5 Ways to Produce Eye-Catching Content Without a Designer

photo credit: kaboompics

photo credit: kaboompics

There’s nothing like great content. I create it for work. I create it for fun. Crazy? Perhaps. Especially since creating good, visually appealing content is a huge challenge faced by many.

There is no rule that says you have to hire a pricey graphic designer in order to generate beautiful, design-rich content.  Of course, design specialists are a great resource to have on a team – but, for many earlier-stage businesses, increased costs and headcount may not be ideal.

Luckily, a universe of tools exist that enable quick content creation for even the non-designers among us – whether it’s as simple as a quick meme or as elaborate as an ebook. Slim, bootstrapping teams could wear a designer hat and produce the rich content quickly and inexpensively by enlisting some of these fantastic content-producing tools:

Capture the moment with Skitch

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.32.16 PMSkitch is a great app that helps brands tell a visual story – and it’s free! Grab a quick screenshot on your device and mark it up with arrows, boxes, text and more. Skitch lets you mark up images, digital assets, PDFs, and other files with arrows, callout boxes, text, and more.

I find that at least once a day I use Skitch’s “Screen Snap” function to grab all or part of my screen for use in content. I don’t need to plug my captured image into another program for further cropping and other editing since the all-in-one features of Skitch enable me to do so right in their app. A great time saver and useful tool for supporting your talking points with a rich visual design.

Skitch is owned by Evernote but does not require an Evernote account to start using. Try it out and screengrab to your heart’s content.

Don’t use any old font, use Dafont

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.32.42 PMSick of using Times and Ariel in your creative. Aren’t we all? Luckily, resources like Google Fonts, Font Squirrel and more offer a wealth of wonderfully designed, open-source fonts to add a little character to your characters.

I like Dafont for its abundance of options that range from general purpose to highly specialized. Each font is well-tagged so the site’s great search function could pull up just what you’re looking for. Simply download, install and use a desired font in graphics, presentations, ebooks and more – just make sure to check for any attribution requirements.

Pound out a quick infographic with Piktochart

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.33.07 PMThere’s nothing like a good infographic to capture an audience and teach them something new. When it’s simple to create in just minutes and free, it’s all the more reason to inject them into a content strategy.

Piktochart is quick and simple for anyone to create professional-looking infographics, reports, banners, and presentations. An intuitive interface and simple drag-and-drop features help a designer-less team fake it until they make it.

Get instant access and “start creating in 30 seconds,” as the site’s homepage describes. Start yours from scratch, choose from customizable free templates or step up to Pro for some more options.

Along with the vast library of templates, you can find over four thousand graphics to really spruce things up, or get more custom and create your very own images. When generating visual creations to represent your brand, avoid a clunky MS Paint design and make them look professionally mastered at low commitment.

Become an author with Guides.co

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.33.14 PMHave what it takes to write an informative eBook but lack the design skill to bring into fruition? Guide.co offers the perfect solution.

We’ve all experienced the power of eBooks, in educating an audience, adding credibility and thought leadership status to a brand and capturing more qualified leads. But the more comprehensive the piece of content the more time and budget it consumes.

Guides.co provides a useful, plug-and-lay model to take on the burden creating an attractive body for your killer copy. Like Piktochart, Guides.co offers multiple templates to kick off your design – and easy-to-use customizing features help to guide your guide to fit your brand.

Guides.co even goes the extra mile and hosts your content on their site for the world to discover!

Get interactive and think ThingLink

ThingLink adds a totally new form to social media that brings life to your content. The tool makes interactive visual graphics easy to make and void of the premium price tag.

The site integrates with others like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Vimeo to pull in sounds and videos to add to your graphic.

Register for free or get a few other advantages with a membership – but you might not need to spend the extra cash. The tools basic features enable users to design quite rich, interactive videos and images to incorporate into a content marketing strategy.

Even better, once completed, ThingLink lets you tag your piece and share with your social network along with their own community. Interact with other creative ThingLink users for ideas, inspiration and feedback.

Go forth and design

Designing is not easy. Supplementing the talent of an experienced designer will save costs but could indeed reduce the effectiveness of a content strategy. However, since more basic content is better than no content at all, getting your engine running with intuitive and affordable tools is key.  Helpful apps that enable the everyday entrepreneur or busy marketing generalist to design without breaking the bank or eating up your time is lifesaving.

Have any questions about improving your content strategy? Contact me! 

