Think of it as recycling. You want to spend less time creating and more time getting your content in front of your audience. For example, that blog post that you wrote on marketing stats can also serve as a great infographic or even a video.
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.
Because content can take many forms—blog posts, videos, eBooks, Tweets, infographics, and advertisements 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?
What is a content creator?
Before we dive into the content creation process, let’s start with the basics, like the content creator definition. A content creator refers to someone who is responsible for the ideation, creation, and distribution of content that connects a brand to its target audience. The goal of content creators is to create appealing and engaging content that captures the attention of users to drive website traffic, conversions, and interactions with your brand on external platforms like social. It can be informational content, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also serve to entertain in order to increase brand awareness, for example.
Digital content creators produce content across any platform or channel. Having dedicated content creators is a must for any enterprise organization. These are the content marketers that will help bring ideas to life through quality content that provides the highest possibility of ranking in SERP and increasing the number of visitors to your site.
Content Creation Examples
One type of content creation (the kind you’re consuming right now, actually) is blog posts. Blogs are meant to educate, entertain, and inspire your audience through the written word. When someone types a query in Google, the posts that pop up are usually blog posts.
Podcasts, one of my favorite types of content to consume, are like listening to the radio, except a dedicated podcast host talks about dedicated topics, has guests, etc. These are especially interesting to listen to when the audience likes the host and wants to learn something from listening.
Whether you want to post videos on social media or YouTube, creating a video is one type of content creation that becomes more popular as the years go by. Short-form and long-form videos both have their place in your content creation strategy, so it’s important to come up with ideas for this type of content.
In your blog posts, or in your social media posts, you might want to post original graphics. These can be infographics, animations, etc. This type of content creation usually requires a graphic designer or at least a graphic design tool to help you get the job done.
5. Content Offers
Another type of content is content offers. These are templates, whitepapers, worksheets, or ebooks that your audience can download. This is gated content — meaning your audience will need to fill out a form and provide their email to have access to it.
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You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement. So, there should be no content creation without a plan. Otherwise, you risk getting derailed from your objective.
Set Your Content Goals
Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between — as long as they’re SMART goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.
Create a Buyer Persona
The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend. You should be aware of their obstacles, their pain points, their challenges, and their fears. Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies.
Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.
Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and someone who will happily consume your content.
Rely on the Buyer’s Journey
If you’ve ever had a headache, the first thing you likely did was try to figure out the cause. Perhaps you were dehydrated, or caffeine-depleted, or maybe you were sick. After you diagnosed the problem, you moved on to solutions — drink some water, grab an espresso, or take some medicine. Finally, you decide between solutions: Evian or tap water? Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee? Aleve or Tylenol? Hopefully, your headache then subsided and you were able to go about your day.
This is a representation of the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s important to use your content to appeal to each stage.
By creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re ensuring that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.
You also want to select a format for your content so that it’s tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor in the awareness stage won’t want a live demo of your product, but they would read a quick checklist or blog post that helps them better understand their problem. A prospect in the decision stage doesn’t need to know about all the possible solutions, they need a consultation or demo that shows them that your product is the right solution. Always meet your audience where they are.
Perform a Content Audit
Whether you’ve been creating content for a while without any clear direction or you’ve been following a strategy all along, every marketing department can benefit from a content audit. Just because you didn’t start out with a clearly defined strategy doesn’t mean that the content you already have won’t fit into one.
Choose the Right Format
Also, you don’t need to stick to one format for every piece of content that you create. But you should be able to create content — in whatever format — on a consistent cadence. What I mean is, a podcast series might be a great marketing tactic, but if you lack the resources (and patience) to stick to it, then a blog might be a better route.
Choosing Content Creators
At this point, you’re ready to start creating content, but first, you’ll need to build a team of content creators. To get started, categorize the type of content you want to create and the type of content creator it takes to produce that content. Below is an example list:
As you can see, there are many different types of content creators you’ll need to either outsource or hire to produce high-quality content that converts your audience from viewers to customers. In many organizations, there is one person responsible for a lot of this content, and that is a content marketing strategist. While having one content marketing strategist might make sense, expecting one person to be able to produce all of that content doesn’t.
