Inbound marketing is a fantastic way to market your startup. You create evangelists from your current customer base, provide new and interesting content to send clients and prospects using newsletters, as well as increasing your ranking for particular keywords on search engines. If inbound marketing is done right, it has a very positive impact on your bottom line.
Inbound marketing’s main output is content. You need to create new, original content which is going to be interesting for your audience and has the ability to be shared. Inbound marketing is generally digital content, but it can be repurposed into print and other channels too.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of inbound marketing. However, writing content takes time. And what’s more, you probably don’t have a trained content writer on your team. Which are two key obstacles for startups starting a dedicated inbound marketing strategy.
The majority of start ups lack time to write content, and also lack the resources to write amazing content. Which means that content takes a back seat for the majority of businesses. This means you aren’t benefiting from inbound leads and sales.
I am going to guide you through a step-by-step process for using your whole team to create new content pieces in a way which is going to save you time and improve the quality of every piece you write. Through this article I’ll be demonstrating a new platform called Cronycle – but it is worth saying that there are other (less efficient) ways to solve the problem.
When you save time, it means the cost of producing each piece of content is lower. When you increase the quality of your content it means that each piece of content has a higher impact.
When your whole team has responsibility for creating content, then you get the expertise from multiple heads instead of just one. If you follow the following framework, then it will make it easy for everyone to collaborate and offer their point of view. The key is making sure of not falling into the trap of ‘if everyone is responsible, then no one is responsible’.
Table of Contents
Step One: Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar states when you are going to publish a piece of content, who is responsible for producing it and where you are going to distribute that content.
For example, you are a B2B firm providing building management services for offices in the UK. Given you know January is a high risk flooding time for much of the UK, you want to send some advice to offices in November, when they can prepare for bad weather.
|Date of publication||Content Title||Target Audience||Who is responsible for writing the piece?||Where distributed?|
|November 14th||How to prepare your office building for bad weather and flooding||Office managers / building maintenance managers in flood prone areas||Anna||Social media (Twitter and Facebook), on company blog and in local newspapers (paid distribution)|
This is a basic kind of content calendar, but if you are just starting out, then it will work well. The aim is to know exactly what topics you’ll be publishing on and when, so you can manage your time.
The key here is that a content calendar should protect your team against any last minute content writing efforts which will mean the quality of your output is much less, and more importantly, it will take you more time in the long run. Ensure that your whole team is familiar with the content calendar, and is aware of the topics that you are looking to write on.
Step Two: Create Boards For Each Content Piece
This is when our team starts to heavily rely on a platform called Cronycle. Cronycle is a collaboration content platform which helps with content discovery, curation and creation.
Create ‘boards’ for each content piece you know someone in the team will have to pen for the next 3 months. A board is a collaborative space where you can pin interesting articles for research, and then annotate them.
This is what a board looks like full of articles ready to write a content piece:
This is what an annotated article looks like:
Make sure your whole team has access to collaborate on the board.
TIP: Make sure that you set clear guidelines and ‘purpose’ when it comes to the board. It has to be completely clear what the output is looking to achieve, and what types of commentary you are looking for from the team. It should also be clear when the board will be ‘closed’ because the designated person will have to write up the board.
Now, in the run-up to the publication date of your content piece, the whole team can add relevant articles they find to the board and annotate them with their thoughts. In general, you’ll find that you find interesting articles, or have random thoughts about particular posts throughout the working day. Now you have a dedicated place to document those ideas – a bit like a scrapbook!
So you can see that when the designated person comes to write the post, they will have a board full of interesting research, which has been annotated by experts in the team, which means that all the research has been done without any extra work.
Why Is This Beneficial For Start-Ups and Inbound Marketing?
- You’ll benefit from the expertise of your entire team – the whole team will have the opportunity to easily input their points of view and so the argument in the piece will not be one sided.
- You will have a lot of research and backlinks to refer to when writing the article, which will be sourced from a variety of different places, and not from a manic google search the day before the article is due to be published.
- You will save time – you will be working in a much less stressed and organised way, which will mean the only ‘block’ of time you’ll need to assign yourself is copywriting time, and not research time
TIP: When ‘writing up’ a board, have Cronycle open alongside your word processor. That way you can easily refer back to the links and annotations on the board as you’re typing.
Work On The Move
A critical component of being able to save time is having a platform which will work for you whilst you’re out and about and browsing the web. For this reason there is the ‘content clipper’. The content clipper means you can take any articles from any website and add it to a board. The content clipper is available for Chrome and Safari web browsers, as well as iOS and Android mobile phones.
This is what the content clipper looks like on a Chrome browser:
And this is what the content clipper looks like on iOS:
To download these items please go here for the Chrome extension, here for the Safari extension, here for the iOS app and here for the Android app.
TIP: The people in your team are definitely the experts on your subject matter, but they may not be expert writers. If you truly don’t have anyone who you’d be happy copywriting, then consider hiring a freelance copywriter who can take your board and write it up for you.
Step Four: Monitor The Web For New Articles Relevant For Your Inbound Marketing
Using Cronycle, you can take proactive steps to find relevant articles which suit your research. This is by creating highly targeted news feeds.
Cronycle monitors articles by taking trusted sources which automatically feed us articles. We take these articles, and then we check to see if the article contains specific keywords which have been set up by the user.
Firstly, create a trusted source library. In general you will only want to know about articles which come from sources which you know and trust.
Then tell Cronycle which keywords articles would have to contain in order to be relevant. So for an article which is about artificial intelligence I may choose the following key words.
This way I can keep up to date on articles about artificial intelligence easily, and I don’t need to constantly scan the web to uncover new points of view on the topic. Find out more about creating the perfect news feed here.
TIP: Why not set up a board which contains articles which may be relevant for future content pieces. Again, make sure that everyone is clear that this board houses interesting articles which are relevant for content marketing – if the board turns into ‘industry news’ then it will lack true signal. Your whole team must comment on the article to explain exactly what is interesting in this article for your own work.
- Give your whole team responsibility for creating content for inbound marketing
- Have a plan – tell your team exactly what needs to be produced and when
- Deposit interesting ideas and pieces of research in a dedicated collaborative space whilst you are working day-to-day
- Annotate the articles so you can get collective and group insight
- Assign responsibility for ‘writing up’ the piece to an individual
- If you like, monitor the web for interesting articles using personalised news feeds.