#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Do you have a content marketing strategy in place for your brand? If not, it’s time you create one! However, you might be wondering how to get started and that’s where we come in. In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the basics of creating a content marketing strategy of your very own. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Marketing Strategy 101 with Julia McCoy

Our guest host this week was our very own CEO, Julia McCoy. As a content marketing expert herself, it’s no surprise that she had some amazing advice to share with everyone.

Q1: What is a content marketing strategy and why is it important for today’s brands?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their own definitions of a content marketing strategy. We also wanted to find out how important they felt it was to have a strategy and why. Check out a few of the responses we received:

As Julia said, a strategy will drive the guidelines, creation, execution, and tracking of your content marketing. She knows it’s necessary if you want to achieve ROI and make goals happen with the content you create.

Kyle feels it’s all about crafting a consistent schedule of content to tell your brand’s story to win over your customers.

Annaliese said having a strategy in place gives you an established process for why you’re doing what you do, plus guidelines on how to do it.

As Maria pointed out, having a strategy is partly about knowing what you want to say, how to say it, where to say it, and who you’re saying it to. These are all essential things to figure out.

This is a great way to look at it! Jenn said your strategy is your road map from where you are to where you want to be. It’s important to set goals and create a plan of action to help you get there.

Q2: Before you can begin creating content and planning your strategy, what do you need to figure out?

Now that you know what a content marketing strategy is, you’re probably feeling ready and inspired to create one of your own. But before you can get started, there are a few essential things you need to figure out. Take a look at these tips:

Julia’s first tip is to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. When you know what your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF) is, you can embrace that and stand out from the crowd. (Read her Search Engine Journal article she linked to if you want to learn more!)
Next, she encourages you to discover who your audience is. She shares four key tips in the graphic she included with her post. You can learn about this more in-depth in the content course she’s creating.

Sarah knows it’s important to know key information about your audience. Who is your target audience and what do they need? Where do they hang out? What will make them convert? This is all important to figure out so you can create content accordingly.

Lexie agrees that it’s crucial to know your audience first. Once you know who they are, you can create the type of content they need in their lives.

Don’t forget to figure out what your goals are. When you know what you want to achieve, it’s going to dictate the end result of your content.

Kyle also agrees that it’s important to know what your goals are ahead of time. Are you trying to increase brand awareness or land conversions? Is it something else? Figure that out beforehand so you can create the content that will help you get there.

Jonathan chimed in about the importance of setting goals as well. Figure out what a successful piece of content looks like to you and what that means before moving forward.

This is a great answer from Jason. He said you want to determine who your audience is, including their demographics. You also need to establish your brand’s voice, the types of content you’ll be producing, and how everything will work together.

Gaby shared an impressive list of things you should figure out before creating content. She said you should understand: brand/content purpose, message, objectives, audience/target, content topic, industry, and brand voice.

Q3: What steps are required to develop a content marketing strategy for your own brand?

Now it’s time to get into the actual steps of creating a strategy that works. Here’s some helpful advice that will get you started on the right foot:

Julia recommends figuring out who your audience is, keywords, and your defined content types/costs. She also suggests having an editorial calendar, creating a content promotions strategy, and knowing how you’ll perform tracking and maintenance.

Know who you’re writing for, which content types you’ll create, and put together a calendar to keep you organized.

Brittany outlined her recommended steps and made it easy to follow along. She says to: gather your insights, outline your business goals, determine your budget and timeline, create personas, establish a process, create calendars, write and edit, and measure.

Roslyn’s advice is to know the demographics of your audience and the best way to cater to them. This is essential in creating content that gets results online.

You need to know who your audience is and where they hang out online so you can reach them. It’s also helpful to identify your brand’s voice as well.

It’s also helpful to know how you’re going to differentiate yourself from everyone else around. With so many people talking about the same things online, you have to spin that content in a way that will stand out and attract your audience.

Q4: What content types are crucial to help your brand become an authority online?

