Here’s a word I guarantee you’ve heard before: Content. The thing is, content can take so many different forms and be used in so many different ways to engage key audiences, target personas, and build lasting loyalty – but all of those things require different types of content, different iterations of your brand story, and different writing chops to accomplish.
With so much attached to a “single” marketing task, it’s understandable when the whole thing gets really scary, really fast. To keep you on track and help you slay some of the more frightening content monsters that pop up for most business owners and marketing teams, try these secret weapons on for size the next time you find yourself face to face with any of these fierce content monsters.
Like I mentioned, content is a constantly morphing little beast. When someone tosses out the word “content,” your first line of defense should be clarification. What type of content are we trying to tackle here? What purpose does it serve, whom is it directed toward, and what do we want to happen when a user engages with the content? The answers to all of those questions will likely be vastly different depending on the content type. Come to the table armed with a checklist of questions that dive-deep. Go beyond the traditional creative brief into more targeted questions to nail down what you, as a writer, need to know to make the words sing. Ask about what emotion you want to reader to have while reading this. Talk pain points and how you solve them well. Ask what you need to determine content type and distribution plan.
It’s all fine and dandy to have visions of grandeur when it comes to your content. Your website’s going to be the next great american novel: web edition. Your blog is going to inspire thousands – no, wait, millions – to read and share and you’ll become an instant viral hit! Don’t get me wrong – dreaming big is great. But, no content ever went viral without being written. No website ever won an award without having high quality content through every step of the user journey. So how do you write when it’s crunch time? Here are the three golden tickets that always serve me well:
1. Outline – live by your outline, but don’t die by it. View it as the flexible roadmap within which creativity can uncover a shortcut, but try not to deviate too far of the strategic path you’ve set for your content.
2. Dedicate the time – you won’t write great content if you’re trying to slip it in with 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. You need to block out time that is dedicated to writing – and only writing. Get rid of the distractions and just. Write. Already.
3. Revise, for real – your first draft will never be the perfection you think it is. Trust me, I’ve had rose-colored glasses syndrome myself, and it never ends well. Allow some breathing room between your draft and your deadline. Not even Hemingway did it right on his first try, don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself.
One of the smartest content marketing and development strategies you can employ is to spend a lot of time creating a big, evergreen content piece that is riddled with expertise, dripping with knowledge, and so, so useful to the user. Then, you take that and you repurpose it. The monster hiding inside “repurpose” is this – the search engines will find you and they will penalize you if you’re using the same EXACT content over and over. And that’s how a lot of people approach redistribution. Instead, to stare down this dragon and live to tell the tale, focus on redistributing REFRESHED versions of your big, meaty content. Break a whitepaper down into blog posts, create a video series, host a webinar with worksheets based on that big content piece your team slaved over for ages. But don’t copy-paste. You need to look at each deliverable with a fresh set of eyes and a new goal. Just because you have a foundation to use doesn’t mean you can build an identical house, so to speak. Besides, if you’ve seen The Shining, you know the whole twin thing is a lot creepier in practice.
Look, it’s a lot. Content monsters are no joke, and they are tenacious little things that often travel in packs. You’ve got to LOVE words, and the power they wield in order to do this kind of stuff day in and day out. And if that’s not your thing, lucky for you Webolutions has a wordsmith in shining armor at the ready to help you vanquish those content monsters and any others that pop up once and for all.
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