Editor's note: Creating content is not easy. That's why we've brought this guide with new resources and useful reminders of inspiration and application.
In 1995, Robert Cringely interviewed Steve Jobs as part of PBS's documentary The Triumph of the Nerds. The future CEO of Apple has reflected on the notion that generating big ideas is not the same as making them meaningful. As he said, "There is a tremendous amount of know-how between a good idea and a great product."
This is a distinction that most content marketers are familiar with – especially if your job is to turn raw, disorganized ideas and ideas into high-performance gold content.
From a third-party perspective, it can be easy to assume that content creators simply generate imaginative ideas, write them (or record them), and then publish them as a blog, email, or other item of content.
While these tasks are certainly an integral part of the creative equation, there is still much to be done behind the scenes for these creative resources to work successfully as a marketing vehicle – that is, to that they are found by the appropriate audiences and that they engage in constructive conversations. and compel them to act.
Are you ready to discover the secrets of producing well-designed and well-written stories? Read on for a hands-on, essential tutorial, and resources to help you get the most out of your content creation.
Before Proceeding: If you're not sure you have the basics to support your creative efforts – or if you simply need a quick reminder about a topic – check out these guides:
A Practical View of Content Creation
Consider the top three areas in which you can help establish and activate your organization's content creation capabilities:
Who will create / contribute to the content?
How will our creative efforts align with our strategic goals?
How do we create compelling stories that our audience will love?
1. Establishing Your Content Creation Model
You can bring together the branding power of your brand in several ways. Each offers a distinct complement of pros, cons and practical considerations. To determine the best contributor model (and decide to use it in combination with other approaches), take into account factors such as the nature of your business, your competition over the content, the number of people you want to work with. expertise required by your content and team and budget resources. Here are some models:
Recruitment of a dedicated writing staff: whether you give higher priority to content creation, whether you want to produce a high volume of content or if you need content to occupy multiple channels and platforms. forms at once, it can be interesting to have a full time writing talent to keep control. of the process.
Use internal experts: If your content requires a high level of technical know-how or specialized expertise, encourage your management, sales teams, or other contributors to contribute content.
Subcontracting to freelancers or other specialists: small businesses, startups, non-profit organizations or other companies that are not ready to invest in large-scale editorial capabilities may prefer to work with freelance writers (including qualified journalists) or collaborate with a content agency or other creative service provider.
Solicit external contributors: If you are a B2B company with a strong subscriber community, industry opinion leaders might be interested in guest blogs on your multimedia platform in exchange for valuable backlinks to increase their range and visibility. If your business has a B2C calling, try to allow your fans and ardent supporters to create user-generated content on behalf of your brand.
Automation of the process: Although the creation of content via artificial intelligence is in its infancy, everything indicates that automation will play an important role in content marketing in the near future. Brands willing to invest in and experiment with technology will be ready to make waves, leaving their competitors behind in the innovation pool of AI-based content.
Create your content creator pool
Want more help in determining the right creative model and using the talents of your contributors? Discover some of our main resources:
2. Align creativity and strategy
Sharing compelling and useful stories that your audience will adore is an admirable goal for any brand of content. But, of course, an effective marketing goal must support this holiday of love. In other words, if you're not working with the appropriate formats and content types to get the attention of your target audience, or if you're not positioning your content appropriately to engage and convert, you will needlessly turn the wheels. your content engine with nothing tangible to show for your efforts.
An effective marketing goal should accompany your #content love festival with the public. @joderama #CMWorld Click to Tweet
Achieving creative and strategic alignment is a top-down business. Let's start with the practical and tactical decisions to make before writing a single word.
Evaluate your format and content type options
According to CMI research on benchmarks, budgets, and trends in 2018, social media posts, blogs, emails, ebooks, and videos reign supreme formats and types of content.
But the fact that these content options seem to have universal appeal does not mean that they suit all needs, or that there are compelling reasons for not working with more specialized tactics. It is important to become familiar with the strengths and limitations of each option in order to make informed decisions.
Here are some starting points for your research efforts:
Find your unique approach
Next, it is important to distinguish the content you create under the tactical umbrellas you have chosen. It is essential to consider the problem, attract and engage the right consumers and compel them to act on behalf of your brand.
One way to approach this task is to find a niche of content (that is, a tilt of content) that you can cover better than anyone else in your industry – think of Moz with his Whiteboard blog posts Friday or Hop Grenade Taproom and Bottle Shop using podcasting will become a media powerhouse in the craft brewing sector.
By concentrating your creative resources on a specialty, you are eliminating the paralysis that can result from trying to fill too many baskets of content at a time and ensuring that everything created under this theme is linked to your strategic objective in a way that organic.
