Content creation is the single most time-consuming responsibility in today’s world. When you break down our day-to-day workflow, creating great content is our chief responsibility and the best way for us to engage with our audience and influence revenue. Not to mention that’s how we earn our keep.
As young adults, we write, report and share thoughts and ideas with others in formal or informal settings.
What is content creation?
Content creation is the process of identifying a new topic you want to write about, deciding which form you want the content to take, formalizing your strategy (keyword or otherwise), and then actually producing it.
In addition, most content creation processes involve thorough rounds of edits with other stakeholders before content is ready for publish.
Because content can take many forms – blog post, video, eBook, Tweet, infographic, advertisement, to name a few – the content creation process is nuanced and not always as simple as it might seem. But doing it well can truly impact your business. In fact, recent research proves that creating quality educational content makes customers 131% more likely to buy from your business.
Creating great content starts with a well-established process. We’ll walk you through the content creation process from start to finish, and demonstrate how creating great content can help your audiences and customers find solutions and answers to their problems. So where do we start?
Content ideas can come from a variety of places, both from within your content team, from your customers, from other stakeholders in your company, from new data, or from something that inspires you. And, depending on the goal of the piece of content, deciding the correct angle you should take on a specific topic can prove challenging.
For example, if you’re tasked with creating content that highlights a new product feature, you may have a baseline idea of what you need to produce. But if your task is broader, for example, write a piece of early-stage content that will drive organic traffic to your website, then you may need to investigate other methods of coming up with content ideas. Here are a few methods we know will help get your creative juices flowing, and help you find innovative and effective approaches to potential pieces of content.
How to Generate Content Ideas
- Find opportunities through keyword research. Keyword research is a fantastic way to discover how your audience is talking about a topic. In addition, keyword research can help you discover new opportunities for content that you may not have considered on your own.
- Solicit consumer’s idea Asking your consumers may sound like a simple way to get an idea, but often there are unanswered questions they have about your product or your space that you can answer. Creating content around those questions will have a direct and meaningful effect on your existing customers.
- Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. As a marketer, your first responsibility is to understand your customer. So, when you’re looking for new ideas, think about what your customer might find engaging, interesting, or helpful. Then explore how those ideas could work with your content strategy. You can check out sites like Quora to find out what topics people are asking about in your areas of expertise.
- Brainstorm with larger groups. Your organization-wide knowledge is a powerful tool to utilize when coming up with new content ideas. For example, your customer support team has a lot of insight into the day-to-day problems your customers have. Your sales team has a wealth of knowledge about which solutions potential customers need from you or want to hear the most about. Tapping other groups in your org will help identify content ideas that speak to your customers.
- Investigate what your competition is writing about. As a content creator, you should always be aware of the topics your named and unnamed competitors are writing about in your space. Understanding how your competitors approach a topic will help you differentiate your brand’s voice, approach, and content from theirs, identify gaps in their content strategy, and help your content stand out in the sales process.
Once you’ve finished the ideation phase and know which topic you want to write about, the next step is to plan and outline what you’re going to create.
The first step in planning your piece of content is to decide what form you want it to take. Some ideas will be stronger if they are represented visually and could warrant an infographic or video. Other pieces of content may be best suited for plaintext. For those, a blog post, article, or eBook might be the best form.
You can gain a lot of insight by investigating which types of content have already been created around your topic. For example, type your topic idea (or keyword) into Google and see what kind of content comes up on page one. Are there videos? Do the URLs link back to infographics? Do images appear in the SERP? Knowing which types of content already exist around your topic should help inform your decision about what type of content to make.
In addition, during the planning stages you’ll want to make sure you’re doing appropriate keyword research around your topic. When creating web content you’ll need to select a keyword to target so that you can integrate the keyword appropriately into your content as you write, not after the fact.
Here are a few other questions we recommend asking yourself during the planning stage:
- What persona am I targeting with this piece of content?
- What stage of the buyer’s journey will this piece of content speak to?
- How much time and money can I invest into creating this piece of content?
- What additional assistance or resources will I need (a designer to create an infographic, a video producer to film a script, etc.) to execute my vision?
- Is the content I’m creating timely? Or is this piece of content evergreen?
- How does this piece of content fit into the grander scheme of my content strategy?
