5 Ways to Automate Your Content Strategy
I'm officially on maternity leave (though at the time I'm writing this, it feels like I'll be pregnant forever), and that means it's time to have another chat about blogging breaks. Blogging can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel: You know you should keep running, but after a while, you just can't see the point anymore. That mindset is the exact opposite of running an intentional business.
Stepping back from your blog now and then is a good thing, whether it's for a week or several months. Breaks protect you from burnout; they give your mind a chance to rest. That well-rested mind translates to fresher ideas and a stronger blog focus when you eventually return from your break.
The best part? Most people won't even notice you're on a blog break.
But even if your readers don't consciously miss you, your business might still take a hit. Fewer blog posts could mean decreased site traffic, fewer newsletter subscribers, and slower sales.
Luckily, there are ways to put your content strategy on autopilot so it continues working, even if you're not. These simple tips will help you automate your content strategy so you can get back to living your life instead of being a slave to your blog. (The best part? These tips are good ways to avoid burnout and save time even when you're not on a blog break!)
1. Promote the archives.
This is the easiest way to keep your site traffic high and continue gaining new subscribers without putting in a ton of extra work. Social media is the driving force behind much of our website traffic these days. It only makes sense to keep archived posts in front of your social followers.
You could do this manually, but why would you want to? Edgar is my favorite tool for keeping old posts alive. Edgar integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so this is a quick way to set up automation across several social channels. (Edgar is a bit spendy at $49/month, but it's been money well spent in my opinion. They had a free trial option available when I first signed up, so it may be worth giving it a try!)
When it comes to Pinterest, both Boardbooster and Tailwind can loop past pins so they appear at the top of your boards (and your readers' feeds) again. Boardbooster lets you get started for free for the first 100 pins (with the price starting at $5/month after that), and Tailwind offers the first month free when you use this referral link.
2. Update old posts.
When you're setting up those old posts to recirculate on social media, you may notice some of them are looking a bit outdated. If a post is more than a year old and could use some sprucing up, take a few minutes to update it and schedule it to republish during a week you're short on time.
This isn't a totally automated strategy, but most of the work has already been done for you. In most cases, you'll just need to update some links and old information. You could easily take care of a months' worth of content in an hour or two with this strategy! Just make sure to intersperse republished content with new material. Most of your followers won't notice a repeat post here and there (especially if they were published more than a year ago), but it's still a good idea to keep your content fresh if you can.
3. Set up automated email funnels.
You probably offer some sort of freebie to attract people to your email list, right? After that, they'll get a confirmation email and maybe a short introduction about who you are and what you do . . . but what comes after that? The most successful content strategies include a personalized automated email funnel. This is a series of emails that automatically sends to new subscribers in the days or weeks after they sign up for your list.
This smart strategy keeps your name in front of your new followers so they get used to hearing from you and don't have a chance to forget why they signed up for your list.
So what should you include in your email funnel? That depends. For your first funnel, I'd recommend offering high-value, actionable tips that anyone in your audience could easily apply. The goal is to make people see you as knowledgeable and over-the-top helpful. Email sequences often end with a limited-time deal on a related product or service. This is a fantastic way to remind new followers of how you can help them, without getting that yucky salesy feeling.
It takes time to get email funnels set up successfully, but once you do, you'll have content working for you 24/7. Learn more about getting started with the Advanced Email Sequences section in this post from Freelance to Freedom Project.
4. Syndicate your blog posts.
Syndication is when a piece of content you've already written is republished on another site. You might think this would only draw readers away from your blog, but it actually introduces your writing to a whole new audience---usually one that's much bigger than your own. Plus you can add authority to your name by saying you've been featured on other popular sites. (Contrary to popular belief, Google doesn't punish your site for duplicate content.)
I've personally seen great results from my syndicated content, including my recent piece on how to blog more efficiently being republished at Beyond Your Blog. Other options for syndication include Levo, HubSpot, and Huffington Post. Getting your content syndicated on sites like these takes a bit of effort. In most cases, you'll have to pitch their editors, who act as gatekeepers.
But other sites, like Medium, allow you to republish whichever blog posts you choose. With nothing more than a quick copy/paste, you could introduce your work to an entirely new audience! If you're interested in going this route, take the time to learn more about the dos and don'ts of republishing on Medium. If you're going to republish your content, you may as well do it right!
5. Repurpose other content as blog posts.
Your blog isn't the only place you're dishing out content. What about all the wisdom from that Twitter chat you guest hosted last week? Or that Periscope or Facebook Live video that was so popular with your audience? Or that podcast series you recorded a few months ago?
Don't let content on other platforms go unnoticed when your blog needs new posts! Your audience hangs out on many different social platforms, and your blog is the natural place to bring together all your content so readers who missed the original chat/audio/video can catch up.
Kayla Hollatz uses Storify to create recaps of her most popular #createlounge chats. One Woman Shop republishes their Hot Seat interviews on their blog (and as a bonus, they add them to their YouTube channel, too!). Podcasts can easily become transcripts with the help of a VA, transcription service, or dictation software. A smart content strategy puts your knowledge to work across many different platforms. Don't forget to repurpose what you've done in the past!
How will you automate your content strategy?
Many creatives get stuck on the idea of content as a traditional blog post that needs to come out every week without fail . . . and that's a surefire recipe for burnout. Your content strategy will always require some work, but these tips can help you keep blogging a little simpler so you can actually enjoy your business and your life. I'd love to know:
What's holding you back from automating your content strategy?