Business storytelling: what you can learn from journalists

Those who use exciting stories are captivating. However, many people make big mistakes in storytelling: they tire instead of enthusiasm. In this text, you will find the essential storytelling rules taught at journalism schools – and you will learn how to apply them to your business. 

What is storytelling – and why are so many people doing it the wrong way?

Maybe you just got an email again from someone who told you a sad story long and wide to want to sell you a product – and then you see great guys everywhere in your Facebook timeline Carts that used to be miserable like the church mice (which they spread out in a long text to get you signed up for a free webinar).

Yes, that’s storytelling too.

But not particularly imaginative. 

Because this type of storytelling is now predictable, annoying in the long run and can even provoke rejection – for example, if heavy topics such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or cancer are used too obviously to sell.

Therefore, a first warning: Those who go too flat in business storytelling can be shipwrecked!

However, doing without storytelling is not a solution. Because it works! (If you do it cleverly)

But how do you do it, right? And what happens when we tell stories? 

3 Effects of storytelling – and how it benefits your business

Suddenly everyone is a listening room full of people, you report essential things, give tips and instructions, give numbers, make the urgency of the topic clear – and look into tired eyes. 

But then you start talking about your grandma who once said this one sentence to you …

And that affects: Suddenly the audience looks interested. 

Why? 

I’m not a brain researcher – but I have been told that listening to a story activates many more areas than listening to facts. Senses are activated, feelings are evoked. It’s like the listener is witnessing the situation! 

Also: if a story begins, we want to know how it ends. And that immediately increases attention.

Even if only one concrete example is mentioned and a real person tells it, we pay attention: Because examples are storytelling on a small scale.

Journalists also learn this very quickly during their training: 10,000 traffic fatalities hardly trigger emotions unlike Katharina, 35, who had to die because she couldn’t avoid a ghost driver in time. Her 3-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat.

That makes us swallow. Sympathize. And it does more to us than any number, no matter how high it could be.

That is why journalists are looking for specific examples – individual fates. And that’s why you should also talk about people if you want to illustrate a topic.

(And here’s a little test: don’t you MUST now know if the little girl survived in the back seat? I bet you want. Because: see above.)

  1. You create closeness – and that promotes sales.

As soon as you start talking about yourself, people listen to you. Especially when you talk about depths, crises and problems.

This affects two types of storytelling in particular:

  • The cause-effect principle:
  •  This is about the vivid explanation of why something is as it is. 
  • I live healthier today, BECAUSE … 
  • I only advise offline, BECAUSE … 
  • I only go hiking barefoot, BECAUSE … 
  • Usually, this “because” has to do with a negative experience. And of course, we have to talk about that if we want to explain why we are doing something. If we do this in a descriptive and exemplary manner, we do 1A storytelling.
  • The hero journey:
  •  The storytelling known from Hollywood is always about
    • a hero
    • a problem
    • overcoming the problem 
    • the change of the hero
    • a message associated with it

Most of the stories (of you, of customers, of friends) can be squeezed into this pattern!

What happens in the other person’s head in both cases: he or she develops empathy. You build a connection. Closeness arises.

And once there is proximity, the decision to buy is easier. Storytelling is, therefore, a great sales vehicle.

Is that manipulation?

Oh well. The Duden defines manipulation as “an impenetrable, skillful procedure that gives someone an advantage, wins something they want”. And then, I found this definition: “Influencing decisions without the decision-maker being aware of it.”

Accordingly, any sale is manipulative. 

But of course, the manipulation can take on different dimensions. For me, it is negative if dramatic stories evoke empathy, if we sympathize infinitely, then buy an incredibly expensive product – such as high-priced coaching – but the closeness builds up abruptly with the purchase of the product. The coaching ends turned out to be access to calls with dozens of other customers.

Then I have only one word for it: fooling around.

2. People remember you better.

Have you ever been to a lecture where you wrote a lot? And did the lecturer tell a little story about himself or another person in the middle of all his facts?

I would bet: two weeks later, you had to look in your notes to recall the information – but you still had the story in your ears.

Our brain sorts stories in a different, more critical drawer than pure facts. We remember them longer because they made more of an impression. We felt something when we heard them. It makes a big difference.

So if you want people to take an essential thing from a lecture, workshop, or seminar, the best thing to do is wrap them up in a story. It doesn’t have to be Hollywood drama – sometimes it is enough to give an example of a real person.

That’s working!

Listeners are also more likely to tell other people about you – because you impressed them more sustainably: “The X, who recently said something similar, take a look at their website!” 

Ten situations where you can use storytelling

  1. On your website 

Your homepage (in detail) and you’re about me page are ideal for storytelling. But be careful: Nobody wants to see too much text! That means that you shouldn’t spread a long story on the homepage. 

However, if you can say “I’ve been in this situation before” or “I’ve overcome a problem that you as a website visitor may know,” tell us about it! 

Warning: Do not tell any stories “because I am supposed to do storytelling”, but focus on the experiences that have something to do with your website visitor. In which he empathizes and with which he can do something.

2. In social media

Platte advertising posts have not worked for a long time. Therefore, you should try to get closer to potential customers as a person. What do you experience, what does it do to you, what insights can you share with others?

And if it’s just anecdotes from your everyday life: stories get to know you better.

For example:

  •  An observation from your everyday life from which you have drawn a conclusion (which has something to do with the life/business of your followers)
  • Something that just happened to you that made you think
  • An encounter with a person that triggers an eye-opening effect from which you have learned something

You mustn’t merely describe an event, but connect a message to it! Then the element “hero has changed” is fulfilled (even if only in tiny details) – and storytelling becomes a story.

3. In blog posts and books 

Have you noticed how many times I’ve given small examples in this blog post? How many times have I described situations to you? That is already storytelling, if only on a small scale. 

We all learn best from examples. That is why American non-fiction books are teeming with descriptions of individual cases.

4. In emails 

Many have come to believe that storytelling should be used in newsletter marketing. This can be seen in countless emails with subject lines such as “I finally did it!” Or “That was the worst birthday of my life”. 

If that piles up, I have to admit that at some point, it gets annoying.

So I advise you about the right balance. I often tell little episodes in the newsletter – but I don’t write every subject line to cry out for storytelling. And I often focus purely on imparting knowledge. In this way, I avoid the appearance of fatigue (“Oh, now there is a storyline byline – and when does something come here that helps me … ???”).

Nevertheless: Please don’t refrain from telling stories in your newsletter from time to time! It is precisely these emails that give me the most feedback.

5. Live in front of the camera.

Do you sometimes make videos for your business? Then get started with a short story next time – immediately! Do without “Welcome …”, “Great, I’m living!” And other fuss. You will quickly have more attention – and more people will hear what you have to say afterward because they have stayed with it longer.