If you ask any brand, most of them would say they’re on the path to establishing themselves as an authority online. They all want to become the go-to resource for their target audience. But what kind of content can you create to help make that happen? Check out these responses:

Julia encourages you to focus on your own website first. Create amazing content for your blog and then build content for other platforms. Other channels to direct your attention include guest blogging and building a presence on social media.

There are a variety of things that will dictate the types of content you produce. It can depend on your brand, objectives, messaging, your industry, your market, your audience, and also the resources you have.

Annaliese agrees there are a few factors that will dictate the types of content you produce. One thing to consider is what your audience prefers. Do they enjoy videos or are they bigger fans of written content? Figure that out because it’s going to play a factor for your brand.

Tony knows that visuals and written content go hand-in-hand and are essential elements for any brand to create.

Cheval’s tip is to start doing live video broadcasts. It’s a great way to humanize your brand and connect with your audience in real-time.

Brittany said she would direct her focus to video content, guest posting, and creating other visuals.

Ultimately, what matters is that you create valuable content that addresses the questions your audience has. When you can deliver what they want and need, they’ll begin to see you as an authority in your field.

It all comes down to sharing relevant content and taking the time to engage with your audience. That’s how you start making an impact in your industry.

Q5: How do you measure the effectiveness of your content? If you aren’t seeing results, how do you make improvements?

In order to know if your content is helping you achieve the results you want, you’re going to have to measure how well it’s performing. Even more important, you’ll need to know how to make tweaks if you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for. Here’s some helpful advice:

Julia’s advice is to set up a tracking project in SEMrush. It’ll allow you to analyze rankings, which can be very helpful.

Eddie’s advice is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives beforehand. This will allow you to see what you hope to achieve and which data you’ll need to track closely.

Mallie also agrees it’s important to know your goals ahead of time.

Again it all goes back to the goal you set, whether that’s reach, conversions, or something else.

If you find you need to make changes, Annaliese suggests making simple changes. Tweak one thing at a time through A/B testing to see what’s working and what’s not.

Kyle also sees the value in running A/B tests to see which images and copy are the most effective.

Q6: What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to developing their content marketing strategy?

If you want to set up a strategy that’s successful, you’ll want to avoid some of the common mistakes that can be disastrous. Here are a few examples so you’ll know what to avoid:

You don’t want to be one of those brands without a content marketing strategy, do you? Julia knows it would be a mistake to not have one in place.

Not having a strategy at all is certainly one huge mistake.

Justing winging it and posting on a whim might sound like a fun idea, but it can set you up for disaster.

Don’t be so focused on the money that you immediately start pushing the sale. You need to build trust with your audience first if you want them to convert.

You should be all sales all the time. Instead, focus on building a community with your audience.

It’s more important that you focus on your customers, as opposed to talking about yourself in a self-serving way all the time. Talk to your audience and listen to what they have to say. Learn from them.

Q7: Which tools, calendars, and other resources do you rely on when developing a maintaining a content marketing strategy?

With so many tools and resources available, you’re sure to finding something that will make creating and sticking to a strategy even easier. Take a look at these tools:

Julia’s favorite tools include SEMrush, as well as a few others. They’re worth checking out if you haven’t already!

The Netvantage Marketing team relies on Google Docs as well as a few other tools to get their work done. It’s clear they know what works best for them.

Google Drive tools, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner, Twitter, WordPress, and Yoast are all great options.

Elizabeth’s go-to tools include Evernote, CoSchedule, and Google Sheets.

Sarah is a big fan of HubSpot.

Feedly, Canva, Piktochart, and Buffer are all helpful tools to rely on.

Mallie keeps it simple with an Excel spreadsheet plus a pen and her paper planner.

Danielle said her previously job relied on Google Docs. As she said, it’s not fancy, but it works. All that matters is that you use tools that are efficient and get the job done.

Q8: Which brands do you think are killing it with their content lately?

Which brands are doing an incredible job with the content they publish? Check out these:

Julia loves SmartBlogger, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, and CoSchedule.

Lori is a fan of Sue B. Zimmerman’s work.

The Rising Tide Society is one brand that consistently puts out great content.
Be sure to join us on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for #ContentWritingChat! Follow our accounts for all the latest: @ExpWriters and @writingchat!

5 Explosive Content Marketing Strategies For 2015

5 Explosive Content Marketing Strategies For 2015

Most times in life, it pays to have a plan. Content marketing is a technique that works best when you look before you leap, and having a strategy can help make your content dollars stretch further. However, the act of developing a smart strategy is another game on its own.
There is no doubt that content marketing will be big in 2015. To get started on implementing your own routine, here are several content marketing strategies that will help take your content marketing to new levels.

Start Your Content Marketing Strategies With an Audit

So, no one really likes an audit — completely understandable. Although audits aren’t the most pleasant way to launch a content marketing strategy, they serve as the perfect kick-starter for several reasons:

  • Content audits help you find missing information within your website
  • They help you discover thin content
  • You can analyze keyword density
  • They highlight what’s working for you

Overall, you must consider the value that your content brings to the table. As you analyze your current content, ask yourself if your content is educational, relevant, entertaining, or engaging in some way. If your content does not meet at least one standard in those criteria, it might be time for an overhaul.

Bring in Content Curation

Now that your content audit is out of the way, it’s time to start having a little bit of fun. Curating content is bound to go big in 2015, and it’s easy to see why. To relieve the expectations of churning out high quality content week after week, curating content is a breath of fresh air.
The advantages of curating content are many, and if you have yet to include this strategy, you don’t know what you missing. Curating content helps you accomplish:

  • Brand establishment
  • Authority in your niche
  • Relationship building
  • Increased engagement
  • Steady stream of fresh content

There are several ways to curate content — by hand or by curating tools like Scoop.it. Even though content appears right before your eyes when you take the route of automation, a human eye is still required to get your curation just right.

Discovering What They Want

To continue the curating theme, the next step is to determine what your audience wants. You can blog about anything under the sun, but what matters most is to understand the needs of your audience. If you aren’t meeting their needs in one way or another, your content will fall flat every time.
So, how exactly do you know what your readers want? To take the mystery out of the equation, you can resort to several sources.

  • Quora is a community-based Q&A website that brings real-life customer questions to light. There are topics on nearly every industry and niche you can think of. Simply searching for your keywords in the search bar can reveal dozens of topic ideas right before your eyes.
  • It might seem like an unlikely source, but Reddit contains a variety of topics in an assortment of industries. One of the advantages of Reddit is that, like Quora, you can browse real conversations from people who are considering your services or products.
  • Not to sound super obvious, but a third option is to ask your audience what they want from you. This is where you can use the power of social media to engage your audience and ask direct questions. You can even start a live Q&A session on Facebook or Twitter to get those ideas flowing.

Top-Notch Topics That Get Them Talking

Generating new topic ideas can be one of the most challenging aspects of content marketing strategies. The goods news is that ideas aren’t as hard to come by as you think, and there are plenty of sources for inspiration if you know where to look.
The first step to finding engaging content ideas is discovering what’s hot and trending in your industry. Check into Google news, industry news websites and magazines, and even network with likeminded people in your niche.
Another unique topic technique is to create a topic web; think back to those days in high school when you drew story webs for English class. The trick to this is taking content that already exists on your website, and using the web to branch out into other relevant areas. A little bit of brainstorming can go a long way for getting that light bulb moment.
Finally, Hubspot’s blog topic generator is perfect for creating fun blogging ideas. By simply entering three nouns into the generator, Hubspot’s helpful tool can give you several ideas for your blog right on the spot.