The best way to go about content creation is to collaborate with freelancers, use influencer marketing to increase your audience reach, and hire a content strategist (or several preferably) to help you organize your content creation.
What good is it to create all this great content if no one sees it? In a perfect world, herds of people would flock to your site every time you published a new post. In reality — especially when you’re just starting out — you’ll need to entice people to consume your content and even shepherd them into your online space.
What Else is Included in Content Creation?
Once you’ve established your creation process and can generate content on a regular basis that your audience finds valuable, now begins the process of publishing content regularly on blogs, maintaining website content that is relevant, and tracking how effectively your content is reaching its intended audience.
The easiest, and frankly most effective way, to get started with content marketing is with DemandJump. We make it simple to evaluate how well you’re meeting your end of the bargain (or content creation agreement), and how to improve.
DemandJump empowers content creators by uncovering which questions their audiences are asking online and using powerful analytics to see how audiences react to content strategies. We quite literally take the guesswork out of content marketing. With our tools, you can know exactly:
There’s a lot of focus on creating content to get new customers. But you can and should still serve your existing customers and audience through content too. Identify opportunities to add greater value through pieces of content as part of retention and growth strategies.
What Is Content Creation? (Plus How-To and List of Tools)
Publishing well-written and informative content on your website can attract and engage your audience. Great content educates and provides value to your readers. With a strong content creation process, you can cater your pieces directly toward the needs and goals of your audience. In this article, we explain what content creation is, how to develop a content creation strategy and the steps to create valuable content.
Content creation is the process of brainstorming and writing relevant content pieces and publishing them in different content forms, like blog posts, infographics, white papers and eBooks. It’s important to create content that educates your readers. If consumers find your content valuable and informative, they may build trust in your brand and establish a long-term relationship with your company.
Captivating, relevant content can attract more visitors to your website. Once the site visitors learn more about your company through additional content on your website, they may be more interested in trying your product or service. Creating great content involves establishing your target audience, catering your content toward them and posting your content on outlets they frequently visit.
How to develop a content creation strategy
Before you can start crafting engaging content, first strategize why you’re writing, who you’re writing for, and where you’re posting the content. Follow these steps to develop a strong content creation strategy:
1. Determine your marketing and content goals
Set goals you’d like to accomplish with your content marketing efforts. Think about what you’d like to improve regarding your sales and marketing efforts, including more organic traffic to your website, larger brand awareness or higher conversion rates. Use the SMART goal method to develop specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based content marketing goals for your company. Here’s an example of a SMART goal you could use:
2. Build your buyer persona
To better cater content to your specific audience, know who exactly you’re speaking to, what information they’ll find valuable and which outlets they usually read content on. Build a buyer persona, which is a semi-fictional character who represents your prospective customers.
You can create several buyer personas to represent different groups of people within your target audience. This helps you better understand your audience’s challenges, goals and preferences, so you can write content that directly relates to them.
3. Conduct a content audit on your current work
Before you can create new content, you should evaluate what you already have. Sort through your current content and marketing material to determine where it fits within your new content marketing plan and goals. Organizing your current work may make you realize the value your existing content supplies your audience and determine what additional content could help strengthen your inventory.
The best way to audit and sort your current content is to build a spreadsheet with target keywords, categories and main topics you’d like your content pieces to feature. Place your current content pieces under each of these tabs. If you can’t place some of your current pieces in one of these categories, you may need to rewrite or update your current pieces to better fit your current strategy.
4. Pick which formats to write in for certain audiences
Your buyer persona should tell you which content form your audience prefers to consume their information on and which media outlet they usually read it on. You may have several buyer personas created, so it’s important to note how they typically read their content and cater your pieces toward these preferences.
Some buyer personas may have several formats they enjoy using, while others may only use one or two. Writing in formats you know your audience uses makes them feel as if your content was created for them.
