Speed Up Your Content Creation and Land New Leads Faster

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Creating content, especially valuable content, is never an easy task. New founders often struggle with this because they’re wearing 100 hats already—how can you find time to write, much less write something engaging that draws leads into the pipeline? But it’s worth figuring out, considering B2B companies using quality content are seeing 67% more leads than companies that aren’t.

There are countless articles out there on how to be a better writer or create a viral blog post. But most founders are just struggling to find more of that most valuable asset: TIME. How can you find time to create content and how can you streamline your digital content creation so that a blog post isn’t a month-long process of you staring at a blinking cursor on an empty page?

Save Time on Content Creation by Identifying Your Ideal Client or Customer Persona

You’ve got to know your customer in order to make quality content creation a faster, more streamlined process.

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new car, you suddenly see it everywhere? You never noticed any cars of your make, model, and color before, but now they’re by you at the stop light or parked in the grocery lot? This is called the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon. When something is defined in our minds, it creeps up everywhere.

When you’re clear who your buyer persona is, it helps with brainstorming relevant blog posts and content. If you know your target, and they’re defined in your subconscious, ideas will come up at random, like when you’re taking out the garbage or having a drink with friends. These random Baadar Meinhof moments are usually golden ideas too, so keep a notepad or your phone nearby so you can write them down.

man writing content creation notes identifying his ideal client

If you’re a B2C (business to consumer) company, you’ll need a customer persona to get started. You can ask yourself the following questions to identify your customer persona. If you’ve got user/buyer data, then you’ll want to use that data to answer them. If you don’t have user/buyer data, then you’ll need to answer these questions based on who you want to buy your product or services.

  1. What are the demographics? Are your buyers 18-to-24-year-old women? Are they living in metropolitan areas of the United States?
  2. What are the details? What are this person’s hobbies? What blogs do they like to read? Which social media platforms are they most active on?

If you’re a B2B (business to business) company, you’ll need an “ideal company profile.” Ask these questions to help identify your ideal customer persona:

  1. What size business are your ideal clients? Are they small businesses? Are they series A startups? Are they Fortune 500 companies?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. Are they in a particular niche industry?  If so, what is it?
  4. Who is the decision maker that your sales team (or you) needs to speak with in order to close a deal? Are you selling software for HR departments? Are you selling to small startups who only have a few employees?

If you don’t have a clear definition of your ideal client or customer mapped out and you need more help, use this guide by HubSpot.

Get Free Instant Access To 28 Proven Marketing Strategies For Startups Here!

Content Is Only as Valuable as it is Relevant

When it comes to saving time on creating content that gets a ton of shares and views, you’ve got to focus on what’s relevant. You need to write about something that people are searching for. How do you ensure that you’re doing this? There are tons of ways. Here’s one quick and easy approach:

First, use Google’s Keyword Planner to do a quick search for the topic or keyword you’d like to write about.

Let’s pretend you’ve developed a new marketing software for startups and small businesses to generate leads on social media. In this example, I’ve searched “how to create an Instagram ad.” You can take advantage of the search traffic coming to this term:

Google keyword tool content creation search results

As you can see, the phrase gets a significant number of monthly searches with low competition. That means it’s probably worth writing about if you’ve got a good angle to differentiate it from the competition.

Now do a quick Google search for your keyword. Take note of the titles/topics that are ranking for the keyword. This keyword is dominated by Facebook (naturally), but you can differentiate yourself with a good angle.

In content creation, search for your keyword in Google

To make your article stand out among those that rank for your keyword, you need a catchy angle, or a unique perspective on the topic. We recommend using angles containing results benefits vs. means benefits. Here’s what I mean:

Means benefit: Your software streamlines marketing processes

Results benefit: Your marketing software increases ad ROI by an average of 42%

See the difference? People want to hear about results.

Your angle might be reflected in your title like this:

How To Create Instagram Ads That Increase Your Web Traffic By 100%

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Save Time on Content Creation by Honing Your Writing Routine

Straight out of undergrad, I worked for a Grammy-winning production duo in Top 40 music. I noticed that no matter which artists the duo worked with—and there were new artists daily—they’d always keep the same peculiar routine. Following their routine, they could crank out at least one, if not two, Top 40 hits per day.

Their routine consisted of the following:

  1. Warming Up
  2. Finding Inspiration
  3. Nutrition
  4. Getting the Atmosphere Right
  5. Laying Down the Bones
  6. Filling in the Content
  7. Revisions

We’ve discovered that many writers and other creative types even follow this method or something similar, likely for the sake of efficiency. You can systematically follow these tips, just like these producers did, for easy content creation.

1. Warming Up

The production duo would first walk into the studio and introduce themselves to the artist. They’d spend a few minutes getting familiar and comfortable. They’d also ask the artist what style of music that he or she would like to create during the recording session.

Before you write, make sure you’re comfortable in your space. You’re not slouching over your desk or trying to fight off a headache. Have your coffee or whatever gets your brain going. If you’ve previously written down your keyword/topic, look it over. Don’t overthink it, just let it sit with you for a minute, then quickly move to the next step.

2. Finding Inspiration

After handshakes and learning about the artist’s goals for creation during the session, the duo would queue up some popular music that resembled the style of content the artist wanted to create.

Similarly, you can keep your topic/keyword in your subconscious while reading blogs or a book with a similar style that you’d like to mimic. (Note: mimicking better writers is always okay, so long as you’re not stealing their actual content. You won’t develop your own writing voice until you’ve mimicked the sh*t out of writers better than you.

3. Nutrition

While the duo and artist would listen to the music, they’d send an intern for some food. Not just any food, but nutritious food.

You should do the same. If you don’t have time to make something halfway decent in the mornings or for your lunch, then order something healthy. Don’t get a cheeseburger delivered on a day you’ve got to think hard—trust me on this. You want your writing process to be uninterrupted if possible. Aim for some protein, vegetables, and complex carbs. This will keep you full and energized through the entirety of your writing process.

4. Getting the Atmosphere Right

After they’d finish eating and listening for inspiration, the duo would finally get ready to write and record. They’d remove all the trash and any clutter from the room. They would light incense or candles and adjust the lighting so that it was just right.

Entrepreneurs can also set the mood for writing by removing clutter from your desk area (clutter removal is proven to make one more productive. You’ll also want to silence your phone and any notifications that might distract you while you’re in the zone. Incense is optional.

5. Laying Down the Bones

This is where the real work would start. The production pair would always get the bare bones of the musical track down first. Percussion, rhythm, chord progression.

The bare bones of a blog post are 1) the keywords, 2) the title, and 3) the sub headings. Getting the bare bones down will help keep you organized and will also help you not to get overwhelmed when you’re writing out the “muscle” content (Everything that is not the bones is what we call muscle).

The bare bones of the Instagram article we’ve mentioned above might look like this:

Keyword: how to create Instagram ads

Title: How to Create Instagram Ads That Increase Your Web Traffic By 100%

Subhead 1: The benefits of using Instagram ads

Subhead 2: How to set up your Instagram campaign within Facebook

Subhead 3: How to optimize your Instagram campaign

6. Filling in the Muscle

After setting the bones of the track, the duo would work with the artist to write and record vocals. What most people don’t realize is that, a lot of the time, these two things are done simultaneously. In other words, the lyrics are often not written before they are recorded—it happens in the moment. And it’s never perfect; it’s supposed to be rough.

Like the producers and the artist, you will also put the words down on the page as they come to you. Start with whichever subheading or title comes to you first. If the words for the third subheading come to you first, great, write ‘em down. And don’t you dare judge them—remember, it’s supposed to be rough. Judging or editing as you write will slow you down and can cause you to miss out on great ideas.

7. Revisions

When the rough version of the song is complete, the producers start to listen over and over as they make corrections to poor pitches, missing parts, etc.

Spend most of your writing time on revising your work. Don’t be too picky, because you don’t have all day. Set aside an hour or so to reread your material and make sure you edit your incomplete sentences, syntax, grammar, etc. You may want to hire a freelance editor or use Grammarly for revisions as well. A few favorite tips from notable writers:

Never use a long word where a short one will do. – George Orwell

Avoid adverbs. – Steven King (and many others)

Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet. – Zadie Smith

This may sound like a lot of work with many steps. In all honesty, the more you practice this routine (or whatever method you settle into), the faster you’ll become. Even in the beginning, you can get a 1,000-word post cranked out in 2-3 hours per week.

These steps don’t have to happen all at once. You may decide to break your process down into a day for research and bones, a day for writing the muscle, and a day for revisions, allowing yourself an hour each day. Remember that each day, the inspiration and readiness has got to be there, regardless of what part of the writing you’re sitting down to complete.

Get Free Instant Access To 28 Proven Marketing Strategies For Startups Here!