The 2015 Outlook: Your Content Calendar

So, you know what your audience wants. You also know how to generate awesome topic ideas time and time again. The final part to nailing your content strategy for 2015 is by bringing in the almighty content calendar.
Content calendars are like your little black book of topic ideas, along with your days to schedule your posts. You can also include precise days and times to post to social media. Sure, you can wing your strategy without a content calendar, but there are so many reasons why having one helps immensely:

  • Content calendars help keep you focused. If you are easily sidetracked or even forgetful, your content calendar can save the day
  • Content calendars can be as detailed or thorough as you want.
  • Using a content calendar can align your core business goals with your content
  • Content calendars can keep you focused on your audience, which helps them stay engaged
  • Content calendars take the guesswork out of your content marketing strategy

Believe it or not, 2015 is already in full swing. Getting your content marketing strategies in order can make things for your routine smooth sailing for the rest of the year.
Whether you take pieces of these strategies or you dive in head first with all 5, you will be further ahead with your content marketing this year. From content auditing to curating, these simple yet effective strategies will prove their value time and time again.
Photo credit: iStockFinland / iStock

Brand Showcase: Target’s Copywriting Is on Target

Brand Showcase: Target’s Copywriting Is on Target

Target. That wonderful, mystical land where one can buy shoes, clothes, novelty tees, movies, Legos, and food when they were simply going in to buy a crafty little graduation card. Target is a place that sucks you in, makes you spend every penny to your name, and you never feel like you wasted a dime. How do they do this? How do they bring in thousands of people a day and convince them to buy what they need and more?

Copywriting Tips from Target

Let’s take this opportunity to look at Target’s various copywriting and marketing campaigns, as well as taking a little journey through the store to see just what makes us spend all our money there.
1. All The Things! First off, Target tries to appeal to a very wide demographic from Millennials to the Greatest Generation, all while “targeting” the latest group of little ones with cute designs. They have something for everyone in their store and they know that’s what brings in the cash. However, their “something for everyone” isn’t dollar store cheap material; most of Target’s merchandise is very good quality. Many of their clothing items and shoes are even designed specifically for Target by many well-known designers around the world.
What can a copywriter take away from this point? Offer something for everyone and you will please a wider audience. Take the time to learn your demographics – you may be surprised by just how diverse your potential customer base is.
2. Epic Lighting and Easy To Find Items. Their content marketing goes beyond just their Internet and mail content – it goes into their store design. The store is one that makes every shopper feel chipper, which helps foster the feeling of needing to purchase everything in sight. The lights are bright and the aisles are laid out in an interesting and easy-to-follow pattern. Because of this, we are all ready to purchase everything we see since we can easily go through the store.
This is an incredible lesson for copywriting experts and for web designers. While you most likely will not be focusing on a physical shop, you will be focusing on the website people come to. If it is drab and difficult to navigate, people won’t stay for very long. Follow Target’s example and make your site an easy and fun experience for readers.
3. Creating Memorable Advertisements That Last Forever. Target has some of the greatest ad campaigns and many of these campaigns are ones that we will remember for a long time. For example, everyone remembers the Target dog, especially when it came to the Holiday season. Whenever you saw that dog, you thought of Target. Whenever you saw that dog on an item, you bought it.
Their latest ad campaign is called “The Everyday Collection” which features photographs that look like high fashion photo shoots but they incorporated the typical everyday items such as laundry detergent, food, and vitamins. It is very much a typical Target ad campaign filled with witty one-liners, all while advertising their product. Every single marketing campaign is incredible; just look at their 2013 back-to-school campaign and their 2013 Holiday season campaign.
The lesson copywriters can learn from this is common sense – create content that will be memorable. After you have begun creating memorable, compelling content, you will start seeing some excellent results!
4. Responding to Controversy. Controversy is never too far these days and it seems just about everyone is right in the middle of one. Target isn’t any different. They’ve had their fair share of controversy from the big security breach pre-Heartbleed to the Terry Richardson controversy. Target always takes adequate steps to ensure that these controversies are dealt with properly by not reacting immediately and thinking over the issue.
This may not seem like part of a content marketing strategy, but Target always considers how many customers they will lose if they do not carry out appropriate measures. Instead of sweeping these issues under the carpet, Target deals with them in the open. This is a great lesson for every company to learn. Your copywriting can be great, but it can only go so far; having proper responses to any controversy whether large or small will help keep your business afloat.
5. Making Things Fun and Enjoyable For All. Target is the expert at making their content strategy a fun and enjoyable one. Their commercials are always upbeat or silly, their ad campaigns in the local paper always capture your attention, and they’re just plain ole good at creating successful marketing techniques. Many times, they utilize storytelling in their ads and content, which connects with their customers.
This shows every copywriter why it is important to actively engage with your client base and make things fun. Create something that is unique to your company and that people will enjoy.

