I make my living helping B2B technology companies with messaging, strategy and writing a whole bunch of marketing content. That means I have multiple client projects and content pieces in progress at one time. Here are five free tips for keeping my sanity while creating high quality content.
Tip #1: Headline Testing
I love my coworkers (my cats), but they aren’t great at giving me feedback on my writing. While I don’t need a full time editor, I can always use help improving the all important headlines. From a white paper title to a social post, headlines can make or break a piece. So, to up my game I use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer. This is a great tool that evaluates your headlines for power words, commonality, etc. and spits out a score. I continue to iterate until I get a score in the 70s or 80s. And I always end up with something much better than I would have produced in isolation.
Tip #2: One Browser Per Client or Project
The information I need to create content often comes at different times and from various sources. For instance, a reference document is sent from a client via email on Monday, on Thursday I do research to find some great websites and Friday I get links sent via Slack to some relevant content from the client. When I’m actually ready to sit down and write, this could be time consuming to go back and find everything. So, I start a browser window for each client or project and continue to add the tabs to it whenever I get them. That way when I am ready to write everything is in one place. As I’m writing this post, I have 5 browser windows open with a total of 79 tabs.
Tip #3: Auto Save of Browser Sessions
Per Tip #2, you might be wondering, “What happens when the computer automatically updates and restarts?” This is a real issue as I work long term with clients and projects like messaging exercises or whitepapers can go on for a while. The last thing I need is to lose everything. So, I use a browser plugin that auto saves my tabs regularly. I can also force a save and name it – particularly if I purposefully close a project that is on hold and want to reopen it later. I use Session Buddy, but there are plenty of alternatives for each browser and OS. And they are all free!
Tip #4: Punctuation Shortcuts
I love em dashes. In marketing content they can be a great way to pause for effect and make an important statement. What I don’t love are the multiple steps to add a symbol versus being able to type it in with a keystroke. Luckily, there’s a shortcut for that! For Google docs you can hold down the Alt key and then type 0151 and your em dash will be inserted in your document. Yay!
While I’ve gotten fast at typing Alt+0151, I still wish the em dash could be promoted to the regular keyboard—perhaps we could cut the semicolon? Until that happens, this shortcut is definitely a timesaver.
Tip #5: Beautiful Inspiration
Imagery is incredibly important for content. Just like a good headline, an intriguing image can capture someone’s attention and get them to click through or keep reading. I’m also a big proponent of “design first” principles. So it only makes sense to look for images that can inspire a blog post or section of a whitepaper before I start to write. The best free photo site I’ve found for this is Pexels. Not only is it free, but the images don’t have that stock photo feel that you get with paid services.
What Are Your Best Tips?
Anything that can save time and headaches is a bonus. I’d love to learn more great tips from fellow content marketers. Tweet me @TrishaWinter with your faves!