5. Plan how you’ll promote each content piece
Where you post your content is also an important factor in ensuring it reaches a wide audience. Properly promoting your content pieces helps build greater awareness of your content and product. The best way to make sure your pieces are reaching the right audience is to conduct more research for your buyer personas to discover which online platforms they use, when they use them and where they usually go to find information.
Social media platforms: Social media is a great place to create short pieces of content that engages your audience and tells your brand’s story. You can also use it to share recent content pieces you’ve created. Your followers can easily read your content and share it with their own network who may benefit from your information as well.
Email marketing campaigns: You can use email to connect and build relationships with your audience by sending them content and information catered toward their needs and goals. Email campaigns allow you to segment your contacts according to where they are in their purchasing process with your company. Pick content pieces geared toward each email segment and share relevant and valuable pieces with them.
Paid promotion campaigns: To get your content in front of your target audience, you can create digital advertisements to display on search engines, websites or social media outlets. Learn the outlets your buyer personas regularly visit. This helps you use your marketing budget wisely to feature your content on sites your audience is more likely to visit.
How much content are you exposed to every day?
Some of that content isn’t relevant, and some of it we are exposed to without choice (i.e., all those billboards on the morning commute). But when we do seek information, especially when looking to make a purchase, we expect the content we consume to be accurate, helpful, and timely.
It’s easy to create and publish a single piece of content these days, but the challenge is in creating content that’s meaningful and accessible. Content helps you build trust with your audience, so the more useful it is, the more likely customers are to trust you. (It’s no wonder why 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their digital marketing strategies.)
What steps are involved in content creation?
Content creation is the process of planning and creating content that is useful, accessible, and effective for an audience. While this guide will focus on written content, it’s important to consider that content also includes videos, infographics, podcasts, and more.
Crafting your stories
Your content should serve as a platform for communicating your brand’s unique perspectives, capabilities, and value proposition. It also needs to tell a story that resonates strongly enough to convince readers to act. In addition to the usual creative considerations – like determining topics, generating story ideas, and maintaining a consistently high level of creativity and writing quality – content marketers need to be comfortable working within a storytelling framework that leverages the power of persuasion.
Identify worthwhile content topics
One way to approach this task is to identify some primary subject areas your target audience actively searches for information on. Conducting keyword research or using more sophisticated techniques like topic modeling at the start of your ideation process (if you don’t have this data on hand) can help you get a deeper understanding of the challenges your content should help readers solve. It also can help confirm you’ve found a niche where your initiatives can gain a competitive advantage. If your search uncovers relevant questions for which useful answers aren’t forthcoming, it’s probably a topic worth addressing for your audience.
Generate creative article ideas
It takes many creative ideas to fuel a content engine and keep it running smoothly on a long-term basis. Team brainstorming sessions are one great way to help your writers get their creative juices flowing and come up with a high volume of ideas. Another approach is to incorporate word games and creative improvisation techniques – like the ones Cisco Systems’ Tim Washer describes – into your creative ideation process.
Prioritize your ideas
Not every idea your team generates is a good fit for your business: Some may be fantastic on paper but require more time and attention to produce than your team can spare; others may be creatively brilliant but not useful for your target audience. Make sure you have a prioritization process – like the core content strategy matrix Meghan Casey uses – to gauge the comparative value and urgency of your content ideas and help you decide which ones to move forward with.
Transform your ideas into resonant stories
Regardless of the creative process, content creation boils down to one essential step: the physical act of writing your stories. And when it comes to successful content creation, Steve Jobs’ thought on product development certainly applies: Turning a great idea into a great content piece requires considerable craftsmanship.
But that doesn’t mean the writing process has to cause a tremendous amount of anxiety and frustration. Ann Handley points out that learning to become a better writer simply requires showing up every day and practicing your craft. Thankfully, she also provides some valuable tips to help make writing sessions more organized, eliminate unnecessary distractions, and stifle the inner critic that can derail your creative confidence and keep you from meeting your deadlines.
Strengthen your creative muscles
Over time, the rigors of the writing process can wear on even the most talented and prolific content creators. Look to aids like headline generators, productivity tools/guides, killer examples from inspiring content brands, or a little sage advice from a creative master for an extra spark of creative energy or a little help beating the occasional writer’s block.
