How to Fuel the Content Marketing Machine


You may be weary of hearing that “content is king,” a phrase coined by Bill Gates in a 1996 essay.

Often this platitude is trotted out with little explanation, as if we should all intuitively know how to create viral videos or smart remarks that explode in “likes” and “shares.”

So let’s look at what Gates advised about sharing content on the internet. As he wrote, your audience “must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.”

Content creation is worth the effort for small businesses, he implied. “The broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.”

If your business is based on your expertise, you should have no problem with “deep” or “extremely up-to-date.”

However, many small business owners have trouble coming up with ideas. Worse, it’s difficult for them to keep feeding the content machine when they’re busy. So here are some tips.

How Can I Come Up With Content Ideas?

Start with your customers. What questions are they asking? What do you wish they understood better?

Next, think about how your expertise relates to the season, for example tax deadlines for accountants or spring planting for farmers.

Provide “deep and extremely up-to-date information” through how-to posts, tips, opinion pieces and expert content.

Link your expertise to events in the world or your community or tie it to what’s hot in sports, movies, and other interests you share with your customers.

Mine your personal and business life for stories that make your point and help people relate to you.

How Can I Keep the Content Rolling When I’m Busy?

Once you’ve made a list of ideas from your answers to the preceding question, pour them into an editorial calendar. Start with the seasonal ideas.

Be flexible with your calendar. If you want to respond to an unexpected event, go for it.

If you’re launching a product or have some down time, create content more frequently.

If you’re totally buried under your work, cut yourself some slack. But not too much. Like the treadmill, the content building machine cannot be ignored for too long if you want to easily climb back on.

Recycle other content, such as the presentation that went well or a thoughtful email you composed. But revise it to make sure it fits the needs of the people and medium it’s now intended for.

Keep responding to the world. Every new day should bring a new content idea, though some will not look so good the next day.

To help you feed the content machine efficiently and effectively, you may need to sharpen your content creation skills. For example, you may read blogs about content creation, take courses or read my book, Write Like You Talk Only Better.

You may also need to hire qualified help, especially for fussy stuff like proofreading or graphics and other skills beyond your expertise.

But remember, you are the expert. All the truly “deep and extremely up-to-date” ideas should begin and end with you.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Barb Sawyers

Barb Sawyers is the founder of Sticky Communication, a site dedicated to turning good talkers into great writers so they can connect with more people. With 30 years of experience and a master’s degree, her simple formula is captured in her book and online learning series, Write Like You Talk Only Better.

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