Creating Great Content In a Time Crunch

What’s Trending…
Choose a topic currently trending in your industry or that of your client.  Yahoo! and the various Social Media outlets are great sources for quick, current topics.

Keep A Stash
When the clock is not your friend, you need to have a reserve that you can quickly draw from.  Try to jot down some topics and/or write a few lines about a particular topic so that when your back is against the wall, you don’t need to waste time trying coming up with new ideas.

Change The Format
Rather than being “informative” and using the written method, choose to do an instructional video on a topic you have adequate knowledge of.  This can be a very effective and engaging form of blogging.  You can also choose to create a quick Infographic as another great way to convey key information in a visually pleasing and quick manner.

Quality vs. Quantity
Writing about something you are passionate about or have adequate knowledge about is a sure way to write well.  But to produce this kind of blog, don’t get caught up in the 700+ words of your average, well-researched blog post.  Stick to what you know and convey it in a confident and concise manner.  Direct, key points work best.

Use Imagery to Fill White Space
Using relevant imagery to support your topic is a great way to fill up the white space of your blog.  In your spare time search for & purchase various images on iStockphoto or 123rf and keep a reserve that you can quickly draw from.

End with a Call to Action
Calls to Action take a little more pressure off the writer and puts some of the onus on the reader.  It’s another great way to engage your readership by creating dialogue about your blog and hopefully a following.

Save Editing For Last
Once you start to write, write-write-write!  Don’t stop to correct, edit or add hyperlinks, images or anything else. Save the clean up work for last.

Last Words
These simple steps will allow you to create a quick yet informative blog in a fraction of the time.  Remember folks, you’re not going for a Pulitzer.  So do what’s needed, do it well and then click post.


Content Call to Action

You want me to do what?  Something else besides read your blog or watch your commercial?  Call right now?  Give you the name of my friends & their email addresses?  As if businesses don’t already require so much from the average consumer already, right!  In the grocery stores, they want you to scan your own items & bag your own food.  Don’t bother going into the bank when you can just do that account transfer yourself at home.

If you let businesses tell it, it’s really for your benefit you see…all in the name of quicker & saving you $.  So when it comes to reading articles online, watching TV or surfing the web, Calls To Action (CTA’s) are peppered throughout just about every source of media to go beyond the current action of the user.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a CTA is a statement imbedded in the content of the media source that summons the consumer to act. The goal is to implore the consumer to act upon information for the purpose of obtaining something from the consumer and most often, for making a sale.  CTA’s often require an immediate response such as “call now, while supplies last,” write a Congressman to stop some agenda, or as simple as utilizing a coupon before a deadline.

So why are CTA’s so important in the first place and why are they a taking a leading role of so much media content?   Here’s why: I have seen & heard of various marketing campaigns falling flat on their faces by failing to compel reaction from its audience.  Although entertaining, a witty commercial can totally fail to sell the volume of product stocked in a warehouse because they lacked a clear call to action.

Terminology – Create, View, Buy Now, Subscribe…all are examples of businesses telling users/consumers what they want them to do. The words are usually short & concise because too many options & too many “too good to be true” statements turn users off.  Word choice and terminology should always be relevant to the industry of the business.  But in order for a business to see any ROI based on these efforts, they have to create a sense of urgency and/or create a limitation that once again, compels the reader or viewer to do something that is advantageous to the business.

Download now buttons

Incentives & other “Bene’s” – Creative use of expiration dates and gifting incentives are very important in the world of CTA’s.  In most cases, there has to be some type of incentive for the reader/user/consumer to go beyond what they are already doing. Such incentives may include a small token of appreciation such as a gift or discount that is relevant to they company or promotion of another business.

Incentive call to action

Make it Standout! I just love to see the little blue & white Cox Cable Digeez’ spin & flip around solving my internet & high-speed cable dilemma.   Use of BOLD text, flash media and the like, as well as hyperlinks in web content are all tricks of the trade to peek the curiosity of the user to move them along the conveyor of consume & purchase world. So the main goal of both advertising agencies and media companies is to know how to stand out, get your attention and how to hold it long enough to profit them.

Use natural sounding phrases that are friendly yet enticing
Use testimonials to encourage participation
Use words that accurately describe the result of your interaction

Don’t be overly verbose-create simple & strong CTA’s
The bigger and more pronounced your call to action, the more chance it will be noticed and acted upon.

Using Email Auto Response For Good

EmailThe term “auto response” sometimes get a little per-judging. We’ve all been there; getting bot-like email replies when trying to contact a company for assistance, or trying to reach a customer service department that seems to purposely made their call prompts all lead you to a disconnection.  Well that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. I’m going to briefly describe some tactics you can use today with your contact forms and email accounts that are on your website.

Just about every website out there has a contact page. On those contact pages there is usually a web form for you to fill out to have that business or person contact you back. Some ask you for your name, email, and phone number; while others may ask you many more details to get a better understanding of who you are and how they can best help you upon reply. However you capture the information one thing is clear, the person filling out the form WANTS to be contacted back.

A Healthy Way to Use Your “Contact Us” form:

Using your contact us form for more than just that generic message “Thank you for contacting Acme Corp. A representative will be contacting you within 24 hours.” I stopped shy of adding an emoticon smiley face. Well what if that auto-response said something more like: “Thanks for contacting us at Acme Corp! While you’re waiting to hear back from us, why not check out our FAQ section that we update on a weekly basis based on our client calls. And if you have a minute, Like us on Facebook.”

Not only do I probably cut my troubleshooting call backs down to half, but I also gave them a direct link to my Facebook page and suggested they Like it too. Chances are they filled out the form because they had a question about something. If I or my marketing team is doing their homework, they can track how many calls we are receiving and what types of calls come in most. Place those questions and answers back on the website and give them a link in case they missed it is great for catching those that fall through the cracks.

A Call to Action That Works All by Itself

So you’ve finally placed a great call to action on your home page or landing pages. That’s awesome! While you’re tracking how many people are filling it out, you’re also finding out some demographics right? Lets say your offering a free copy of your eBook that normally sells on Amazon for 9.95. When they fill out that CTA, they’re taken to a sub page of your website with links to download that eBook. While they’re downloading they also get an email thanking them for downloading your eBook, but also invites them to sign up for your upcoming webinar or an “exclusive” link that gives them access some charts or data that most are not privy to.

Use a Different Response for Different Forms & Emails

One of the lazier things I’ve noticed is having one email address and auto response across your whole website. I know it sounds a little harsh, but think of it this way, why mix up all those responses into one funnel. If you have multiple landing pages for different products and services, I suggest use a separate auto response with custom messages for each product or service form and email. The clients and visitors of your website will think much more highly of you if they contact you either on accident or on purpose and notice a completely different message each time for each separate product. And while we’re at it, update those messages monthly. It doesn’t take but a few minutes each one.

Subject Lines Need to Be Clever

Using generic subject lines could land your auto response email into your visitors spam folder. We all know most people don’t eve check their spam folders that often because they’re use to getting so much. Play around with a few ways to contact back with different subject lines to increase your click-through and open rate.  Spark curiosity when they read your subject line so that they actually do read it and feel happy they did at the end. Maybe offer a cool deal or discount.

So what do you do with your email auto responses? Have some more ideas to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.