We all know how difficult it is to start out with content marketing. It's a pain, it takes forever to get the word out, and even longer for people to start actually noticing you.
Once you've started writing and getting a little attention it all gets easier though, right?
Scaling your content marketing efforts can be just as hard as starting out. Here's some of the things we've learned taking Contentacle from zero to relatively successful in just a few months.
1. It's easier with a team...
If you wanna really excel at content marketing you're going to need a team. Sure, you could try going it alone, but you'll find it incredibly hard work.
To run a successful blog you'll need articles that are:
- About hot/relevant topics (you can use tools like BuzzSumo for this)
- Incredibly well-written
- Scheduled and posted consistently (this is where Contentacle shines)
That'll take great writing, editing and planning. And a huge commitment of time. If you can do that on your own, great, you're a rockstar. If you're like the rest of us you'll need some help.
2. ...but someone needs to be in charge
Much as I love being in charge of things, the Contentacle blog is definitely Jarratt's. He does a great job of managing the content, making sure that we post great content each week, and he writes a ton of it too.
Startups rarely run well as a committee, and your blog won't either. Give someone control so that you can guarantee things get done well and on time.
3. Editing's harder than it looks
When we started out the Contentacle blog it was just the two of us. Jarratt wrote, and I edited.
The problems started when we increased volume to 2 posts a week (now we're back to 1) and when we started working with guests. It's tough to maintain a consistent style and quality among multiple authors.
A word of advice: editing will—maybe should—take you longer than you expect. But it's 100% worth it. Your blog will thank you.
4. Guest posting can be tough
Whether you're writing a guest post for someone else, or managing guest posts on your own blog, guest posting can be tough.
Some top tips if you're working with guest submissions:
- Be clear on whether you'll edit the article before it's posted
- Keep in touch with the author regularly
- Make sure the author is familiar with your style, how many links they can include, and whether they can be self-promotional
- Agree on a topic and title, and suggest a word count
Most of all, the process should be enjoyable. If you're working with a guest and it's like pulling teeth, stop.
5. There's always another article to write
As a startup we have 101 things to do each day. Writing content is super important to us, but it's still tricky to find the time. Jarratt does a way better job at this than me, but it seems as soon as one article's finished there's another to write!
My best advice here is to make a content schedule and stick to it. Decide how many posts to write each week and what the title of each post is in advance, then stick to your schedule as closely as possible.
Sure, even we occasionally post an article one day late, but that's usually because we're not happy with it and we're making alterations!
6. Even then, it still takes time
So you've avoided all the pitfalls, aced your content marketing. Now it's time to sit back and relax, right?
Content marketing—no matter how hard you work, and how good you are at it—takes time. Lots of time. There's no magic bullet here though. Just keep consistently blogging and promoting your posts and eventually you'll get there.
Rand Fishkin explains this brilliantly with an example from Everywhereist's analytics. According to Rand, it took Geraldine almost 2 years and 500+ blog posts for things to really start moving. Most people give up way sooner.
Be sure to measure everything though, so you know when you've made it.
When crafting content, don't go it alone. The more people you have collaborating on ideas, the more (good) ideas you'll get, and the better quality content you'll write.
Make sure there's a system in place for you and your team, and remember it takes time to drive traffic. Then even longer to convert them into customers. For some it takes years. Don't give up!