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Most businesses understand that the marketing power of content cannot be understated. Content is like the lifeblood of search engine optimization: without it, the chances of you ranking high in search engines like Google, or becoming a thought leader in your industry, are slim to none. Creating effective content makes your business both discoverable and valuable. More businesses will be able to find your content, assess its high value, and either engage with or purchase from you.
However, one of the biggest struggles for entrepreneurs and small business owners is finding a balance between managing operations and creating effective content. There’s already enough day-to-day tasks that come with running a business, without the added responsibility of crafting blog posts and extra resources that simply add to the workload. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can overcome this hurdle as a business owner, and make the most of every hour in your day. Here are a few ideas:
Hire A Freelancer or Guest Blogger
Hiring a freelancer or opening your platform up for guest bloggers can save you a substantial amount of time, shaving off days of your monthly workload. Freelancers and guest bloggers provide similar value to your business, though they play different roles.
You can find freelancers on sites like UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Scripted. Each of these platforms allows you to take a look at the resumes and portfolios of different writers. You’re also able to talk to them about the scope of the work before you make any official hiring decisions. To start, many clients will work with a freelancer on a trial period to gain a better understanding of their talent and work ethic, and then move on to a more permanent role from there.
Guest blogging, on the other hand, allows you to take advantage of experts in your field without actually having to do the work yourself. Some guest posts are paid, while others are not. For example, as a real estate agent, you might have an interior designer guest post on your site about maximizing storage for small spaces. This gives you the content you need, and helps you take advantage of the promotional value of a successful interior designer.
Create A List of Ideas, Fast
One of the hardest things about creating content is coming up with good ideas. If you create content from blog post to blog post, you’ll always feel as if you’re rushing. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help you get some ideas down quickly.
For starters, check out the blogs of other thought leaders and businesses in your industry. Scan through as many pages of the content as you can, jotting down blog posts and links (preferably in a Google Sheets template, where your team can collaborate with you). Be sure to check blogs outside of your direct niche, too. For example, as a real estate agent, you wouldn’t just want to look at some of the best real estate blogs, but would want to pay attention to design and lifestyle blogs, too.
Moz published a great article on how to come up with hundreds of blog ideas in seconds. It does involve using some of their proprietary tools, like the Moz Keyword Explorer, but there are always free alternatives if you wish to check out other tools, like the Google Keyword Planner. Hubspot also has a very intuitive, free Blog Idea Generator. Users start out by typing up to three nouns into the Generator. When we typed in just “real estate,” some of the automatic blog topic suggestions were:
- “The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Real Estate”
- “10 Signs You Should Invest In Real Estate”
- “Why We Love Real Estate (And You Should, Too!)”
- “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Real Estate”
- “Think You’re Cut Out For Real Estate (Take This Quiz)”
Get Your Team Involved
Regardless of the individual roles of each of your staff members, you’d be surprised to find out that many employees would be happy to author some content for you. For starters, these are the people that understand your business the most. Marketer Marcus Sheridan once said, “Your content is the soul of your business, and if your soul is represented by someone who knows nothing about your company, I have concerns for you and your brand.” While their jobs may not involve writing, you never know which staff members have a penchant for the pen, and would be excited to see their name on a published piece.
Ramona Sukhraj, content marketing manager at marketing consulting agency IMPACT, says the key to getting your staff on board is to start small. Even if your staff isn’t as enthusiastic as you’d hope, there are still a few ways to help them lean in your direction. For example, pick a topic or question and reach out to your staff for feedback and answers. If you were a real estate broker,, you might ask your staff, “What’s one issue you notice sellers having that isn’t usually talked about?” Have them submit their responses, and use their answers as quotes in a blog that addresses those issues.
Alternatively, break those responses up into mini blog posts, and ask the staff to elaborate if they feel particularly passionate about their answer. Sometimes, when you request “work” in a non-committal manner, it makes it much easier to get better content. Your team will also start to realize that writing blog posts doesn’t have to be complicated, and can stem from answering a simple question in the same manner you’d answer that question to a colleague.
And finally, another way to encourage them is to cover the basics for them. If you already have a lengthy list of topics you want to cover, share it. Include keywords that are important to you, and even bullet points that will flesh out the piece. If they have the skeleton of the work provided, it will feel less overwhelming, and even enjoyable.