How to Tame the Content Beast

  

If you're like me, you're faced with the conundrum of how to constantly create content in order to stay on top of the SERPs, while wearing all the other hats a business owner wears. "Feeding the content beast" is what we call it around here and unlike Sesame Street's Cookie Monster, it feels a lot less friendly and forgiving.

Assuming you've bought into the data showing it takes at least 100 blog posts before you see significant traffic increases to your site, then you may be experiencing the glazed stupor of content overwhelm and the increasing desire to get off the content hamster wheel. Here's how we suggest taming the content beast:

The Key Is Simplicity - Create A System

You need a content creation system. Make it a simple process to follow. A system that clearly identifies each step of the process, who owns what, what's done when and what tools are used to do what. Here are our suggestions for making your blog the best meal that content beast ever ate:

  1. Decide how often you're going to publish (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, whatever).
  2. Create a publication calendar using a GoogleDrive spreadsheet that includes: publication date, author/writer, the one primary keyword phrase, title, 3 key points, buyer persona, call-to-action/landing page, image description, and image URL.
  3. If you haven't already described and named your buyer personas, do it.
  4. If you haven't already figured out your keyword strategy, do it.
  5. If you haven't already made an inventory of all the CTA/landing pages on your site, do it.
  6. Set aside money for stock photography. You'll want at least one good photo per post. Stock photos can cost $2 - $70 each. Free photos take longer to find usable/good ones. What you get for "free" you'll end up paying for in time/labor. Your choice.
  7. With your list of keywords as your guide, fill out the spreadsheet columns labeled: publication date, keyword, buyer persona, title, and image description. Most folks who are serious about SERPs choose to publish at least once a week. So they'll fill out this spreadsheet for at least 3 months (that's about 12 posts). We recommend you do so as well.
  8. Decide who will write/author each blog post. If you've got more than one person on your team, divide the content among those who can write well and will get it done. If you don't want to or can't do it, hire a professional writer. Have writers/authors create the 3 main points in the spreadsheet, approve/edit those points and send them off to write the post(s) and enter them into your content management system (CMS). If it's you, schedule time in your calendar to write and/or edit. (We find that many clients prefer to set aside one day a month to write their 4 weekly posts so they don't have to think about them the rest of the month.)
  9. Assign someone to identify royalty-free paid stock photography appropriate for each title (e.g. iStockPhoto.com, GettyImages, Shutterstock, etc.) or free photos e.g. Wikimedia Commons, US government sites such as NASA). Keep it simple and easy. Have them copy and paste the URL of the photo into the spreadsheet so you can find the photo easily when it's time to publish.
  10. Assign someone to fill out which CTA/landing page you want placed at the end of each blog post, on the spreadsheet
  11. If you're using a CMS like WordPress, Tumblr, or HubSpot to manage your blog posts, the posts should be ready for your final approval. Double check all on-page SEO: keywords in title, meta keywords, tags/categories, and blog content appropriately broken up with subheads and bolded phrases to enable quick skimming.
  12. Schedule for publication.
  13. Voilà. You're done for the month.
  14. Rinse and repeat from step 7 on.

NOTE: Once you've got the system down, you can add variations:

  • Invite someone outside your company to do a guest blog.
  • Interview someone outside your company, record it, and post the recording, a .pdf of the transcript and a brief description of the interview on your blog.
  • Find interesting articles related to your keyword and title and do a "round up" article with your own point of view on those articles.
 

Wow! You've tamed that content beast. Congratulations! Got any champagne?