Our team built a website for Michelle Akers in 1996. At the time, she was the captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team playing in the Atlanta Olympics, and I helped tell her story, so she could connect with her fans. That was a great summer as they won the gold medal! It was also my first time writing for the Internet. But I was hooked, and since then, I’ve written hundreds (maybe thousands) of pages of content for my own websites and for my clients.
I’ve learned about writing content over the years, and today I want to focus on the two types of website content: Timely and Evergreen, and then go into how to use the content well.
First a couple of definitions:
Timely Content can include social media posts, news articles, and monthly specials. These are time-dependent and will be irrelevant after a brief period. Think about them like trending or breaking news stories that are upfront and important at the moment but maybe less so after a while.
Evergreen Content can include services offered: FAQs, blog posts, product descriptions, case studies, and social media About pages. They have value because each tells website and social media visitors relevant, long-term information. Why Evergreen? Like evergreen trees, this content isn’t just seasonal, it’s sustainable and long-lasting. Another caveat is the writing should be rich with SEO keywords — search engines love this kind of content, and you want them to find you.
Both Timely and Evergreen Content have their place in website writing, and you should have a strategy in place to utilize both.
CONTENT MISSION STATEMENT
A good place to start with content strategy is determining the WHO and WHY behind your reason for developing content. Okay, this may sound boring. But it will keep you from creating irrelevant content that never gets read.
You first need to figure out who you’re writing for and what kind of information they want and then develop your mission statement. A helpful way to start is by answering these questions:
- Who is my core audience?
- What does my core audience need?
- What will be delivered to the audience?
- What do I want my audience to do?
- What is my Content Mission Statement?
Here’s an example of a Content Mission Statement process for a fictional tree service company:
- Who is my core audience? Homeowners in the Denver metro area.
- What does my core audience need? A damaged tree taken down or they want to know what trees would be best to plant in their yard.
- What will be delivered to the audience? Articles, topical blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, videos.
- What do I want my audience to do? Call our phone number, fill out a form, get an online quote, sign up for my newsletter, start following me on social media.
- What is my final Content Mission Statement? XYZ Tree Company’s website exists to deliver both timely and long-term information about trees through varied writing formats to connect with future clients in the Denver Metro area.
KEY COMPONENTS OF A CONTENT STRATEGY
Once you have your mission statement in place, now the fun begins.
Create Good Content
You may ask yourself, “What do I create?” We can get stymied by not knowing what we should put together. And, let’s be honest, maybe we have flashbacks to high school English class and think writing is not our forte. The best way around this is to think about something that your company does that excites you and is worth sharing — things that will move people to action or benefit them or stories that show how your company has done well. Next, jot down some points, and start writing. You can do it! I have faith in you!
Here’s a little trade secret: You don’t have to create something new every time you create content. In fact, you can take the content you just wrote and create multiple forms that people will digest. The following are examples of the forms you can repurpose writing into:
- Social media posts: Create a post to be used on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn that links to your blog. Pull out a quote and paste it over a great photo you’ve taken to generate a memorable meme.
- Video: Create 3-4 short videos using your blog content and put it up on your YouTube channel, as well as your social media channels.
- Webinar: Even if it’s just a short one, you can pull content that can be used on other platforms.
- Downloadable PDF: Combine complementary articles into a downloadable PDF that people will need to fill out a form to receive. Now you have a lead to which you can market.
- Illustrations/Infographics: Use these deliberately to do some market branding. If a client sees it on one social media post and again on another, they will eventually link it to you.
You can even do this with past content you’ve already published. Understand that a good solid piece of foundational content can be used in multiple forms to connect with audiences. You just need to remember to use both Timely Content and Evergreen Content to keep your audiences interested.
Distribute & Promote Content
You may be thinking at this point, “I’ve created or repurposed some great content, now what?” The good news is that the sky’s the limit, but here are ways to get started:
- Post content to your blog website and then use Google Search Console to fetch them. This helps index your page first, so you don’t have duplicate content problems.
- Send content out as part of your email newsletter: Show a portion of the blog post and link to the rest of the article on your website.
- Create a short post from your personal LinkedIn page and then do one for your company pages. Or do a post on your company Facebook, and then let your friends on your personal Facebook page know what you’ve written.
- On your Google Business (formerly Google My Business) Profile, create a post linking to the blog post. Do the same on Twitter if you have a Twitter account.
- Utilize Paid advertising on Facebook or LinkedIn, by using your evergreen content as the foundation for the content of your ads.
Again, the sky’s the limit. What other ways are you thinking about or already distributing content? I would love to hear about them.
TIPS AND HINTS ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING
Finally, I wanted to end with tips and tricks that have helped me through the years:
- Determine who will write your content. Outsource your writing if you want – you can always add your own stories to make it more personal.
- Get a good editor. Find someone who can help edit the content you’ve written or even write the content for you. Even though I’ve been a writer for years, I still rely on an editor to help me with my content. You can find an editor on Fiverr or even among your friends on Facebook. That’s what I do.
- Get help with typing. If you’re a slow typist, use Dragon Naturally Speaking; the dictate tab of Microsoft Word; or Google Docs to turn your speech into written content in a short amount of time. After you’ve created a ton of written content, you can go back to create a good chunk of content by yourself or with the editor you’ve developed a relationship with.
- Keep multiple articles in process: You don’t need to have everything done at once. You can have articles or posts in various stages at the same time. Add to them on a regular basis and then drive one to completion. One of the reasons I like this is because it allows me to ruminate on what I’ve written and add things I’ve thought of along the way.
- Use pictures and unique images: We are in a visual era, especially on social media where everyone expects pictures to illustrate the content. If you’re worried about copywrites, start regularly taking pictures of your work from your own phone and use those. Pictures you take yourself can add authenticity to your blog post and Google Business Profiles. Don’t feel like they must be perfect.
However, if you don’t feel like your pictures have the edge you’re looking for, consider hiring a professional photographer. High-quality photos can go a long way with communicating your quality. I still use pictures taken by a professional for my LinkedIn and my Facebook profiles. As a quick aside, canned stock photos can be useful, but they can also be a load of crap, especially when it’s of two people shaking hands (don’t get me started on when they are shaking with two left hands). Be as deliberate with your images as you are with your written content.
Now it’s time for you to communicate your business through your writing and pictures. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to be authentic — that’s what people want. I’m excited to see you create amazing content for your website and social media. Drop me a comment and let me know how you’re doing with it.