VinceVince is a passionate digital marketing specialist with a track record of evangelizing technology to modernize business development and brand building in the startup through enterprise levels. Skilled in strategic data-driven campaign management, Vince focuses on demand generation programs that influence growth, including marketing automation, social media, digital advertising, search engine optimization, blogging, public relations, video and event marketing.? Vince is a well-established Twitter influencer under @vince_tech and Founder of Boom Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency specializing in supporting the growth of early-stage startup companies through social media, content marketing, and design.

 

10 Ways to Use One Piece of Content

content marketing

The only way to wring more value out of your content is to understand the intricate connection between your content and your strategy.

Now, don’t hit the back button just yet – I purposely left the word strategy out of the title of this post because I know that what you want is a magic bullet, but here’s the deal – content put in the context of strategy is the closest thing there is to the magic bullet.

The purpose of a business is to make and keep a profitable customer – the purpose of content is to help you make and keep a profitable customer – if that’s so – and it is – then why don’t people create content with that intention?

The idea of content marketing begins and ends for so many with – “It’s Monday, what the heck should I write today?”

What if instead you thought a little bigger – what if you thought we want to be seen as the trusted, go-to service provider for what we do and our value proposition is that we bend over backwards to make you happy when nobody in our industry even tries to.

Now, perhaps you’ve had a strategy meeting with your team and you all agreed that’s your core strategy, but no one thought to bring that into the content you produce.

If you did you would:

  • Write a blog post that outlined the 7 questions you should ask your current provider and make it a core lead generator
  • Turn that blog post into a series of videos that the sales team can send out one by one to prospects
  • Develop a Slideshare deck and presentation that you feature on your LinkedIn profile
  • Turn that presentation into a value packed webinar
  • Record the webinar and feature it on your homepage
  • Create an autorepsonder series that delivers emails to prospects over the course of a month
  • Create an infographic and shop it around to high traffic websites
  • Turn your infographic into a direct mail postcard for a targeted blast
  • Get seven of your happy customers to pose one of the questions via video and feature it all over your website
  • Dig up case studies that map to each question and extend the original post and graphics into an eBook

Did you see what I did there – I just took one landmark content idea and turned it into 10 useful iterations. See, the secret to success with content isn’t quantity – it’s intention. If you create content with the intention of finding ways to use it to create awareness, trust, connection, education and conversion, you’ll likely create an asset that provides massive return.

Now, understand this isn’t simply recycling content into different mediums, it’s giving the same content a different and needed useful stop along the customer journey.

Oh, and I didn’t even get to point where you turn this content into an evaluation process and ultimately a part of your service delivery.

So you see you don’t need more content – you need the right content in the right context – and that’s all.

How to Choose the Right Content Platform

Why do we need so many content platforms?

information overloadSometimes it feels like we are drowning in our Twitter feed and don’t have time to read through all of our Feedly blogs. We are in information overload, and it’s not slowing down. Social media, emails, blogs, websites, advertisements, radio, television, are all coming at us with tons of “need to know” information. Wouldn’t life be easier with one content platform? One place where we get all the information we ever needed?

Yea, that would be great. Unfortunately, just like some of us are listening learners, some are visual and some are doers, everyone consumes information in different ways. Certain topics might be interesting to some people, and they will spend time reading into the topics, watching videos, looking at pictures, clicking through to find more information. Others might not even get through that headline.

For that reason, we have hundreds of content platforms to choose from. That being said, how do you choose the platform that is right for your organization?

  1. Examine your ideal customer.
  2. Identify your assets.
  3. Match your tools with your time.

Examine your Ideal Customer

If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, stop right here and go read this. For those of you who do know who your ideal customer is, do you know where they spend the most time online? In order to know what content platforms to focus on, you absolutely have to know this.

If you are spending time on Facebook posts and advertising, but your ideal customer is reading reddit, then you are throwing money to the wind, and no one wants to do that. Examine your ideal customer, where they are getting their news, where they are shopping, and ultimately, where they want to see information about your brand.

Identify your Assets

Many organizations attempt to participate on certain content platforms because that’s where their ideal customer is active, but don’t have the right assets to be engaging on that platform. If you offer a service rather than a product, a visual platform like Instagram might be difficult to participate on. If that platform is where your ideal customer is active, you’ll need to spend time developing those visual assets.

Determine what kind of information you already have available, and then push the limits with that information. Determine how it can be turned into a video, photo, graphic, podcast, blog post, website page, etc. Take the content you have, and turn it into the content you need!

Match your Tools with your Time

This step is where you determine what you need to be doing, with what you are capable of doing. If I am someone’s ideal customer, for example, a brand might want to reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, e-newsletter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and via commercials during Survivor. A little overwhelming, right? Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to scale your content strategy:

  • Plan Plan Plan
    Planning your content out can help you get the most out of the content that you have – and will help you to not constantly be looking for something to use. You’ll be prepped and ready to go with your next post, picture, etc.
  • Quality Trumps Quantity
    Producing content for the purpose of producing content isn’t fooling anyone. With the amount of content available today, people can be picky with what they are soaking in. Make sure you are offering the best value for your customers as you can.
  • Repurpose
    Again, thinking outside the box about content that you already have is a great way to really drive home good information in a variety of ways. Be creative and you’ll get more miles out of your blog post and podcasts than you ever thought possible!

What content platforms are you trying to reach in your content strategy?

Kala LinckKala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels, praying for summer or tweeting about coffee and cats @tadasunshine.

How to Be or Not Be In a Digital World

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.15.06 PMWe’ve watched online presence transform from a hobby or a pastime into a mandatory, crucial, and overwhelmingly powerful tool practiced by everyone familiar with the World Wide Web. What is fast becoming clear is that 10 years from now, online presence will replace resumes and will serve as our business card whether for professional purposes or social and romantic ones. This reality lends urgency to the question of how we, average Joes, promote ourselves on the web? How do we become our own content marketing, SEO, and copywriting team?

Gone are the days of posting whatever feels right at the spur of the moment anywhere and everywhere on the web. The good old days of carefree frolicking on the net have made way to a new and very different kind of web presence. This is the time of the carefully thought out posts, the manicured pictures, and the well-formulated responses. These are the days of the meticulously crafted Likes and Shares and the cautionary tales of intimate affairs gone viral and private pictures haunting teenage girls.

At the Social Fresh Conference a few months ago, three out of five panelists chose to discuss digital presence. In the words of the table’s moderator, “practically every business in the world knows the importance of an online presence. Most people find it off-putting if a business doesn’t have a website to talk about itself.” With recruiters and hiring managers in businesses of all sizes turning to the web to gain insight into potential candidates and one in every five employers using social networks to screen job seekers, it is clear why being MIA online is deemed anachronistic, hidebound and even suspect.

Hard Times for Small Businesses

This is a paradox unique to our time. We live in a profoundly online culture with enormous access to information. However, many small to medium businesses have not quite caught up to this digital explosion and find themselves lagging behind, always one step behind the latest social network taking the world by storm.

In Came the Social Media Assistance Tools

In the world of online, where a need is determined, a product is usually not far behind. In the wake of the ever growing social platforms, online services have sprung up to offer tracking, management, and synchronization support. Software such as Hootsuite, Oktopost, and Sociota provide a one-stop-shops for managing all your media accounts, Lithium offers to nurture all your customer support and care relations for you, and Engagor targets conversations involving your business or brand as they happen in real time across all social media platforms. Such services were constructed with the small business sector in mind. They aim to provide an answer for businesses that don’t yet have those big marketing departments and extravagant social budgets.

Yet services catering to small businesses go far beyond online management and monitoring tools. With the understanding that even brick-and-mortar businesses are in need of serious web visibility came a slew of geo-based software such as Moment.me, which will aggregate all relevant social media posts related to an address you input.

If a Dog is Man’s Friend Then…

I’ve heard it said that social media assistance software is a small business’ best friend. Like a good assistant, it badgers you as little as possible with questions you don’t have clear answers for and before you know, it gets the job done. If tracking your social media traffic is what you’re after, communicating with your customers in real time, or making yourself relevant on as many social media platforms as you possibly can, these tools have your name written all over them.

b&w author pic 1Anat Richter is Content Marketing Director at emaze. When she isn’t tapping away in its Tel Aviv offices, she is documenting life on the web as a user and a guest blogger.

 

Are Paid Content Distribution Platforms Cost Effective?

Content Distribution img3_BK_HoCCreating great content is only one aspect of digital marketing. In order for that content to be effective you need an audience, you need eyeballs and traffic.

Generate enough traffic and that content will drive a steady uptick in conversions and a return on your marketing budgetary spend. Finding that audience is often the hardest challenge.

Social and Guest Blogger Networks

Social media is becoming an increasingly pay-to-play environment, especially on Facebook. Organic traffic to Pages is below 2%.

With over 100,000 factors influencing who sees your content on Facebook, if a post isn’t popular enough it may only reach a few hundred unless you put some ad money behind it.

