What to Write? A First Dip Into Content Marketing

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So you’ve heard that content marketing is a hot topic. Content marketing is something you need to get into if you want to keep up with the competition.

You’ve also heard about all the standard tricks that are supposed to make your content marketing efforts pay off. Among those:

  • Deliver content regularly, at a pace
  • Write content on subjects that matter to your potential customers
  • Avoid fluff and overly promotional material
  • Keep it straight and avoid buzzwords
  • Include original images or photos
  • Don’t plagiarize or paraphrase someone else’s work: write something unique
  • Publish at a cadence, to all your networks
  • Make it useful

All this advice is fine and dandy, but as you sit down to write, it will soon dawn on you that writing is hard. Writing is in fact very hard! Chances are that you don’t even know what to write about, let alone how to write it. The truth is writing requires technical skills that most regular folks don’t possess or have long ago forgotten. Writing is free but it requires practice, time and patience, all of which are expensive. Writing requires valid sources and active validation from readers.


After pondering for half an hour in front of a blank screen, you’re ready to give up? Relax! Here’s one way to write original content quickly, step by step.

Start small and focus

Remind yourself that you spent the last few days doing things, talking and convincing people, solving tiny problems your own way, giving advice to your kids and friends, listening to advice from others, reading about other people’s experience, debugging, tweeting and emailing friends and partners. So pick one of these “things” as a topic, and write a story around it. Don’t worry so much about how it sounds, just write it as you would tell that story to someone else. Your readers want stories more than they do advice. Nobody wants to be told what to do, but everybody will gladly learn by example if the story is good. Given the right context, your story is likely to be much more interesting to others than you, the author, think it is. Simply write the story, however short it is. Then save it.

Now you have a draft: the seed of your next content. Go do something else. Remember: stories have a way of getting better when they rest for a while. Once you come back to it, you will find while it’s nowhere near perfect, it can be fixed. Fix what you can, then give it to someone else to review: a friend, a family member, a acquaintance on a social network. Take the advice you get back, then fix your copy again. Now you have a story: content that is ready to publish to the world. Hit the publish button and move on.

If you find that this approach still takes too long and cost you too much time, then use a shortcut. There are hundreds of copywriting services out there that will gladly take your draft and turn it into something that is, at the very least, digestible to most of your potential readers. The result will likely be a little bland and suffer from a lack of personality, but it will be free of the most common errors and will flow somewhat nicely. On the other hand, better and more engaging content re-writing will call for significant expenses. Your marketing partners may be able to help and provide this service at a lower cost. Backbay’s clients, for example, can use our copywriting services and get away with optimized content at a fraction of the cost of a professional ghostwriter.

Content marketing works, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Come to think of it, nothing is. What you need is a method and a focus. Find out what works best for you, your availability and your skills, letting others fill in the process where you fall short on either. Finding the right balance and getting to the right outcome will take some time, but it will pay off. Good luck!

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