In past blog posts, we have had meaningful discussion on just how companies can create reliable content during day-to-day operations. But let's be honest – it's much easier to come up with ambitious marketing content plans than it is to put them into practice. Then, right when you need a few good pieces of content to keep marketing wheel turning, your content marketing library of available choices runs dry. That's not a great situation – but we have a few ways to remedy it. Here's how to make sure that your content library is always robust!
1. Look to Your Face-to-Face Interactions
Your content doesn't exist in a vacuum – it should always be influenced by the events around. And one of the most useful events, at least when it comes to building up your content library, is everyday interactions with clients, contractors and customers. If you field a question, comment, or need for more information, make a note of it! As a general rule, if a customer asks you something face to face, there are about 10 other online customers wondering the same thing. So create content to answer these questions. You don't have to immediately publish all this content – just use it as a way to build your reserves while creating some great FAQ material.
2. Make it a Daily Commitment
We like to reiterate that good content is content that you work on every day. We might as well have called this entry "schedule time for it." You don't have to assign a single person to always work on content (although voice is important), but you do need to assign time for it: At least a little portion of most days should be spent researching and writing. Again, you don't have to publish something every day, but you do have to make progress and stay on top of topics.
3. Have a List of "Use Now" Topics and Watch for Alerts
Within your industry, there are certain topics and subjects that you should specialize in. It's good practice – and good content creation – to create a few Google Alerts for these topics and watch for any recent developments and news stories about them. If something pops up on the radar for these specific topics, it means you need to create content around it pronto. This helps you stay on top of important conversations or trends within your wheelhouse while also contributing timely content.
4. Create a Tight Turnaround for News Pieces
Set some clear guidelines for finishing content: Many a good content strategy can become derailed because a lot of content ideas get started, but none of them get finished. A solution for this is a strict time limit from when an idea is generated or assigned to when it is ready to go. This could be a day, three days, a week, etc. – but the deadline needs to be there, particularly for news-oriented pieces that tend to be time sensitive.
5. Create a Roster of Long-Term Topics
In addition to your 'news' pieces, you should also keep a handy list of topics that benefit more from longform articles and whitepapers. These are deeper, more strategic ideas that tend to come from higher up in the company and take a broader look at the industry. This content is great for starting discussions, drawing in more followers, and improving your SEO. Of course, deadlines and goals here are going to be different than for short-term news stories. However, if you don't develop a roster of ongoing, long-term content projects, you'll probably never get started on it.
6. Take a Survey
Still starved for new ideas for your content library? Try a quick survey. Today, you can create a quick little survey using online tools and mail it off in just minutes. The results you get from polling customers about their biggest concerns, thoughts on pricing, brands and so on can all be used to fuel a clear content strategy. Think of this as the natural outgrowth to our first point about gathering information from face-to-face visits.
7. Have Data? Use Data
Any time you get a data set on pretty much anything, set it aside for potential content use. Even the most boring industrial data can often be turned into an illuminating infographic that's easy to spread around social channels. Data is ideally concrete: You can almost always find something to build on it.