6. Talking to potential customers

 If you want to convince people of yourself or something, examples, and small, “I know that” stories will help immensely.

Sometimes it is enough to tell about another customer who has already achieved what your counterpart wants to achieve. Packed in a little story, it will make a more significant impression than any good argument!

7. On landing pages

I tell you about me on almost every landing page, because people buy from people. So if I advertise a freebie or would like to invite you to an event, I can prove by telling a short story: I am familiar with the topic!

If you too can briefly outline that you have done something that has to do with the topic – then do it!

8. For presentations

PowerPoints are all well and good – but the moment you deviate from them and just tell an anecdote on the side may be the best in the entire presentation. 

For every presentation, think about: What point can I substantiate with an example? What eye-opening effect can I bring my listeners to by telling a story?

That will make a lot more impressive than any string of facts. 

9. During press work

If you’ve looked around this page a little, you’ll see that I preach one thing repeatedly: offer your stories to the press! 

My customers keep seeing that that’s precisely what works – and suddenly journalists report back when you send them stories in their inbox:

  • Chocolate sommelier Stefanie was able to tell on Impulse.de how, as a very young boss, she met the expectation that she should appear “nicer” – and how she overcame this problem
  • Qi-Gong expert Angela reported on woman.at how her mother had helped her out of the mess (a little later she was also allowed to give Qi-Gong tips on the site, which had never met with interest before)
  • Fitness coach Beatrice told in several magazines how she found life through sport after burnout and cancer diagnosis

10. On stage, prominent speakers know exactly: on stage, it is not a question of conveying as many facts as possible, but of sending one or two central thoughts that are remembered.

So I strongly recommend that you approach this central idea with a story! 

If we witness how the speaker concluded, we will still remember it weeks and even months later.

What journalists learn about storytelling – and what you should check out

Have a “hero.”

 Every journalist learns right at the beginning of his training: If you want to describe a problem, find a person to whom it applies. All articles, radio features, and television reports that go beyond news reporting take this rule of thumb to heart.

So if you want to use stories, don’t talk about “many people” having problem XY. It was about how Sabine, 47, was suddenly confronted with this problem, what it did to her – and how she could finally overcome it.

Do you want to tell a story about yourself, not someone else? Great, then you are the hero of your account!

Unfortunately, your topic mainly consists of facts and figures? Then find yourself a sample person who has an impact on these facts and figures – and use it to illustrate why the topic is so important!

Let something happen quickly

Who would watch a film where Tom Hanks flies calmly on an airplane over an island and then arrives at home in a good mood …? 

No, the plane crashes, of course, Hanks lands on a desert island – and suddenly has to fight like Robinson Crusoe for his survival and against going mad. 

Most Hollywood films work according to this principle: Often, something happens within the first five minutes that changes everything – and dominates the remaining 85 minutes. 

So what is the “plane crash” in your story? In your customers’? Every good story, no matter how small, needs a “Suddenly …”.

Again: It doesn’t always have to be the great story of suffering, the tragedy of your life – after all, there are enough small events that involve coping with a problem! If only as a convinced vegetarian you ended up in a small Argentinian town and suddenly had to find out: it was almost impossible to find something to eat that did not focus on a roasted pink piece of meat …

If you describe this vividly and according to the rules of storytelling (a hero is suddenly confronted with a problem and has to find a solution), you are sure to have open ears – without it having Hollywood potential.

By the way, journalists sometimes apply the “let something happen quickly” rule in the first sentence – even before we get to know the hero. Something like this: “It was a rainy Thursday afternoon when the horror came to Niederbüll.”

 The order of the elements mentioned here can, therefore, be changed! The main thing is that they are included in your story at all.

Say what the problem is

Ideally, when you tell a story, you should clearly state what the problem is here. If SUDDENLY something happened, you should take the whole thing to a higher level again, make the meaning clear: 

  • What is at stake here right now? 
  • Why does the problem have to be solved? 
  • What will happen if not …?

So you give your story additional depth. In the journalism school, I learned the following sentence, which describes this aspect of storytelling very well: “Get into the helicopter”.

That means: look at what has happened from above as if from an airplane. What more significant dimension do you see? What are the effects of what happened to the big picture?

 Journalists then often use a sentence like “Sabine Hansen is not an isolated case”. Then numbers usually follow, such as how many others are affected by the problem.

 You don’t have to stick to it blindly – but maybe you find an aspect that is “bigger” than the person and their problem? Then name it.

Describe small details

Good journalism describes vividly – in the right places. Many texts start with scenery in which little things are mentioned in detail. So readers can imagine the situation correctly.

This works especially if you want to make it exciting. If you work towards a SUDDENLY telling a story, you can build tension by describing: Where are we? How is it there? What can you hear, smell, feel?

This will “pull” your listeners into the story; they will be more attentive – because while they are empathizing with the situation, many different areas of their brains are active (unlike if they only had to process facts). 

Have a happy ending – and a message

When we hear about a problem, we want to know how it ends. Our brain is particularly satisfied when it hears a happy ending. Therefore, think of stories that have an outcome. What is still “work in progress” is not suitable for storytelling.

For example, it would be very unsatisfactory if Tom Hanks just lived on his lonely island at the end of the film. 

 A story needs development. And development also means: How did it end? How was the problem solved? What did that do to the hero?

The next time you read a magazine text, just pay attention: Does the author return to the hero and his problem at the end of the text? This is a classic journalistic trick to create a common thread.

Even if other people had their say in the middle part of the text – other people affected, experts, supporting actors: In the end, the journalist usually “closes the bag” and picks up on the scene described in the introduction. A typical exit describes what the hero does today, how the problem related has changed him or her.

Ideally, your story, therefore, has a message and makes it clear to me as a listener: Here, a change has occurred that has something to do with me. 

This also applies if the story did not turn out positive for the hero! He or she will have learned something anyway – and for the listener, that is something like a “happy ending.”

Five mistakes you should avoid when storytelling

  1. Avoid too many details.

Many of my tips tempt you to get lost in details. Describe what it takes. Add something here and there and there, because this and that, and that is somehow important.

In other words: getting into the LANTERN.

That is the death of good stories.

How do you know if your descriptions are still exciting?

By looking into the faces of your listeners (if that’s possible). How attentively do you listen?

The big challenge is just to give details that pull your audience into a situation that creates tension. 

Depending on the situation, you should handle this differently: In a short video in which you describe a short event, a few details are enough. You can take a little more time on stage, especially if the story has a larger dimension.