In The End…

Use Target as inspiration for how to engage with your customer base and how to have fun with your content strategy. Having fun is a huge element in the majority of Target’s marketing campaign and it sure works like a charm! You’ll start seeing excellent results if you follow some of Target’s great copywriting strategies.

Copywriting for an International Audience

Copywriting for an International Audience

Just so you know, this blog is also subtitled, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Why? Well, it’s hard not to relate the entire topic here in any way to the classic 90s television show, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” It was such a great show and everybody loved trying to figure out where Ms. Sandiego was. Remember? What many of us didn’t realize with this show is that we were being introduced to different cultures all around the world. We were being taken out of our current setting to learn that there are people different from us. It was a great learning experience as a kid and can now be something you implement in your copywriting and content marketing.
The globe is massive and there are thousands of different languages out there, which means if you want to take your business global you are going to have to start writing in different languages. If you are wondering just how to go about doing this, then you are in luck! This blog is going to discuss how to create global content for everyone, as well as how to write in different forms of English (yes, there are different forms!).

English Is the Norm for Many

English is the standard language in the business world. All you have to do is go onto the Metro in Paris and see universities offering Business English courses to anyone interested in becoming a businessperson. However, approximately 6% of the world cannot speak English well enough to conduct business, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Because of this, many people are left out in the cold and it can even limit their ability to grow further in the business world or any other aspect of an English-speaking world.
Many people are attempting to learn English and many children learn English in their schools. Unfortunately, many countries do not have the resources to teach everyone. While English is the norm for many things, don’t rely on the fact that people may be learning how to speak and read English. You need to start considering writing for many cultures and languages.
An important note to consider is that the United States and many English-speaking countries are filled with more than just English speakers and we have to reach out to them. Some of the major languages spoken in the United States are Spanish, Chinese, French, Tagalog (Filipino), and Vietnamese. While many of these people can speak English and understand it well, many still would appreciate any content that is written in their own language.

Copywriting: Can You Write Content for Different Languages?