Enhance your writing quality
Content riddled with typos, grammatical errors, tech issues, or factual inaccuracies can cost you the trust and respect of your audience and, possibly, their patronage. To avoid being mocked for producing lazy, low-quality assets or labeled as a purveyor of fake news, carefully proof, test, and fact-check every content effort to ensure that it is as clear, functional, error-free, and above reproach as possible.
Master your full creative process
Go forth and create
By following this guide, you should find yourself on the path toward more well-managed creative teams, greater strategic and creative alignment, and better brand storytelling overall. But if you find yourself getting stuck anywhere along the way – or have a content creation tip you’d like to share – let us know in the comments.
Next up in our essentials guide series are distribution and measurement. Don’t miss them. Plus, get daily tips, trends, and thoughts to bring you bigger content marketing success. Subscribe to the weekday e-newsletter.
Communication is vital in a successful business partnership. Make it a practice to over communicate, communicate clearly, and support recommendations with data-backed proof. Keep colleagues and clients in the loop about deadlines, performance expectations, projected ROI, and other pertinent information to set reasonable expectations from the beginning. If any of these elements are going to shift, communicate those shifts as soon as possible.
What is Content Creation?
Creating valuable and actionable content across different touchpoints for your audience is a great way to build audience loyalty. Once your content remains valuable and actionable to your ideal audience, they will stick around long enough and remain loyal to your brand.
Industry Leader and Authority
Including content as part of your marketing strategy makes you stand out. High-quality content presents you as the industry leader and authority in your field. With consistency, your target audience will regard your brand as the go-to for all of the questions they need answers to, and ultimately purchase your solutions in the process.
Trust and Credibility
Besides positioning your business as the industry leader in your field, great content increases your target audience’s trust for your brand, products, and services, which in turn boosts your brand credibility.
Improved Social Traffic
In marketing, audiences engage with content they find insightful and valuable. Part of engagement is that your target audience likes your posts, comments on them, tags their friends, and shares in their circle.
Generating leads for your business is good, but qualified leads are great. With content as part of your marketing strategy, you generate leads from prospects interested in your products or service offerings.
Who Needs a Content Creator?
The importance of an online presence has become the driving force behind many marketing strategies. Great content can really connect a company to its consumers and build relationships in ways that weren’t possible during the era of “Mad Men” style marketing. People can engage with brands on social media and their blogs and feel involved in the stories they create.
Businesses aren’t the only entities to utilize strategic content. Individuals use content to bolster their personal brand presence and drive ad and sponsorship revenue through engagement rates, traffic and other metrics like follower count. Anyone who wishes to increase traffic, generate quality leads, rank for relevant keywords or improve their brand’s persona could benefit greatly from a content creator.
Where Can Content Creators Find Jobs and Opportunities?
The most common places where content creators can find work is in agencies, in-house teams or to become a freelancer. Within these categories, you’ll find opportunities for design, photography, videography and content writing jobs. The pros and cons of each vary greatly by where you work but they should give you a general idea.
Freelance Content Creator
Freelance content creation work is great for those who value their freedom over a steady flow of work and income. Successful freelancers can generate more than enough business for themselves, so don’t be discouraged if this is your desired path. Freelancers can do work for others or find ways to promote their own media channels and monetize them for a living (like social media influencers).
In-House Content Creation
In-house content teams work for one company or an umbrella organization that offers stable income and benefits. You’ll likely be focusing on one industry only but if you land a role in an industry you love, it could be a great fit.
Content Creation Agency
Agency work provides the opportunity to work on a wide range of clients and improve your skill set with the stability and benefits of a salary job. Content agencies can be too fast-paced for some but others thrive in a more dynamic environment.
The Truth About Content Creation
While being at the cutting edge of content creation can transform a business for the better, it also involves a fair bit of research and careful thought. Half the work — if not more — behind any great content production is gathering appropriate data, then conceiving, planning and executing an effective content strategy.
State of Digital Publishing’s (SODP) Content Cluster Strategy Toolkit provides an extensive breakdown of the ins and outs of pillar and cluster strategies and why they’re so important when competing for a top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs).