My tip: tell the story in front of a sample audience – or give your text to a few test readers! Ask them to tell you where to remind yourself to stay tuned honestly.

2. Avoid digressions

In journalistic research, I often wrote half a notebook – and ended up using only about 10 percent of my notes for the text. 

Because a vital journalist rule is: only select the people, events, and descriptions that are relevant to your core topic, your message.

This can go so far that protagonists are accompanied and interviewed and do not even appear in the text afterward because the experiences were not typical of the text’s essence. 

For example, if the topic is “single women are statistically more stressed than women in a relationship, even if it is a bad relationship,” the journalist needs someone who can best illustrate this. If it turns out that the selected protagonist is only semi-stressed, the story no longer works – and the journalist will look for someone else.

What you can learn from it: If you tell a story, concentrate on the CORE. 

If you know which message you want to end with, you should only choose the critical events and developments for this message. 

3. Avoid naming too many people.

Maybe you could tell several stories about the same phenomenon. Journalists do just that in many texts: they have two or three protagonists. However, the following rule applies: Each protagonist should illustrate a different aspect of the topic.

If we stick to the thesis that single mothers are stressed out, a journalist would, for example, choose a woman who lives alone with her child and only copes with everyday life with great effort – and a mother who is in a relationship that is more difficult than it should be everything is significantly less stressed.

Each protagonist stands for something and is carefully selected by journalists. It rarely takes two protagonists who have experienced the same thing!

For your first storytelling steps, I would recommend focusing on one protagonist so as not to confuse your audience or readers.

(Exception: there are a hero and an antagonist. If your hero has an opponent, you must include both in your story – after all, the antagonist embodies the hero’s problem.)

4. Don’t just tell THE ONE story.

Sure, if you bring along a good story that describes great why you are doing what you are doing, you should tell it repeatedly. It doesn’t matter whether you already have customers or are just at the beginning: a good justification story makes a difference.

But please don’t focus ONLY on that!

Because stories are suitable for so much more, you can make decisions understandable, lead listeners to an eye-opening moment, convey knowledge.

For me, storytelling is an addition. I use it here and there.

  • to illustrate a point
  • to work towards a conclusion / a message / a “moral from history.”
  • to create ties (“Yes! I feel the same way!”)
  • to create more interaction (nothing triggers more than small, unadorned stories from my life …) 

Therefore: Whenever you can explain something using an example that follows the sequence hero – problem – solution – change, you do real storytelling!

(With that, I would like to take away the high standards again: It doesn’t always have to be Hollywood material, even small anecdotes can work correctly!)

5. Don’t overdo it

One final request: don’t kill your audience. Because if from now on, you only come around the corner with blood-sweat-tear-stories, then I promise you: It will tire in the long run.

As a customer, I react grumpily when I realize that a person always uses their personal (dramatic) story exactly when it comes to selling. Then I feel manipulated – and I’m gone.

It is like everything in life: A healthy mix is ​​essential. 

Mr. Zuckerberg, take responsibility! Or why Facebook can never be an independent platform that provides users with the ultimate truth

Washington and Brussels call for far-reaching regulation for Facebook: Above all, it is the opinion of the world’s largest social network that politicians are suspicious of. But with increasing political intervention, the risk increases that Facebook will become an organ controlled by the state and special interests.

Don’t let the politicians lie – fact-checking is a must

It was only a matter of time before social networks themselves would become the subject of the US election campaign. Because at some point, a politician would demonstratively exceed the limits of what is still permitted on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook according to the company’s guidelines. And that has now happened: Twitter recently provided a tweet by the President of the United States about the susceptibility of postal elections to fraud with a “fact-checking label” and thus offered users further information on the subject, some of which was contrary to Trump’s post. Facebook even had a number of its posts deleted, which dealt with the problems of the left-wing militant network Antifa and which had used symbols that were also used by the National Socialists.

President Trump sees the measures as an interference with freedom of speech and wants to prevent such interference with the content published on the platforms in the future with the recently issued executive order “Protection against online censorship”. Meanwhile, leading employees of Facebook, parts of the advertising industry, many politicians and parts of the population of Facebook and Twitter are demanding exactly the opposite: “Intervene more in the content, don’t let the politicians lie – fact-checking is a must”, says they argue.

The current regulation of social networks in the United States

In general, a dispute has arisen in the USA about how social networks should deal with content. It is hardly surprising that there is no consensus in this polarized country about what is only keen rhetoric or perhaps a call for violence, and that in the hot climate a post is quickly referred to as a false message or disinformation, even though the content is only controversial. The Americans will elect their President in five months. And the political establishment is shaking with the influence that Facebook, Twitter and Youtube could have on the outcome of the elections. Whether politicians, lobbyists, civic associations, trade unions, advertisers or employees: in the end, they all want to be in charge of what can be posted on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. Private opinion now needs state borders – social media regulation is required. Such efforts are also being made in Brussels.

But instead of regulation that offers politicians a gateway, it needed framework conditions that strengthen responsibilities and market mechanisms. Do we want the political influence on such essential opinion platforms like Facebook or YouTube to increase? Which opinion will be considered acceptable on Facebook in the future, if discussions about topics like racism, environmental protection or American politics often threaten the emotional, moralizing club of opinion?

What was needed rather than the influence of moralizing opinion leaders on Facebook would be a competition-promoting regulation that, first of all, transferred to Mark Zuckerberg what an entrepreneur had to carry: responsibility. Secondly, it would be a matter of adjusting the business model, in which the user would finally have to become a customer (today he is the product). And thirdly, any regulation should start from a responsible and courageous media consumer and strengthen them.

The current regulation of social networks in the United States dates back to the childhood days of the Internet. Long before Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, the American legislature had already created the ideal legal conditions for its success. At that time, in 1996 – Zuckerberg was just eleven years old – the Communication Decency Act (CDA) was passed in the USA. It was the time of the first Internet service providers (ISP), and the main aim was to prevent pornographically but also other inappropriate content from poisoning the climate on the Internet. Article 230 decoupled the right to intervene from the obligation to be ultimately responsible for the remaining content:

According to popular belief, these 26 words created the Internet. They became the legal business foundation of Facebook, which was founded in 2004. The social network is still a neutral platform on which users post their content. The company assumes responsibility for this to a minimal extent by referring to Article 230. There are no limits to Facebook’s growth: Today, several hundred million posts are posted on Facebook every day; 2.8 billion people access the social network every month.