You can! It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or too difficult. You can actually find many people that are more than willing to help you write content in different languages. The more languages you write your content in, the more customers your business will bring in. We actually write a bi-weekly English blog and a bi-weekly Spanish blog for one company. It is a great experience and gets your product out to more individuals by doing this!
Here are a few great tips that will help you write content in multiple languages:
1. Learn What Languages Are Spoken In Your Area. This is the best way to slowly make your content go global. If you don’t write for the locals, you will have a very hard time writing for others in different countries. This is a great opportunity to learn a different language or to find someone to write in a particular language. Never assume that one language is spoken more than another is – your area might shock you. Many assume Spanish is spoken the most, but there are areas where Russian is spoken more or where Chinese or Vietnamese is spoken. Research your area and learn the most prevalent language. If you are having a difficult time finding out which languages are spoken in your area, you can always go to the US Census website and use their interactive language map.
2. Hire Local Writers to Craft Content For You. When we say, “local,” we don’t just mean people from your town, but people who know the language you are planning to use. They will know all the puns, jokes, and alliterations that can be used in that particular language. If you are hiring someone to write content in a different language for local customers, the writer will know what a particular culture sees in the community and what they enjoy.
A “local” writer will also be able to write for the search engines and help your site rank on that language’s search engine results page. Having a writer who is fluent in specific languages is the best way to adequately meet any language and copywriting needs your company will have. Put out an ad and start looking for someone to help you craft diverse content for your company.
3. Hire and Consult Local Editors. Every copywriter needs a copy editor to make sure they have met all grammatical rules and haven’t made horrible spelling mistakes. When you have a writer craft content that is in a different language, you will also need to hire an editor who can edit in that language. They will help catch any spelling mistakes that you may not find and will make sure the content makes sense to readers. Copy editors are crucial for your copywriting campaign, no matter what language the content is written in.
4. Look Into How Different Cultures Spend Their Time Online. Each culture spends time on a different site and the amount of time they spend on the Internet varies. This will help you know which social media site to use when you begin your marketing campaign for a particular culture or if Internet marketing will work for that culture. You can find many different sites that will give you information about the culture you want to reach and how they spend their time online. Once you have learned this, your new language campaign will start taking off!
5. Consider the Different Cultures You Would Like To Reach Outside of Your Home. Starting the process of writing for different cultures in your area will help prepare you for going to a global market. Start researching the different areas around the globe you would like to reach. Do you want to reach out to people living in Mexico or Argentina? What about those living in European countries like France or Germany? As you figure out where you would like to go, start looking into hiring content writers and editors that are fluent in those languages.

Writing in Different English Forms

English is an extremely varied language. Americans, Canadians, the British, and Australians are constantly arguing over who speaks English correctly as well as who spells words correctly. It is a joke in the majority of British films that make it over to America (see Hot Fuzz) and Americans constantly tease the British. It is all fun and games until we get to the content realm. When it comes to writing content for multiple sites, you need to make sure you are able to write in the English format the client expects. They will specify that they would like it to be with “British or Australian” writing and you must know what that means, in order to meet their requests. It isn’t really all that difficult.
Here are a few tips on how to write with different spellings whether it is for a British site or an American site:
1. Watch A Few Movies, Read A Few Books. The best way to know how a different culture writes or speaks English is by reading books by authors from that culture. You can read a plethora of British authors to get a feel for how they write and can enjoy watching shows like Doctor Who or Sherlock to gain an understanding of typical British phrasing. If you are one who speaks and writes in British English and are writing for an American, read writers like Chuck Palahniuk or watch American films to get a firm grasp on the phraseology.
2. Contractions: Americans Love ‘em. We use contractions throughout our blog posts as most Americans do. If you are writing for an American company, it is always a good idea to make sure if they want contractions used or if they want it to be written in a more professional way. Other English speakers will use contractions, but most of the time it is Americans who take the prize in most contractions used in a single paragraph.
Another thing to remember when marketing to a different culture, American English uses phrases like “breaking it down” which is considered colloquial and is used by many Americans. Most of the time, we don’t realize we use these until someone asks us to explain ourselves. Make sure you don’t use too many colloquial phrases if you are writing for a foreign company.

In the End…

When writing for foreign companies, it is best to have someone who is “local” to that culture so that you can write properly and market to that culture. Proper marketing skills will make your company very successful and you need to consider foreign and cultural marketing techniques for your next copywriting campaign. Get an ad out there for a writer who can write in Spanish, Chinese, or French and start writing great content that can go all over the world!

9 Content Strategies to Get Unstuck from a Content Rut

9 Content Strategies to Get Unstuck from a Content Rut

Are you a new business, a mid-size to large business, or any other size business with a stagnant online marketing campaign? Do you feel your online presence is not really going places yet? Let’s talk about how to get you on the road to success!

