Have the number of visitors to your website stopped increasing?
Are you not getting as many inquiries from your website as you would like?
Well the answer to fixing both of those problems could be by creating regular content on your website.
This content could be in the form of a blog, newsroom, pod casts, videos or any other form of website content, but for the purpose of this article, I will refer to all of these as content.
Creating content for a website is a daunting task.
Initially it sounds quite simple – you create the content, put it onto a new post on your website and hit publish.
But when you start discussing it with your team, you will quickly realise that it’s a bigger job than you originally thought.
This article isn’t meant to scare you off the idea of content creation, instead it’s meant to prepare you with the steps you need to take to ensure that your content isn’t just a drain on your time.
The first thing that you need to do before you sit down and start creating content is hold a brainstorming session.
Depending on the size of your team, this should be with someone from sales, marketing, account management and the support team and anyone else who is interested – the more ideas the better!
The idea of this brainstorming session is to come up with main topics and questions for your content.
You might want to do this by answering questions:
- What does your company specialise in?
- What do your clients like most about you?
- What do your clients like least about you?
- When selling to your clients, what are the key selling points?
- What do your customers often ask questions about?
- What is new in your industry at the moment?
- What are you trying to sell at the moment?
Each of these should generate a list of topics and questions that your customers ask, or need to know about.
Even if your company consists of just you, you need to put all of your ideas onto a board so you know what topics to write about.
Once you have your complete list, you need to go away and organise it into categories.
Finally, you need to decide which topics and questions are most valuable to your clients at the moment.
You might have a good idea in your head to what the order of the posts should be, but it’s always good to seek out your audience and clients, and ask what they would be interested in reading about.
Creating your editorial calendar
You should now have an organised list of topics you can create content about.
So the next step is organising exactly when that content will be published, and who is going to be creating it.
When working this out, you need to consider how long the content is going to take to create. For example a blog post will typically take between 1 – 2 hours to write plus editing time.
If your content creators are extremely busy with other work at the moment, 1 or 2 hours could be quite a squeeze and might need up to a month to create.
You also need to consider that websites that post content daily have a lot more success than those that post once a week.
The best way to approach this is to find out how many people will be willing to create content for the website.
The more people you have, the less time each individual will be required to work on the content each month.
You then need to allocate the topics to the individuals who are willing to create content.
Regarding timings, I would suggest you start at 1 post per week, just to get into the swing of it.
If you are working alone, you may find that to be a challenge to complete while juggling other tasks, but if you have a team of people working on the posts, you should manage that without any problems.
You then need to agree on who is going to edit these posts.
Every piece of content that gets created will need to be edited in some way.
So make sure you know who is going to be editing it, and allocate them enough time before the publish date.
Creating your guidelines and rules
At this stage, you should know how often your content is going to be published, who is creating the content, and what topics they are going to be on.
You now need to create guidelines for your content creators.
These don’t need to be technical, but it’s good to have a standard format for everyone to aim for.
Your guidelines might look like this if it’s for a blog or news article:
- All posts must be over 500 words
- All posts must contain internal links to other articles
- All posts must contain legal images at approximately every 250 words
- Content should be broken up with headers, lists and images when appropriate
- Sentences should be kept very short for skim readers
When you give the topic to the content creator, make sure you arrange a short meeting with that person to discuss what they can write about, and to answer any questions they might have.
Finally, you must always provide a deadline otherwise the work will never get done with enough time before editing.
All work should be edited before it goes live.
But editing can be a tricky process if you haven’t had that much practice.
The first thing you need to do when you receive the latest piece of content is go through it.
Read it, watch it, listen to it – just make sure it makes sense and reads smoothly.
Next you need to go through it looking for errors.
One technique I have found to help me go through my articles is to read it from the bottom up, and from right to left.
That way you are looking at the words without your head auto-correcting the small spelling errors.
When editing, try not to remove the author’s voice. You want the content to sound like it was created by a human, for a human.
Not some content that was thrown out of the machine that is your brand.
Once the content is edited, it a great idea to schedule the post.
This way, everything is sorted in advance, and you know that it will go out at the right time on the day it was meant to go out.
Scheduling posts is great for taking the pressure off remembering to hit the publish button, however you might find that you prefer the extra bit of control that manually hitting the publish button gives you.
They key thing with posting content, is to be consistent.
You should always post new content on the same day, at around the same time.
This not only allows your readers to know when to expect new content, but search engines will also learn when you have something new and will start to crawl your website as regularly as you post new content.
Reporting the results
All of this planning and all the time spent on creating and editing that content will hold little value if you don’t measure your results.
You must record how many visitors have come to your website as a direct result of your content and what their interaction with your website was.
Depending on the set up of your website, you could also track exactly how many people turn into leads or signup to your newsletter.
All of this provides valuable information as to which posts are a hit with your customers, and which ones aren’t.
You must keep your team informed with the results of your reports.
Depending on how often you create posts, you could highlight which post got the best results and state the overall increase in traffic and leads as a result of all the hard work your team have been putting in.
Time to get planning
With a little bit of upfront work, you can create a very simple plan of action that will tell you who is writing what, when they are writing it and when it will be going live.
This simple process will help you to direct your content creation in the direction that is good for your business and good for your customers.
Diving in and getting started isn’t the way to go on this one, you have to plan and you have to organise.
If you do, you can watch your website move up the rankings for high quality keywords on search engines and watch the number of visitors to your website increase with every post.