- Which audiences or groups of customers will this content help?
- Who in my organization will this piece of content help?
After you have your plan in place, you can start creating your content.
Ah, finally, time to create your content. This part you’re already a pro at. Utilize the plans and ideation you’ve made to produce a phenomenal finished product.
If you’ve set up steps 1 and 2 effectively, you should have everything you need to create fantastic content.
But, as you write, film, design, or produce, keep in mind that content creation is a living, breathing process. If you notice something is wrong with the angle, you decided to take or the content format you decided on, don’t be afraid to take a step back. This process should be fluid and may need adjustment as you gain new information about your customers and audience.
What do you do once the content goes live?
Once publish day finally arrives, and you’ve released your content out into the wide, wide world, take a long deep breath. But don’t forget that the content creation journey, from ideation to publication, is ongoing. A good content strategy has a solid creation process in place and a promotion plan for both pre-and post-release. Your job as a content marketer is to see every piece of content along its entire journey. So don’t let the creation process distract from your post-publish distribution and promotion strategy, which are equally important.
And, as always, learn from your successes and your mistakes. Each piece of content you create is an experiment. Through proper monitoring and measurement of its performance, you will be able to tell what works for you and your organization. Use that knowledge to inform your efforts when you start the creation process anew for your next piece of content. And by establishing a setlist of KPIs and measuring your content ROI, you’ll be able to prove the value of your content efforts and gain additional buy-in for future initiatives.
As the content creator, you will be responsible for creating, reviewing, and editing content for the company, which will be published on the company’s websites and social media pages. You will also be responsible for researching the key SEO terms and implementing them in the content to gain maximum exposure. Moreover, creators are expected to work simultaneously with the marketing team to maintain consistency between marketing campaigns and content published. Candidates will also be required to brainstorm and suggest newer ways and platforms increase their current customer segment and increase the target market.
What Are the Types of Content?
1. Blog Posts/Articles
Perhaps the most dominant form of content on the web, blog posts and articles have a great deal to offer your audience. Detailed written content can drive lots of organic traffic to your site while also informing consumers about your products, brand, and expertise in the field.
Long-form content allows brands to match up with popular queries and searches relevant to their audience by answering questions or teaching concepts.
Additionally, blog sections are golden opportunities for keyword optimization and gaining inbound links, which dramatically helps SEO and traffic growth. These types of online content allow writers to include multiple targeted keywords, especially long-tail ones, to increase link ratings on the SERPs.
According to the latest research from HubSpot, businesses that utilize blogs in content marketing specifically are 13 times more likely to increase their ROI. Another great thing about blogging is that it is pretty easy to incorporate into most websites.
Blog posts are often used to drive organic traffic by creating content relevant to their audience’s common searches. For instance, Harver offers a software program for hiring and recruiting, so their blog focuses on articles with advice on best practices.
Platforms like WordPress and Blogger can help you build a following and drive traffic. But, it would help if you also were publishing blog content on your website for SEO. While blog posts and articles can be long, they range anywhere between 300 to 2,000 words, with the optimal length being around 1,600.
2. White Papers, eBooks, and Reports
White papers, eBooks, and reports allow brands to extrapolate their topics and incorporate more details. Typically, this type of content tends to be around 3,000 to 5,000 words in length – and is commonly downloadable as PDFs.
Long-form content has proven to be abundantly valuable to businesses of all kinds. Ultimately, this type of content aims to promote an in-depth level of expertise and industry knowledge.
eBooks can boost your rankings for keywords while collecting lead information and providing valuable insight for readers.
White papers and reports may take longer than blogs to develop. Still, statistics indicate that they’re incredibly effective at garnering people’s attention and establishing expertise in any content marketing distribution strategy.
According to Survey, about 79 percent of B2-B buyers share white papers with colleagues, and eBooks can be shared thousands of times.
Podcasts weren’t a big deal a decade ago, but there are more than 29 million podcast episodes on the airwaves now. Over half of American consumers have listened to at least one episode, and 32% listen regularly.
According to this graph from Statista, it is estimated that there will be as many as 132 million podcast listeners by the year 2022!
This form of audio has multiplied over the past several years, and it’s a brilliant idea for businesses to jump on the bandwagon.
