How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List

How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content influences not only all aspects of our marketing but of our entire business as well.

Content is not something you can take lightly. It needs to be front and center of your strategy and it needs to be done well. The only issue is, it’s time-consuming.

For small business owners, finding the time to create high-quality content on a regular basis can seem impossible. With the ever-growing to-do list that so many business owners face, how can the content giant get taken care of without adding more to their plates?

The answer? Outsourcing.

Outsourcing your content creation efforts is far more common than you probably think, and in my opinion, it’s a necessary tactic if you want to do content marketing well. In today’s virtual world, the sky’s the limit for the talent that you can use to create the content for you.

Not only will it benefit your business, but it will likely save you money by giving you the time back needed to focus on other lucrative areas of your business.

Below are a few tips for outsourcing that will get you on your way to being a successful content creation machine.

1. Own your process and strategy

So here’s the thing. You can, and should, absolutely outsource the creation of your content, but you must still own your process and strategy (it is your business after all).

The only way to outsource effectively is to put systems in place that ensure successful collaboration between you and your outsourced team.

I’d recommend using a project management tool to manage deadlines and provide feedback efficiently. Things can get lost in email and has the potential to get messy. I use Asana, but there are a lot of tools out there that can help you get the job done.

Getting a routine going between you and your outsourced partners can also be extremely beneficial. For example, have blog posts due to you for review every Thursday and podcast show notes due every Wednesday. That way, you know what to expect and when to expect it, and the person creating the content will also know what they need to be doing and when without a lot of back and forth communication.

Develop an editorial calendar that lays out a strategy that your outsourced team can refer to. Planning ahead makes month-to-month operations easier for you, and lets your content creators know what’s to come.

2. Be picky

Anybody can really claim to be a writer, but claiming to be a writer and actually being one are two different things. When searching for somebody to outsource this work to, seek out references and testimonials, and ask them to write a blog post for a title you give them to see how they approach your topics and writing style.

There are numerous sites out there that you can use to find writers, including:

In the beginning, take the time to review the work for specifics, style, tone, and voice. Edit each post to make sure it still represents the brand well, and feel free to tweak a bit to add a personal touch. Provide your content creators with feedback from the beginning, otherwise, they’ll never be able to learn what you’re truly looking for. If they don’t apply the feedback to future posts, you should consider this a red flag.

If you find they are consistently living up to your expectations, bring them on board. The review process will take less time the more they get used to writing for you. In fact, you’ll hopefully get to the point where you don’t have to review their work at all.

It’s important that you do what you can to prevent bottlenecks. There may be times that your content isn’t 100% perfect but, don’t let an endless editing phase prevent you from getting your content out into the world.

Your audience cares more about receiving helpful information than they do about whether or not your author’s tone perfectly aligns with the brand.

3. Remove the guesswork

You must be clear about the instructions you give your writers in terms of tone, style, and formatting. Create a document that outlines these areas for each of your writing needs as well as any background information that is necessary for them to get the job done.

It can be easy to blame remote writers for creating less-than-ideal content, but if you haven’t taken the time to provide the information they need to get the job done, then the blame is on you.

4. Focus on results

When it comes to your content efforts, you must always be paying attention to the results you’re seeing. Even if the content appears to check all the boxes on your list, it doesn’t mean it will perform well once it’s published.

Keep an eye on the metrics to see what resonates with your audience and what does not.

Keep in mind that one piece of content shouldn’t dictate strategy moving forward. You need to look for trends to help you decide what to stick with and what to revise moving forward.

5. Take care of your team

Your outsourced team may be remote, but they’re still a part of your team now and should be treated as such. Don’t forget to give positive feedback when it’s deserved. People want to work for those that appreciate them. The more valued and appreciated they feel, the better the work they produce will be.

By outsourcing content, you are able to focus on areas business of your business that require your attention. If you feel inclined, you can still create one thorough piece of content on your own each week to help keep you on your toes and current with marketing trends, but that’s entirely up to you.

Outsourcing can be extremely valuable for your business, provided you do it the right way and pay special attention to the process.

Remember, although another person is doing the work, it’s your or your brand and reputation that stand behind it, so don’t take the process and development lightly.

Growth Hacking as a Marketing Tool

Put on that ski mask and get behind a proxy because today we are talking about hackers (No, not the 90’s flick that touched the hearts of compuanarchists and cyberpunks everywhere).

Growth hacking is becoming a more integral part of business. Are you keeping with the times?

Why do you need growth hacking?

Sometimes having a great product or service is not enough to grow a company. You’re a smaller business, swarmed in the stampede of like-organizations. What makes you stand out from the herd? We take all the help we can get to achieve growth, and that’s where the growth hacker comes into practice.

