… exhausting, time-consuming and costy. Let’s face it.
All your social media profiles, your own blog, your website, your podcast or wherever you may surf on the world wide web: marketing gurus keep telling us to regularly generate and spread high-quality content. "High-quality" means content that can’t be found anywhere else and providing additional value for the content’s consumers - either as text, picture, audio or video.
I regularly produce new content providing additional value, which cannot (or can hardly) be found anywhere else. I’ve been doing that for seven years. And yes: it is exhausting, time-consuming and costy. Every time I read "content generation" in my calender, I’m swearing. Honestly.
But after all these years I can say: it is paying off in the long run. You "only" have to have stamina and creativity!
OUTSOURCING OR DOING IT YOURSELF?
Here and there, ghostwriters send me a request to write for me. Of course, you can outsource content generation. However, I personally don’t like that idea, to be very honest. My business is called HCG corporate designs, whereas HCG are my initials (Helene Clara Gamper). I believe, people visiting my website want to read content created by me in person. Also, my content is very specific and requires specific knowledge. Me explaining my skills to a ghostwriter would probably be as time-consuming as generating the content myself. Also, I would feel like a scammer pretending an article is from me, but it’s not. Authenticity is important.
HOW TO PUT THIS PLAN INTO ACTION
Every year, I produce approx. five new topics:
as text for my website (hello to Google crawling!),
as text in a PDF download on my website (handy for people who prefer to consume my content offline),
as video (for Youtube and embedded in my website; handy for people who prefer to watch a video rather than reading a text),
some topics as podcast (for podcast subscribers and embedded on my website; handy for people who let’s say sit in the car a lot listening to podcasts or audio books);
every topic twice: in German and English language.
If you know my tip section, you can maybe imagine how much work sticks behind all that. Again: I produce all of this content myself. As a single entrepreneur with mostly a full schedule, it’s not so easy to regularly create new, unique content. I’m sure you would like to know how I do this - without stressing out ;-)
Here we go: Every time a good content topic idea comes to my mind, I write it down. Every year (yes, really every year!) I block two full weeks for content generation (7 days per week x approx. 8 hours per day). In my case, this is 25 December to 6 January. Around this time, people are in Christmas mode, I don’t get calls and emails, nobody disturbs me and I can fully concentrate on two weeks of non-stop working. Yes, I skip my Christmas holidays, but I have to be willing to bite this bullet. No pain, no gain!
These two weeks of the year are solely reserved for my own content generation for the upcoming twelve months. Just the video productions I have to coordinate with the filming company. We normally shoot these approx. ten videos (5 topics x 2 languages each) within one day in January, which costs me a four-figure amount of money. The new content I then put on my website and I upload the videos on Youtube, so that I can then spread it on social media throughout the year.
You see, Christmas - NYE - Twelfth Day holiday, this is my "hot phase" for content. ;-) This is the only way it works for me as I don’t have time for it during the year.
Many businesses don’t have the resources for content creation because they are busy with their normal, "paid" work. This is normal. But: When you block content generation once or twice a year, you can do it! This is the key to sustainable and successful content generation, in my opinion.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THIS CONTENT?
The content is created - yipiiee! The biggest chunk of work is done. But one thing is still missing: You need some sort of editorial plan or concept to plan what to do with all this content.
I always print a day calender for the upcoming twelve months (3 months on 1 sheet) and write down, which piece of content I post on which day. Also the topics should go well together.
Let me give you an example: I post 3 x a week - on Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing and Facebook (I uploaded all of my new videos to Youtube already in January).
Analysis tools help me to find out which days and times work best for my postings (most interactions, most of my followers online). I note down the best three times (i.e. Twitter: Mondays at 15:00, Wednesdays at 16:50, Thursdays at 17:00; Facebook: Thursdays at 16:15, Fridays at 18:00, Sundays at 21:00; etc.).
I save these times as a reminder in my calendar. In addition to that, I pre-create postings on Facebook and schedule them to be automatically posted at certain times. This gives me some freedom and let’s me enjoy a weekend off.
There are also automation tools in which you inject your postings upfront and those tools automatically do the social media postings for you. This is handy. I currently prefer to post manually, though, in most cases to force myself to check my social media profiles regularly and answer to comments for example. Otherwise, I would probably skip social media altogether and wouldn't bother any more. So I need to trick out myself here and there a little bit.
Besides that, I block topics. This means, I post like this: infographic video 1, infographic client project A, infographic video 2, infographic client project B, link to my "infographic light" shop on my website etc. . A logical order of postings is important.
WHAT CAN BE USED AS CONTENT?
Besides regular, new articles and videos, I also work with a blog and post once a month (like this blog article that you are reading right now). Also here, I often pre-write articles three to four months in advance, if possible. That takes out the stress and allows me to post a blog article also when I would not have time for creating content.
I admit, I have one big advantage: In my business, there are not many daily news. And if there is something that is time-sensitive, I can share it on my blog or write a short post on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Seven years of content creation means I have a lot of material I can still use today. Here and there, I update a blog article. Alongside with new client projects presented in my portfolio, this makes a fantastic content marketing mix: articles from my blog archive, new blog articles, client projects from my portfolio (old and new ones), quotes (as plain picture postings), videos, whitepapers, shop links, press articles and very important: great content from other people and entrepreneurs that I love sharing!
MY - SO FAR - MOST SUCCESSFUL CONTENT
About five years ago, I produced a video entitled "How I create an infographic". Until now, it has reached about 43,000 views. Important to mention here: These are 100 % organic clicks! This video never ran through a paid marketing campaign.
The video was shared and embedded on other websites, what I didn’t realise in the beginning. The only thing I remember recognising is the number of views going up rapidly. Much later I found out how many times the video had been shared. Then I received a few emails from design students from all over the world (mainly from India), sending me their infographic drafts and asking me for my opinion. One day, I even received an email from an Indian professor teaching design at a university who thanked me for the video and told me that my video was being used in his class to educate his students. I also got some job applications from designers who wanted to work for me. This still puts a smile on my face today.
AND NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
I hope, I could show you a method to regularly and sustainably generate content without stress and you can incorporate this in your business routine. I wish you a lot of success with it! If you need design help with it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ll be happy to help you.