How to Start Becoming a Content Creation Machine For Effective Marketing

How to Start Becoming a Content Creation Machine For Effective Marketing

To do content marketing successfully, you have to pump out a great deal of content. You have to become a ‘content creation machine,’ producing original, interesting, and relevant content that’s valuable to your readers on a steady basis. You can become a high-volume content producer with the right mindset, practice, and a bit of hard work.

Once you get into the flow, creating content is easy.

And remember, “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” ~ Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson. (That’s a bit-sized quote that is packed with power and insight! I suggest you check out some other great content marketing quotes right here).

Daily Practice: Flex Those Content Marketing Muscles!

Creating content, especially writing, is something you should get into a daily habit of doing. When you set aside some time to write each day, it gets much easier and feels more natural.

A Content Creation Schedules Will Save Time and Headaches

Create a regular schedule for your content creation and publishing, and then put this into your daily routine. Decide how many posts, articles, videos, etc. you’ll make each week and then set aside the time on your calendar to do it.

Start an Idea Bank To Deposit and Withdraw Inspiration From

Create an idea bank. This is a list of ideas that you can refer to for inspiration. You can keep your idea bank on your PC, but it’s good to take a notepad with you wherever you go in case an idea strikes you (a mobile device can serve this purpose as well). Many content creators swear by Evernote, while others feel most comfortable recording their ideas in their Moleskine notebooks.

Start a Template Bank

You may not realize this, but most articles follow basic patterns. Writers use templates that they plug their ideas into to create articles. For example, one template is the ‘Wrong Way vs. Right Way’ template. This type of article discusses how people commonly do something wrong and then tells the reader how to do it right.

Using templates such as this, you can simply plug your ideas in and create content much more quickly. You can also use templates to repurpose content by taking the same ideas and plugging them into different templates to create totally original articles.

Try saving articles you’ve written or seen in a “templates” folder in your computer. You can do the same with videos or other content that follows a specific structure, such as infographics or email series. Any time you create or see a type of content you like, save it so that you can go back and find it again.

Mix up Your Content: Diversify!

Don’t limit yourself to creating just one kind of content. Rather than sticking to articles and blog posts only, try making images, producing videos, creating infographics, compiling resource guides, and so on. Your audience will enjoy the variety.

Seek Feedback & Evolve With It

Get friends, colleagues, and other content creators to review your work and offer advice. Especially with writing, it helps to have more experienced writers offer tips. Use this advice to sharpen your writing skills.

Check Out the Competition: Be More Clever

Take a look at other content in your niche. You can compare your content to others and find ways to make improvements. Checking out the competition can also give you ideas on how to set yourself apart from others.

Curate Content: Not Just Because You’re Short of Ideas!
Finally, you don’t have to create all of your content from scratch. You can curate content, which means sharing the content of others and offering your own ideas and opinions. For example, you might share a news story and then write your own summary and commentary. Curating content well makes you the go-to source of information in your niche for your readers.

Carve out Time to Learn

Carve out Time to Learn

The downfall of many is that there is never enough time in the day to do everything we’d like to do. Learning a new skill, like digital marketing, can be difficult when there’s already so much we have to do. We aren’t lucky enough to have access to Hermione’s Time Turner so we might as well make the best of the time we do have. How do we do that though? Read on to learn some tricks to help you find the time.

  • Look at your schedule. What on the list of things you must do each day have to actually be done? What’s mandatory and what’s something you can schedule for another time? Do you say ‘yes’ to going out with friends 3 nights a week? Socializing is important, but that may be something you can cut back on. Maybe you’re eating up time hitting multiple grocery stores, each night so you have something to eat. Meal planning and prepping for the week on Sunday’s can help there. You need to be able to manage the time you do have, or you’ll never find the time to learn a new skill. Lifehacker has a zillion articles on managing your time, and a quick Google search can net you even more results; however, a great resource is from our friends at Switch, who give us 12 time management tips for that time in between clients.
  • Day Off. You don’t think about the importance of needing a day off until you’ve scheduled yourself 7 days a week and you’re burning out. You don’t even have to pick a weekend, just pick a day where you don’t learn. Go to work and then go to Taco Tuesday and relax. Give your brain time to relax. You’ll retain the information and feel sharper when you pick your book (or tablet) back up.
  • Use a Planner or Planner App. You’ve cut back your schedule and you’re only focusing on the things you must do each day. You’ve given yourself a day off. Now put it on paper so you stick with it. I live by my, wait for it, archaic paper planner. I live my life out of it and if it’s not in the planner, there’s a great chance it won’t happen. Have to share your life with someone else? Use a digital calendar and you can share it with others. Both Google and Apple’s native calendars are sharable. Now that you know what you have to do, what day off you have, put into the planner a block of time to learn. Maybe you have an hour a night, maybe 4, block out that time and stick to the schedule.
  • Learn to say No. Carl Sandburg the poet, is famous for saying that “…time is your most valuable coin… don’t let others tell you how to spend it.” He’s right, once you lose time you can’t get it back so don’t waste it. Do not do anything that doesn’t bring you happiness or help you further a goal. Don’t take on more than you can handle, or let things distract you. If you need help saying no, Leo Babauta has a great guide; The Gentle Art of Saying No, you may find helpful.
  • Prioritize. Only you know what’s important to you. It falls on you to prioritize what is important end of day. You need to be serious about finding time to further your goals. If your not, you’ll find yourself scheduling over the time when you should be learning.