Podcasts are an engaging, personable tactic in which you can reach users – even people who don’t enjoy reading can learn about your products and brand ideas. Podcasts allow customers to consume content more passively. For example, they can listen to a podcast while at the gym or driving, but they can’t read an article and do these things.
Fortunately, plenty of content marketing distribution software solutions and platforms are available to promote your podcast.
For example, the Penguin Random House is one of the leading publishing companies in the industry – but they noticed a shift as people were more interested in audiobooks and podcasts instead of printed content.
They launched their podcast called “The Penguin Podcast.”
The content shares insightful interviews with famous authors. By utilizing this popular concept, Penguin Random House was able to increase their revenue as their listeners agreed that they were more likely to purchase a book from the publisher after listening to an episode on the author.
For our in-house podcast, The Marketing Microscope, We primarily cater to B2B entities by focusing on marketing subjects. However, podcasts are just as relevant to B2C organizations.
4. Email Newsletter/Nurturing Campaigns
If your business consistently has new products, updates, or information to share with readers, a regular email newsletter is a “bread and butter” form of digital content delivery. And as you’ve seen from the previously mentioned reports, email content far and away has the best ROI of content used by both B2B and B2C organizations.
Emails are simple, concise, and generally short – making them pretty easy to create consistently. The key is to give your emails meaningful headlines , so they don’t end up in the spam or trash folder.
Nurturing campaigns occur when you send a series of these emails out to your subscribers, then gather data about them to speed up the buying process and alter your content creation for the better. It is often best to create a trigger-based email system that will create semi-personalized email content based on user behavior.
For example, Salesforce often sends a follow-up email after a customer has interacted with their website and submitted their email address.
If the customer doesn’t respond, a follow-up letter is automatically sent two weeks later.
This gives off a more personal vibe to their content than a traditional “newsletter” approach. However, both types of emails are prevalent and effective.
Did you know that 75 million people in the United States watch an online video every day?
Over the past several years, the ease of use and accessibility of video has made it a must-use form of content for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Mark Zuckerberg has even recorded that he believes most online content will be video shortly!
Are you not convinced?
Take a look at how much time Americans usually spend watching various video platforms, including live television and social media apps.
Video has become an increasingly popular form of content production, mostly because people watch all kinds of media on their smartphones around the clock.
One reason why this content form is so popular is that it can also be consumed somewhat passively. Furthermore, you have a better chance of keeping a viewer’s attention with a 30-second video clip than a long article they have to read.
Live video is another popular type of digital content that many brands use to build real-time engagement with their audience. And according to Facebook’s research, people engage with live streams for three times as long as other content.
Many brands are jumping on the live stream train to host live tutorials or Q&A sessions that keep their audiences glued in. For example, Banish Beauty hosts weekly live streams with the CEO and other influencers to announce new products, show tutorials, or answer submitted questions.
We can expect this kind of media content distribution to gain even more influence over the next few years.
6. Thought Leadership or POVs
People love hearing from experts. It gives them a source of information they can trust, no matter what subject or industry they’re researching.
To jump on the thought leadership train, you can conduct/publish interviews with leaders in the field to get advice and helpful information. You might even try to get some experts to do a guest post on your website here and there to give their point of view on the hot trends.
These interactions can be done in the form of a blog, podcast interview, video, or even a webinar – then shared through a variety of content distribution sites.
Infographics are great because they’re easily shareable and consumable. They create interesting visual representations of information and statistics, making them far easier to read than just a list of numbers and facts.
Readers love infographics because they often make concepts easier to understand and digest. In fact, consumers are thirty times more likely to fully consume a piece of content if it is an infographic – compared to one that is only written in text.
Content producers like them because they’re relatively quick to create but pack a powerful punch.
If lots of your content is based around facts and figures, turning these articles into visual content is a simple but highly effective way to drive in more interested traffic. There are numerous tools available to help you easily create content online, too. Visme.co is a great option, as well as PiktoChart and Canva.
Here’s a quick tutorial from Piktochart showing you just how easy it can be to create an impressive infographic with their software.
With these tools, all you really need to do is add the data you want to include, arrange it in an artful yet readable manner, then add it on your blog and/or social media profiles.