An alternative is to target bloggers and media outlets directly. Ask to be published as a guest blogger. Get enough outlets in your network, and you could have hundreds of thousands of new readers and fans of your content, which ultimately leads to conversion upticks. This approach does take time, but it works. Buffer, a popular social media sharing tool, leveraged a guest network to generate millions in revenues.

Paid Content Platforms: A Distribution Alternative?

Not unlike creating a sponsored post on Facebook, a range of content distribution platforms have emerged over the last few years, aiming to automate the challenge of finding an audience for your content.

They broadly work in the same way: you upload the content (which is published locally, on your blog), set the budget and timescale, then launch the campaign. Anyone familiar with online publishing and managing ad campaigns should be fairly well accustomed to the technology and processes.

The following are some of the most popular distribution platforms on the market.

Outbrain

Content Distribution img2_BK_HoCCost-per-Click (CPC) $0.25–$0.35

Outbrain boasts a global reach of over 560 million (as of September 2014, comScore), with 80% of the world’s leading brands already working with them. They have a distribution network (which is ultimately what you are paying for) which includes real estate on some of the most high-profile media outlets, including CNN and ESPN.

Nativo

The Outbrain link appeared at the bottom of an article on the Independent websiteViewable CPM rates (vCPM): $10–$18

Rather than just an iteration on the Outbrain model, Nativo has two key differentiators: Firstly, it charges vCPM rates rather than CPC rates, which means you know people have seen your content. Secondly, content is published within media outlets and blogs, like Entrepreneur.com.

They work with over 1,700 publishers and claim a 300% increase on the performance of native ads. It is like having an external content network, with all the heavy lifting taken care of.

Taboola

CPC: $0.25–$0.30

Similar to Outbrain and other competitors, such as Disqus, Taboola provides a content distribution platform on a CPC model.

How to implement (while factoring in downsides)

With all of these you can target using geography. None will get you as close as a sponsored post on Facebook, so all come down to trial and error. Have a budget and timescale that will allow for some fine tuning. Most also provide detailed analytics, which allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Depending on your budget and resources, doing a side by side comparison (depending on your audience and the content) with promoted content across social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr – where the average promoted post gets reblogged 10,000 times). See which works best for your brand, which results in the highest upticks in traffic and conversions.

Winning the distribution game is key to making the most of your content marketing. As Gary Vaynerchuk noted, content may be king, but without distribution you have no queen and your household will be a mess.

Benjamin+KerryBenjamin Kerry is Managing Director of Precise English, an SEO copywriting agency in Stockton on Tees, England.  He specialises getting businesses set up online, from well-written content to designing and developing a beautiful & functional website.

 

5 Easy-To-Use Blog Post Formats

If you’re starting a new blog for your business, you probably have done a lot of research on how to write blog posts. You’ve probably come across all different kinds of posts, everything from other businesses like yours to Buzzfeed’s top 10 cat gifs of the week. It can be a bit overwhelming. Every blog post is different, and you may not know which styles and formats to emulate.

The truth is, there are countless ways to write blog posts, and many different formats you can use. In my last post, I even suggested you use multiple different formats every week or month to help you write more efficiently. Here are several different, easy to use blog post formats and how to use them.

Countdown / List

Countdown or list posts are some of the most highly shared posts on the Internet, and they are easy to read and create. Made popular by sites like Buzzfeed, the countdown post is a list of headers, broken apart by small bits of content under each header. You see this all the time: “5 tips to make you a better blogger,” “The top 10 teams in Major League Baseball,” even posts like this would fall under that format.

These sorts of posts are frequently shared because the headers make it easier for speed readers to comprehend the content of the post. They also make it and for those who may not want to read the entire post to pick and choose the content they want to read. It is easy to write because the list format allows you to gather and organize your thoughts without having to worry about those pesky and sometimes difficult-to-write transitions.

To write a countdown or list post, begin with a topic. Next think of a handful of examples. Aim for a nice round number like 5 or 10, but don’t sweat it if you can only think of 4 or 7. Next, write a little bit about each example and why it pertains to the topic. Finally, write a short intro and conclusion about the subject and why it matters to your audience. It’s as simple as that!

How-To

How-to blog posts are exactly what they sound like, a post with a step-by-step outline of how to complete a task. Here on the Duct Tape Marketing blog, Sara writes great how-to posts. These are often easy to write because you’re outlining something you already know how to do, and really helpful to your audience.

