Tuesday, April 25, 2023

How to Make Your Content Creation Easier

So you're stuck with the task of writing your own website, blog, sales letter, press release, or email marketing content. Maybe you don't have a professional marketing person on your team, or maybe you just like doing things yourself. But there's no getting around the fact that marketing content creation can challenge your wits, patience, and sanity even under the best of circumstances. Sooner or later you'll find yourself staring at a blank screen without the slightest clue on how to move forward and produce the content your business urgently needs in a crowded, competitive marketplace. If you're already sweating creative bullets, here are some things you can do to make the process a bit easier and less stressful.

Start with a Plan

You can't know what content to write without first knowing who you're writing it for, what they need and want to read, and how to push their buttons so they'll respond to your call to action. That means doing your research and coming up with a buyer persona -- that imaginary person I've talked about before, one who fits all the demographics and characteristics of your ideal customer. Okay, now that you have your audience in mind, you can plan your content creation accordingly. If you intend to blog regularly, that means coming up with an editorial calendar (which I've also harped on in the past). Block out a whole year's worth of topics if possible. you can always tweak it as you go, but have some kind of plan in place to guide your way.

Use Topic Brainstorming Techniques

Do you hate having to come up with an endless stream of ideas for blog, email, or newsletter content? Talk about a brain drain! But fear not, because a few little ideation tricks can help prime the creative pump. For instance, you might start by thinking about your target audience. What nagging problem did they probably have recently? What aspects of your business seem to interest them the most? What's the most helpful advice you could give them right now? Answers may pop into your head with startling speed. If you can't dream up whole articles out of thin air, what about titles? Ray Bradbury used to type out title after title and then let each title suggest an entire story to him. Worth a try, right? 

Streamline Your Style

Do you tend to launch long, elaborate sentences and then get sort of lost halfway through them? Are you always struggling for just the right word? Maybe it's time you simplified your marketing content style and vocabulary. Focus on clear, simple statements in everyday language. Even if you work in some specialized technical field, your audience probably doesn't want to sift through a lot of technobabble. They just want the answer to that all-important question: "What can you do for me?" So streamline your style, clarify your points, and you'll find that your content becomes both more effective and less of a pain to write.

Draft Now, Fix Later

"Analysis paralysis" can strike anyone at any time, making even the most straightforward decisions needlessly agonizing. Unfortunately, it's especially common in the world of content creation. As long as that screen stays blank, you haven't made any mistakes -- and so the screen stays blank. If you're a perfectionist, you may stare at that blank screen forever, terrified that you'll write something that doesn't meet your lofty standards. But remember this: You can't fix what doesn't exist. Barf out that hopeless word salad of a draft, accept that it needs revision, and then revise it. Launch the ship, and then correct the course as needed.

I hope these tips help you move forward with your marketing content creation. If you'd rather engage professional assistance for this chore, put me to work as your freelance marketing copywriter. What could be easier than that?

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Could Your Business Use Some "Spring Cleaning?"

Spring has sprung, and that means it's time for some spring cleaning. I'm not sure where the tradition started, but it seems to be fairly universal in homes across the globe. But businesses can also benefit from periodic fixing up, just a precision equipment might need occasional adjustments to remain in perfect working order. Have you allowed some slack to creep into the mechanism? Have small inefficiencies or inconsistencies snowballed into large problems over the course of the year? Allow me to suggest a few areas you might want to check for cobwebs.

Time management. Do you have a firm grip on your schedule as a business owner? Can you focus on the daily activities that actually earn you money, or do you waste time passively reacting to every emergency that decides to have its way with you? Stop and examine your schedule for "time thieves" that sap your productivity and earning power. For instance, are you still writing your own marketing content, even though that's not really what you should be doing with your billable time? Some strategic outsourcing to a skilled, experienced freelance copywriter just might solve that problem....

Money management. This area obviously relates directly to time management, but it also merits attention on its own. Has your business expanded beyond the capacity of your current money management system? Have small extra expenditures here and there drained money from your coffers in ways you never noticed? Now's the time to notice and respond. It may also be time to determine where your business needs deeper investment in specific areas so it can grow properly. Are you marketing your brand effectively? Many businesses make the mistake of trimming their marketing budget first when things get tight -- even though it's the only part of their budget that exists solely to generate revenue! If you want to bring in more money, maybe you need to spend more money on your marketing efforts.

Strategy management. Sometimes a business must make a major change in its target market, operations, products, services, or strategies. For instance, I've shifted more toward working with marketing agencies as opposed to end users, even though I'm still happy to take requests from both target audiences. I've also introduced a monthly retainer option for clients who just want to have me "on call" for any mix of writing, editing, and proofreading. You may find that your own company needs to make a transition of some sort, including a new or different approach to your marketing. Whatever changes you face, don't let fear, fatigue, or complacency sabotage your future success -- whip out that broom, and start sweeping!