1. Uber Pillar/Category
An uber pillar is a resources page that displays — and links to — content on a particular topic and includes at least one piece of pillar content in the listing. It is the category page for a specific content cluster.
An uber pillar should include not just links to relevant content but also, where appropriate, other, more in-depth content as well. The content on this page is not just presented in chronological order but is designed to feature the evergreen content of pillar pages.
2. Pillar Page/Hub Page
A content series is a collection of at least two articles that target the same short-tail keyword. The structure of the post titles is typically “[Keyword]: [Blog Topic]”. It can be a limited series or an ongoing weekly or monthly series — for example, marketing news of the week.
How To Become a Successful Content Creator
Successful content creation involves more than just getting views, it’s also about engagement. Great content creators know how to create content that’s shared widely, simply because of its audience value.
Here are five habits — the secret sauce — that the best content creators practise. Whether working on social media posts, blogs or a general marketing strategy, these five habits will lead to the creation of engaging content.
1. Read Widely and Deeply
Creativity is an integral part of content creation, and successful content creators understand that the creative process takes time. Moreover, ideas for new content aren’t confined to just one industry or field.
Step 1: Create a Feed System
Step 2: Schedule Official Reading Time
Content creators are particular with their time — and this includes time regularly set aside for reading. Spending the time to check out the latest news in social media posts, blogs and other media, even if that means getting up an hour early, will pay dividends.
Step 3: Use Social Media Platforms to Search for Conversations
Reading widely and deeply is also about understanding customers’ and audiences’ reactions to different issues. And one of the best ways to gauge readers’ thoughts on a matter is to check out their posts on social media.
Step 4: Use Long-tail Search Words To Find Related Articles
Step 5: Keep a Digital or Hard-copy Reading Journal
Reading is not a passive activity. To benefit from the steps mentioned so far, any successful content creator also summarizes or reviews the articles they’ve read, as well as any other media they’ve consumed. This is a key part of their ideation process.
The best way to achieve this is to keep a reading or commenting journal. It can be something as simple as a GoogleDoc, where thoughts and links can be stored. Or it can be a hard-copy journal in which to ideate and create a few concept maps.
2. Write as a Practice
Content creation is also about consistency. Stephen King, in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft , emphasized setting a writing goal that is initially “low” at 1,000 words per day to develop a habit.
In an interview, he was asked how he writes, to which he amusingly replied, “One word at a time.” What King means is content creators can better focus on their craft if they set a daily goal to get the writing process started.
A strategy he recommends to start developing habits is following the Two Minute Rule . Consistently setting aside two minutes to start habit forming can help anyone achieve their goals. The first two minutes become the ritual at the start of every routine to “reinforce your identity”.
Step 1: Set a Goal for the Year
Content producers will struggle to follow through on anything without a specific goal. Having a yearly goal will serve as a motivator, because writing anything will, in one way or another, bring that goal closer.
Step 2: Identify Optimal Writing Hours
While most argue — and understandably so — that this will be in the morning, this may not be a set rule for everybody. Instead, creators should look to the research conducted on circadian rhythms to understand the impact biological rhythms have on the creative process
Step 3: Brainstorm Content Types
Remember that writing is the foundation for all content creation. Thinking of creating case studies? That begins with writing high-quality, informative and instructive content. Or perhaps the goal is to assemble an FAQ list? That will require concise questions and answers.
Step 4: Create a Content Calendar
Let’s say, for example, that it’s August and planning for September content is underway. To create four videos in September, releasing one video per week, requires planning the number of days that will be spent on scripting those videos. This will then allow for the organization of production days.
3. Create, But Also Curate
Becoming a great content creator is as much about monitoring what’s working and what isn’t as it is about creating great content — selecting only the best content for the audience, then ensuring regular delivery.
Step 1: Research Content That Others Produce
Research 5-10 businesses within the industry that produce a steady flow of original content for their audiences. They can be direct competitors or businesses that share some similarities. Analyze the content they produce, including any feedback from their audiences.