In this day and age of technology and social media, content is everywhere. And it takes many forms.
Content is that post by a Fortune 500 company on its LinkedIn page. It’s also that short yet meaningful tweet from your favorite influencer. Don’t forget that blog post you ended up reading after following the link below some appealing visual content you saw on Facebook. Oh, and if you’ve checked your in-box, did another promotional email from your bank arrive this morning? That email’s also content.
A reason for content’s ubiquity is that many businesses today have come to depend on content marketing to thrive—or even survive. According to a new research by the Content Marketing Institute, we’ve seen an increase (58 percent in 2020 versus 49 percent in 2019) in organizations’ use of content-creation technologies. Those include analytics tools, social media content publishing, and email marketing software.
Why are content creation and marketing imperative? It’s because content has been proven to help businesses generate revenue. Content has become a way for many organizations to connect and engage with their prospects and customers.
Content creation is never an easy endeavor. However, understanding the process behind it will help you traverse the winding road of content marketing.
How to evaluate your content options before beginning content creation
Like any other process, creating content begins with choices. So what are the initial things to consider when preparing for the process?
How do you start with content creation?
Content creation begins with defining your goal. Simply put, you must have a specific reason why you are creating content.
For instance, if you’re starting a blog, you must first decide why you’re writing. Goal setting is a step you shouldn’t skip, considering the amount of time and effort you’ll spend developing and maintaining a blog. Being up front about your intent will help you keep focused on where you want to go.
This initial stage is where you ask, What will success look like? For example, will an increase in the number of your followers on social media platforms indicate success? Or is increasing the number of people visiting your website (i.e., website traffic) the most important thing for you? What about conversions—will you use this as an indicator of success?
Understanding your content creation goals at an early point is crucial. This will be your anchor as you develop your business’s overarching content marketing strategy.
The importance of the buyer persona
After you set your content marketing goal, the next step is to create your buyer persona. Then you identify the topics (ideas) that matter. The buyer persona embodies the person you want to connect with. It represents your target audience—your business’s likely customers. But how will you know which ideas are relevant to your buyer persona? By doing your research, of course!
The power of analytics
As you gather ideas at this stage, taking into account the analytics of your website content will do wonders. Particularly, you’ll want to learn the keywords that help lead visitors to your website. Check the important keywords in your industry and their rankings on major search engines, especially Google. From these analytics checks, you can create a list of topics you’d want to tackle.
Final steps in the initial content plan
As you build a list of ideas, you also strive to identify the content format that would best meet the goal you’ve set. Do you want written content for this topic? Or will a visual format work better?
When you’ve made up your mind on your list of ideas, you can start creating content around them. But as you create content, you should continue doing research. This time, focus on getting only factual, accurate, and relevant information around your topic.
The next step is to make your content accessible to your target audience.
After distributing your content, you must keep tabs on your content’s performance. By knowing how your content performs, you can make adjustments to your content plan as necessary.
What are the different types of content creation to consider?
Content formats, also known as content marketing tactics, vary. Consider these different formats when developing a content marketing strategy. The aim is to identify the content format that your target audience will most likely engage with.
For instance, new research from the Content Marketing Institute notes interesting statistics regarding the content types used by B2B marketers. Blog posts or short articles were the content format most used by B2B marketers in 2020 (93 percent). Email newsletters, which were used by 77 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed by the study, ranked second.
Case studies and preproduced videos both tied at 68 percent. They were closely followed by virtual events/webinars/online courses at 67 percent and infographics/chats/photos at 65 percent.
The same study shares the biggest changes observed in 2020. These include the decrease in the use of in-person events. In addition, there was in increase in use of virtual event/webinars/online courses. Finally, there was an uptick in live streaming content.
Meanwhile, B2B marketers said that blog posts or short articles and virtual events/webinars/online courses created the best overall content marketing results for their organizations in 2020.
How do you know which content type to pursue?
Choosing topics that resonate with your target audience is not enough. You should also publish your content in a format that has the best chance of being consumed and shared by your target audience.
But with the many formats to choose from, you may be feeling overwhelmed at this point!
Deciding on the best content format for your marketing campaign doesn’t need to be tedious. You just have to keep in mind various factors as you make a decision.
- Your target audience: Do research to determine their preference. For instance, do they prefer watching videos or reading articles?
- Information you want to include: Statistics and figures are best presented as a chart or infographic whereas “how to” content might be more effective if it’s presented as a video instead of text.
- Budget and time commitments: Decisions around content marketing strategy should always align with your business’s available resources.
- Your available resources and skills: Do you have the skills or the equipment for the content type you want to create? For instance, if you are intent on maintaining a blog post, do you have access to skilled writers and editors who can help you attain your brand’s goals?
Who to involve in the content creation process
Another item to cross off the to-do list is the effective execution of the content marketing process. In this regard, having a skilled content creation team is the key.
How do you manage content creation through a content creation team?
A content creation team is responsible for not only producing great content but also getting it out there. In other words, it’s the team that works together through the stages of the content life cycle: ideation, production, optimization, distribution, evaluation and/or revisions, and repetition.
To come up with sound decisions regarding the type and number of members you need in the team, first you must create an effective content marketing strategy. Having one in place will help you identify the number of people you need for each function in your content creation team.
Most important, a well-defined strategy will help keep you and your team grounded throughout the content marketing process. It will also ensure your team remains focused on long-term goals.
How can you recruit to fill roles in the content creation process?
There are a variety of ways to structure a content creation team. Some content creation models place a high priority on content development and the production of as much content as possible. In this model, the approach is to establish a pool of dedicated writing experts.
Another approach is to tap into subject matter experts within the organization. This model is especially good for businesses whose content requires high-level technical knowledge.
If you aren’t ready to invest in full-scale editorial capabilities yet, you can always outsource. You can work with either individual freelancers or a content agency. If you have a healthy number of subscribers or you are an authority in your field, other industry thought leaders may want to do guest blogging on your website or owned platform.
What are the roles in the content creation process?
The different stages of the content creation process call for various contributor roles.
At the onset, a content strategist lays the groundwork for all things related to the process. These things include the following:
- Setting the goals and their corresponding indicators or measures of success
- Conducting a competitor analysis
- Creating the buyer persona
- Establishing a brand style guide
- Building the initial editorial calendar
The content strategy serves as the road map for the whole content creation process, from the content planning to the content production all the way to distribution and even repetition.
First is the content planning stage. This is when you make decisions regarding the content to be created, the format it should have, and the timing in which it should be produced. The content manager plays a key role here. They explain to content creators and stakeholders why certain content should be created.
In the content production stage, the key players are the content creators. Content creators include, among others, writers, graphic designers, video producers, and photographers. Content creators must be mindful of the best practices for different content types. That’s because what works for one content type may not be ideal for another.
For example, best practices for writing social media posts for business are tricky in that each platform has its nuances. For Twitter, content should ideally be short, quirky, and concise. Instagram relies on not just visual content but also hashtags for engagement and outreach to a target audience. YouTube allows for long content and could be used by businesses to teach the target audience on the use of their products or showcase how their products perform against a competitor’s. Blogs, meanwhile, can be ideal for building thought leadership or showing your expertise in your niche.
Reviews are usually done by an editor. Hiring an editor is one way a content marketing team ensures that the content reflects the brand’s identity and meets the content strategy’s goals.
Content publishing and distribution
Once content is ready for publishing and distribution, the ball is now in the hands of digital marketing specialists. Digital marketers are responsible for ensuring that the online content meets its performance goals.
For instance, if the objective is to drive relevant traffic to the company website, digital marketers can implement two approaches. First, they would make sure the site’s pages content is optimized for search engines (SEO). Second, they may use paid online advertising, such as promoted social media posts and sponsored ads.
Digital marketers may also help in managing a business’s online presence. They engage with the target audience on social media platforms.
The next stage is to finally measure how the content fared after distribution. At this point, either the content strategist or a content analyst (also known as a digital analyst) can analyze the content. Content analysts are experts at using data analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics). They use analytics data and take actions based on it.
Content creation is not simple. It may not be rocket science, but it has many nuances, and it continues to evolve. But in today’s competitive landscape, organizations and businesses must learn it if they want to stay relevant. If content creation is not your cup of tea, you can ask for help from content experts.
At Elite Editing, we have created a variety of high-quality content crafted according to our clients’ needs. Find out how our professional proofreading, editing, and writing services can help you achieve your content creation goals.