Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.
A huge thank you to James McBryan, Martin Boze and Ryan Angilly for this week’s questions.
Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!
How do you connect with influencers on Twitter?
My approach for connecting with influencers via Twitter isn’t all that different from my approach to connecting with them via email.
I go into 1, 2, 4 and 5 in great detail in this post, the biggest difference in strategy occurs in Step 3: contacting the influencer.
I prefer to spend time interacting with the person’s Tweets; Retweeting, Favoriting and responding in ways that add value rather than simply “engaging.”
Responding to a Tweet with a thoughtful, interesting response is a lot more useful than responding to 20 Tweets with a “+1” or “completely agree!”, as it makes you stand out from the legion of “yes-people” most influencers are followed by.
After a few interactions like that, I typically send a Tweet asking if I can email them with a question. More often than not, if I’ve done the important steps above, this results in a response or direct message with an email address.
Still, I always prefer email outreach whenever possible. To that end, I’d recommend checking out these tips, especially the ones about Rapportive and LinkedIn.
How can non-native English speakers create useful content?
If you don’t have the bandwidth to write valuable blog posts each week, or have other obstacles that make it more difficult for you, you still have options.
The two that stand out most to me, depending on your budget, would be:
- Get creative with the type of content that you publish
- Outsource the creation of content (intelligently)
If writing a long-form blog post takes you ages because you’re writing in a non-native language, that doesn’t mean you can’t do content marketing.
Your content doesn’t have to be long-form blog posts.
There are a number of approaches you can take that mitigate the language issue and still give you effective content.
If you’re comfortable enough with the non-native language to speak it, consider audio (podcast) or video content. There are a lot of great examples of content marketing driven primarily via audio (The Tim Ferriss Show, Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income) and video (Social Triggers) that still deliver massive value without a ton of writing.
Alternatively, you can publish blog posts that don’t require much writing on your part. You could do interviews with influencers that your audience respects (all you have to write are the questions, and then publish their answers verbatim), or curated posts like Hiten Shah’s newsletter that collect the best posts on a particular topic every week and simply include a one-or-two-sentence blurb about each link.
Finally, it is possible to outsource content creation in a way that doesn’t get you crappy content.
But you should either be prepared to pay for a reputable content marketing agency, or find someone who understands how content marketing really works (and not just someone who can write well) and take the time to work with them so that they understand your audience and the voice and tone you want to convey, as Steli Efti does.
Neither is a cheap or quick fix, but both will allow you to publish great content that brings in customers without having to do much writing yourself.
How far in advance do you write your content?
This is something that a lot of people—myself included—have struggled with.
There’s a deep satisfaction to being three weeks ahead of your editorial calendar and having the content done and ready to go.
But personally, I find it very difficult to write more than a single post each week, because of how time- and energy-consuming writing is for me.
If you have the focus and ability to do it, more power to you; I’m sure you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re ahead of the curve.
But I typically write one per week, and the looming deadline, stressful as it may be, helps me be more productive. We’ve published a post every Thursday for the last two years, and missing one simply isn’t an option. It’s amazing how productive not having an alternative makes me.
Because of that, our posts usually get written 4-6 days before they get published, and then go through the various processes of editing, design and coding that need to happen before going live (more on that process here).
For bigger posts—the ones where we really want them to make an impact because they’re culminations of massive amounts of testing or learning—we’ll solicit feedback from people we trust, but this is a one or two day process, not one that drags on for weeks.
I prefer not to sit on content for too long; I’d rather get it out there, get feedback and learn how to make our next post better.