to your core topic.
  • Optimize your comments. Use keywords naturally.
  • Encourage discussion.
  • Do guest blogging in websites relevant to your niche.

Promoting your content

  • Email it to your list.
  • Tweet about it.
  • Leave comments on other people’s blogs.
  • Create an annual “top 100” list. Link to other people’s content.
  • Create an annual report full of useful content.
  • Write a book. This helps build authority.
  • Make promotion a daily activity.

Driving business objectives with content

  • Monetize your content by creating a membership site.
  • Create content for sale.
  • Promote affiliate products and go for joint ventures.
  • Let sponsors advertise on your website.
  • Create training programs and conduct personal coaching sessions.
  • Get to work and focus on one step at a time.