Finding the time to further your goals can be difficult. You just have to make the decision to stick with it. Hopefully these tips will help you carve out the time to learn a new skill. Do you struggle with time management? Are you great at carving out time for yourself? Share your tips in the comments below!

Don’t Get Stressed, Get Writing

Don’t Get Stressed, Get Writing

You can’t escape the need for a blog on your website anymore. Prospects expect that you will draw them in with creative, engaging, original content that they can’t pass up reading, and if you’re like most people, that can be daunting. Don’t let the act of writing a blog fill you with dread and anxiety. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you fill the page with valuable content, rather than stare at the page and hope words materialize.

    • Audience is everything. As a marketer you should already be cognizant of who your audience is. Write for the person you know is out there, typing furiously into the search bar, hoping to find your blog. If you’ve read our blog How to Create Your Ideal Client Profile, you can use that persona as your jump off. Hopefully you’ve created profiles for all your prospective audience members and you can use the profiles to help you understand your blog’s audience as well. Knowing the audience helps you to craft your content in a more conversational tone for the millennial, then turn around and write a solid technical piece for the more advanced reader.
    • Pick your topic. Staring at a blank screen is bad for your eyes and bad for your moral. Sometimes you know right away the topic you want to cover, while other times your topic eludes you. It doesn’t hurt to keep a notebook with you and write any topic ideas as they come to you. It’s also important to keep the following in mind:
      • Don’t write about a broad topic – narrow your focus to make the read more valuable. Not sure how to narrow the focus? Ask yourself the one thing you want individuals to take away from your blog, then focus on it.
      • Create an outline and fill it in as you research your topic. There are countless ways to create an outline. You just have to make sure you’ve included all the important parts: a beginning, middle and end. Be sure to have an introduction, and an ending (with a call to action), as well as a body that really explains the topic you are writing about.
  • Write. It’s important to realize that it’s ok to not like what you’ve written. Write out your first draft, keeping in mind that you want to connect with your audience. Take a break and then come back and review your copy. As you edit it, try to tighten your language and make sure you’ve stayed on topic. Ask a friend or coworker to review it and then make the corrections. Get that copy on your site and start blasting it through your social networks.

The more you write, the better you’ll become at it and there are countless resources out there to help you hone your skills. Do you have any tips to help overcome writer’s block or writing nerves? Share them in the comments.

How to Stay Sane While Working from Home

How to Stay Sane While Working from Home

Raise your hand if you love the flexibility of working from home! I think we all envision working from home as this great thing where you do all the work in your pajamas, while your cat follows you from room to room and you make yourself a four course meal – each meal. All while you answer calls and complete all of the tasks your clients pay you for.

One of the realities of working from home and being your own boss is that it can be exhilarating having no one there to tell you what to do. It can also ruin workflow when your cat keeps jumping on your computer, or you watch your significant other sleep in or run off to go hang out with friends. Staying productive can be difficult, so here’s what kept me sane and productive when I worked from home.

