Alyssa Gregory has just been named the Small Business Information Guide of About.com, one of the largest producers of original content on the Web.
Alyssa worked with us a bit here back when we were You Talk, I’ll Write, and she also features the Style Guide in her online store at the Virtual Assistant Hub.
I asked Alyssa about her experience with content marketing and how it led to this new frontier for her business.
1. How did you leverage your formidable body of online content to demonstrate to About.com that you are an expert on this topic?
Great question! It certainly can be a challenge to get an extensive body of content to work for you and not against you. Hundreds of articles can be overwhelming for the reader to see, and it’s equally overwhelming for the writer to show the quality of the portfolio and not just the quantity.
I tried to zero in on the pieces I considered the most relevant and effective, and use the rest as a collective summary of my writing experience, bolstering the samples I sent in. Luckily, it worked!
2. What are your secrets for continuing to publish great content on a consistent basis?
It’s hard when you’re on the spot and feel pressured to spit out good content on demand. And that’s what it can feel like at times when you write for multiple outlets on a daily or weekly basis.
There are three things I do to try to prevent the pressured feeling from creeping in.
First, I plan in advance. At least one week in advance, I’ll go through all of my writing responsibilities and create a mini editorial calendar outlining what I will be writing about each day. This can take some time, but it really streamlines the process when it’s time to get writing.
If I have a little extra time, I’ll go a bit deeper and outline each article, do some preliminary research, and take time for some brainstorming so I have a running start when publication day comes. Ideally, I would love to write a number of pieces in advance, but this rarely happens with my schedule!
The second thing I do is keep a running idea file. I use it to keep track of everything from posts I read that inspire me, thoughts I have during the day, articles I want to write, etc. My full list usually has around 200 items on it at any given time, so I have a flexible list of material to pull from for when I do my planning. And since most of my writing is on small business topics, I can mix and match ideas for different sites.
Finally, I have found that it pays to be open minded when it comes to ideas. Inspiration can come from anywhere — blogs, comments, commercials, magazines, kids. If you’re receptive to taking in new things and can think broadly enough to relate it back to your topic, you may be surprised when an idea hits you.
3. How do you manage your ideas?
I use Evernote to maintain my idea file. It works great because it automatically syncs from my PC to my Mac. I can also access and add to my list from my BlackBerry so I don’t have to worry about losing ideas that come to me when I’m doing other things. Here is more information on how I use Evernote for idea management: http://www.sitepoint.com/how-i-use-evernote-to-manage-my-ideas/
Congratulations, Alyssa – keep up the great content! And I know you will.