About Alex Gash
The co-founder of Marylebone Marketing. Alex has been working on disruptive technologies over the past eight years. He has worked for some of the UK’s leading tech companies and is skilled in digital marketing, sales and technology. Alex is an entrepreneur with a passion for working with company teams to help them achieve better business success.
We are all busy. We all have a lot to get done in a day. For small marketing and PR teams, blog writing and content generation is difficult when there are so many internal and external deadlines to meet.
In this blog, I’ll describe some of the best techniques to generate ideas for regular articles and a proven methodology that will help you achieve your content objectives.
Overcoming the Challenge
Understanding Your Business Case
If you’re really stuck and having trouble getting started, then I recommend using the Lean Stack methodology as a way of kickstarting the content process. The Lean Stack forces you to stop and think about a number of key elements: the company; its customer segments and primary marketing channels – maybe questions you haven’t had time to really think about deeply for a little while.
Get a group of you together to discuss, decide and capture the following
What problem is the company trying to solve? go beyond the features and really identify the benefit the company delivers.
What solutions does it offer? This should be an easier question, but you might be surprised that not everyone in the team is really clear about the role of the products and services, which ones are most profitable and which are at the end of their lifecycle.
Which customer segments does it really serve? Everyone is not the answer. Be as specific as possible, without getting down to the level of individuals! What is it about the products and services that each customer segment really appreciates?
Revenue streams – which product and customer segments make the majority of profit?
Unique proposition – how can you communicate consistently and with impact, the high-level proposition that the company exists to serve?
Channels – where are our most important customer segments most likely to see the content once written? Is the content compelling enough for them to share it?
Key metrics – how will you measure the success of the content and over what time period?
Unfair advantage – every company should have at least one. Make sure you can name your company’s unique advantage that no-one can replicate or eliminate.
You should find that the discussion generates new information, understanding and a bank of blog and content ideas as the team discusses what drives each customer segment to consider and then make a purchase.
Planning Your Content
Once you have your list of blog titles, it’s tempting to jump straight in and start writing – don’t.
Professional writers spend almost as much time planning and preparing their content as they do actually writing it. Spend at least 15 minutes planning the structure of the blog post, gathering any reference examples or product descriptions, thinking about how to frame the arguments and hone the blog post message so that the reader is clear about the critical takeaways you’re aiming to deliver. By planning and preparing you’ll be in a great place when you start typing and deliver a great result.
Unlocking team knowledge
Creativity can come from anywhere. Everyone on the marketing and PR team should be invited to contribute blog writing ideas around the topics and themes identified during your Lean Stack discussion. You’ll also have a number of subject matter experts (SMEs) throughout the business who might be dying to share their ideas and expertise. Talk through their ideas with them, and offer to interview them and draft a blog post for them to review if you don’t think they’ll have the time, or perhaps the writing skills to do this without help.
Have a communal bank of ideas
Having a shared blog writing ideas board on Trello, Slack or Google Docs, whichever one you all use, find your ‘medium’, invite the team to contribute and review the list regularly. Then make sure you follow-up on writing the best ideas and sharing the newly-generated content internally – or the content well of ideas will soon dry up.
Designing a content framework or content UX
Call it content UX, or just content design. Create a distinctive blog design that reflects your brand and tone of voice. The blog experience should be an extension of your company product and service experience, helping deepen engagement with your readers. Another plus, it also saves a heap of time when formatting.
Plan your keywords before a post, not after
Identify which keywords are important. Every image in the post should have one. Every blog post should have one. Keywords build organic search like nothing else, as it helps map the content to search engines. For example, ‘Blog writing’ is the keyword for this blog post.
Content marketing is hard work
As you post your first few blog posts, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement. But regular content delivery can be hard work.
- Make sure you spread the writing and editing load. Think about creating a small editorial board which meets regularly to discuss and decide on the topic ideas and themes, decide on the editorial calendar, allocate writers and editors.
- Identify key milestones and events in your sector, to help you structure your editorial year well-ahead of time.
- Get feedback from readers, the internal teams and the sales force. Find out what people like about the content, how engaged they are and what they think needs improving. Positive feedback will re-energise you and negative feedback will help you develop future success.
Effective blog writing should increase inbound leads by building the awareness and credibility of your company.
Need help writing blogs?
If you would like help in starting-up your company’s content engine, then contact us at Marylebone Marketing. We have experience of running content solutions for a variety of clients across many sectors, from automotive to financial, from management and leadership to technology and SaaS companies.