Facebook, like a publisher, has to take responsibility for what is seen on its pages is

However, Facebook generally only has to assume responsibility for what happens on the platform in exceptional cases. And if you don’t want that at all, you’d better retreat to the position of neutrality. Facebook’s impartiality or independence is an illusion. Of course, the company intervenes massively in the news feed – this is the stream of content that reaches the user on his own Facebook page. Facebook’s algorithms control what the user gets to see when and how often. Your goal is to keep the user on the page as long as possible. Because the longer he is on the page, the more advertising Facebook can show him. The more Facebook can learn from the user (via his posts, the likes distributed by him, the Internet pages that he uses when he has long left Facebook has, etc.), the more expensive it is to sell advertising space to advertisers. Ultimately, the user is the product that Facebook sells to the advertising industry.

The group is increasingly countering the criticism that is increasingly permeating Facebook that it is a platform for false information and campaigns for disinformation, with self-regulation: General rules of conduct, fact-checkers and a newly established oversight board are intended to walk the tightrope walk between freedom of movement resulting from the CDA law Manage opinions and exceed the limit of what is permissible. Facebook now pays a whole army of external, supposedly objective fact-checkers. They check controversial posts for their truthfulness. Depending on the result, Facebook removes such positions, or the algorithms ensure that they slide far down in the newsfeed and become virtually invisible. And the twenty-member oversight board, which is staffed by external experts is to decide in disputes and doubts whether the content has been rightly removed or marked with comments from Facebook.

Self-regulation

But this type of self-regulation is hugely problematic. First, Facebook is getting very close to publishing. Second, it is based on the false assumption that there is only one truth and that facts are separate from opinion. However, an allegedly objective assessment of a controversial claim does not necessarily refute the latter.

Against this background and given the increasing attempts by politicians to exert institutional influence on Facebook and its content, it would be time to create clear responsibilities: Facebook, like a publisher, has to take responsibility for what is seen on its pages is. This responsibility would mean Facebook’s duty to remove illegal content. It would also give the company the freedom to edit, classify (according to fact or opinion), curate and select content according to its style. That would massively change the face of Facebook today. Facebook could no longer hide behind the illusion of neutrality, and users could no longer be deceived by it. It would probably be assumed that Facebook would become less attractive as an advertising platform for the advertising industry. Users might be asked to checkout. But with that, they would finally become a product and a customer, and Facebook would become their product, not an advertiser.

At the same time, competition in the social network market should finally be stimulated: it should be possible to switch from Facebook, including all contacts and connections – the so-called social graph – to another social network. Just as in the mobile phone market the right to take the phone number to another provider that made the competition play properly, the portability of the social graph should be guaranteed. The design of the various social networks would then be guided more by user demand and not by politics and interest groups, as is to be feared in the future.

But the social media user cannot avoid one thing: he must act as a responsible and courageous media consumer. It is not brave to arbitrarily topple historical statues from the pedestal in virtual rooms, to ban opinions that deviate from the mainstream or to raise demands for the protection of minorities or the environment to a quasi-religion. It is also not brave to indulge in the illusion that there could be a Facebook that will provide users with the ultimate truth as an independent platform. Responsible citizens dare to deal with the ideas of dissenters on social networks, and they can do it rationally and critically.

How to write comments that bring visitors (but don’t make you a spammer)

I had to laugh.

A few days ago, I saw a funny photo, and I found the statement particularly apt.

In the photo, we see two older women chatting on the street:

I only dare to go out on the road. It has become too bad on the Internet.

Sometimes it is. People scold, swear, troll, and annoy so much on the Internet that the street is already safer than the Facebook timeline.

On the Internet, many people seem to be losing their manners.

You can see this on blogs too: comments that are pure spam, that offend or that are subliminally arrogant.

Comments are an excellent tool for getting new visitors – if you do it right, because almost every blog offers you the opportunity to leave your URL when you comment.

If the readers find you attractive, click on your link, and you have won a new reader.

Another feature of comments is almost as important: they create a relationship between you and the blogger. Usually, the blog comment is your first encounter with another blogger. So you should make a good impression.

But how do you write good comments?

1.Have a face

Have you ever had a date when you showed up in a Spiderman costume? Or as a Duckwin Duck with a cape and mask?

Of course not.

People with a mask are immediately suspicious. They are up to something or hide something under their cape. You don’t trust such a person.

It’s no different on the Internet.

If you comment, there should be a face – your face.

As a gravatar, do not use childhood heroes or other “masks”. You shouldn’t just use the gray silhouette, which is set by default.

Take a photo where you can sleep well and look beautiful and use it as a gravatar.

Everything else just makes people suspicious – and suspicious people don’t click your link.

2. Have a name

On the Internet, many people like to hide behind a pseudonym.

If it were legally possible, many would even like to blog with a pseudonym – but this is not possible due to the obligation to provide an imprint.

I am not a dating expert, but if you introduce yourself as “Master Yedi” on your date, then I am sure that the meeting will go wrong – unless you are lucky and your counterpart does not label yourself as schizophrenic.

Therefore, use your real name when commenting.

And no, please do not use your domain as a name: “Harry from CoachingDeluxe.de.”

That looks spammy. It looks like you want to put your domain in the comment as often as possible.

So don’t do that.

Just do it: “Harry”.

There is a separate field for the domain.

3. Don’t scatter links.

Links in comments are like fire: they can keep you warm and bring joy, but you can also burn your fingers on them.

So you should treat links to your blog very carefully.

My advice: leave it.

Sure, you may be able to contribute something to the discussion, but no matter how good the link is, it always leaves an impression on the blogger:

He just wants to spread his links.

Maybe some readers have this impression too. It is tough to post a link in the comment without acting like a spammer. And spammers immediately leave an unpleasant aftertaste.

Above all, you should refrain from comments such as: “Cool, I also wrote something on this topic [Link].”

Sincerely: who cares? You join the “me too” shouts at a flea market. You can be happy if the blogger unlocks your comment at all.

If you want to arouse interest and trust, leave the scattering of links in the comment field entirely.

There are better ways to get backlinks.

4. Don’t stink

Self-praise stinks, even on the Internet.

Some people love their voice so much that they can tell you for 15 minutes what they had breakfast and how tenderly the butter melted on their tongues.

Unfortunately, you can also see self-praise in blog comments. And to clarify: self-praise has lost nothing.

How to read comments like:

  • “I’ve been implementing all these tips for years. That’s why I have the leading blog in my niche. Have a look; there you can learn something. “
  • “Nothing new in this post, I’ve been doing everything for years.”
  • “Oh yes: I can make a good living from my blog income and only paid the deposit for my Mercedes SLK yesterday.”

My thought with such comments: Nice for you. You get an order. Pat your shoulder three times.

Seriously: hold yourself back in a comment with self-praise. Otherwise, you are immediately unappealing.

Oh yes: mockery, destructive criticism and sarcasm also stink.

5. Read the article

Yes, this is not a matter, of course.

This phenomenon is often seen on Facebook, where people only see the headline of the article, but are already diligently writing hate comments on Facebook or otherwise adding their mustard.

If you don’t want to go through as a mustard slingshot, then show with your comment that you’ve read the article.

So don’t write: “Great article.”

But: “I loved the example with the mustard. That made the problem so clear to me. “

Do you see the difference

Be as specific as possible and refer to the article – the more specific, the better, because then you can also start a dialogue.

6. Show appreciation

People love recognition.

And when you give others credit, it has a significant effect: people love you too.

Imagine your circle of friends, and a “new” comes into the round. He criticizes each of your friends, enumerates quick facts, and makes an effort to stand in a great light.

Then a second newcomer comes around, and he gives praise. He sincerely praises your friends’ shoes, their smiles and is interested in them.

Which person do you find more likable?

The second, of course. Those who give recognition also get recognition from others.

Therefore, you should always show appreciation in your comments. No, you shouldn’t crawl or slime in the other’s butt, but give honest praise.

As a reminder: When you put it in, you tell people what they want to hear. When you praise, you tell people what they don’t expect.

So your comment should contain a simple element: the compliment.

I don’t say that because I want you to praise me in the comments, but because it should be so. Compliments are the best way to make yourself accessible.

7. Increase the value

Now comes the coronation.

The most important aspect of a useful comment is that it offers added value. Ideally, your comment should increase the value of the article and not decrease it (as unfortunately, spam comments do).

You can deliver added value in the following variants:

  • Tell about personal experiences – Often, in a blog article, you only see one person’s skills. If you bring your expertise into the discussion, people will know that it works for others or that you can do it differently. A good experience report leads readers to this reaction: “Oh, he had the same problem as me. I’ll take a look at his blog. “
  • Ask meaningful questions – in your comments; you should ask questions that others might ask – then other readers will see the answer directly. You should also ask questions that are as specific and goal-oriented as possible. An excellent question is always: “How would you approach Problem X? I can’t get any further … “
  • Add a point – Many bloggers like to write list posts with a fixed number of points. If you can think of another, it would be the perfect material for comment. But please don’t be spiteful or with your big index finger. Just put your tip on the table. If you are lucky, the blogger will even add your comment to his article.

Improve the world

There are enough trolls and spammers on the Internet to make the web a place you don’t like to travel.

We can change that. We can start with ourselves and write comments that are not spammy. Comments that add value. Comments that give honest recognition and do not burst with self-praise.

In the end, only everyone can win: the blogger gets more comments. Good comments get you more attention. And you two enter into a dialogue.

What more do you want?

How to create content step by step that gets more traffic

If you want to get visitors now, you need to create high-quality content first.

But before you start with the actual work, you should invest a little time in the planning.

Step 1: content planning

By now, you should have roughly defined your inbound marketing strategy and created a buyer persona.

Let’s take a closer look at critical strategic points related to content marketing:

Step 1.1: Define your rough topic

You start by defining your big topic. What category is your company in? Your topic could also be your industry here.

Step 1.2: Define your subtopics.

After you have defined your topic, you should consider the associated subtopics. As a rule, your topic is very rough. What components can you split it into?

With us, it is possible to divide our topic into the following areas: content marketing, social media marketing, blogging, search engine optimization, advertising texts, landing pages, conversion optimization, analytics, design, and marketing automation.

These are the pillars around which your content will turn.

If you follow these two steps, you have mostly automatically defined relevant short head keywords with which you want to rank in the long term. Short Head means that it is short keywords that are searched a lot, but accordingly have a lot of competition.

As a rule, you should find 5-10 subtopics. You can also call these topics or terms “seed keywords.”

Step 1.3: Think about content ideas.

Your seed keywords are the big categories for which you should create content. Here you can choose your rough topic or one of your subtopics (e.g., “Inbound Marketing”) and think about content ideas (e.g., “Inbound Marketing Benefits”) for your editorial plan . At this point, think about a publication rhythm such as B. “once a week”.

Et voilà, you already have an exciting idea and also a keyword that you should focus on. With this, you have automatically defined a long tail keyword. In contrast to the short heads, these are longer and therefore have fewer search queries, but less competition.

Step 1.4: Do keyword research

In between, you should always do little keyword research with the Google Keyword Planner and pay attention to the following points:

  • Relevance – How relevant is your idea to your potential customer? What does he expect? What exactly does your keyword describe?
  • Search queries – How often is your opinion searched for per month? Is the work worth it? Anything over 100 searches is worthwhile.
  • Competitors – How strong is the competition for your idea? How difficult will it be to rank with it?

Since it is not so easy to rank with short head keywords, you should first focus on long-tail keywords with little competition and pick them up first. Let’s do it too! 😉

Step 1.5: Choose the content medium.

In general, you should not start with several media (text, image, audio, video) at the same time, but limit yourself to one medium.

Even if you, For example, a good copywriter up to, creating content that has a marketing function is a bit of a bummer. You have to learn and perfect that first. I only started with text in 2012.

I also recommend that you do not create news-heavy content, but focus on evergreen content. Many of my posts from 2012 are still valid today and are shared diligently. Timeless content is much more efficient. Above all, small businesses always have to struggle with the scarcity of resources. That is inevitable.

Duration: about 1 hour

Step 2: content research

OK. Research doesn’t sound as exciting as letting your creativity run wild and creating content. But solid research is essential if you want to be successful with inbound marketing.

It is about collecting so much data (statistics, examples, quotes, theories, ideas, and stories) for your potential customer to provide them with sufficient information. This is also one of the most common mistakes I see:

Unfortunately, the content is often far too thin.

This is due to a lack of research. Fittingly, Wilson Mizner once said so nicely: “If you steal from an author, it’s called plagiarism. If you take from more than one, it is called research “. I don’t mean that you should copy other content. But you can calmly inspire yourself. After all, there is no monopoly on ideas. It is essential that you bring your own words, your own words, and only your way in your point of view. This makes your content unique.

You will then no longer have any blockages because you have plenty of material that you can use. Even if you’re an expert in your field, you should always research to find exciting ideas that you didn’t have before.

But how do I do it correctly?

Step 2.1: focus on a keyword.

When planning content, we came up with a few content ideas and found a few new keywords to match.

It is crucial here that you focus on a keyword. The trend is in the opposite direction, but that’s how you keep it friendly and straightforward.

Step 2.2: Brainstorming keyword variations

Let’s stick to our example with the advantages of inbound marketing. Here I have z. For example, simply search for “inbound marketing advantages”, “inbound marketing benefits,” and “inbound marketing advantages”.

