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How to Avoid Becoming a Content Marketing Slave – Strategies for Solopreneurs & Small Businesses that Work

As a solopreneur or small business owner, you have a million things to do. It’s hard to prioritize content. You know it’s important, but the lack of an immediate return usually means content is put on the back burner.

In this article I’ll go through 5 ways to spend less time creating more content, leading to a better return on your time investment.

Use systems to build your idea list


In 2014, my co-founder and I will publish 365 pieces of content. We’re also managing a WordPress support business that doubles in size every few months, so we have to be efficient.

We can’t flail on ideas for an hour or two before working out what we write. We can’t procrastinate either. We pick an idea and start writing.

We’ve set up systems that help our ideas come to us.

Here are a few systems that we’ve found to work well:

  • We use Trello as the central point for all of our ideas, so any time we get an idea we put it in there, even if we’re mobile and sitting at the cafe. We can build on each other’s ideas while the other person is asleep.
  • We use Zapier to automatically send reminder each week for me to check support tickets to see if there are common WordPress problems I can address with our content.
  • Alex attends meetups and has lunch with entrepreneurs in San Francisco every week. Meeting new people and learning about new businesses makes for interesting content.
  • We use automated Infusionsoft sequences that generate content ideas. One example is when someone signs up for our list, we email them and ask them what they need help with. This fills our inbox with content ideas.

There are a lot of other ways you can keep your idea list overflowing. James Altucher recommends writing down 10 ideas every day.

If you have a big list of ideas, it’s much easier to get over the initial hurdle of making a start on a blog post. Getting started is 90% of the battle.

Make a commitment to build a series

A series of repeating content is one of the easiest ways to make sure you are always shipping.

  • Dan and Ian from Tropical MBA share a podcast every Thursday. That guarantees 52 pieces of content per year. We do a live podcast every Wednesday 4PM PST. This commitment forces us to complete the podcast no matter what happens.
  • Weekly roundup posts are one way to start, because there’s hundreds of useful articles being shared online every week.
  • John Dumas has a rigorous format for every single episode of Entrepreneur on Fire. He repeats the same process every Monday and creates 10 interviews in a row! He ships at least one piece of content per day.

Any way you can reduce the friction for new content will help. If there are some aspects you can reuse or if you can lock yourself into an ongoing commitment, you are much more likely to ship.

Get involved with podcasters

Podcasts have been great for our business. We can trace back the generation of leads and sales by tracking through affiliate and referral traffic.

My appearance on Entrepreneur on Fire resulted in thousands of dollars of business for us. The best part is – it only took 45 minutes of my time. When you go on someone else’s podcast, they:

  • Organize
  • Record
  • Format
  • Publish
  • Write show notes
  • Share it to their audience

All you need to do is be prepared, show up and give a great interview.

The return on a 45 minute investment of your time is amazing. Podcasts are also a great authority and relationship builder. After you get over the initial nerves, they are a lot of fun too.

Here’s an insider’s tip – the best way to get interviewed on other podcasts is to start your own podcast.

Specific outreach for massive results


You have probably heard about the importance of promoting your content. This example should give you some real motivation to take content promotion seriously.

I wrote a guest post for Bluewire Media on my top 5 Analytics reports for content marketers.

Typically, the posts on the Bluewire blog get around 20 shares and this post was just about there. My co-founder Alex tweeted the post to the official Google Analytics account on Twitter later that evening.

When I woke up, I saw @googleanalytics had tweeted the post and posted it to their Google+ page. 500,000 followers saw it and hundreds shared it. The post is now up to 750+ shares. That’s from a single tweet to Google.

As a bonus, Google Analytics are now following me on Google+ and Twitter.

Targeted and specific outreach can yield big results. If you only have a small amount of time, why not promote some of your current work.

Repurpose your content

Copying content from one place to another isn’t my favorite thing to do, however there are some great alternatives for ‘repurposing’ content.

Slideshare is one great channel.

A year ago, I had Jolly Good Content repurpose my 50 traffic tips for content marketers post as a slideshare presentation.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was a huge success and racked up the following stats:

  • My content was in the top 3% most viewed on Slideshare in 2013.
  • 50 Traffic tips for content marketers presentation has had 7,000+ views.
  • It’s been downloaded 30 times
  • It’s been embedded on 19 other sites

This was a surprise hit, but you can replicate this for other content as long as you choose suitable content and put some effort into the presentation.

Focus on conversions

You can get a much higher ROI from fixing your conversions than doing more content.

Say you get 5,000 visitors and convert 1% to an email subscriber, like a typical blog. You are talking 50 conversions. If you were to get 2,500 visitors and convert at 5%, your conversions would be 125. So with half the traffic you are getting double the conversions.

Here are some quick ways to boost your conversions:

  • Create a lead magnet that closely relates to your content but provides more value.
  • Create different lead magnets for your most popular pieces of content.
  • Use a pop-up or a scroll opt in to give people a little nudge.
  • Build a feature box on your homepage and give away something truly useful.
  • Add proof elements to your site like great design, trust seals or logos of places you’ve been featured.
  • Use powerful language that makes people feel like they will get specific results if they opt in.

Boosting conversions has been huge for our business. Our weekly email list is now over 6,000 which makes it much easier for our content to naturally gain traction.

What do you do to get more from your content?

I’ve run through some of the things you can do to get more return from your time on content marketing. Now it’s your turn. Let me know in the comments below, how you’ve avoided becoming a content slave.

Dan Norris

Dan Norris is a driven and relentless entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing. His content has been described by Joe Pulizzi, the content marketing godfather himself, as “must read,”. Dan was voted Australia's top small business blogger by Australia's largest business magazine, Smarter Business Ideas in 2013.

His current business, WP Curve, provides unlimited small WordPress fixes 24 / 7 for $69 per month. It became profitable in just 23 days, and hit $10k / month in recurring revenue in 6 months. All of the customers came through content marketing and word of mouth.
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  • http://www.wpcurve.com/ Alex McClafferty

    Nice article mate!