Ever stumbled upon content that left you feeling feelings?
Or ready to jump out of your seat and take action right that instant?
You might believe that powerful content creation is a product of luck. Or that content marketing is an art that takes years to master.
But we’re here today to bust those myths once and for all. We’ll show you a true and tried template that’ll add that special sauce to your content marketing strategy.
Ready to jumpstart your content marketing efforts and create content so exceptional you’ll leave your target audience with a lump in their throat?
This content creation guide (and subsequent template) is for you!
Read on to learn:
- What the conception of content creation is all about
- How a content plan supplements content creation
- How a proven content creation template looks like
- Completing your content marketing puzzle with the help of Content Marketing Platform
What is Content Creation, Exactly?
We’ll start off this segment by quoting a line from Steve Jobs’ famous 1995 interview by Robert Cringely for The Triumph of the Nerds documentary:
“There’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship between a great idea and a great product.”
It’s a reality that most content creators and content strategists have to contend with every day—especially if your job is to turn poor, disorganized, SEO-lacking insights into high-performing quality content.
This brings us to the working definition of “content creation”:
Content creation is the process of brainstorming ideas that speak to your target audience or ideal persona, creating content surrounding those ideas (could be written, audio, or visual), as well as presenting that information to your audience as a podcast, blog, infographic, PowerPoint presentation, webinar, or any other format.
Long definition, huh? But you get the drill.
If you want your content to stand out, you must avoid doing the “bare minimum” (i.e., keying in your topic on Google, randomly choosing a few of the high-ranking posts on the same topic, and “stealing” their content ideas).
Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a no-win proposition. Even if you succeed, your content will be indistinguishable from all the other pieces of content out there.
You can certainly do better.
Aim at creating content so good that prospects and customers alike will find it hard to resist your proposition. The kind of content that’ll make them troop to your website in large numbers. You know, in the same way Americans hit the road at the start of every holiday. Or in the manner Patriots fans flock to the Gillette Stadium every other game week.
Enough with the puns.
Point is, you should focus on creating high-quality content. Nothing less.
Importance of Content Creation
Content creation is the ultimate form of inbound marketing.
Just think about it.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting customers by creating valuable content as well as experiences tailored to them, right? Isn’t that what content creation is all about?
If you’re still in doubt, here a few stats to back up our claim:
- In 2019, 86% of marketers pointed out that they were able to achieve their brand awareness-related goals with content marketing.
- Content marketing ultimately generates three times more leads than traditional marketing strategies (hey you, outbound marketing).
- A whopping 73% of marketers say content marketing increases leads and engagement.
- Content marketing is used for lead generation by 80% of marketers (tells you a lot about the importance of creating high-quality content).
Content equals business growth. So let’s get on with figuring out your content planning roadmap.
Content Planning: The Much-Needed Prerequisite to Your Content Creation Template
You wouldn’t start building a house without laying the foundation. A company without a unique selling point (USP) is like a visual masterpiece without a sketch.
So, there should be no content creation without a well-thought-out plan. Otherwise, you risk drowning your marketing campaigns.
A content plan is made up of building blocks (outreach, assets, and reports) chosen based on the goals outlined in your content marketing strategy. If your goals feel a little wishy-washy, do your brand and marketing team a favor and get clear on why you’re doing what you do.
HubSpot offers a free template for setting SMART marketing goals. Use it to define, calculate, as well as evaluate your goals.
That aside, here is a step-by-step process for creating a content plan:
Formulate a Buyer Persona
The key to creating high-quality content is to get intimate with your customers, prospects, as well as leads. You need to know them like the back of your hand, or like you know your fiancé (sorry if you’ve only dated for a month, lol).
Make a point of putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Know what keeps your readers awake at night—their challenges, obstacles, as well as fears. Then go ahead and create a buyer persona that addresses these exact pain points.
While the process of formulating a buyer persona isn’t exactly a walk in the park, the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to. Someone who’ll trip their leg rushing to consume your content (and, by extension, your products/services).
Select the Right Format/Type of Content
Remember, you’re creating content for that buyer persona you created above. So be sure to pick a format they’ll be most comfortable with—one that’ll make it easy for them to consume your content.
Here are a few content formats to keep in mind:
- Blog post or Article: Well-written blog posts that include SEO (search engine optimization) enjoy free organic traffic from search engines. More on SEO content in a bit.
- Landing pages: A website landing page captures sales leads through the visitor’s contact information.
- Podcast scripts: Podcasts are recorded audio files (or streamlined live) that entertain and educate website followers.
- Webinars: Webinars allow marketers to share PowerPoint presentations, web pages, videos, or other multimedia content with their target audience—often located in different places.
- Social media posts and ads: Savvy marketers use the conversational structure of social media to drive leads to their websites, build brand loyalty with their target audience, as well as supercharge their brand.
- Infographics: Infographics are visual informational summaries depicted with graphical texts and minimal illustrations.
More formats include email newsletters, infographics, eBooks, whitepapers, video scripts, as well as product descriptions.
No matter the type of content you choose, as long as it adequately serves your buyer’s persona, you’re good to go.
Promote the Hell out of that Content
Naturally, this step would appear in your content creation template, but you’ll be damned not to include it in your market planning document.
Let’s face it. You’ll need to shepherd and entice people to consume your content—especially when you’re the newest kid on the block. Hence why content promotion (or content marketing as some call it) is as important to your marketing strategy as the content you intend to create.
Below are some avenues you can use to promote your content:
Here’s the one social media marketing stat that’ll absolutely blow your mind:
32% of consumers check out a brand’s social marketing presence before checking out their website.
This simply means that you’re missing out on many potentially high-paying prospects if you don’t promote your content on social media. Prospects that would otherwise vindicate your marketing efforts.
When promoting your content on social media, aim at striking a fine balance between sharing useful information, self-promotion, as well as entertainment. LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are all great social networks to create and share valuable content.
Want to know why email remains the number one medium to reach target audiences and prospective customers?
Because everyone on your email list is actually interested in listening to you, and you’re guaranteed they’ll give your content a chance.
Better still, you can boost your open rates by sending relevant, high-quality content to a segmented portion of your list, meaning they’ll be itching to read every new content you push their way.
Think of repurposing as recycling. You’re reusing pieces of content you poured your heart, soul, and blood into creating and transforming them into diverse formats so that they’re widely consumed.
For instance, that full research report you wrote about the impact of COVID on marketing can also be converted into a great video, infographic, or even a podcast.
If you’re having a hard time determining which content is worth repurposing and which is not, consider leveraging Content Marketing Platform’s content marketing platform to help with the legwork. Content-centric analytics allow you to measure content performance and demonstrate ROI. With all the key metrics at the tip of your fingers, you can go ahead and repurpose content as you deem fit.
Content Creation Redefined: A Template That’ll Transform Your Content from Lackluster and Boring to High Quality and Punchy
Without a doubt, the current digital marketing landscape is changing at a pace no one ever anticipated. Marketers are sleeping with one eye open, ready to pounce on a new lead, send out a more convincing email proposition, write about the newest marketing trends—you name it.
The last thing you want to do is waste time. And with content consumption needs changing by the minute, you crave a go-to template that’ll streamline things and make it easy to hit your content marketing goals.
Follow this template to remove the guesswork out of your content creation process and become the A-level content strategist you’ve always wanted (all in five simple steps!).
Conduct Thorough SEO Research
Remember the content ideas you came up with when researching your buyer persona?
It’s now time to see if you could replicate them on a much bigger scale to a larger target audience. Sure, it would be great to write an article directed towards a single individual, but, boy, would it be a waste of time, energy, as well as resources!
This is where SEO research (otherwise known as keyword research) comes in handy. It’ll show you the search volume of a specific keyword phrase and whether it’s worth the trouble (we mean, the investment) of crafting pieces of content around it.
Here how’s you can perform keyword research for SEO:
- Make a list of important, relevant topics based on your buyer persona’s pain points, goals, and expectations.
- Conduct some keyword research around those bucket topics to see if enough people are searching for them.
- Enter these topics into a search engine yourself, and see what results come up. Make sure the type of content shown on Google closely relates to what you’d intended to create for that particular topic.
- Research related search terms. This is more or less a creative step that’ll help you garner even more topics to write about.
- Use keyword research tools to your advantage.
Speaking of keyword research tools, Content Marketing Platform’s content marketing platform leads the pack—and understandably so. It surfaces real-time SEO data, keyword recommendations, as well as the social share of voice capable of informing and enriching your content creation process in equal measure. Did we mention that the software can help you establish thought leadership in your space in record time?
Now that you’ve got your SEO strategy all figured out, it’s time to brainstorm some content ideas.
This is where the rubber meets the road, the moment of truth for your content creation template. So don’t limit yourself. Let your creative juices flow. Come up with as many ideas as possible, and not just any ideas, those that can actually convert.
The fact that you took your time to map the customer journey and identify the buyer persona should make this step relatively easy. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, here is a quick way to feed your ideation process:
Hold a meeting with different team members and departments that communicate with the customer daily. Bring in the sales team, customer service team, as well as C-suite members. Ask them relevant questions regarding your target audiences, then transform these questions to use cases and content ideas.
Alternatively, figure out where your audience congregates online. Talk to them, read their posts and comments from the various social networks. Take notes about the exact phrases they use to describe their challenges and dreams.
Then you’ll have content ideas that truly pack a punch!
Are you still having a hard time formulating great content ideas? Not to worry, Content Marketing Platform’s content operations software has got your back. Leverage real-time search data to get clues on what your target audience is crazy about. Then write content that resonates with them—every day of the week and twice on the weekend (Oops, we might have gotten ahead of ourselves here, but it’s the next point anyway).
Although there’s no secret formula for writing high-quality content, there are a few tried-and-tested tips that’ll boost your creation process, no matter the type of content in question. Here are some:
Write Your Persona:
Use their voice, their personality, their tone, and even their humor to come up with a piece that hits them right in the bone.
Use Head-Turning Headlines:
Your headlines should spark interest, stir an emotion (like the one on this blog, wink!), and make them want to read your topic. Simple as that!
Persuade With Powerful Prose:
Do away with the fluff, use metaphors, as well as add powerful words to entertain and delight your target audience.
Punch Your Readers in the Feels:
Hook your audience right from the beginning—a strong intro catches their eye and quickly reassures them they’re in the right place. Then you can weave your reader into the story using sweater-knit copy (meaning: no fluff and with lots of pizzazz).
Stick to One Idea and Use Your Content to Reinforce it:
Don’t throw in too many unrelated subtopics in a single piece. While blogging is an art that might take you a few months to master, this is the one pitfall that you have to learn to avoid first.
Find Your Unique Voice:
There’s only one you. You have unique DNA. Your hopes, thoughts, as well as expectations, are unique. Even the face you make when you accidentally walk into a swarm of bees is unique. Want to stand out and pull a greater audience your way? Tap into your own distinctive writing style!
Be Clear and Concise:
You want your target audience to relate to you and derive value from your content, not muddle through confusing metaphors and jargon.
Need a hand refining your content to rank higher on search engines? Content Marketing Platform can help. Our software’s content optimization feature allows you to create high-quality, relevant content…content that’s backed by KPIs and tangible metrics. Built-in analysis and scoring tools help optimize all your digital copy—across every type of content and channel—for relevancy, readability, as well as search ranking. Tell us a more accomplished content marketing platform. We’ll wait.
Editing is, without a doubt, a subjective process. Some content strategists may want to edit their (or other’s) work on the go. Others may prefer waiting a few days to skim through the content with a fresh pair of eyes.
Either way, there are things you should have top-of-mind as you polish your content, like active voice, clear prose, short sentences, and plenty of bullet points. Also, consider calling in a colleague to help review your work.
You’ve done all the hard work. You’ve summoned all the wit, energy, and charm (duh!) in your locker to create show-stopping, high-quality content. It’s now time to roll it out to the world.
But wait a minute.
Haven’t you grown tired of uploading content individually to all your marketing channels?
Such a time suck. Phew.
Want to distribute content to every channel from one all-powerful location?
Consider Content Marketing Platform’s content marketing platform, a tool that’s quickly becoming a favorite among marketers.
Its key functionality includes a plugin that helps push content to all of your downstream channels—CRM, CMS, social networks, and more—with just a few clicks and ensure a consistent, cross-brand experience. If this isn’t a content creation magic wand, we don’t know what is.
Ideally, publishing should follow after uploading. But even then, you’ll want to stick to your regular publishing schedule. If you’re used to publishing new content every Friday, let it be that way. Else, you’ll overwhelm your audience, and they’ll likely not go over the nuggets you put so much into creating.
Again, you can use Content Marketing Platform’s built-in editorial calendar to help you schedule any content release, campaign, as well as workflow. In our marketing calendar, you can drag-and-drop projects (in this case, your pending upload) to shift deadlines, promoting agile planning to ensure a successful overall content marketing strategy.
Leave All of Your Content Creation Burdens to Content Marketing Platform!
Content Marketing Platform is not your ordinary marketing orchestration platform. Ask Bank of America, Panasonic, Twitter, American Express. It’s fair to say that some of the world’s best marketers use Content Marketing Platform (sorry for blowing our own trumpet, but it’s hard to argue with facts).
In terms of content creation, Content Marketing Platform accelerates the entire process, allowing you to get to market faster by automating workflows, proving, as well as approvals. And boy, do marketers love speed and agility!
Ready to give our content creation templates a try? Get started with a free Content Marketing Platform account today!