Step 2.3: Scan the first 100 search results.

I checked the first ten pages for each of these terms, so I scanned all 100 search results. Here I mainly look at the headline and select the posts that seem appropriate to me. Sometimes I find inspiring and exciting articles on page 10. In-depth research pays off! 😉

Then I scan all the posts and filter out those that are not relevant. Amazingly often, there is still inferior content.

Step 2.4: Consume the found content.

Finally, I consume the content and keep taking notes at the same time. I also collect essential sources such as studies or statistics, which I will link later.

During this research, you automatically check your competitors. So look at what they do well and what they do bad. Then think about what you can do better.

Step 2.5: stay up to date.

Also, you should regularly consume a lot of third-party content to acquire plenty of inspiration, ideas, and metaphors. Therefore, you should also follow your influencers and look at their content.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 3: Content creation

Anyone can create mediocre content.

But producing content that is regularly read, shared, and linked is a somewhat higher art. An art that is hard and takes time. The resources and knowledge needed.

Now let’s take a look at how the process works in detail. Whether you choose text, image, audio, or video, the workflow always remains the same:

Step 3.1: Think of your buyer persona.

First, take your buyer persona at hand, imagine it again in your mind’s eye and start producing content just for them!

Step 3.2: Create a heading

Your headline is the essential element. It is a promise in return for the valuable time of your prospect.

Therefore, make sure that your heading contains a benefit. What does your prospect benefit from? What’s in it for him? A simple trick here is to start with a “like you” heading. When you do that, you automatically force yourself to think about its benefits.

Take your time here. You should create at least 10-30 variations of a heading.

Always remember that everything is only temporary. The finishing touches come later. I always choose the first best. But over time, I keep changing it because I find something better.

Step 3.3: Create an introduction

With the introduction or the intro, you have to pull your prospect into your content. That is why it is the second most crucial element.

Tell something exciting here, make a definite statement, ask a provocative question, or list exciting statistics. Work here with things that draw attention. You are welcome to tell a story that, at first glance, has nothing to do with the topic.

Step 3.4: create a structure.

Then you think of a structure that breaks up your content into small parts. If you focus on the text, we are talking about the subheadings here.

Make sure that they are in a logical order (such as the post you are reading). You should also remember that the beginning and the end are essential. These are the points we humans remember.

Step 3.5: fill in the blanks.

If you have a structure, you have created a form that you only have to fill out. This makes the whole thing much more comfortable.

So start by writing down everything you can think of and what you’ve learned from your research. Don’t pay attention to structure or spelling. The main thing is to put your thoughts on paper!

Step 3.6: Don’t forget the conclusion

A missing conclusion is one of the most common points that I miss from our guest authors and generally on the web.

Therefore, summarize the entire topic in a few sentences, since many only look at the conclusion. In the end, feel free to ask an open question to encourage comments or make a direct call for action. An exciting cliffhanger is not wrong at this point, either.

Step 3.7: do the finishing touches.

You have now created a rough draft. Now you have to grind it again from start to finish.

The previous steps were your notes or script if you focus on image, audio, or video. Now it’s about the creation of the recording.

Make sure that your content is personal, that you use everyday language (content is not an essay), and tell stories.

Step 3.8: take a break.

Yeah, congratulations! You have a robust design! You can now retake a look at it, but editing or editing it doesn’t do much.

You’re just too blind, too deep in the subject.

So you shouldn’t do anything at first. It sounds ironic, but it is true. Have a beer or wine to celebrate the day. Relax! 😉

The next day you should start again with fresh eyes. I do it in detail like this:

  • Day 1: Research, brainstorm, and make enough notes. Then nothing. Then take a break.
  • Day 2: Make a first rough draft. Bring in a little structure and order. Then retake a break.
  • Day 3: Fine-tune your content until it’s perfect. Then feed him in and publish it.

It works well!

Step 3.9: Optimize for the search engine.

After the fine-tuning and the break, you take care of the on-page optimization. Here you simply make sure that your focus keyword appears in the following element on your page:

  • Title tag
  • URL
  • H2 and H3 heading
  • In the actual text
  • Bold or italic
  • Image, alt attribute, and filename
  • Meta description

Also, you could now do OffPage optimization and take care of what’s outside of your website. All to get links. But here is the most straightforward strategy to start with to create content that is automatically linked because of its added value.

Step 3.10: Add your content

Finally, you have to enter your content. To do this, copy your text into your CMS and, if necessary, upload your infographic, podcast episode, or video.

Make sure that your spelling is correct, that you are using further links and show notes, and that the formatting is designed appropriately.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 4: content marketing

Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t stop after the content is created. That was only 50% of the work. You should spend the remaining 50% doing your doctorate.

The internet is just a crowded place. Your content may be great, but finding it is a problem.

Getting your content closer to your target audience is hard work!

To make things a little easier, follow the steps below. Of course, you don’t have to take them all now. But the more, the better results:

Step 4.1: Create an email campaign

Your audience should always know about your new content first. And email is still the best way.

Your email subscribers are your real audience.

That is also the basic idea of ​​inbound marketing. You start with a small audience and let it grow bigger and bigger, and they help you more and more to spread your content and your brand accordingly.

Step 4.2: Link from older content

Many like to forget this point. You should link from your older content to your new content. Here you already have perfect prospects and customers who may also be interested in your new content.

Step 4.3: Promote via social media.

Social media is the best place to discover content. That is why you should share your content there via your fan page, relevant groups, and also via your private profile.

Here you can promote your content more often. In the past, we only got a doctorate once. Today we do five promotions per content. Much more effective.

Step 4.4: leave comments.

High-quality comments that add value to entertainment are excellent content that can draw attention to your new content.

You should have thought about who your influencers are in your inbound marketing strategy. So leave comments on relevant posts and link your new content.

Step 4.5: contact your influencers.

If you’re already with your influencers, slowly build a relationship with them and ask them to share your content or link them where appropriate.

Step 4.6: Write guest posts

Guest posts are an excellent strategy to reach the audience you want quickly. Everyone involved benefits. Guest posts can also provide relevant links that can have a positive impact on your rankings.

Buffer has e.g., B. wrote 60 guest posts at the beginning and thus got 100,000 customers. Not bad, right?

Step 4.7: Unlock Paid Ads

You can also spend a bit of money and promote your content via social ads (such as Facebook ads) or search ads (such as Google AdWords). Facebook, in particular, makes it pretty easy with its boost function.

Step 4.8: be creative.

Finally, you can get creative with your marketing. Mint has z. B. worked with badges with something like, “I’m horny for mint” on it. Over 600 blogs took part, linked the website, and gave Mint a lot of visitors and links. Blog parades count e.g., B. also here. Or how about a crazy marketing stunt?

