In the simplest of terms the web is full of content. Social media, SEO, email marketing and marketing automation, it seems that all roads lead to content. This means that now every savvy marker is finding themselves playing the role of producer and editor and companies are playing the role of publisher.
What makes great content?
Knowing who we are creating content for is the first step for any content strategy. When we brief a team with a content assignment we always start with which persona(s) we are targeting with the content. Linking content creation with personas is the key to making content that resonates.
The next question on our content briefs is “What do we want someone to feel/do”. This describes where that user is in the customer journey and how our content will affect that journey. Empathising with where our users are currently and knowing the action we want them to take will ensure the content has business value without being salesy. Without a clear purpose for the content there is a temptation to “always be selling”.
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The copywriting, look, and concept of all the content produced should carry the essence of the brand. Not all content has to have high production value but it should all pass the test of “Is this something my brand would say or do?”
Content should be native to the publishing network. If it is for social media make sure that both the posts and the content itself feel native to that channel. Are you trying to drive organic traffic? Make sure you content is helpful, insightful and has lots of images. Most searchers are trying to solve some sort of problem so make sure you give them the answer, without making them pay for it.
Content at Scale
Producing the content required for a successful strategy is a challenge for most organizations. Producing a volume of quality content is an even larger challenge. A solid process for the multiplication of original content is the only way to efficiently make quality content at scale.
This is what you are already making. The occasional blog post by a thought leader internally. An article or an interview given to the media. An opinion paper, sales deck, or brochure that demonstrates some original thinking or something unique that your organization needs to communicate. If we were making cookies, the content contained within these content items are the ingredients for our recipe.
These are collections of source content around common themes core to your organization. These collections or modules will be used to make derivative content that contains some or all of the content in the individual sources. These modules are the dough made from the ingredients. All the stuff is in there but it doesn’t really look like much and isn’t ready to eat just yet.
This is the content that most easily is derived from the modules. Typically these are things like e-books, videos and longer form content that tells a large slice of the story. This content typically has a longer shelf life, is more creative and has a lot of utility so a bit larger investment is ok for these. We have now rolled out the dough and cut all of the cookies that can easily be cut out of the round of dough.
Next we roll up all the scraps and make some more cookies. Well not really the scraps, but the extra ideas that got edited out of the macro content or some smaller aspects that can stand alone are made into micro content. These could be blog posts, slideshares, short videos, newsletter or similar. This is where additional scale is achieved without losing the original ideas. All the ingredients are still in there, although now we have made lots of things that have the essence of what we started with but look very different and appeal to different audiences or parts of the customer journey.
Having lots of content won’t matter if no one finds it. It’s important to remember that a majority of our content strategy will hinge around social media so writing the posts and the strategy behind posting (promotional content) is an important part of the content development process. So important that we think of these posts as content also.