A Practical Guide to Content Creation
This one’s for the small business owners getting to grips with social media content creation. That employee who’s been thrown in the deep end and asked to look after a shop’s accounts. That ambitious entrepreneur looking to up their online presence.
It’s all very well being told to tell your story, but where do you start and how do you do it?
Coming Up With Content Ideas
Step 1 – Content Pillars
Organising your business’ story into distinct content sections can help to give you a much clearer picture on what to speak about with your target market. By rule of thumb, most businesses end up with 4 to 7 content pillars. These can be anything relevant to the business, from explaining services and product offerings, to fleshing out the brand’s “interests” and values.
Think along the lines of:
· Company News
· Products / Services
· Thought Leadership (this could be industry related, or bringing awareness to causes that mean something to the business)
· Company Culture
These are just examples to get the ball rolling, the content pillars you decide on depend entirely on your offering – and that’s what makes your online presence interesting.
Step 2 – Content Informers
Now that you know what subjects you want to talk about, you need to know where you will get the information to create interesting content from. Think of your content informers as your sources and you the investigative journalist. Identify all the areas you can get information from – such as the company blog, industry events and news sites, and your own employees.
Once again, your content informers will be unique to you, you just need to start looking around you through a content creation lens.
Step 3 – Your Target Market
You have to love yourself first to be able to love others, and it’s the same with telling your story through content. You need to understand your business or brand thoroughly and delight in it before you can turn your vision outward to your audience. But once you’ve completed Step 1 and 2, it’s time to consider your target audience.
What do they want to read, watch and consume? What stories would interest them? What content medium would grab their attention?
Starting a conversation as a brand with consumers is much like a normal conversation between two people. You know what information you want to convey, but to get it across successfully, you would probably change the storytelling depending on the audience.
Just think about how you would change your storytelling techniques for the same story when chatting to your gran, or with your best friend. Delivery is a very important part of successful content creation.
Step 4 – Brainstorm
After all that organisation and admin, we come to the creative part – coming up with informed content ideas! I suspect some people are excited reading that, while others still feel intimidated. Don’t be, start with one idea, or one platform and once you come up with a content idea that inspires you the rest will flow.
For example, if Company Culture is one of your pillars, then you could do a content series where you do fun punchy interviews on social media with different employees. That will be interesting to anyone interested in your company, and could give you weeks of content.
It’s all about thinking up ideas, developing them a bit to see if they would work, and then either coming up with new ones or getting to work creating.
Once you’ve started putting out content, constantly check up on how it’s been received and analyse its success. By doing this, you can nip badly performing content in the bud and not waste any more resources on continuing in the same vein. On the plus side, you will also get to rejoice in the content that does do well and keep it in mind at the next brainstorm.
Most platforms have simple analytics built in, but there are also some amazing subscription software offerings out there. How in depth you choose to go is up to your financial resources, but as long as you keep an eye on some level of analytics wherever you place your content.
The Content Plan
Right, down to the really practical side of content creation. Here I’ll tell you what’s worked best for me over the years – once you get comfortable you might come up with your own process.
1. Work on content month by month. This allows you to work on a nice chunk of content in one go, freeing you up for a while before you need to think about creating content again. A month is also not too long that if anything changes a lot of future content is wasted.
2. Plot out your content in a spreadsheet. My favourite is Google Sheets, as it can be easily shared with collaborators or clients for approval, but if you would prefer to work more offline, then others swear by excel docs.
3. Lay out your content plan in a way that makes sense for you, but ultimately you should have at least these columns for each post: - Post Publishing Date - Content Pillar - Caption - Image / Visual (depending on what document type you are using for your content plan, you can either put a screenshot of the image or video there, or the file itself)
And then other columns depending on your social media content strategy could be one for advertising spend per post, hashtags to be used etc.
I hope this guide was useful for you, if you have any more questions just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can brainstorm together.