Eliminate paralysis of content related to the attempt to fill many compartments. Choose a niche, advises @joderama. #CMWorld Click to Tweet
To focus on a viable content niche, ask yourself these three questions:
Can we have the conversation in this area for our industry?
Does our audience have a pressing need – and not satisfied – for this type of content?
Do we have the right know-how and production capabilities to create such valuable content on an ongoing basis?
Nail your plan for a strategic-creative alignment
Need help determining the right types of content or the ideal niche to differentiate your content from your competitors and get you closer to your business goals? Continue your journey of discovery with these key resources:
3. Make your stories
Your content should serve as a platform to communicate the unique perspectives, capabilities, and value proposition of your brand. He must also tell a story that resonates loud enough to convince readers to act. In addition to the usual creative considerations – such as determining topics, generating story ideas, maintaining a high level of creativity, and writing quality – content marketers must comfortable working in a narrative framework that exploits the power of persuasion.
Your # content needs to tell a story that sounds loud enough to convince readers to act. @joderama #CMWorld Click to Tweet
RELATED CONTENT HANDPICKED: The big difference an apostrophe makes in the stories of a brand
Identify interesting content topics
Start your process of creative ideation by identifying the topics you should write about and eliminating those that you think do not reflect your brand identity in the most meaningful and targeted way possible.
One way to approach this task is to identify the main areas in which your target audience is actively seeking information. Doing a keyword search or using more sophisticated techniques such as modeling topics at the beginning of your ideation process (if you do not have these data) can help you better understand the challenges that your content presents. should help readers to solve. This can also help confirm that you have found a niche in which your initiatives can gain a competitive advantage. If your research reveals relevant questions for which no useful answers are provided, this is probably a topic that deserves to be addressed by your audience.
Generating Creative Articles Ideas
Many creative ideas are needed to power a content engine and keep it running smoothly in the long run. Team brainstorming sessions are a great way to help your writers get creative and come up with a lot of ideas. Another approach is to incorporate wordplay and creative improvisation techniques, such as those described by Cisco Systems' Washer Systems, into your creative ideation process.
Give priority to your ideas
Not all ideas generated by your team are appropriate for your company: some may be fantastic on paper, but their production requires more time and attention than your team can have; others may be brilliant creatively but are not useful for your target audience. Make sure you have a priority-setting process – like the main content strategy matrix used by Meghan Casey – to evaluate the comparative value and urgency of your content ideas and help you choose those with which to go from the front.
Transform your ideas into sound stories
Whatever the creative process, content creation comes down to one essential step: the physical act of writing your stories. And when it comes to creating content successfully, Steve Jobs's thought on product development certainly applies: Transforming a good idea into great content requires exceptional artistic work.
#Content creation comes down to one essential step: the physical act of writing history, explains @joderama. #CMWorld Click to Tweet
But that does not mean that the writing process has to cause a huge amount of anxiety and frustration. Ann Handley points out that learning how to become a better writer simply requires getting introduced every day and practicing one's craft. Fortunately, it also provides valuable tips to help make writing sessions more organized, to eliminate unnecessary distractions and to stifle internal criticism that can hinder your creative confidence and prevent you from meeting your deadlines.
To learn how to become a better writer, simply introduce yourself every day and practice your trade. @AnnHandley Click To Tweet
Strengthen Your Creative Muscles
Over time, the rigors of the writing process can be imposed on the most talented and prolific content creators. Look for helpers like title generators, productivity tools / guides, awesome examples of inspiring content brands, or expert advice from a master of the creative arts for an extra spark of creative energy or little help to overcome the blockage of a casual writer.
Try these exercises to strengthen or maintain your writing skills:
Improve your quality of writing
Content that is fraught with typos, grammatical errors, technical problems, or factual inaccuracies can cost you the trust and respect of your audience and, possibly, their patronage. To avoid making fun of the production of poor quality lazy assets or to be labeled as a provider of false information, check, test and verify all content efforts to make sure that they are clear, functional, error free and without reproach. possible
Master the entirety of your creative process
Want to know more about one of the key components of content creation? Use the following resources to guide your explorations:
Go ahead and create
By following this guide, you should find yourself on the way to better managed creative teams, greater strategic and creative alignment, and better brand narration in general. But if you find yourself stuck at one time or another – or want to share a content creation tip – let us know in the comments.
Distribution and measurement are then included in our Essential Elements Guide Series. Do not miss them. Plus, get tips, trends, and daily insights to bring you greater success in content marketing. Subscribe to the e-newsletter on weekdays.
Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute