Nothing dampens creativity quite as effectively as the word process.
And while creative types might lament the orderliness of it all, the upside of having an established process is the ability to develop strategic, optimized, and resonant content your audiences will give a fig about.
Perhaps you already have a content creation process in place, and it looks something like:
“Hey, Jane, know anything about naming technology and gender stereotypes?”
“Cool! Can you write a blog post about it in the next 45 minutes?”
I jest…but only slightly. You’d be shocked by how many clients fly by the seat of their proverbial pants when it comes to developing and publishing content. If you’re one of them, I assure you that establishing a content creation process will save you time and help you communicate with greater consistency, variety, and accountability.
1. Identify where content will live.
Knowing where and when your customers spend time online is the core of any content marketing strategy. Maybe Facebook is your customers’ favorite hangout. Or Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. They may be poring through videos on Vimeo or YouTube, or keeping up on trade, news, or entertainment websites. Wherever they are, that’s where your content should be, too.
2. Strategize about content form.
In the online environment, you have to mix it up. Showcasing a variety of content types such as text, images, and video–in both shorter and longer formats–will boost your customers’ engagement.
Your message could shine as a short and sweet social media post, or a 600-word blog entry. Email newsletters have the potential to tell a more nuanced story, but sometimes an infographic or short video will do the trick with great efficiency. To share your more detailed and educational content, opt for a podcast or a webinar. And a white paper is the right medium if you’re seeking to furnish a thorough, technical, and authoritative view on a subject.
3. Establish content topics and silos.
Having established topics will give shape and momentum to your content. It’s also a good idea to cluster your topics together into thematic silos. This will bring diversity and depth to your blogs, social posts, whitepapers, etc., while lending your business greater authority. It’s also a critical way to enhance your website’s SEO. Consider using these tools together to maximize the value of your content creation efforts.
4. Select contributors.
In a perfect world, your team of content contributors would be subject matter experts from across your organization. In reality, your content contributors need only be amazing researchers who can muster up a certain amount of expertise when necessary. Your team of contributors doesn’t have to be big, but each member should be reliable, comfortable with deadlines, and skilled at communication in its various forms.
5. Style guides are always a good idea.
Style guides help the different members of your team—who may have divergent roles and experience—present your business’ brand cohesively. Whether you’re seeking a conversational tone, an academic one, or something in between, style guides take a lot of the guesswork out of content creation. How long do you want your paragraphs to be? What’s your take on slang, or of-the-moment language? Prefer the Oxford comma? Create a style guide, and your content creators will be on the same page.
6. For the love of all that is good and just, use a content calendar!
A content calendar will keep you on track in myriad ways: First, instead of all those hand-written memos and notes-to-self floating around your desk, you’ll have months’ worth of content laid out in one place. You can angle content to coincide with important events and dates in your business or industry. You can see where your content is robust or lacking in terms of themes, forms, and outlets—and can then do something about it. Plus, the calendar will keep you on track to ensure that you’re always ready to publish on time.
Engage audiences with content that’s accessible and relevant to them. Developing a content creation process will get you there faster. If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth, AMJ can step in and help them establish a process and calendar, and even knock out some killer content for you. Contact us to learn more.