Here are a few ways to stop stagnating and come up with new, fresh material that will make readers love you:

1. Don’t Stop Your Yapping

We’ve all heard someone, somewhere say “stop your yapping” but when it comes to content marketing strategies, if you aren’t yapping you’ll start drowning. Talk about your content with other marketers within your company and start sharing ideas. Someone will have at least one idea, but are too scared to share. Opening up a sharing ground will be a great way to begin getting out of the stagnant content marshland and beginning to create new content strategies that will be the bee’s-knees, the cat’s pajamas, and the best darn content out on the Internet.

2. Spot Those Problem Areas

Get your magnifying glass out and get ready to find those problem areas in your content. We know you really love what you have published and you just cannot understand why no one is reacting to your wonderfully crafted content. While it may be amazing and well written, if it is not bringing people in, there is a problem and you have to find it to move on.
When you begin to correct the problem area and find a new, impactful way to create content, Moz suggests that you create a small list of goals you would like to accomplish. They urge writers and marketers not to spread themselves too thin when creating these goals. If you are trying to juggle twenty semi-important goals instead of, say, five important ones, you will find yourself burning out quickly and the content will continue to be stagnant and not have any sort of impact whatsoever. Once you have found the problem, it is time to make a strategy.

3. Ender Didn’t Beat the Buggers With Luck

He beat them with strategy. If you do not know the story of Ender Wiggin, check out Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In this story, Ender is chosen to be the leader of humanity in a war against an alien race referred to as “buggers.” Ender had to do a lot of strategizing and learning from his mistakes before he finally beat them at their game.
This goes for your content. You can’t just whip something up and expect it to go viral in an instant. If you constantly just write or create stuff and throw it out there without a strategy, you will see your content marketing campaign going stagnant and you will watch as your viewers back away with looks of consternation. Do not let that happen! Start working on that strategy and learn from your mistakes. Your mistakes are your best teaching tool. You will learn what needs to change if you are willing to open up your mind to take those mistakes as learning aids and not failures.

4. Everyone’s a Critic

The Internet is a lovely place of opportunity, but can turn into a stinking quagmire of criticism quickly. Many people say, “Avoid the comments!” because this is where most of the horrible criticism is but you should not let that bring you down and stop you from producing great content. Just because someone says it is awful does not mean it really is. Take a lesson from some famous, classic authors. One critic of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn said the book was, “No better in tone than the dime novels which flood the Blood-and-Thunder reading population.” Did that stop him from continuing to write his amazing novels? No! So, do not let those comments stop you from promoting your company and producing your content.
However, by avoiding the comments section your content will become stale. Within those horrible comments are some real gems of information. You will be able to learn what people like or dislike and can implement that into your new content strategy. Many authors have used negative reviews as a way to grow their writing, hence becoming national bestsellers.

5. You Do Not Have a T.A.R.D.I.S.

So stop acting as if you do. If you spend all day in meetings, chat with coworkers over lunch, and work through your mountain of emails every day, you will find your content is beginning to stink like a disgusting swampy pond. Swat those mosquitoes away and start managing your time. No time machine will be here to take you back and, according to the Doctor, you can’t cross your time stream anyway. Business2Community points out that humans tend to be more alert in the morning. Sure, we all may be groggy without our morning cup of coffee but we also do not have a whole days’ worth of worries and to-dos floating around in our brains. We can think much clearer in the morning and, in fact, many people come up with some of their best ideas in the morning. The first thing to do when you get to work is to carve out about 30 to 45 minutes to sit and think. Start brainstorming and you will see that you come up with some pretty epic ideas!

6. Become a Lurker

Lurking is creepy when done in real life but it can be very beneficial on the Internet. We aren’t talking about Facebook stalking, rather going to the different social media sites and looking at what is trending or what articles Buzzfeed and Upworthy are currently posting. Apart from Buzzfeed and Upworthy, HubSpot also suggests listening to new TED talks. TED talks are really interesting and provide amazing inspiration on a variety of topics. Gaining web inspiration is an excellent way to learn new information and to begin to spruce up your content marketing. While you’re at it, how about looking for inspiration from your competitors? We know you wonder why they are doing so well and now is the time to become Sherlock Holmes and find what they are doing. This will help you discover neat tricks for talking to clients within your niche market and you can also see what mistakes your competitors are making. This will show that they are human and give you a heads up about things that will not work, before you ever make that mistake. Pretty nifty, huh?

7. Try On a New Format

Sometimes, new clothes help make people feel amazing and buying new clothes gets them out of whatever rut they find themselves in. The same goes for a new format for your content. While text content is great, it is becoming boring for many readers. Try out a few new formats and see how readers react.
Social Media Today suggests a few formats that you can try to change up your content:

  • Videos and Photographs. Changing your content into a video or photo format, will standout to your readers. It is not something they’re used to so their attention will be grabbed and they will be more willing to stick with you.
  • Infographics. Infographics are at the height of fashion and you would be silly not to use this to your advantage. Create some content and implement it into an infographic. This format is easy to share and the more people that share it, the more readers you will acquire.
  • Question and Answer Sessions. People really like question and answer sessions. Let readers and clients submit questions to you and do a live webcast or do a video recording of you and your company answering the questions. This will help your clients feel like you are actually listening to them and this is a great way to encourage them to share more information about your company. Of course, always read the questions before doing anything live, some people really like submitting strange or inappropriate questions to sidetrack speakers.
  • Micro-Content. All that long content you have been working on might be your problem. Sure, lengthy blogs are great for in-depth discussions, but most readers want to make choices. Do they want to read something long today or do they just want a tiny bit of information? Utilize things like Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters and start putting out micro-content. You can share links, photographs, or tips/facts of the day. This will help engage your readers and keep them interested enough to read your lengthy content when you publish it.

8. Shift Your Focus

We see you over there with your nose glued to your computer screen. That’s cool. We understand that you are crafting content and are dedicated to making it the best content ever, but you are focusing on the wrong area. Yes, writing and creating content is important, but one of the most important things is building a relationship with customers. You may have started out with quality, compelling content and you now have a great client base due to this.
However, the reason you are “stagnating” and losing customers might not be just about the quality of your current content but how well you are relating to your clientele. Start focusing on your existing clients and make them feel involved. You are reading this because you feel stuck in a rut, so how about when you are finished reading you go and ask your customers what they would like to see. You will gain so much inspiration simply by asking people what their interests are and you will watch your clients feel appreciated to the point that they start saying, “You’ve got to give this company a shot, they are incredible!”  Once you’ve shifted your focus, you will begin seeing just how much inspiration you are gathering and you will get out of the rut. Do not fear your customers – learn from them.

9. Reading Creates Creative Content

People do not want to see bland content when they go to a website; they want to see something that is creative and fun. If you are trying to be creative and are stuck, how about reading some new-to-you books that are full of imagination? Books are great at promoting creativity and many writers find that if they have not read in a while, their writing reflects it. They also realize that their ability to come up with new topics suffers. Even if they are writing on how to install a kitchen sink or about some other construction project, they find that books are huge sources of inspiration. Try branching out of your comfort zone when it comes to reading, as this can give you new ideas or help you look at things in a new way.
“What if I’m not a reader?” you ask. Never fear, movies, television, music, and video games are other awesome ways to gain inspiration. Don’t listen to the naysayers who say all of those things dumb people down, because they really don’t. In fact, many newer video games have some absolutely amazing in-depth stories. Try playing a game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age where your choices affect the outcome of the game. This keeps you on your toes and stimulates your brain similarly to the way reading a book does.

Let’s Not Forget

We all get into content ruts, so do not feel discouraged that it is happening to you. Google will show just how many artists out there feel creatively stuck and you will notice that many copywriters are the same way. One last tip before we go is that while your company might be your passion, writing may not. Find people within your company who have a passion for writing or hire copywriters to help you. You’ll see your content improve significantly and watch it blossom into something beautiful. Getting a professional writer will turn that stinky, stagnate pond into a flourishing pond that is teeming with life.