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How to Construct a Content Machine (Even If You're Not a Natural-Born Writer)

by Mandi Ellefson  |  
September 29, 2014

A marketing revolution has been taking place before our eyes. Interruption marketing has been overthrown. Businesses—yours and mine—can no longer force people to pay attention. Instead, we have to create valuable content that people want. Which means that marketing now means creating content.

And you need new content... All. The. Time. And every piece of content you create must be "epic."

The problem? Creating epic content takes a lot of time. And it sucks energy out of other areas of your business.

Until recently, I dreaded creating content. I'd seen big results for my business as a result of content marketing, but each piece took me a ton of time (more than I care to admit). I scrambled to find the hours, but there was never enough time.

Then I realized the solution was staring me in the face. As a business coach, I help small businesses achieve massive growth by showing them how to turn difficult tasks into predictable systems. So I decided to develop a system for creating more quality content. And the one I came up with can scale up to put out as much content as I need.

Here's the content machine I use. Feel free to take it apart and put it back together in a way that works for you.

1. Mine raw materials

All machines need raw materials. The raw material of great content is data. To feed your machine, you need to go data mining

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Mandi Ellefson helps service businesses build systems to dramatically scale their business and hire quality staff. Her Scalable Growth Roadmap helps businesses discover the systems they're missing.

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  • by Ford Kanzler Mon Sep 29, 2014 via web

    Agree wholeheartedly with having a system like or similar to what's described. Strongly suggest that even before that, the organization needs to have a communications strategy to guide the direction and creation of various content elements (tactics) which should be supporting how the organization wants to be known by its community/customers/stakeholders. If that's missing, you may be educating people but lots of time and money are likely being wasted. e.g. Ready, Fire, Aim
    Also, PR pros have been creating content of all kinds for decades and applying a process as described to accomplish that. Books, sponsored films, videos, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, speeches and Web content have all long been in the public relations arsenal before the practice was "discovered" and coined by recently-arrived marketing pros. For more on that, go to:

  • by Mandi Ellefson Mon Sep 29, 2014 via web

    Ford, I couldn't agree more. Would love to see your system for defining the direction and setting the strategy right here on MarketingProfs.

  • by Mandi Ellefson Mon Sep 29, 2014 via web

    Hi Everyone! I am available to answer any questions you have here in the comments. Also feel free to reach out on twitter: @MandiEllefson

  • by Paul Shirer Mon Sep 29, 2014 via web

    Hi Mandi,

    Driven to this article because it's exactly the bottleneck we're trying to solve at We've been working with marketers closely of late--again and again, this is their pain point, as you so aptly describe. Essentially, we're trying to help solve the equation of Frequency + Variety + Quality content. We do it with the concept of a batch which can have content easily curated and collated from anywhere--online, hard drives or cloud drives--and designed the way you need it. ... Anyway, we'll be trying to advance this discussion online in the coming months b/c it's become a real issue. Hope to connect with you further on it.

  • by Mandi Ellefson Mon Sep 29, 2014 via web

    @Paul- I am glad to get your expert star of approval. ;) I am not at all a content expert. But, as a systems junky my approach is to build on what already works, remove what doesn't, and keep refining from there.

    My real area of expertise is solving that same problem you mentioned with quality + frequency related to delivering marketing services. That way marketing businesses can build scalable companies that run without them in the center. I would love to hear more about your processes, and yes lets connect.

  • by Lezanne Tue Sep 30, 2014 via web

    Love this! New in content marketing, and this is going to help alot!

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