What is growth hacking?

Imagine a funnel. You pour something in, and the funnel brings it closer and closer together until it is all deposited in an exact desired location. Now imagine the funnel is the internet and the mystery liquid is the mass of potential consumers browsing the web. This is the base concept, and there are a few ways to direct the flow:

Using your product to sell itself through promotions or the usage of the product. Think about offering a trial or promotional period. What about a giveaway? Do you have any incentives for upgrading a user account?

Using movement channels to get the attention and business of web users. This includes using other products as channels for information distribution. To do this requires understanding what products are in your realm, how they function, and how they could function if adapted. Having said this, it is also worth mentioning that some channels may not be thrilled about being hijacked, which may limit the life-span of your new-found growth hacking style.

Using analytics tools to assess the degree of success in a growth hacking venture. This allows you to focus your technique and repeat your success or avoid failure in the future.

Setting a realistic goal for your growth (i.e., 20% more product sold in next period) will help you solidify and achieve your desires. Writing your goals down is generally a great life practice too!

Push V. Pull

Pull tactics draw customers in so that they find you. If search engines are the modern highways, SEO is the equivalent of billboard advertising. Doing pretty much any collaborative venture (Blogs, Podcasts, Facebook Live) with a similar agency helps build reputability and increases your exposure. Podcasting, blogging, releasing eGuides and whitepapers, creating infographics, hosting webinars and conferences, and using social media are all easy pull mechanisms. Think about hosting contests, creating or adapting an existing app, or using deal sites like Honey and Groupon as tools.

Push methods are more aggressive and typically involve advertising – usually preceding a video or article that the user wishes to view. Someone wants to do a search? Force them to see your ad. Someone wants to watch a video? Force them to see your ad. Someone has to sneeze? Force them to see your ad. Okay, that last one is a little much, but you get the idea.

There are innumerable ways to achieve growth, but it’s up to you to find the one that works for your product. Keep in mind that understanding the service which you’re using better helps you exploit it.

If you’re having trouble being creative, here are a few examples of growth hacking that have worked for others.

What kind of person does this?

The main objective of someone who is using growth hacking as a strategy is growth.

But wait, isn’t that the purpose of marketing?

Well, yes. And no. Marketing is the process of selling a product or brand and ensuring customer satisfaction. This oftentimes involves growth, but it’s more of a side-product and not the singular focus. Growth hacking is the process of creating growth without reference to the classical marketing playbook. Marketeers are more prone to becoming growth hackers, but not all growth hackers are marketeers.

Growth hacking likely involves coding or other API experience; this does not mean that you need to be a tech monkey, but it might be helpful to have one on your team to actualize your vision.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

I know this seems like a bit much, but if there is one takeaway from this lesson it’s this:
Growth hacking isn’t going to look or act the same for everyone. It is up to you to find what works.

Want more from me? Check out my blogs on password strength and SEO. Read some banter on my Twitter page & shoot me a follow on LinkedIn.

6 Proven ways to get your business noticed

email marketing, social networks

Small business owners often tell me that they struggle to get noticed by potential clients or customers. So, here are some ideas that can help you attract the attention you need and get people talking about your business, too.

  1. People love to talk: What could you do, to give them a story that’s worth sharing?
  2. People want to succeed: What could you do, to help them achieve their goals or dreams?
  3. People need to feel valued: What could you do, to show them your appreciation?
  4. People love to save time: What could you do, to help them get more done in less time?
  5. People want to avoid stress: What could you do, to make them feel more comfortable, secure or relaxed?
  6. People love to learn: What could you do, to educate them in a meaningful way?

Think about each of the ideas above. Then, consider ways you can incorporate them into your marketing (and the service you provide).

Let’s grow your business! I can help you build a more successful business, increase your sales and boost your profits. To find out how, read this.

Dead Digital Marketing Trends That Need the XFL Treatment

I’m a fan of football. I’m also a fan of ridiculous, over-the-top antics. So, you can imagine my delight when it was announced late in January that the often-polarizing World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) owner, chairman, and CEO Vince McMahon was once again tossing his hat into the ring of professional football – announcing an attempted comeback for the XFL!

Some of you may remember McMahon’s first attempt to establish an alternate professional football league in 2001. With aims to combine the best of the NFL with the WWE, the XFL imagined a league with more action, harder hits, fewer penalties, exciting innovations, scantily-clad cheerleaders, big personalities (with player names like “Deathblow” and “He Hate Me” printed on the back of jerseys) and an overall product that would rival and eventually overtake the NFL.

