You’ve learned about inbound marketing and now you want to get started with your own inbound marketing strategy and begin creating some content. You have all these ideas for advanced content pieces, videos, and what you want to blog about, and you’re just chomping at the bit to get started. You’ve had a sip of the Kool Aid, you’re starting to pour yourself another cup. You see the big picture of what your website can be like, and you can envision your website numbers flying off the charts. Sound familiar? We hope so! We love seeing how excited people get when that inbound marketing light bulb finally lights up. Before you start getting too far ahead of yourself, however, there are some content creation issues all businesses need to address. While the ideas and intentions are always there, too often we see content plans fizzle after a strong start. There are several obstacles that often get overlooked when planning how to do everything in-house, and to help illuminate some of those challenges, here are 6 things you should expect:
Budget Extra Time for Blogging
Blogging is often a lot harder than it seems. While it might be easy to write about some of the top-of-the-funnel ideas you initially come up with, as the topics get more complex, you’ll need more time to explain and even research everything. Depending on the subject matter and the writing expertise, each blog will likely take anywhere from 2-6 hours to write and research. If you don't have that time to commit each week, it becomes very difficult to maintain a consistent publishing schedule.
Budget Extra Time for Blog Planning
On top of writing the blogs, you also need to maintain a constant backlog of blog and advanced content ideas, as well as their publishing schedule. This should have serious thought put into it, not just something you throw together when you have some spare time. You should plan to spend at least 8 hours each quarter planning your content schedule. This will allow time for topic brainstorming, creating your editorial calendar, and campaign planning for the quarter ahead.
Budget Time for Editing
Not everyone is a natural-born writer. Though it comes easily for some people, for others, it’s a chore. That said, you may need to call on subject matter experts to write a blog, where writing isn’t their strong suit. In instances like these, be prepared to spend extra time editing, or even providing some blog training to these employees. Ideally, you would want to spend less than an hour editing each blog, and if you find yourself consistently spending more time than that, something needs to change.
Budget Time for Formatting & SEO
If you haven’t created pages in a website before, uploading and formatting blogs can be a completely new learning experience in itself. Tools like HubSpot have made it relatively easy to just copy and paste your blog from Word or Google doc, but there are still several features you’ll need to get used to. Being familiar with HTML is a must, as this will help you embed videos, social posts, and make other formatting changes to your posts. You also need to be familiar with the latest SEO best practices, as you’ll be in charge of adding the meta description, page titles, backlinks, and more. Aside from the content itself, these are the factors that contribute to your page ranking on search engines, so it’s crucial that you understand the nuances and have everything optimized. For all this, you’ll want to spend less than an hour formatting and preparing each blog for publishing, but it will likely take several blogs to become familiar with the process.
Budget Time for Promotion
If you’re going to put in the time and effort to write great content, you’re only doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t putting in the time and effort to promote it once it’s published. This means promoting it on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as sending out email notifications to all of your blog subscribers. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to promote it a few more times over the next few weeks, and to do that, you’ll want to have a promotion plan that works hand-in-hand with your content calendar. This isn’t something you should take lightly, as putting in that little extra effort for promotion can be the difference between a post that’s completely ignored, and one that get 10+ shares and over a thousand views. Be prepared to spend about an hour each week writing and scheduling your social posts, and don’t forget to leave a little extra time for impromptu posts.
Photoshop and Stock Photo Licenses
In addition to writing, you can’t forget about the visual aspect of your content plan. Being familiar with Photoshop or similar photo editing programs is crucial for creating advanced content piece layouts as well as content like infographics. You’ll also need a stock photo license from iStock or another stock photo company if you plan to use stock images in your blog—or else face a serious fine for using their photos without credit. A Photoshop license will cost around $250 per year, with an iStock license starting at $480 per year for their lowest tier.
What Happens When Your Blogging & Promotion Efforts Slow Down?
If you’re planning to write your own content in-house, it’s important to make sure you’re truly committed to sticking with your blogging and promotion schedule. One company we worked with experienced strong traffic growth from blogging three times a month. Then they backed down to two blogs a month, then one a blog a month, and then only published randomly. As soon as they stopped blogging regularly, traffic slowly declined for their site over time, despite their strong start. Once it became a random pattern, the email and social media promotions ended and traffic decreased a whopping 43%. If you want to see the results from blogging in your website traffic, ranking, and new contacts, it takes a committed, consistent, and well-planned approach—and that’s nearly impossible if you aren’t ready for it.
When you consider everything that goes into maintaining a consistent blog publishing schedule, along with advanced content creation, you can see how easy it is to fall behind on publishing if you don’t have a concrete plan and system in place. Working with an inbound marketing agency can be a much more reliable option than doing everything in-house, and often provides much faster turnaround times on projects. If you want to learn more about how to get your inbound marketing strategy off the ground, check out our free guide below!