Most of my writing has a strict goal or purpose. In the posts we push out on this blog, it is our intention to inform and educate readers on concepts of inbound marketing, social media, web development and similar topics. Rarely do we get the chance to reflect on the process of accomplishing that goal. Over the past several weeks, we have made a variety of posts related to inbound marketing and its different steps. This post is more of a reflection of what it was like to compose information like that.
The term “inbound marketing” was coined by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan back in 2005. Despite its very specific definition, inbound is one of those concepts that is still in its infancy. The term and the practices it refers to are still so new in terms of marketing businesses that many agencies and individuals have come up with their own personal meanings for the phrase.
For the most part, there is agreement on what people mean when they talk about inbound, but in writing these posts, it’s easy to lose sight of the rigid framework. You have to be honest with yourself in the fact that this entire business is new, ambiguous and hasn’t really found its place yet. Therefore, it is hard to say there is a right and wrong way to do inbound marketing.
Marketing in general varies based on the industry you are in. The same is true for inbound. There really isn’t one right way to do things. What I’ve learned is that you have to be creative. You have to constantly look around you at what is working for others and what is working for yourself. The best strategy I have found so far is to learn about best practices and then formulate your own philosophy for inbound. If you adopt someone else’s philosophy, it may not work as well for you as it did for them.
As a blogger, you want to be original. Maybe you want to make a name for yourself or perhaps you are just trying to pay the bills. Whatever the case may be, the more sophisticated writers want to do something unique.
There is always that temptation, though, to hop on a search engine and read some other post that addresses exactly the same topic that you want to write about. I’m no better, and I often browse the web to see what other similar content is out there. I do this both for inspiration, as well as to see how I can make my posts better than the others that pop up near the top of search results.
You have to be careful, though. When you are in a pinch and the deadline is coming up, it’s all too tempting to emulate word for word (technically) what someone else has already written. What I’ve learned here is that you can’t be afraid to fail. I’ve done a fair amount of study on inbound marketing, worked with a number of different clients and have a pretty broad knowledge of inbound and online marketing in general.
Therefore, I like to rely on my own opinions and experiences, and then find data to support those experiences. This has helped me write more original posts and provide another diverse point of view for web searchers to find. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it’s ok to use search engines for research and inspiration, but don’t rely on them as a crutch.
This is a challenge that resonates with any person who is either writing or blogging for a living (or at all on a consistent basis). Finding the time to write is one thing, but finding the time to write well is something else entirely.
If you’ve ever tried to write well on a regular basis, you may have found that it takes time to get into a groove. It is not something you can just pick up and run with in two seconds. Sometimes it may take an hour or more before high-quality words start flowing onto the page.
Over the course of writing an inbound marketing guide, I’ve developed some strategies to help me get better work done in an (almost) timely manner.
- Start early, even if you don’t feel like writing; get something down on paper and you can always change it later.
- Make outlines. When you outline the information you want to write about, you can fill out a blog post or an article that much easier.
- Write about things you have first-hand knowledge of.
- Repurpose content where you can. Make sure you only repurpose content that won’t be competing with itself in search.
These challenges are by no means unique to me, and I’m sure there are others I’m missing. This post is more of a reflection on how I could become a more efficient writer and marketer than anything tangible for our readers.
What challenges do you face as a writer for large projects? Have you ever run into the challenges I’ve mentioned above?