It is even more relaxed if you already plan your doctoral strategy when it is created. So you can e.g., B. mention, quote, and link your influencers in your content. So you have a good reason to let them know afterward.

Duration: about 4 hours

Step 5: content optimization

When many hear “content optimization”, most think of the search engine. But just focusing on it here is a bit too short.

After all, inbound marketing is about more than just the search engine!

So let’s take a look at the individual steps to optimize your content so that it produces better results.

Step 5.1: optimize your content.

First, take a look at your visitors. Does your content marketing work at all? Do you even get visitors with your content?

If not, you should first look at your formatting. Your content has to be attractive. Even if that sounds like a trifle, I often stumble across content that looks inferior but is not.

Then you should look at your quality and ask yourself if your content is of high quality. At this point, also look at your grammar, spelling, content length, and whether you get to the end.

Step 5.2: optimize for social.

In this step, you look at your shares. Is your content shared at all? That’s a good factor in whether your content is of high quality.

Another, not so unimportant, point is the social media images. Do you have an exciting picture at all? Can you see your intriguing headline in the picture?

Also, it can only be due to marketing. Therefore, check again if you can go more about influencers and guest posts.

In some industries (most sensitive topics), content is not shared publicly. Here you simply have to focus on the search engine.

Step 5.3: Optimize for Search

Here you look at the absolute criterion: your rankings. How well does your content rank for your focus keyword? You should also see how many links your content has received. Links are still one of the most crucial ranking factors.

What can you do about it? First, focus again on the good old OnPage optimization and see if you meet all the points from step 3.9. Often you go over here quickly and like to forget some points! 😉

You can still do link building and ask for links to essential content influencers, magazines, bloggers, and other websites. The best thing to do is simply go through guest posts here.

Step 5.4: Optimize for conversions.

Finally, you look at the business indicators. Is your content already generating leads? Can you attribute your content to your sales?

What you can do about it is challenging to say. Then you probably have a strategic problem. Then you should dig in-depth, conduct interviews with your prospects and customers, and try to find out why.

Check out what the best content is. Why does it work so well? Can you create more content like this?

Duration: infinite

Conclusion

The core of inbound marketing is always about content marketing. So you have to start with quality content to get traffic.

But before you start, you should plan a bit and think about your keywords and content ideas.

After that, you should do extensive research and collect enough data to provide your prospect with enough information.

Only then will you be able to create content that delivers value.

Once you’ve created your content, you should market it via email, social media, comments, influencers, guest posts, and paid ads.

Your content is never perfectly optimized. Always better. That’s why you should run there regularly.

Inbound marketing is a journey. And no campaign.

7 easy steps to create a simple content plan

If you want to start with content marketing, you have the best ideas.

You have the best ideas. You think that you can let off steam and get creative.

You can see how your content is going viral and loved. You dream of creating the largest content hub in your industry that is respected and even a little idolized.

Everything is super. Everything is rosy. So you just get started. You start without a strategy. And without a plan.

And what happens? Nothing. The success is missing.

Why? Precisely: lack of planning. All of this is just not so well thought out.

I understand you all too well. I am a big fan of “hands-on” and “just do it”. But you have to plan! At least a bit.

Therefore, create a simple content strategy. And then a simple content plan. We will now discuss in detail how the latter works.

But one by one.

What is a content plan?

A content plan is similar to a project plan. There you define activities, milestones, and dates.

In principle, you do precisely the same thing with content planning, only about content marketing.

With your content strategy, you first determine the rough direction you want to go. You answer the following questions:

  • Where do you want to go
  • Why do you want to go there
  • How do you want to get there roughly?

In your content plan, on the other hand, you describe the exact things you want to do to make your strategy come true. Your questions become more detailed:

  • What exactly do you want to do?
  • How exactly do you want to do it?
  • When exactly do you want to do it?

So it’s the tactical plan you want to go to. So it’s far more than a simple editorial policy.

Why is a content plan so important?

Benjamin Franklin once said: “By making mistakes in preparation, you are preparing for the mistake.”

And if you don’t prepare at all, it can only be a mistake. Then how can you win at all?

With proper content planning, you simply increase your likelihood of success.

If you want to go on vacation and have no plan at all where, how, and when you want to go there, how do you ever want to get there?

A content plan clarifies the path you need to take to make your content strategy a reality.

So you save time that you would otherwise waste by going the wrong way. This makes everything more efficient, effective, and targeted.

If you then document the whole thing, i.e., write it down, you double your chance. Because 60% of companies that have a documented content strategy feel effective, 39% only have a verbal plan.

It’s really like this: A solid strategy and a solid plan distinguish good from great content hubs.

Step 1: set your content goal.

Think about precisely what you want to achieve with your content plan. What is your goal? Why do you want to do content marketing at all?

You usually have the following options to choose from:

  • Awareness – You want more people to know your brand, company, or you.
  • Visitors – You want more traffic on your website.
  • Contacts – You want more leads or more subscribers.
  • Customers – you simply want more customers. (We all want that!)
  • Customer Loyalty – You want your customers to stay longer, buy more and more.
  • Unique selling point – you want to set yourself apart from your competitors through content.
  • Authority – You want to position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your industry.

We mostly want to achieve all the points. Nevertheless, you should commit to one goal, if possible – The One Thing.

Then you align everything towards this goal. You make sure that you achieve the goal or that the key figures go up.

You are speaking of critical figures. Also, think about how you want to measure your goal. If it is known, it will not be that easy. You can measure the rest with Google Analytics or Matomo.

For example, we only focus on our subscribers. As long as they grow, everything else becomes (shares, registrations, sales, etc.). So we don’t think “in leads,” but “in the audience.” Our goal is to build a growing audience.

For example :

  • Subscribers

Step 2: Choose a content medium (and a content hub)

The next step is about your content medium, which in turn determines your content hub.

You have the following options to choose from:

  • Text – Create an excellent blog.
  • Audio – Create a podcast (which should technically also be on a blog).
  • Video – Create a video channel (which should also be technically in a blog).
  • Image – Create infographics (which should also be technically in a blog).
  • Course – Create a free member area.
  • Print – Create a magazine or book (technically, you would need at least one landing page for that ).

I observe some who want to serve all media at once. So a great blog, a great podcast, and a great video channel. Everything at the same time. And then best of all, a print book afterward! Good luck!

Therefore, you should always concentrate on one medium at a time. You have to master one medium before you can start with the other.

Also, you may not like every medium. Or not every medium fits your company and your customers. And that’s okay too.

At the moment we are only focusing on text, for example (although I am so keen on podcasting again). We want to keep this focus for some time. At the same time, I’m writing a print book.

