We already know 41% of small businesses are making content marketing a priority in 2014. That’s great news and I’m truly excited to see what kind of results these businesses achieve with their efforts.
So where does that leave the other 59% of small businesses? Why aren’t you dedicating more time to writing helpful articles that easily answer your audience’s questions?
Let me take a not-so-wild guess – you don’t have any time. Am I right? If I’m not, please let me know what your reasoning is in the comments below. I’d love to know what is more important than building an engaged audience to promote your business and grow your revenue.
I completely understand small business owners and marketers are short on time and resources, so I’m going to offer you some potential solutions you can use to get more content on your website without spending a lot of time or money.
1. Hire a journalism student as an intern
Do you live in or near a college town? Does that college have a journalism school? If so, you should reach out to the department head and tell them about an awesome opportunity for one (or a couple) of their students.
The opportunity is for their students to get some real-world writing experience for an actual business in their community. You can have this student be a volunteer intern so you wouldn’t have to pay them anything monetarily. This sort of experience is invaluable to journalism students. They get to hone their craft by writing articles and they get the opportunity to get their name out in front of an audience.
Having this experience will allow them to build their portfolio so they have some great content pieces ready to show potential employers when they graduate. You can also serve as a reference for them (if they do a great job).
If you track your results and find that these articles are producing a lot of leads and customers, then feel free to give these interns a cut of the proceeds. They’ve worked hard for you and should be rewarded!
2. Hire a freelance blogger on a paid blogging site or outsourcing site
There are plenty of professional writers out there who are ready and willing to write for you. Obviously this method will cost you more money than doing it yourself, but if you truly don’t have the time, then it’s money well spent.
You will have to spend time initially working with these writers to determine 1) what to write about, 2) how long your article(s) will be, 3) the timeline and publishing methodology, and 4) payment. Are you going to allow them to ghostwrite as you? Are you going to give them login credentials to your site? What happens if you don’t like the article? These are all things to consider when hiring out.
Some accredited sites to check out and find writers are Fiverr, Guru, eLance, and oDesk.
3. Make the time yourself
If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. You can definitely make the time if it’s really important to your audience and business.
So how do you make the time? Here are some tips; get organized, create a strategy and set goals, and stay dedicated.
Before you know it, you’ll be able to knock out high-quality, valuable articles in no time flat.
4. Make it part of an existing employee’s job
If you don’t want to hire someone outside of your business, take a look at your current staff. Your employees and colleagues are already experts when it comes to your business, making them the perfect candidates to write valuable articles for your target audience. Do you have anyone on board who has some extra time and has expressed a desire to write? If so, they’re who you should target for the role.
You could have an awesome content marketer on your staff right now and not even know it!
If none of them have any writing experience, approach the person on your team that you think communicates best, let them know your proposal and see if they’d be willing to write some articles.
If none of your current employees can easily take on the additional writing workload, try sweetening the deal by offering a unique perk that they will find valuable. You could even create a contest where whoever writes the most articles in a month or whoever’s article performs the best over the month/quarter/year will receive the appropriate perk/incentive.
A last-ditch effort would be offering them additional financial incentive with time-and-a-half pay or an agreed upon bonus per article based on performance. Whatever the offer is, make sure you set some business goals associated with the articles’ analytics so you have something tangible to measure (number of total unique visitors the new article received after a week, number of form submissions from that article, etc.).
You should also establish some ground rules based on how long it should take them to write these articles. Find out how long it takes them on average to write a 500 word article and use that as a standard increment moving forward. In my opinion, it shouldn’t take longer than 1 hour to write a high-quality 500 word article.
5. Publish guest posts from other experts who are already producing content
Tap into your existing network. Do you have friends in your industry who are already publishing content on their websites on a consistent basis? Shoot them a friendly email telling them about a recent article you read that you loved and ask if they would be willing to exchange content with you on similar topics.
Yes, this means you will have to write something on your end as well. That’s great too because if they publish something you write on their blog, you will earn a relevant inbound link to your website and you’ll get your brand in front of a new, engaged audience.
That could create a trickle-down traffic effect that can last as long as the article content is evergreen (meaning it holds its relevancy for a long time). It also opens the doors to more exchanged articles in the future.
6. Add keywords in BoostSuite and wait for content from other users
If you already don’t have the time to find the write partners to co-market with, then let other 14,000+ other BoostSuite users help you. There are qualified marketers adding content to the BoostSuite marketplace every day and chances are, they are adding content that is relevant to your business and therefore valuable to your audience.
To get started, you can sign up for your free BoostSuite account and add as many relevant keywords to your account as possible.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with keywords, follow these tips:
o) Use topics you might already have in a FAQ document.
o) Create a list of topics based on your customers’ needs and interests.
o) What problems are customers trying to solve when they contact you?
o) Use customers’ words, i.e.: “how to unlock a car” instead of “locksmith”.
Need more topics? Ask for help from friends, customers, or colleagues via email. Use this prompt and see what you learn.
“If you didn’t already know about my business, what would you search for in Google to find the products or services I sell? Send me a short list of different phrases that come to mind. Thanks for your help.”
Add these keywords to your BoostSuite account and then once another BoostSuite marketer writes an article that focuses on a keyword that you share in common, you’ll be notified via email and you’ll be able to review the article and publish it on your site.
The best part about this option is four-fold;
1. You don’t have to spend more than 15 minutes adding your keywords and publishing their article.
2. You don’t have to pay anything.
3. You’re opening the gate to a new content partnership.
4. You’ve added a new page to your website getting you one page closer to the 400 page inflection point the search engines have established.
I wish you the best of luck producing content on your site this year. You’ll want to make content marketing a priority because if you don’t, you’re competitors will, which means they will steal your market share and grow faster than your business.