Creating A Basic Content Engine
A basic content engine optimizes the process of creating and distributing content. Creating content is a good way to educate potential and existing clients, and position yourself as a thought leader. Yet consistently creating content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience can be challenging. Especially if you don’t want become a full time writer.
An effective content engines serves as an optimized lead generation tool (driving new prospects to your company), as well as a gentle “touch point” with existing clients and prospects.
A basic content engine follows a process similar to this:
- You create a content concept. This concept can be related to news / current events, industry trends, or even an observation that you recently made.
- You write about the concept using pre-written templates.
- Then you distribute your content related to that event across various online channels (discussed in more detail below), such as:
- Online articles
- Online press releases.
As you’ll see below, you’ll want your content to build upon itself. For example, several blog posts become the content for your email newsletter. And your email newsletter serves as inspiration for your online article. Then you write press releases about all of these activities.
Your content engine typically starts with a corporate blog. A “Blog” is short for a Web Log, a periodic online journal that you write about topics important to your target demographic. Corporate blogs are an ideal way to spread the word about the products and services you offer.
Creating a corporate blog is easy, and free. Just visit http://www.wordpress.com to create your first blog. Within your blog, you’ll want to offer your readers the opportunity to sign up for your email newsletter.
Once you’ve created your blog, you’ll want to start making periodic blog posts. Your blog posts should be short, topical, and (hopefully) profound. Always write to the benefit of the reader. Focus on delivering value. Pose questions which inspire new thought.
Try to write at least one blog post a week. You can write about most anything, such as how trends in your industry, the effects of recent changes in legislation, new strategies which make your readers’ lives easier, etc.
Here are some examples of good blogs:
Once you’ve published your first few blog posts, you’ll want to submit your corporate blog feed to RSS submission services. By syndicating your content, other websites will republish your content, providing you with exposure beyond your own website, and links back to your blog which search engines value.
Before you write your first email newsletter, you’ll want to create an email newsletter template. This will serve as the guideline for all future email newsletters that you write, and make the task of writing new email newsletters much easier.
Follow these guidelines for creating an effective email newsletter
- Keep your email newsletter template clean, simple, and easy to read.
- Try to limit the amount of images in your newsletter. Use powerful imagery sparingly.
- The newsletter design should be narrow and long – so that it displays well in all email clients. If your email newsletter is too wide, it won’t display correctly for some recipients.
- The best email newsletter format is bold action statements, followed by concise paragraphs.
You’ll want two templates – one for HTML email newsletters, and one for “pure text” email newsletters. When a new user signs up for your e-mail newsletter, it is a good idea to give them the choice of which type (HTML or text) that they want to receive.
When writing the content your email newsletter, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Use your corporate blog posts as inspiration for your email newsletter content.
Here are some writing tips:
- Write bold, catchy headlines that lead into each topic within your newsletter.
- Mix up your writing style, and make use of bullet points.
- Make images “clickable” when appropriate.
- Write out the entire URL (http:// ) – don’t use just “click here”.
To send your email newsletter, you’ll want an email newsletter service like iContact (http://www.icontact.com) or Constant Contact (http://www.constantcontact.com). The email newsletter service will allow you to easily create and manage your periodic email newsletters.
Writing online articles is another good way to get online exposure and drive targeted traffic to your website. Choose topics that are of interest to your target audience. Use your blogs and email newsletters as inspiration for your online articles.
The proper format for your online article is keyword rich titles, body text approximately 250 to 500 words in length, closing with a link to your website and a short author biography. For optimal search engine rankings, place the keywords within the body text as high up in the online article as possible.
Within the body of the article, I recommend identifying the problem, exemplifying the problem, and then recommending a solution.
Submit each of your article to online article submission sites. These sites will syndicate your article, allowing other websites to republish your content. Like your blog, this will expose your online article to an audience beyond your own website. Hence the importance for keyword rich content, and a link back to your website from within the article.
Search Engine Optimized Press Releases
Similar to online articles, search engine optimized press releases are another great way to drive traffic to your website. Write your online press releases as lead generation tools, encouraging the reader to visit your website for more information.
Search engine optimized press releases are made up of a header, a synopsis, a body, and keywords. For the header, use keyword rich content. The body should also have plenty of keywords, as well as links to your website (“click here for more information”). Remember that this release is a lead generation tool, designed to drive the reader back to your website.
Submit your online press releases to search engine optimized press release submission services. These services will syndicate your content across the Internet.
Creating a basic content engine is a great way to build online exposure. The most important element of an effective content engine is consistency.
While flexible in form, most content engines are comprised of email newsletters, corporate blogs, online articles, and search engine optimized press releases. You can use the structure of the basic content engine to add different forms of content.