To write a how-to blog post, begin with a task and list out the steps one by one. Next, spend a bit of time explaining each step, maybe even including photos or examples of each step. Make sure these steps and explanations are broken down so your blog’s audience can understand, and avoid any industry-specific jargon. Finally, write an introduction explaining to your audience why they should learn this new skill, and maybe a conclusion encouraging your audience to practice and use the new skill.

News

News posts are editorial posts that analyze a newsworthy event and apply it to your industry. News posts get shared because there is a good chance your audience is already talking about the news story.

To write a news blog post, start by creating a listening post to keep an eye (or ear) out for news that applies to your business. This can be done by following journalists and news outlets on social media, or just checking your favorite news outlets daily. Next, find a news story that may have an impact on your industry or business in the future. Begin by writing a little bit of background on the news story, and then spend time talking about how it impacts you, your industry or your customers.

Sharing

Sharing posts are some of the easiest to write, and are a valuable tool to leverage for growing your strategic partner base. These are posts where you can share other posts or products to your audience. For example, every weekend John shares his “Weekend Favs,” three new tools that can help make running a business easier.

To write a sharing post, collect blog posts or products to share throughout the week leading to the post. Be sure to keep your strategic partners in mind, and work their products and posts in often. List each item and hyperlink each one. Next, write a little about each post or product you are sharing, specifically why your audience should click the link. That’s it!

Mailbag

Finally, the mailbag post is a great way to get your audience to write your posts for you. The only catch is that you have to build up an active audience for this to work. These posts simply consist of you answering questions directly from your audience.

To write a mailbag post, call for questions from your audience either in a post on your blog or social media. Then copy/paste the questions and write your answers. If you don’t have much of an active audience, you can always think of commonly asked questions to answer, but this can be difficult.

Blog posts shouldn’t be difficult to write. These five easy blog post formats should help you get your blog rolling with great, consistent content.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

How Not to Get Lost in the Content Creation Wasteland

Planning an entire year in advance – who DOES that??

You should – if you want to stay focused and on track to meet your marketing goals. To be more specific – if your marketing strategy includes blogging, sending e-newsletters, or any other form of content that you share digitally, a content calendar is a powerful tool to make your online marketing more effective. And without one, you could be just another boring fish in the online marketing sea.

As someone who does nearly all of my business online and connects with thousands of people every week using online tools, a content calendar is a no-brainer. Knowing what I want to share with my audience ahead of time makes my writing more efficient and my work less stressful. It keeps me organized. It keeps me focused on the bigger goal of constantly finding new ways to serve my best customers better.

Think of it like this: let’s say you live in Oklahoma City, and you plan to drive to Los Angeles, somewhere you’ve never been. Even though you have the fantastic invention of GPS, plus a paper map and a good friend who knows the city well to help you get to your destination efficiently and safely, you simply get in your car and start driving west.

You don’t even consider what asphalt cooking in 115-degree heat could do to your tires. You ignore the signs that read “next gas station 158 miles”. You just drive aimlessly, surviving on cold fried chicken you bought at the Albertson’s in Needles because there was literally nothing else open. You’re not sure how or when you’ll get to LA.

content planYou’ll probably still get there… but it could be a much longer and more frustrating trip than it needed to be, all because you didn’t take a few minutes to plan.

Content creation is like that. Without a clear path to your destination, it becomes a vicious cycle that alternates between writer’s block and hopelessness.

Thankfully, a bit of planning will keep you from getting lost in the Mojave Desert of content development.

If you’re reading this with a sceptical eye, then you’re probably someone who struggles with the question “But how do I know what to write about?” The answer is simple: ask your audience.

If your audience is engaged with you and asks you questions, you can build your content calendar to address their needs. Your audience is probably the most powerful planning tool you have at your disposal. The more engaged you are with them, the more they’ll tell you what they want, and the easier it is to plan your content strategy well in advance.

Wondering how to create a content strategy that has your business’s longer-term objectives in mind? Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on monthly themes. You don’t have to have every blog title, and every YouTube video script written out. But by choosing a general theme for each month, you have a framework around which to develop each piece of content. As you come up with new ideas, slot them into the most relevant themes to start building out the calendar.
  2. Plan content around your launches. Are you planning to launch a new product or program this year? Up to a month before your launch, start promoting content that relates to whatever you’re going to be selling; it brings more people into the fold who are likely to buy from you.
  3. Solve your audience’s problems. Survey your email list or Twitter followers; find out what they want to know and use that information to create your themes and your content.
  4. Be flexible. Just like a business plan, it’s impossible to stick to your content plan like glue. Be responsive to your audience’s new questions, and pay attention to current events to see if you can leverage those to make more people aware of your brand.