8. How-To Guides
As soon as you type the phrase “how to” into Google’s search box, the engine gives you countless suggestions. Google itself has found that queries including the phrase “how to” have increased by 140% over the past fifteen years.
Whether people are attempting to learn how to boil eggs for the first time or download a YouTube video, a comprehensive how-to guide can be extremely helpful.
Think about what people need to learn in your field and what kind of informative directions you can provide. If you play your cards right, you can create a how-to guide that goes viral within your industry.
How-to guides can be videos, long-form articles, or infographics. The most important aspect is that it is easy to understand, so including lots of visuals is usually a good route to take.
If you need inspiration on what to create, take a look at your customer service department’s most common inquiries. Help your customers troubleshoot issues by creating content that shows them step-by-step instructions to answer those FAQs.
Shopify does a great job of this on their own blog, with numerous guides to help entrepreneurs launch their online stores with the platform.
9. Social Media Posts
There is no question that every single business should be utilizing social media in some capacity. But using your social media platforms as content distribution networks isn’t enough; you should also be creating content that’s specific to your various channels.
Social media platforms are essentially turning into brand-focused search engines. 40% of consumers have used a social media site to research new businesses and products. Furthermore, consumers are more likely to purchase from brands who are active and engaging on their social accounts.
Many social channels have released new features that businesses can use to engage even more with their followers and speed up the sales cycle.
For instance, on Instagram and Snapchat, you can create stories or share live chats with your viewers. You can even include tools like polls or Q&A submissions to make things more interactive.
Social platforms are also making it easier than ever for customers to buy products directly through posts. Instagram now allows brands to embed direct product links on published posts as well as in their stories.
Other platforms like Pinterest and Facebook have similar offerings, too.
Remember, be sure not to keep your social content strictly promotional. Most users tend to find this behavior quite annoying and will most likely unfollow your account if you are only trying to sell them stuff. Instead, they prefer brands to be honest, friendly, and helpful.
Explore the various options on the social media platforms you use, then experiment with different kinds of content for your followers.
10. Case Studies and Client Profiles
Case studies and client profiles are more difficult to find on most business websites because they take a great deal of time and energy to create.
However, they also hold a substantial amount of weight with readers – they’re essentially success stories that show the power of your company and its services.
They are also extremely influential on B2B buyers. 79% of these consumers preferred case studies over any other type of content marketing – as they helped them make a more informed purchasing decision.
Source: Content Preferences Survey Report
Creating this content does take time, and you will need to reach out to past customers and clients to make sure they are ok with you building a case study around them. You will also need concrete data to prove these results.
Remember that these do not always need to be long-form content either. Testimonial videos can also be extremely effective, like this case study video from Pioneer Business Systems featuring their clients at Elliot Lee Real Estate.
By researching and taking an in-depth look at a specific subject (most likely a positive story from your own body of work), your business can increase its trustworthiness and expertise in the eyes of users – backed with proven success.
The more specific results you can showcase and the deeper you can dive into your process; the more effective people will believe your company can be.
Webinars are another form of engaging content that can do wonders to educate customers. These are typically used by B2B organizations – as they tend to be quite factual.
Webinars have proven to be extremely effective for increasing marketing results, sales, and engagement rates. According to research from ClickMeeting, 76% of B2B buyers have made a purchase after watching a webinar.
Obviously, webinars need to be interesting and relevant to keep your audience engaged. The majority of viewers prefer webinars to last between thirty to forty-five minutes. Also, 92% of viewers want to interact through a live Q&A session at the end, so be sure to include this option.
Another smart tip here is to collaborate with other thought leaders in your industry to hear their expert opinion and provide exclusive content. For example, Kissmetrics created a webinar featuring the CEO of Mammoth Growth, who is an expert on marketing.
Good content has been (and always will be) the foundation of a successful marketing strategy. It is what will drive in customers through organic searches and work to turn those leads into paying customers.
Content is also highly controllable. It gives your business the opportunity to control the storyline and tell your customers why they should love your brand and buy your products.
In the past, marketers were far more limited in their options when it came to branded content. Nowadays, there are numerous options of that companies can pick and choose to create their own marketing mix that fits best for their target market.
So, what kind of content will you be creating next?
Content creation and marketing have been our bread and butter since day one. If you need any help getting your content strategy moving, please reach out to our highly seasoned team!