Outsource Content Creation When The Time Is Right

keyboard and mouse depicting frustration with content creation

When should I outsource content creation?

The answer to this one is really up to you. We advise you to think about how valuable your time is. Is the two hours of time it takes you per week to research, write, and revise your weekly blog post worth more than the amount it would cost to hire a writer?

You can use this quick exercise to find out if it’s worth hiring some writing help so you can save time on content creation.

A. Write down how much money you make per hour. If you don’t get paid an hourly rate, you can still get a rough idea of what you make per hour. For example, if you’re an ecommerce store owner, you could determine your average weekly salary (review the profit you gained over your last several weeks). Then, use that weekly number to determine an hourly rate (divide by 40 hours).

B. Multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you spend writing blog posts per week.

C. Write down the average number of words in each of your articles or posts. (it should be somewhere between 1,000-3,000).

D. Multiply the average number of words by $0.25 (per word rate charged by an intermediate/advanced writer).

Is B greater than D? If so, then it’s time to outsource.

If D is greater than B, keep writing your own posts for now.

How do I find a good content writer or editor?

You get what you pay for.

Stay off sites like Upwork and steer clear of “content mills.” Although it’s possible to find good writers via those methods, many inexperienced writers are trying to underbid one another for rates as low as $0.01 per word.

You might want to try listing a writing contract job with Problogger or Copyblogger. Both are well respected sites where you can list a job description and writers will apply much like regular job applicants. You can request specific experience in your listing as well, e.g., “experience writing about WordPress”.

More experienced writers will send links to their previous writing work. Experienced writers also tend to stick to their niches. Writers with no experience writing about your preferred industry or topics may be very skilled at researching and writing about a new topic as if they’ve been doing so for years.

To identify a writer who is a good fit for your needs, review applications and select a few of your favorites to submit a trial article. Assign a topic or keyword as well as a word count. Let the trial writers know that you will pay them for their submissions.

How do I set requirements for the writer/editor?

If you’re going to outsource your writing, you’ll likely want to convey your content direction and requirements to your new writer. There are several options for doing this.

Option 1: Send keywords/topic ideas as you need them, via email. If you need a post with the keywords “Instagram ads for beginners,” include the number of words needed as well as the deadline. You can also request that the writer send you an outline before they begin writing, that way, you can align the post with your own vision. You might send an email like this:

Hi Writer,

This week I’d like a post with keyword: “Instagram ads for beginners.” I don’t have a selected title, so I’ll leave that up to you. Could you send me an outline to review?

1500 words. Due date: This Thursday.

Option 2: Send outlines via email. If you have the bare bones of a post in your head and you only need help with the muscle, you might write an email list this:

Hi Writer,

This week we need 1,500 words based on the following outline:

Keyword: how to create Instagram ads

Title: How to Create Instagram Ads That Increase Your Web Traffic By 100%

Subhead 1: The benefits of using Instagram ads

Subhead 2: How to set up your Instagram campaign within Facebook

Subhead 3: How to optimize your Instagram campaign

Option 3: You let the writer manage everything. This is something that can happen as you work together over time and become adjusted to one another’s working habits and goals. With this option, you can let the writer know how many pieces you’d like per week and let them manage the rest.

What if I just need an editor?

Writers of all sorts will (should) edit content before they submit it to you. If their grammar is worse than yours, find another writer (unless you’re an excellent writer/editor). We highly recommend Grammarly, as it’s affordable and can correct a lot of writing errors, even syntax, and things like passive voice. Nonetheless, Grammarly is a light editing tool. It’s best to run your work through this as an initial edit and then pass it over to a seasoned editor.

If you’d like to outsource your editing work, we recommend posting an editing job on Problogger, Copyblogger, etc., just as we recommended above for the writing job.

You can test candidates with a job post that contains grammar, syntax, and any other errors you’d like to include. Ask them to correct the job posting as part of the application process.

Get Free Instant Access To 28 Proven Marketing Strategies For Startups Here!

Speed Up Your Content Creation

Content creation can be a real beast, but it’s completely manageable with the right routine and some time-saving practices. And when the time is right, you can always outsource your content to a trustworthy writer or editor to keep your content consistent and valuable.

How do you feel about your content creation process? Any questions or suggestions for a great content creation process? Share your ideas and thoughts with us in the comments!

LESSONS FROM A BILLIONAIRE

How commercial kingpin Richard Branson got to afford his own island.

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