Example:

  • text
  • Print

Step 3: Choose your content formats

Now you are considering which content formats you want to use. The forms are related to the choice of your content medium (and content hub).

You have the following formats to choose from:

  • items
  • Podcast episode
  • Video
  • Infographic
  • Webinar
  • PDF (e-book, white paper, etc.)
  • Print book
  • Print magazine
  • Photo / graphic / sketch note
  • Slides / Slideshare

You can also focus on e-mail and create a pure e-mail newsletter, such as The Hustle or MorningBrew.

However, I would not commit myself so strictly here. For example, if you usually create blog articles but have the idea for an infographic, you should also cut out the infographic.

Of course, you can also combine the formats, for example, insert slideshares in your blog article.

But in the end, this is also about the focus:

Therefore choose as few formats as possible.

Also, don’t just choose a format because it’s hot right now (it might even be smarter to choose the opposite). Choose the sizes that suit your company, your customers, and you.

For example, I would like to see infographics and podcast episodes again. But until I muddle in there, it’s quicker and more efficient just to write a blog article.

Example:

  • Blog article
  • Print book

Step 4: determine your content mix.

A solid content mix rounds off your content marketing. It ensures that everyone is happy and that you get the most out of it.

To determine your content mix, you should know the different properties that make up your content.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • News content – current content.
  • Entertainment content – only entertaining content.
  • Evergreen Content – Useful, timeless content.

Think about what kind of content you want to create. I always recommend Evergreen Content because it is the most efficient in the long run. The other two can also work.

  • Search content – content that is found in the search results.
  • Viral content – content that spreads virally via social media.

Think about whether you want to focus on the search engine or virality. Back then, with the monkey blog, for example, there were no searches. So I only focused on viral content.

  • Quality content is of high quality (e.g., a blog article with 1,000 words).
  • High-Quality Content – content that is of very high quality (e.g., a blog article with 2,000 words).
  • Skyscraper content is very long and of very high quality (e.g., a guide with 10,000 words).

Determine how deep you want to go in your content creation. This is a crucial unique selling point.

  • Company content – content that revolves around your company.
  • Personal content – content that revolves around you.
  • Influencer content – content that revolves around influencers in your industry.
  • Opinion content – content that has a clear opinion and divides the camp.
  • Heart content – content that is close to your heart, and that simply need to be said.
  • Community content – content that comes from your community.

These points already go in the direction of content ideas. But you must think about it. These are all essential qualities that you should address and should not forget.

  • Guest Content – Content created by guests.
  • Sales content – content that revolves around selling your products or services.

Finally, determine whether you want guest posts and guest appearances as well as sales-oriented content at all.

You can now make individual pieces of content from these content properties (e.g., “The ten best marketing experts”), or you can weave them in again and again if it fits (e.g., you mention the ten marketing experts in 10 different articles).

But I wouldn’t be super strict here either. If you don’t usually create skyscraper content, but suddenly have the idea for it, go for it!

Example: 

  • Evergreen content only
  • Focus on search content
  • Quality (+ a bit of high quality)
  • Integrate Company + Personal + Influencer + Sales
  • Guest content (if it fits)

Step 5: Choose your content frequency.

In this step, you determine how regularly you want to publish content.

You simply answer the following three questions:

  1. How many times a day/month/year do you want to publish?
  2. On what day of the week you want to post?
  3. How much are you want to publish?

Make sure that you plan enough time. Instead, publish less, but correct and in good quality. As a rule, you also have to deal with day-to-day business.

In general, regularity is essential. This is how you demonstrate that you are reliable. This is the only way to build a stable relationship of trust with your potential customer.

Example:

  • 2 times / month
  • on Monday
  • 8:00 a.m.

Step 6: create your content calendar.

Your content calendar is your editorial plan . It shows how your content marketing looks from a bird’s eye view over a specified period.

You can map it analog (e.g., as a calendar on the wall), digital (e.g., as a Google spreadsheet ), or as an app (e.g., with Trello ).

When creating a content calendar, pay attention to the following columns, which should be there:

  • Headline – What is the preliminary headline?
  • Tags – Which tags, topics, or categories can you assign?
  • Author – who is the author of the content?
  • Date – When should the material be published?
  • Status – Is it still in the idea or draft stage, or has it already been published?

In theory, you can even omit the date. You have already set the content frequency. Then you would just knock the part out once it’s done. But a specific time ensures that you also comply with the publication.

After you have created a structure for your editorial plan, you have to fill it out. 

Plan only 3 to 6 months. Things just change too quickly today; you have to be able to react to them. Therefore, also plan a buffer. It always takes longer than you think. And you can then respond quickly to trends.

Example:

Step 7: define your content guidelines.

Finally, we set a few rules. These ensure that you, your team, and your external content creators (e.g., freelancers and guest authors) produce a uniform appearance.

There are no rules on how to set up such a set of rules. But here are some points that you should consider:

General

  • Length – How long should your content be? (eg “at least 1,000 words”)
  • Art – How should your content be? (e.g., “profound, detailed and concrete”)
  • Salutation – Duzen: How should the “d” be written?

Spelling

  • Brand names – Are there any special features about your brand name? (e.g. “monkey blog” – the “a” was always small)
  • Terms – How do you write English terms, like German-English terms? (e.g. “content marketing” – i.e., without a hyphen, but “content creation” – with a hyphen)
  • Numbers – spelled out or as a number? (eg “6 months”)
  • Percent – written out or as a sign? A space in between? (e.g. “7%”)
  • Area – What about “from-to”? Spelled out or as a sign? Also, a space in between? (eg “10 – 20”)
  • Bullet points – what needs to be considered? Do they have a period in the end?

miscellaneous

  • Formatting – How do you want to emphasize things? Bold or italic?
  • Links – How to link? As short as possible or whole groups of words?
  • Abbreviations – Is there something to be considered here? Do you want to use any at all?
  • Emojis – is there anything to consider here? Do you want to use any at all?
  • GIFs – Is there anything to consider here? Do you want to use any at all?
  • Response times – How quickly should a comment be answered?

Wordlist

Finally, you maintain a list of words with words that everyone writes differently and thus define a uniform spelling (e.g., “e-book”).

Your content guidelines are a living document. So if you stumble across something (such as a new word for your word list), add it.

Example:

Conclusion

As I said, I always start with one thing immediately. But so that your dreams and ideas do not burst, you should first create a content strategy and then a content plan.

It can be effortless. You can do that in my head too. The main thing is that you think about it and don’t just get started. Then I would be happy!

Currently, our content marketing finally feels good! A bit of strategy and planning has never hurt anyone!