  • Set a Schedule. It seems like common sense, but setting a schedule and adhering to it is one of the things that will help you to remain productive. I’m an earlier riser, so I go for my run and then start work right at 8 am. This helps me remain on point with my tasks, lets clients know when they can reach out to me and stops my family from calling or showing up.
  • Get out of your pajamas! Would you wear your Iron Man onesie to work? I mean I would be tempted to try to get away with it on Halloween, but no. Get out of your pjs and get into actual clothing and this will help your mind go into work mode. You may only be going over a room, but you’re dressed for success!
  • Have a designated space. Maybe you’ve created a home office for yourself. If you haven’t be sure to check out our tips for creating your home office. Don’t have a space set up? No worries just get out of bed. You don’t want to associate a place of rest, with a place of work. I’m fortunate to have a spare room that doubles as my office and guest room. If I wasn’t I’d be making an office space against a wall in my living room. Clean off the kitchen table and use that if you need to. Just make a space. You don’t want to start on the couch and fall asleep. Again, it’s a mind thing. Having a designated space will also help get you in the right headspace.
  • Minimize distractions! For me that means not letting the cat get up on the keyboard and ignoring him when he wants to play. For you that might mean finding child care, or avoiding your tv. Whatever you have to do, do it. The more distraction you have, the less you’ll be able to accomplish.
  • Prepare. You may work from home, but that doesn’t mean you can eat junk or get up every 10 minutes to look for office supplies. First thing I did when working from home was to decide if I wanted to continue to meal prep for the week. The answer is yes, yes I totally did. Meal prepping on Sunday’s meant that I had breakfast, lunch and dinner, either totally ready to go, or with very little prep time. I know not everyone is a huge fan of meal prep, but making sure that you have adequate food supplies that offer quick and healthy meals will be needed. You also need to anticipate your needs from an office perspective. You’ll need to make sure you have enough pens, paper, ink for the printer at all times and in the space you inhabit. There isn’t an office manager to ask for extra pens. You can’t run to the store everytime you need something. You need to organize yourself and make sure you’ve got what you need – no one else will.
  • Have fun. Some mornings you wake up and you just aren’t mentally prepared to inhabit the same space you live in for work. Get out and go to a coffee shop. Make sure there is wifi, but don’t stay contained, adventure and recharge yourself. It can get boring sitting around alone all the time. Use the time in the coffee shop wisely, maybe hold off on calls, but focus on writing instead. Whatever works for you.

These tips work for me, but obviously you need to do what works for you. The longer you work from home, the more you’ll figure out what works best for you. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve found helpful as you work from home? Drop them in the comments!

Create the Home Office You Want to Work In

Create the Home Office You Want to Work In

You’ve made it through training and now you’re ready to take your new digital marketing agency to the next level. You’re ready to start bringing on clients and successfully running your new business, but where are you working from? The coffee shop – that will get old quickly; maybe your kitchen table – you’ll find that you’ll be distracted easily. Maybe it’s time to think about putting together a home office. Below are 7 tips to keep in mind when pulling together your new home office.

    • Do you have the space? Ideally you’d want to take a spare bedroom that isn’t in use and create a home office there. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, Apartment Therapy has a ton of great articles about carving out an office from the space you do have.
      • Make a list of needs. This is important because you have to make the space you have suitable for your needs.
      • What equipment will you need to work comfortably from home?
      • Do you require multiple monitors? Will you need a desk large enough to accommodate those monitors?
      • Will you have clients come to the office to meet you? Will they require a place to sit?
      • Do you need storage space?
      • Above all make sure you pick a comfortable chair!!
    • Before you hang out the welcome mat, this step is an important
      • Get a separate line for the business phone number. You don’t want to compete for the line with your household, so don’t. Go VoIP!
      • Sign up with UPS for a business mailbox. This isn’t a P.O. Box and it’s not your home address, so you look even more professional.
      • Check your insurance. You’ll want to check that you and your equipment are covered by your renters or homeowners insurance policy, since you’ll be working from home. If you find that to not be the case, you’ll want to get covered a.s.a.p.
    • Lighting is incredibly important. A quick web search will net you various blogs about setting up the office lightning in your work from home. Ideally you want to use daylight bulbs and you don’t want to use fluorescent. If you have to use fluorescent lighting, don’t hang it directly above your computer set up. You’ll reduce glare that way.
    • Separate Yourself
      • You may work at home, but this work. You need to separate yourself mentally and physically off the bat. Get dressed every morning – don’t work in your pajamas. Make it clear to the others in the house if you live in a shared space that you are working when you are in the office so they can be respectful of this.
      • Create and Follow a Routine
      • Establish Office Hours
        • This will let your clients know when they can reach out to you. Yes, the point of working from home is the flexibility, but your clients will generally run on a normal business hours schedule. By laying out when your clients can reach you, you’ll set yourself up for success. Setting office hours can also help reduce distractions and prevent friends and family from dropping in unannounced.
    • You’ll need to set up a process for paying bills and sending invoices. How will your record keeping take place? You are your own boss now, so no one is going to tell you how or when to do these things. The responsibility falls to you.
    • Decorate! This is another step that I feel is super important. You are going to spend a large quantity of time in your office so make it a space you enjoy. Paint the walls if you can. Remember that purple inspires creativity, while blues, green, and violets, are soothing and relaxing. Grab attention with yellow, energetic with red, or minimize distractions with white or black. Put some artwork on your walls.

Make the space a space you enjoy. Have you created a home office? Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve found along the way to help? Leave us a comment with them below!

Maximize Your Office Productivity

Maximize Your Office Productivity

Sometimes, your environment is everything! Make sure you optimize and maximize your office space for the most productivity. If you’d like to use this infographic on your website, please link back to us as the source!

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