Ready for a smooth ride on the content creation highway? Take ten minutes today and create your monthly content themes for the rest of 2015. Your audience will thank you.

jessica omanWhen Jessica Oman (the Renegade Planner) isn’t busy helping her clients start and grow businesses that earn them a 6-figure income, she’s road-tripping in the USA with her hubby and pooch, or developing her appreciation for a good West Coast IPA. She’s written the Ultimate Guide to Leaving Your Job and Planning a Business you Can Bank on, which you can download free by clicking here.

Converting Subpar Writers In to Content Champions

Content- there is no easy button.Consumers love content. It entices them visit company websites. It inspires them to share business insights. It gives them trust in the brand. And, ultimately, it encourages them to make a purchase.

Sixty percent of B2C marketers anticipate increasing their content marketing budget within 2015, according to Content Marketing Institute. While this statistic isn’t necessarily shocking, marketers are increasingly concerned about the lack of trained professionals to fulfill these needs.

The report went on the state that more than 40% of respondents were challenged with “lack of knowledge and training” and “finding trained content marketing professionals” to produce engaging, converting content.

In-house marketing teams and digital agencies can help employees develop into skilled writers by providing growth structure and educational opportunities. This will not only strengthen the content team but can further propel clients toward online success.

5 Techniques to Help Writers Succeed in the Digital Sphere

1. Start With an Assessment

When a new content marketer is hired, provide them with an evaluation to get a better idea of the individual’s capabilities. The evaluation should be based on your company’s specific content needs and can come in a variety of forms.

One evaluation option is to assign an initial writing exercise followed by an editorial review that will note necessary areas of improvement, organization skills, pace of writing, improper grammar use, etc. Another assessment could be as simple as creating a grammar and punctuation test.

Assessments, in conjunction with writing samples, will give the content strategists a baseline understanding of where the writer may experience difficulties. Additionally, asking the writer if there are any key areas they’d like to develop further can set the tone for growth.

2. Establish a Style Guide for Each Medium

Consumers on each medium are typically there for different reasons, and it’s important to convey those needs to new writers. Clearly outline the company’s tone and objectives for blogs, email content, each social network and other marketing mediums to guide content writing. A concise overview of each platform’s needs is important to establish expectations for writers. Check out MailChimp’s Voice & Tone for inspiration on creating a style guide for your company and/or clients.

Additionally, new writers should be briefed on which standard of writing the company follows. Many bloggers use AP Style, others prefer Chicago Style and some companies have created an alternative variant. This resource will help the writer make quick, informed decisions and ensures the company’s content is consistent.

content-calendar

3. Stay Organized

Setting up processes for content construction is imperative to develop successful writers. There are three distinct necessities for any organization tasked with content construction:

  •  An editorial flow chart clearly outlines the process for creating, editing and approving content.
  • Utilizing track changes in Microsoft Word ensures writers and editors are clear on what changes have been made to a document and allows individuals to leave comments.
  • Content calendars track what topics should be covered and when. They can also include notes on the progress of each piece (see image). This streamlines communication and keeps everyone informed on content marketing efforts happening throughout the team.

If new writers require extra assistance, working on outlines together before the writing process begins. This can proactively address potential errors before the writer even makes them.

4. Identify Quality Resources

Editors and content strategists are often well versed on valuable tools and resource that newer writers can benefit from. Share these with content teams; advocate that writers regularly read informative blogs and stay attuned to techniques that established content marketers use. While each writer will undoubtedly have her own diction, well-written blogs can provide valuable insights on potential style and structural improvements.

The Web also offers an array of paid instructional resources that can aid in the writer’s growth.
Some websites to reference:

5. Schedule Time to Write Daily

Every writer should work to figure out when they are the most productive and creative. After learning when that is, give writers daily assignments or allow free flow writing during that time. Writing is a skill improved with regular practice. Daily writing gives time for experimentation, growth and learning new techniques and formats.

Training writers to fulfill your organization’s content marketing needs will help them feel professional fulfilled and grow with your business. It can take time and patients from an experienced editor or content strategist, but will have a lasting, positive impact on your company and clients’ online presence.

Jennifer ClineJennifer Cline is the Digital Account Lead at Element5, a Michigan-based web design, development, and marketing agency. With a background in Journalism, Jennifer enjoys working closely with content writers and companies to produce quality writing that not only informs, but also converts. Element5 helps companies achieve online success and is committed to crafting a better Web. For more article like this, visit Element5’s blog. @Element5Digital