Due to a laundry list of reasons, the XFL lasted only one season before folding. Before the announcement in January, ESPN premiered a great 30 for 30 documentary on it last year that I 100% recommend you check out, whether you are a sports fan or not.

McMahon seems to believe he has learned from his previous mistakes and promises a better product this time around. Will it work this time? Eh, probably not. But, I am incredibly excited and profoundly interested in watching it unfold – kind of like watching a train wreck.

And who knows: sometimes a fresh coat of paint, new perspective, and time to learn from previous mistakes is all someone needs to succeed whether it’s an individual, business, or a professional football league.

This world needs more second-chance success stories

I wish the XFL the best, and in the spirit of second chances, I got to thinking about dead digital marketing trends of yesteryear. So many trends, apps, and tools have come and gone in recent years. Some quickly became obsolete. Even more, showed initial promise before fading away. Others stumbled right out of the gate before they could even make their mark.

You don’t often see internet and digital marketing trends get a second chance (it’s a cruel and unforgiving place, the internet) but it still begs the question as to how some would fare given the opportunity for a clean slate? Some long-gone trends seem too far gone to make a comeback. But, that didn’t stop me. I thought of a couple dead digital marketing trends that have come and gone in recent years that I would love to see make a comeback.

Would these ideas actually work? Are these ideas even feasible? Who’s to say? But, it’s fun to dream, right?

QR Codes

Even though they have basically become non-existent in marketing, I still love the idea of QR Codes. Having a quick and unique way to send a person in the real world to a website or landing page is still a cool concept. However, this was a digital marketing trend that saw it’s end due to a lack of forethought and an across the board rush of everybody trying to capitalize on the trend. The lack of any native QR Code scanning app in any of the big mobile operating systems led to mass confusion and frustration on finding the best apps that weren’t burdensome and annoying. QR Code placement was also an issue as companies also put them in inconvenient locations like subway terminals (no mobile reception), billboards, and even on websites.

How QR Codes could make a comeback: Android and Apple create a standardized QR Code scanner that comes installed on every smartphone to limit distracting and poorly designed 3rd-party apps. Companies start being smarter about where they place their codes (that’s probably the most unrealistic part).

Vine

Vine was truly ahead of its time. The recently defunct video capture app captured 6-second video clips that automatically repeated, essentially making gifs with sound. Vine paved the way for Instagram Video, Facebook Live, Snapchat and the quick video craze we currently find ourselves smack dab in the middle of. So, in the midst of a video age how did Vine not survive. Unlike those that came after it who continued to innovate and create a service for individuals and businesses alike, Vine never evolved or changed – content to just be a generator of funny memes and videos. Twitter even purchased Vine in 2012 only to pull the plug 4 years later because it was ultimately unable to find a purpose for it.

How Vine could make a comeback: Create a time machine. Vine completely missed the ship because of its own ineptitude. If it had the forethought to continue to innovate and change the platform, I believe it could have succeeded, especially on Twitter where a truly a strong video component is still lacking.

Honestly, most dead digital marketing trends, like these two, are dead for a reason. But, it doesn’t hurt getting a little nostalgic and thinking “what if?” What digital marketing trends would you like to see make a comeback and how could they improve if given a second chance?

Marketing Survey

What are you waiting for?

goal setting, business goals

Don’t wait for permission. You don’t need it.

Don’t wait for the perfect time. The time is never perfect.

Don’t wait for inspiration to appear. Command it to appear.

Don’t wait for the right opportunity. Create it.

Don’t wait for them to pick you. Pick yourself.

Don’t wait for the initiative. Take it.

Now remind yourself: What exactly are you waiting for?

Let’s grow your business! I can help you build a more successful business, increase your sales and boost your profits. To find out how, read this.

7 Bold & Inspirational Books For The Aspiring Female Entrepreneur

[Interesting]

Women in Charge: The Rising Power of the Female Entrepreneur If you’re a female entrepreneur, you rock. As reported in CNBC, fhe age of the female entrepreneur has reached an all-time high, both in the United States and around the world. Female entrepreneurs contributed trillions into the US economy, creating millions of job and opportunities […]

The post 7 Bold & Inspirational Books For The Aspiring Female Entrepreneur appeared first on DIYMarketers.

Weekend Favs February 10

Weekend Favs February 10 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • UpLead – Grow faster with the most accurate company and contact database.
  • Keywords Everywhere – A browser add-on that will get you free search volume, CPC & competition data for almost all the keyword research tools out there!
  • Drift Revenue Reporting – Finally, an end to the war between marketing and sales.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape