Did you grow up hearing, “If it’s easy, there must be something wrong with it”?
Yeah. Me too.
Instead of looking for the easy way out, we often look for the most challenging, brutal way to do things. We work harder. We work longer hours. If we’re not suffering, we aren’t trying.
It’s all about the hustle.
Granted, this mentality helps us to a certain extent. Busting out of our comfort zones is important. Sometimes, we have to go through some pain to see some gain (for instance, starting a new workout routine.)
But, what does this mean to our content marketing strategy? Should we always push the content marketing envelope? Are we doomed to live a hamster wheel life, grinding out new content all the time while we suffer in silence?
Many content marketers are grinding it out
If you fall into the “hamster wheel” camp, you’re not alone. In a 2016 study from the Content Marketing Institute, 60 percent said their top challenge was “producing engaging content.”
It’s not just B2B companies that are suffering. In-house B2C teams and publishing companies are facing the same levels of content burnout. Often, these teams are required to produce more writing with fewer resources, so creating quality content in an efficient manner is even more important.
Now, instead of telling my in-house SEO copywriting training clients they should write longer blog posts, jump on the latest content marketing bandwagon, or develop yet another brand new content asset, my advice boils down to three words…
Look for easy.
Easy has a huge benefit.
A parallel I like to make is around exercise.
I love high-intensity exercise. It’s the only thing that makes my brain turn off.
But, it’s hard.
The only way I can do it is to build in rest days. I go to yoga. Or I take a walk. I’ve even thought about Zumba (don’t laugh.) If I push myself too much, I burn out, get sick and have zero energy.
Now, think of this in terms of your content marketing campaign.
Constantly writing (and researching, and promoting) detailed long-form posts is hard.
Publishing daily (or even weekly) for some companies may be the equivalent of engaging in high-intensity exercise without a break.
Balancing search and social without a sustainable plan can cause burnout — fast.
The result? The post quality goes down. The writers (you!) burn out. Sales go down.
You’re pushing so hard towards your goal, you don’t realize you don’t have to push so darn hard all the time.
That’s where finding easy ideas come in. You don’t have to reinvent the content wheel all the time. Nor, do you have to publish 100 percent, brand-new content.
Repurposing is OK. Finding the workarounds is OK. Developing an easy content marketing schedule (as opposed to doing a bunch of things you feel you “should” do for SEO) is OK.
Ready to make your SEO copywriting life a little easier?
Here are some ideas:
- Repurpose old blog posts and turn them into an email series.
- Re-optimize old blog posts that have so-so positions.
- Send social traffic to old posts (hey, those old posts need love too.)
- Build links to your existing content assets.
- If a task has been challenging in the past (say, getting subject matter experts to blog,) work around it (for example, interview the experts instead and post the transcripts.)
- Slice your publication schedule (it’s OK. Really!) Steve Rayson just wrote a great post about why this works.
- Update an old blog post.
- Instead of focusing on writing long-form posts every week, consider publishing shorter posts more often.
(Speaking of updating an old blog post…I updated my post on how to conduct a content audit – please check it out and share it with your friends.)
Short on time?
It happens to the best of us. There are some days (or weeks, or months) when making major changes is impossible. Instead, focus on what you can do in the short amount of time you have. Need inspiration? Here’s a list of 23 SEO copywriting tips you can accomplish in five minutes or less.
If you’ve been hitting roadblocks, find the easy workarounds rather than beating your head against the wall.
You’ll be happier. Your content will be better for it.
And yes, you still want to stretch yourself and try new things. Challenging yourself to try something new is a good thing (I’m challenging myself to hold more webinars this year.)
(If you need more content growth-hacking ideas, check out this great interview with Ann Smarty.)
But, you still need those “rest days.” You still need the easy to balance out the hard.
What did you think?
How are you going to integrate “easy” into your 2017 content strategy? Let me know by posting a comment below!
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