10 Content Marketing Secrets

How to Fill Your Editorial Calendar (Without Working)

content marketing secret Ever find yourself in need of content?

One trick I use is the editorial calendar. It helps me ensure that I’m publishing a balance of the 5 basic content types my customers need and my audience seeks.

Once I’ve covered those, I then look for hooks to keep my readers coming back for more great information.

Here are 10 of my content marketing secrets to keep the information flowing. content marketing secret

1. Breaking news: Take a page from Brian Williams

Give your audience the latest news, quickly. To take advantage of these topics, timing matters. If you have to wait a few days to get approvals and to work it into your editorial calendar, then skip it. You’re too late.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Be on top of the news. This means following social media and other outlets. Also have the resources to jump on a topic when it breaks.

For example, Peter Shankman who is an experienced PR professional wrote a thoughtful piece about Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. Why Facebook Got WhatsApp -Peter Shankman - Content marketing Secret-1

2. Be a trendsetter in your niche: Lead the way for your audience.

Here’s where Google Trends can be helpful but understand that they can’t predict a topic that hasn’t surfaced yet.

This type of article is also popular around the end of the year as well as near popular conferences. Actionable Marketing Guide does this at the end of the year, to look back and to look forward. content marketing secret

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Determine when is the best time to predict the trends for your category. It may be the end of the year or around major events or conferences in your vertical.

3. Provide customer FAQs: Answer your customers’ questions.

Don’t skimp on the tough questions like price. This is what your customers and their influencers want to know before they purchase. Take a page from the Marcus Sheridan playbook. By being transparent about pricing, he generated over $2 million from 1 article.

This should be a no-brainer way to create content. Think Marcus Sheridan. Go for the tough stuff. Answer your customers questions--basic content type

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Ask your customer service and sales teams what your prospects’ and customers’ questions are. Then answer them. The benefit of doing this is that you get more qualified sales and you can create quality content that can be used in more than 1 place.

4. Interviews: Be the Charlie Rose of your niche.

Get the word on the latest trends and thinking straight from the horse’s mouth. This is a wonderful way to leverage the power of other people’s audiences. You can use these on your blog, video or podcast.

Among the people to interview are:

  • Authors
  • Thought leaders
  • Employees
  • Customers

Gini Dietrich does a great job of interviewing people for her #FollowFriday posts on Spin Sucks Content Marketing Secrets-Actionable Marketing Guide

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Let people know that you’re interested in doing interviews on your blog or website. Also, get on lists for reviewing books or interviews on podcasts.

5. Roundups: Get your colleagues into the content action

Gather input on a specific topic or question and incorporate their answers into a single piece of content. It helps to have an established audience or to write for a platform that does.

Kapost did this with The Masters of SlideShare. I’ve done a number of these types of posts. Here are 25 Content Quality Definitions. Content Marketing Secrets - Actionable Marketing Guide

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:  Keep your questions short and easy-to-answer.

6. Research.

Want to knock the ball out of the park? Then do your own data collection. It’s a great way to attract an audience and get people excited about your firm. It’s how Anne Holland built MarketingSherpa. It attracts prospects and links.

Can’t do your own research? Then leverage other people’s information. Actionable Marketing Guide does this a lot.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:  Go beyond the press release babble. Provide new insights and understanding that your audience needs.

7. Teach your audience: Become the Khan’s Academy of your category

Create fun learning without the negative associations of a classroom. Provide useful resources.

Use the power of your images. Or go one step further with a video. Neil Patel develops advanced marketing guides as does Marketo. Content marketing secrets-Actionable Marketing Guide-HeidiCohen

Also where appropriate provide recipes and patterns.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Distribute your content in a variety of formats so that your audience can choose how they want to consume your information. This means re-imagining your content.

8. Provide styling help.

Don’t underestimate the need to show your potential customers how to use your products. Think beyond just your offering.

The goal is to help them visualize themselves using your product. Most women don’t want another piece of clothing that doesn’t go with anything in their closet.

A New York City stylist recently confessed to me that many of her clients came into her store to purchase clothes for their engagement photos wanting the same exact combinations they found on Pinterest.

Here’s how Into The Gloss, a beauty tumblr-magazine, does it. Hairspiration_ Consider The Headband | Into The Gloss

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Show prospects how your products will work with their lifestyles, body shapes and living spaces.

9. User generated content with a twist: Spotlight your customers.

Let your customers do the talking for you. They’ve got more credibility with other customers than you do.

To this end, ask your customers and fans to share their photographs using your products, their stories related to your offering, and their ratings and reviews. Bear in mind that 90% of your audience will lurk (or do nothing), 9% will do something small (such as share or comment) and 1% will create content.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Remove the work from the content creation process. Take photographs in your store and post them. Of course, make sure that your customers are willing to have them shared.

Here’s how Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City does it.

Lion Brand Yarn Studio -Customer projects-1

10. Show your human side: Invite your audience into your life.

While no one really cares about the detailed minutia of your life, don’t underestimate the power of observation based on your personal life to help you underscore something of bigger value to your audience.

Novice writers think that they have to write in generalities. But the reality is the opposite.

Read top creative writers and you’ll see how they use descriptive detail to make their characters more real and more universal. Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, is a craftsman at this.

Ann Handley, author of Content Rules, did this with a post about her daughter’s purchase of a prom dress and Penelope Trunk does this with regularity on her popular blog.  Content Marketing Secrets-Actionable Marketing Guide-Heidi Cohen

Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Be selective with the information you share. Understand that this is a fine line between being human and oversharing.

You can’t keep your audience interested by feeding them the same diet of content on a regular basis. Boredom seeps in. Instead serve up a smorgasbord of content to build your audience and keep them satisfied.

What are your content marketing secrets?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • http://profitblitz.com/ Marc Andre

    Excellent tips Heidi. Most of these approaches are very versatile and can be used by blogs/sites of all different types and in different industries. Also, most of them can be done by anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort.

    • heidicohen

      Marc–

      Thank you. The objective is to provide examples that anyone can adapt to meet their needs.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    Super fun ideas, Heidi! Thanks for including our #FollowFriday feature. We’re actually killing that this week (more tomorrow) and replacing it with a different interview series. But, because it’s one of our most popular posts of the week, we don’t want to kill the idea entirely. Which goes to say…the interview works really, really well!

    • heidicohen

      Gini–

      Thank you for chiming in and letting readers know that interviews work well.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • traveljunkies

    Think internationally. Who is Charlie Rose?

    • heidicohen

      Good point. Charlie Rose is a television interviewer. He’s the current Dick Cavett or David Frost. I’m not sure that there’s an international equivalent. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen