Anyone who’s self-employed finds it a challenge to do everything they need to keep their business running, and because client work takes priority, followed by admin, accounts and meetings, marketing your MSP can easily slip down the to-do list. So how do you find the time to create content?
A content calendar is a way of planning out your content and keeping you on track. It makes it easier to see when you’re going to be publishing something, which means you can set aside time in your diary to create the content. You can make a simple calendar using a spreadsheet, or map it out on an actual wall planner.
You can start a content calendar at any time, so don’t worry if you’re starting your MSP content journey in the middle of the year. You can map out a full 12 months, plan on a quarterly basis, monthly or even weekly.
Work out what you’ll be sharing on which platforms, and make a note of whether you’ll need any supplementary information. If you need data from another team, get that in plenty of time, so you don’t have to chase them for it right when you start to write the blog.
It’s often helpful to plan your content in themes, so your audience knows which topic you’re covering. Make sure you save a link to wherever the original content is published so you can easily reshare it. Give yourself a bit of flexibility, though, in case something unexpected crops up that you want to talk about.
MSP Industry and Business Events
Attending events gives you lots of opportunities to create content before, during and after they take place. Let people know you’re going, what you’re looking forward to most and what you hope to get out of it (and how it could help them, if appropriate).
Share updates, images and videos throughout the day on social media, tagging people and using the event hashtag if there is one. Start conversations with other delegates and try to meet them in person as well as online.
Produce a writeup or summary after the conference when you’re back at the office, and share on your website and on social media (using the hashtags and tagging people again). Try to create your summary within a week of the event so that it’s fresh in your mind.
If there are annual events or important dates in your niche, this gives you the chance to create evergreen content (anything which stays relevant and useful year after year). A significant software or legislation change will give you lots of scope for content (e.g. GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], Making Tax Digital, Windows 7 EOL [end of life]).
If you attend regular networking events (either specifically for MSP companies or for the wider local business community) you can create content around those in a similar way. If you’re part of a peer organisation such as Network Group or HTG, use these as a way of showing that you’re working on keeping your knowledge current and collaborating with others.
It’s easy to add these into your content calendar and to create the blogs and so on while you’re travelling, during breaks at the event or in your hotel. You can pre-write some social media posts and save them in your drafts to send out throughout the day. Doing it this way makes the whole process quicker and easier.
Don’t forget, it will depend on whether your audience is in the industry or not as to the level of detail you provide in industry-related content, but it will help you reach a wider audience than just your target market, which could have unexpected, positive results.
Getting Help with MSP Content
If you have employees or team members, you can ask them to participate in the creation process. Share the content calendar with them so they can identify topics that match their expert knowledge. Allow them to get involved in the planning of the calendar too, and let them make suggestions.
This will make them feel more motivated to do a good job and to feel that they’re playing an active part in the content production, rather than just being told what to do. Give them clear timescales for when content needs to be produced, reviewed and published.
If you really hate the thought of sitting down and staring at a blank screen, then don’t do it! Make some notes on your topic, jotting down at least three key points, an introduction and conclusion.
Then, use the voice recording app on your smartphone of computer to dictate your thoughts, and get it transcribed. You may have a secretary or admin assistant who could do that for you, or you can look for a transcriptionist. Rev offers this relatively cheaply, and both Temi and Otter use AI (artificial intelligence) to do it for you.
A word of caution with these tools – while Rev uses real people, they’re often not native English speakers and may struggle with accents. The AI tools are reasonably good with shorter texts, but they can’t always differentiate between speakers.
And because people don’t talk the way they write, the AI will include any hesitations or repetitions made on the recording. Be aware that whichever method you choose, you will have to do some editing, and depending on how long the text is, it may take some time to get it right.
You could also outsource your content creation. If you’re primarily blogging, a technical writer or copywriter can help. You can send them your notes and signpost them to useful information, and let them produce it. You can use a virtual assistant or social media manager to produce social media updates and to schedule the content for you.
Reusing MSP Content
There are two other ways to have more content on your website and social media platforms without taking up too much of your time. The first is through repurposing, which we talked about in the last blog post. This means you can take content from one medium to another quickly, without having to start from scratch.
Again, you can outsource this if you want to. You may want to work with a graphic designer to create some templates in your brand colours, which you or your VA can use to create social media updates and blog graphics. You might want to include this step in your content calendar, to ensure that it gets done in time to be published at the same time or just after the original piece, and to reuse it at a later date.
Finally, you might want to consider content curation. The easiest way to do this is to simply reshare other people’s posts on social media. This shows that you’re aware of what others in your industry are doing and want your audience to benefit from their knowledge.
You can also sign up to services such as Buffer, which will pull together articles, videos and news stories from selected sources, all chosen by you as appropriate and trusted for you MSP audience, which you can then republish with a link to the original.
You might decide to offer your own take or an opposing view on something you’ve seen or read, provided that you do it in a professional, objective manner. Make sure that whenever you quote or share something from someone else, you acknowledge or credit them, and link to their content or site as well.
Content curation allows your audience to see information from a wide range of trusted sources, and shows them that you know what you’re talking about. Don’t worry too much about sharing things from people in the same or a related industry, and even from your competitors in most circumstances.
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