It’s been said, “There’s no place like home,” and at the moment the prospect of returning to this blog with my name on it just feels right. This is my home, this is where it all started. It’s not that I’ve lost my way with the other writing endeavors and businesses I’ve started but instead that some of them are succeeding and I want to tell those stories of success and in some cases failure. Content marketing is a catchy overused phase because behind it is the hard work of content creation that many folks like to gloss over when they share tales of their success.
Creating quality content can be exhausting
On July 9, 2005 I published my first blog post here. Those eight years seem like both a lifetime and a few short months all at the same time. In late 2009 I started creating unique content for ColorMetrix and began moving this blog towards a more personal dialog with you about running a small business. Mix in some email marketing and the growth of a social media presence and all of a sudden I was creating a great deal of content. No matter really because, at the time business sucked. I had more time than money and decided to give content marketing a go.
Along the way I help start a couple of web-sites. One I was able to help a partner sell for $25,000 – that was pretty cool. A couple made a few bucks along the way and some where just huge time sucks. The point is I tried a lot, succeeded a little and quite frankly failed a lot with content creation between 2008 and 2010.
I wasn’t doing it wrong, that’s just how it can be
Not everything you do will work out how you plan. You’re past successes are no indicator of future success – really they are not. I brought good solid brick and mortar business skills to my online endeavors. Those skills while important don’t necessarily transfer easily to the online business world. In late 2010 and early 2011 a pretty significant change occurred in my content creation strategy.
Going it alone can be tough, find a partner in crime
While there was a team at ColorMetrix that worked on developing our products, I was on an island all alone from a sales and marketing perspective. Everything I tried and figured out related to blogging, email marketing, and social media – I learned on my own. Sure I had found a few peers in the business world to sit down with and discuss what worked and what did not but those meetings occurred infrequently and in between I was just throwing lots of shit at the wall and hoping some of it would stick.
Finding Shelby was not an accident. I knew I needed help and was looking for the right person by the middle of 2010. I thought a few different folks might be the “right ones” but it just never worked out. Then, I met Shelby who is a huge word nerd and couldn’t stand the bad grammar that comes along with my writing which she says passes for “good.” What started out as an agreement to edit content on this site has turned into a content creation partnership that has gone places I never would have imagined.
The thing about a journalist/editor is she makes you write good shit
For the first time in my life someone convinced me to not publish a post – okay more than one post maybe a half dozen over the last three years. I started to see that content needs to sometimes have a purpose beyond my wild musings (like this post). Shelby pushed me to write better content that made sense and connected some dots for folks taking the time to read them.
The real wakeup call came when she began to edit my printing specific posts as we cross posted them from here to the ColorMetrix blog. Let’s just say some of my early writing made me want to vomit so I can only imagine what she thought as she had to wade through it. It was about this time I began to realize what she meant about me being a good but unpolished writer.
There is more to it than just knowing what to say
It seems that some people care about little details like spelling and grammar. And for that matter full sentences that make sense and don’t run on. So, while typos, questionable grammar and creative spelling might be okay on this site (hey, that’s who I am), those same writing transgressions don’t go over so well on business websites or in professional emails.
Then, after you’re written and edited a good post you need to make it great by adding an eye catching title and strong headlines. Folks read differently on the internet and tend to skim a blog post by reading the title and headlines first to see if they are interested in committing the time to read the entire article. A great post really only becomes great if the right people take the time to read it.
The required value added parts of the post
And you’re not done yet. Next, you need to find a suitable image to put with you blog post. Folks like pictures and some people won’t even start to read a post without an image. While that may sound strange to you, it doesn’t really matter what you think if your goal is to get your content consumed. Also, not only do you need to find a suitable image you also need to choose tags for the image that make it SEO friendly.
Speaking of SEO, you’ll need to research keywords you’re using within the article to make sure they will bring sufficient traffic long after your promotion of the post has ended. It’s not uncommon for SEO research (which sometimes occurs before a single word is written) to take longer than all the previous steps combined.
And finally you can publish and promote
In the content marketing realm there really is no feeling quite like clicking publish on a piece of content you are proud of. You’ve done the work and now you need to put the content out there. This could be a blog post, an email, a video, a webinar or even a live presentation. Whatever the medium, the piece needs to be published before anything positive can happen for your business interests.
Once the content is published you need to properly promote what you have created. In some cases like an email, that’s easy since you simply schedule it to be sent to you list. For a blog post, video, webinar or live presentation, you’ll need to work your social media accounts and back channels to make sure your audience knows the content is out there. Then, you just sit back and hope you’ve done it right and they like what you’ve created and take the time so share it with their networks.
And so I’m home
It’s time to write about the hard work that goes into content creation for the purposes of promoting and growing your business, and that’s what I plan to focus on here for a while.