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How to Create Sustainable Content: Part 3

Day planner
It’s all about planning

Most people start blogs and newsletters brimming over with enthusiasm, then lose momentum. In many cases, they’ve quickly used up most of their great ideas. That’s why you need a plan.

Attention spans are short, especially online. So keep your content brief. Do not cram all your best concepts into the first few posts or issues. Spread out your topics to build interest and loyalty.

You’ll need to consider how often to publish. This will depend on the time you want to spend and how often your readers want to hear from you.

Frequency builds recognition and engagement. But if the high quality of content is not maintained, you risk turning off readers and undermining your reputation. Quality trumps quantity.

Once you have a rough idea of your publishing frequency, write a list of topics you’d like to cover and place them in an editorial calendar. You should not be a slave to this schedule, but you’ll be thrilled to see it when you’ve been side-tracked by other pressing concerns.

Of course, you’ll need to be prepared to change course immediately when something relevant happens or a shiny new idea pops into your mind.

To develop your editorial calendar, start with seasonal items. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you might spend the early months of the year advising prospective sellers on how to prepare their home for sale in the spring, when buyers start shopping.

Once you’ve made a list of your seasonal topics, think of the questions that people frequently ask you. Each answer is solid gold content. Then move on to the topics that will further your objectives.

This sounds like common sense, but the failure to plan is probably the most important reason blogs and newsletters bite the dust. Sustainable content is more perspiration than inspiration.

Once you’ve attracted a following, people will expect to hear from you. So prepare a few posts or issues in advance, so you can toss them out when you’re too busy to write.

Although some people like to use canned content, it’s not a good idea. There’s no point in writing a blog or a newsletter if it’s not about you and your audience. Besides, your expertise resides in your brain, not on some generic content site.

However, you can recycle your own material. Many people have presentations, proposals and other material that can be turned into blogs or newsletters, with some nipping and tucking.

If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional. The knowledge and perspective is already in your head. You can jot down your ideas and have an editor reshape them or talk on the telephone to a writer. Working with a professional will dramatically reduce your time commitment and enable you to create high-value content.

Whether you do-it-yourself or hire professional help, the result should the same: the ongoing flow of high-value content.

Photo credit: DIY Moleskine Weekly Planner by Graham Ballantyne

One Comment

  1. Tervor
    Tervor March 26, 2009

    Do you know what is being copied from your site? If you do then you have a list of topics for future posts. Analytics Tools like Tynt Tracer can help determine what people are interested in and help drive traffic back to your site. Isn’t that the idea?

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