We had a chat with Elisa of https://craftyourcontent.com and found out some useful tips around creating content for your business:
1. What was your path to starting your business, Craft Your Content? What “sets your heart on fire” about writing?
I had been a professional writer for over a decade, and was building my own platform in the late 2000’s when online writing and content marketing was really finding a foothold.
The conversation I had again and again with other writers who were stepping into this world of virtual publishing was that traditional editors just didn’t “get it” in regards to the new media of online writing. They were consistently stripping my peer’s style and tone to make the writing what they wanted, rather than allowing more conversational and informal content to thrive.
So I started an agency that trains editors to do the exact opposite of that. To instead help writers and solopreneurs improve their writing and content, while still staying true to themselves.
As for what sets my heart on fire about this business … it is when a writer has found a sense of pride and accomplishment in a piece they’ve worked so hard on. I often get feedback from writers that our process and coaching has taught them lessons they now carry through their writing career or that it has literally changed their lives as they are making money from their thoughts and writing (which is something they only dreamed they could do.)
2. What do you guys do and who’s your audience?
We are an editorial agency who helps professional writers and solopreneurs with their writing through proofreading, content editing, and coaching. We also offer toolkits, courses, and downloadables to help writers put together their own content strategy and process. We are committed to helping people improve their confidence, process, and quality.
I like to say that we help people make their own words even better, because that’s exactly what we do. We don’t edit out their unique voice and vision, and we don’t rewrite their content to some kind of perfect prose that passes AI tests. We work with them to make sure that what they publish is the best writing they have in them. Also, we help them to hit their deadlines, because done is better than perfect, and good is better than meh.
3. What are some misconceptions about content for businesses?
That quality and consistency are somehow at odds with each other.
It is quite possible to publish quality content consistently, you just have to have a good process and commitment to doing both things well.
Most people do not want to put in the time and resources to find quality, so they become frustrated that publishing so often isn’t bringing them any results.
4. How do you hire quality writers? (my problem has been US writers are too expensive, non-native English speakers can’t usually get it right)
We aren’t a content creation agency, so hiring writers is not something we work on.
That said, I am the Managing Editor for our blog (that is fueled with contributor submissions) and a number of client sites that run on a contributor-model, and work with a number of great writers who might not be considered ‘quality writers’ in a number of settings.
The secret is that we put everyone through the exact same editorial process that we use with our editing and coaching clients — a process that I have modified from years of working with publications and other content marketing organizations. It involves multiple rounds of edits and revisions, and writers who are actually interested in learning and improving their craft.
While this is undoubtedly more expensive, in life we often get exactly what we pay for.
5. What advice would you give to a small/startup business that wants to build up traffic, but doesn’t have a huge budget? Especially given that there are so many areas one can focus on.
Focus on publishing one extremely high-quality piece of content monthly. Pour your time, energy, and resources into it. Make it a piece of cornerstone content that will be shared for weeks...months...maybe even years.
What does an extremely high-quality piece of content contain? It should be 2000-3000+ words, have at least 3 examples and/or elements of evidence, link to 5-7 authoritative external sites, brainstorm at least 3-5 title variations, have gone through multiple rounds of review and revision, involve 4-6+ hours of work, and include images and visuals to name a few things.
Most importantly, it should be written so that your reader will walk away with a tangible action to take — whether that is a process to implement, a new way of doing something, or an interesting concept that they have never considered that way before.
Then, and I cannot emphasize this enough: promote and distribute the heck out of it. Every channel, try paying for ads on different platforms, find influencers and peers to share it with their networks … great content only goes so far. You need to make sure people know you are creating great content as well.
As you build your business and start making more income, you can start hiring help to create additional content more regularly, so you are publishing at least weekly.
7. What trends are you seeing in content marketing, and what’s next for you and CYC?
I don’t follow most trends in content marketing, as I tend to find that when you create quality content and distribute it accordingly, you are able to ride out the waves and upsets that occur when people chase trends.
That said, content is constantly changing, and we would be foolish to not keep up with those changes. One report I always refer to in the year after it comes out is Orbit Media’s Annual Blogging Statistics study. It collects a slew of survey results and information from top performing content marketers, and breaks down the actual analytics and data for a real-time “state of content marketing” snapshot.