Even for executives who love to write, creating valuable expert content on a regular basis is a major drain on resources. Research takes time and energy. Writing requires focus and careful revisions. And once content is published, there’s the matter of marketing it, repurposing it, and measuring its impact. Not surprisingly, for busy members, the scale doesn’t always tip in favor of more content.

But high-profile executives are Googled regularly by clients, customers, potential hires, journalists, and partners. So producing fresh content — even just regular social media updates — is a must. Great content impacts those search results, presenting a strong personal brand to the people who matter most.

Luckily, quality and consistency are more important than quantity. The Community Company is committed to helping members create great content using tools and hacks like the ones highlighted here.

 

Simplify Research

Take the guesswork out of choosing an article or blog post topic with this acronym: TAG (Trends, Audience, Goals). For example: Is the topic related to a current trend in the business world? Does it address the audience’s needs (whether that audience is investors, fellow experts, or customers)? Does it meet the goals for which it is being created (e.g., establishing a personal brand or lead gen)?

  • Google Trends and Keyword Planner are two (free) Google tools that can help identify trending topics and keywords that matter. While keyword-stuffing is a no-no, knowing what customers are thinking about, searching for, and reading about is useful when planning targeted content.
  • Feedly is a must to curate daily reading. Aim for a mix of influencers, competitors (they’re a great source of ideas!), and colleagues, plus industry news. You can even incorporate Google Alerts to stay on top of your own brand mentions, or integrate Feedly with Slack and Evernote.
  • BuzzSumo is a dead-simple tool for finding content that works for specific industries or niches, not to mention key influencers.
  • Other ideas: LinkedIn Groups, Twitter lists, conference and event schedules, team meetings, and even customer surveys are all great resources to mine for content ideas. Audible is a great tool for in-depth research.

 

Write Smarter and Faster

Once you’ve chosen a topic, there are a slew of tools that make it easy to collaborate, dictate notes, and even correct run-on sentences in your work-in-progress.

  • Google Docs is a mainstay for a reason: it has much of the same functionality as an offline program like Word (including Suggested Edits), but a team can collaborate in a document in real time. Plus, there is research functionality for finding and citing sources.
  • Hemingway App makes clear writing a breeze. (The web app is free, but the $9.99 desktop app is also available offline.) Hemingway points out passive voice, overly complex sentences, and pesky adverbs.
  • Grammarly is like having a knowledgeable editor sitting next to you, giving advice on your writing (whether emails or articles). Plus, the basic version is free.
  • Evernote is a workhorse for busy people who create content. It can help with everything from clipping web articles to jotting down notes and lists to drafting full articles or Expert Panels.
  • Apps like Dictadroid (for Android) and Dictate + Connect (for iOS) allow recording and dictating notes on the go. And there is a microphone in iOS (left of the spacebar) that allows quick speech-to-text dictation for free.

 

Create a Shared Editorial Calendar

A shared calendar keeps a team organized — and reduces decision fatigue when it comes time to sit down and write. (Here’s a great article about how to set up a simple editorial calendar.)

An Excel or Google sheet is a good place to start. Alternately, existing project management systems often include calendars and functionality for delegating research, transcriptions, edits, and even social media updates to team members. Here are some quick links on setting up calendars in some of the top PM systems:

The Community Company’s experienced editors can be of help in content creation for members in our communities. If you know a talented executive who may be eligible for membership, schedule a time to learn more.