I started off thinking I was going to write about “The Top 10 Resources For Content Marketing.”
Then I stopped.
Partially because that post has been written 87 times.
And partially because while I’m a fan of reading, content marketing concepts are simple and well documented. It’s not the lack of knowledge that makes it’s hard, it’s the execution.
So, instead of reading about content marketing, this is what I’d do.
Ghost Author A Blog
Company blogs take a significant amount of planning, researching, writing, editing, and promoting to succeed.
Most of us underestimate what that means.
Even when we don’t, it takes time to figure out what to say, how to say it and to get into a blogging rhythm where you create quality content on a regular basis that resonates with your readers.
The key here isn’t what you say or what industry you’re saying it in, but how you say it.
It’s about all how you communicate.
To learn how to perfect this process, you don’t need to do it on your company blog. In fact, depending on how big your company or blog is and what your goals are, you may want to practice in a safer environment.
This is where your Ghost Blog comes in.
It’s your chance to create content on a regular basis and get a taste for what works.
Being a ghost author doesn’t mean you don’t take writing seriously. It means you practice and test your thoughts – and the process of communicating them – in an environment that isn’t directly related to your company’s brand.
You Don’t Have To Be “A Tyrant”
Blog Tyrant had unreal success doing this.
He’s probably one of the most famous ghost authors.
We now know that “Blog Tyrant” is the 27 year old Australian Tyler Ramsey.
But for 2 years and 99 posts, he wrote under the guise of Blog Tyrant. During that time he built a following of 10,000 active readers and guest authored for some of the top blogs around the world.
I share this with you to show that you can build a successful blog under a guise.
So, while this is a good hands on exercise in content marketing, especially since you may be more willing to take risks and make mistakes when it’s not directly linked to your company, it can have serious and far reaching consequences.
You Have To Be Ruthless
Even if you’re not “in the mood” to blog on your ghost blog, blog.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, athletes train so that they can be medal contenders on their worst day. Your goal is to train your brain (and fingers!) to write when they’re not in the mood.
This is tough, and it’s why most of us stop when we reach The Gap Of Disappointment.
Yet it’s essential if you want to use a blog as part of your content marketing strategy.
Being ruthless will also help you discover if you hate writing. If you do, maybe this isn’t for you, because if that’s the case blogging can actually harm your business.
Understand Your Purpose
I used to blog at www.alexandraskey.com.
I wrote over 100 articles on being remarkable.
It was a great experience to learn how to share ideas that were swimming around in my head, and to feel comfortable sharing them online, where they exist in a more permanent fashion.
The blog isn’t active anymore.
My goal was to practise writing.
I learned a lot creating it. It helped me develop the skills and mentality I needed to build Spokal’s blog. Plus, it was a lot of fun.
Once you understand the purpose of your blog, whether you’re a ghost author or not, you’ll know what you’re trying to achieve, so you’ll be that much closer to achieving it.
Always Leave A Trail
Practice makes perfect.
And you can get it almost everywhere.
One of my favourite little tricks to practise creating content is to leave blog comments.
If you follow the mantra: “Never leave a blog without commenting,” you’re bound to improve your writing.
Your comment can be short and sweet. It won’t always be remarkable. The key is that you’ll be constantly translating your thoughts into micro content. Content doesn’t need to be long to be good practice.
There’s a reason that blogging experts like Darren Rowse of ProBlogger do this on a regular basis:
- The more you do it, the more you’ll practice writing fast, which is a valuable skill to have.
- As you leave crumbs, your name will be associated with more content in your industry, which will help establish yourself as an authority in your field.
- You’ll start to understand best practices for blog comments section, which you can apply to your blog.
So, when you read a post – even skim it – leave a trail.
Try On A Twitter Handle
You don’t need to tweet under your name or your company’s handle to practice.
Anyone can create a Twitter handle.
In fact, Barracuda Labs showed that 10% of all Twitter handles are fake. So, why not join the party?
Before you think I’m recommending you use a fake handle indefinitely, let’s revisit our goal. The goal is to practice content marketing. The key here is to practice tweeting – not to increase your number of fake followers or other poor industry practices.
There’s a culture of Twitter that’s hard to understand unless you’re in it. And, based on the size of your company and your personality, you may not be comfortable learning the space in the public eye as yourself or a company representative.
Just like how starting a blog will help you learn to create content on a regular basis, trying on a Twitter handle will help you learn how to relate to someone online and create relevance.
I was chatting with someone the other day who’s having a hard time growing his reach past 2,000 followers.
There’s a reason.
We follow people we resonate with. If you’re not growing your following, it’s likely because people aren’t interested in what you’re saying.
Your job is to build relevance and learn how to resonate with people in the Twittersphere. Once you learn how to do that, it’s a lot easier to apply those concepts to your personal and business accounts.
Volunteer For Someone Who Get’s It
I know, what small business owner has time to volunteer?
While I wish I was recommending this in the spirit of making your community stronger – which I am a big fan of – I’m actually recommending this for selfish reasons.
If you can volunteer for a company or a person who runs successful social media campaigns, you’ll learn more than you ever can from reading about social media. Seeing it in practice will help you understand and start to learn the subtle nuances, in addition to best tools and practises.
Most of us love sharing what we know. So, if you ask an expert to help them and are keen to learn along the way, you may be surprised at how open they are to accept your support.
Plus, despite what I just said, if feels good to support people in your community.
The Top 10 Resources For Content Marketing Don’t Matter
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Of course they matter.
It’s just that practicing them is more important.
So, what are your favourite ways to practice creating content?