100 Original, 500+ Word, SEO-Optimized Articles In 7 Days? Sure Thing…
As the happy father of many, I’ve had more than a few hair-graying moments in my life. But the intensity of this situation trumped them all.
Years ago I was asked to run the content marketing wing of a media company. I’d been working in marketing for a few years at that point– most of it on the side– so this was an awesome opportunity.
It was also a gauntlet of fire.
We a had a number of web properties that needed to be built up, and we decided that each site should have a minimum of 100 original, quality, SEO-optimized articles so they each had sufficient depth.
And we had a max of 7-days per site to create, optimize, and publish this content.
It’s fair to say I didn’t sleep much during this ramp-up period.
Thankfully we had the resources to outsource the writing.
But the rest– editing, optimizing, image searching, loading… this list goes on… –fell to me.
It took a toll.
I wasn’t sleeping much.
I spent most of my time at the office.
I rarely saw my family.
Something had to give.
Content Creation Can Be A Real Struggle… But It’s Critically Important
My biggest obstacle for this project was time.
But creating great content is absolutely worth it!
Fabulous content is among the most valuable growth-asset any business can create.
Here are some benefits to great content that popped into my head as I wrote this:
- Positions you as an expert in your space
- Gives prospects a chance to get to know you, your business, how you think and operate
- Creates an evergreen ramp for future prospects to find you
- Boosts your results in organic search
- Helps your paid search rankings
- Indoctrinates future clients so they know what you expect out of them
- Allows you to charge higher fees
- I could keep going… 🙂
And as ad blockers become more common, your best prospects are becoming more difficult to reach.
Quality content is truly critical as the online landscape changes.
But here’s the thing.
All this takes time…
… and that’s usually what kills the effort.
So how do you do all this? I’ll get to that a little later… (plus as a bonus, I’ll show you a super-ninja trick)…
Other Than A Lack Of Time, People Have Two Other Hangups
- “How do I know what people care about?”
- “What format works best for my business?”
These are valid questions, and the answers are sooo simple.
Before we get into how to create lots of content with minimal time, how to know which topics people care about, and which formats work best for your business…
Let me share a story about how I stumbled onto this method…
Necessity Breeds A Content Machine
As I mentioned earlier, I was thrown into the deep end of content marketing and it was sink-0r-swim.
The root problem wasn’t content creation, it was the manual nature of what I was doing.
Here’s something you may not know about me…
I’m something of a control freak.
I have a problem letting go of responsibility.
But I was near the breaking point with the content requirements, so I created a content workflow that automated as many of the steps as possible.
We ended up with about 30 creatives as part of this content machine… Writers, editors, image specialists, researchers, a senior editor, and a project manager.
Once the system was in place, I tweaked it so we could do some amazing stuff:
- Massive content at lightspeed. Once the system was optimized, we could produce content lightning fast. Our record was 100 original articles, each of them formatted with outbound links, images, SEO-optimized, and each between 500-750 words… within three days.
- Consistent, quality articles. These articles were pretty good. Although I wouldn’t say these articles were Pulitzer-worthy, we had a consistently high quality level that made the job of our advertisers much easier.
- Dependably scalable. We regularly published 90 pieces of original articles per week. Each over 500 words, optimized for SEO, edited, and formatted for easy reading. This was at about 60% capacity, making this model repeatable and scalable.
Why Am I Telling You All This?
My goal isn’t to outline how the machine works (although I’d be happy if you told me if that’s something you’d like to find out about in the future).
I just want you to know that I’ve been there.
I know what it’s like to stare at a content goal, and have no clue how to go from 0 to 100 articles in 7 days or less.
My guess is that your content needs aren’t that aggressive.
Maybe you’re struggling with putting together a single article a week… or even a single article a month.
Because as I created the Content Machine, I learned how to generate lots of content quickly, from idea to finished piece.
So let’s jump into the purpose of this article… how to create lots of content in different mediums quickly, using ideas you know people care about.
The Secret To Creating Mountains Of Content With Minimal Effort
Creating a ton of content isn’t hard… and when it comes down to it, it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time once you take care of one key thing.
Before we talk about that, let me ask you a question…
What’s your favorite content medium to consume?
Is it blog posts? Youtube? Facebook? Snap? LinkedIn? Podcasts?
Now, if your favorite medium is blog posts, are you likely to see my content if I only do podcasts?
No, probably not.
So if I publish a blog post (your favorite medium), and use that blog post as the basis for a podcast…
Will you know about it?
That’s the secret to creating tons of content with minimal effort.
You figure out the content medium you’re most comfortable operating in, then use it as the anchor piece for other formats.
Isn’t that awesome?!
You create an anchor piece, then use it as the script or blueprint for other mediums… and most people will never know it.
They’ll just think you’re everywhere.
Let’s dig in to how this works.
First, Know Your Audience
Just because you’re comfortable writing blog posts, doesn’t mean your audience likes to consume content that way.
This is why it’s not as simple as knowing how you like to produce content, and then spinning off a bunch of content formats.
You still only have limited time, so you you want use that time as effectively as possible.
The first step is knowing your audience.
(An in-depth starting point to knowing your audience can be found here.)
Some basic questions you need to answer:
- What content formats do they like to consume?
- What are their burning questions?
- Why do they need these questions answered? What are their dreams/goals/ambitions?
The answer to question 1 will steer you in the direction of how to branch off from your anchor piece.
For example, I’m comfortable writing blog posts. But if most of my readers are on Youtube, I need to produce content over there as well.
In that scenario, creating content becomes a two-step process:
- Create content in my anchor format (blog post).
- Take the completed blog post as my script (or outline), and make a video using the blog content.
PRO TIP: Always have a call to action, regardless of the content format. Have a landing page or offer to send people to so you can collect their contact information and transform them into clients.
If you’re not sure what format your best clients and prospects consume, check your stats.
If you still can’t tell, look at a big competitor of yours and see which content format gets them the most traction. That’s an imperfect method, but it will give you a good shot at moving in the right direction.
Second, Know Yourself
This has to do with how your expertise intersects the 2nd and 3rd questions from the last section (What are your prospects’ burning questions? Why do they need these questions answered?).
If this isn’t an exercise you’ve done for yourself, Gary Vaynerchuk has a quick 4-step method for understanding your strengths. It’s focused on personal strengths, but the same questions could be asked of your business.
You need to understand the burning questions in your market.
- What do people want to know?
- What would having the answer do for them?
- How would it improve their lives?
- Why do they need the answer to these questions?
- What are their goals, dreams, and ambitions?
- How would things change if they could solve these questions?
Next, you need to understand how your expertise and services intersect the answers to those client-centered questions.
- What do you have to offer them?
- How does your knowledge/service answer those questions? How does it solve their problems?
- In what ways will your prospects’ lives be improved by using your service? By working with you?
- What answers can you give them for free that will help move them closer to their goals?
Where your expertise intersects your prospects’ questions/pain is the key to coming up with topics that your prospects care about.
(There is another way that I’ll get to at the end that’s even more ninja.)
Pick An Anchor Format
Another aspect of knowing yourself is to know which content format you’re most comfortable in.
There’s a ton to choose from.
Do you love video? Then do video, then repurpose it.
Have someone on your team transcribe it (or use a transcription service) so the transcription can be edited and made into a blog post
Strip out the audio, then format the audio to make a podcast episode.
There’s a ton of ways to slice up a piece of anchor content, so start with the format you’re most comfortable using.
The offshoots of that anchor piece should be formatted however your prospects love to consume content.
A Lot Of This Can Be Automated
One of my favorite parts about creating a mountain of content is that a lot of it can be automated.
Using services like Upwork, you can find people to do the tasks you don’t want to deal with (i.e., stripping the audio out of a video, then formatting the audio into a podcast episode).
Similarly, if you’re fine doing the podcast yourself, you can have a freelancer edit the transcription into a quality blog post.
There’s a lot of ways to slice it, and using outsourced help is my preferred way to be in multiple places at once.
The Proven, Ninja Topic-Testing Method
Before I tell you what it is, I have to say…
This one is super-simple, but it’s a tremendous way to know with certainty that a topic is a winner… without spending a huge amount of time and energy developing content.
It’s using Facebook Live.
Why are we using Facebook Live?
Because as I write this, Facebook is investing in Facebook Live in a big way.
This means Facebook gives you extra reach– viewers you wouldn’t get with other formats– just because it wants people using FB Live.
How Do You Use This For Topic-Testing?
It’s super simple.
First, commit to doing FB Live videos at least 2 or 3 times per week.
You don’t know which ideas are going to work, so you want to test a bunch of them to let your audience tell you what they care about.
(You’ll be surprised how often your audience wants something you thought wasn’t important.)
Second, keep the video casual… but make sure you tell them upfront that you’ll give them good, actionable information.
The fun (for the viewer) of FB Live is that they’re unscripted, live, and imperfect. No post-production wizardry here!
Third, tell the viewers that you’re using the video as a way to gauge interest in the topic.
Before you start the content, tell them you’re using “shares” as votes… so if they want more about that topic, they need to share the video.
Review the results once a week, then build content from the winners.
Once you have a winner or two, build content around that topic.
This information is priceless…
Any time your audience tells you what they want/love/need, you’ve just hit gold.
You can use that information as your compass with content creation, product creation, and marketing messaging. You can even use the language from their comments as your sales copy.
But like anything else, you have to take action for this to work.
I hope this article opened your eyes to the magic of repurposing anchor content in different formats.
All of us have limited time, so making use of this method to be in multiple places at once can have a huge effect on your content’s impact to your business.
Done correctly, content can bring you prospects and leads indefinitely.
I’m Thinking About Talking More About The Mechanics of The Content Machine…
I’ve been surprised over the past few weeks about how many business owners have asked me to share The Content Machine’s workflow with them, or they want access to the machine to get content for their own businesses.
If this is something you’d like me to open up, please email [email protected] and tell me what you’d like to see.
Do you want to create a content machine in your own business?
Or do you just want the machine’s output?