Some say that the key to life is happiness. For others, happiness is the key to success. It may be that the key to productive communication is good listening — and the Key to the Kingdom board game goes for upwards of $100 on eBay (!).
I don’t know about any of that, but I do know that the key to successful and productive digital marketing is content creation.
Content Creation 101
Firstly, a content creator generates interesting and informative material directed towards a specific audience. This material can take many forms: blog posts, videos, ebooks, photos, and infographics. In addition, content creators are hired to engage and interact with new and current customers on behalf of a brand or agency — through the content they create.
A substantial ninety-one percent of business-to-business (B2B) experts incorporate content creation and content marketing into their strategies. This content, however, isn’t always first-rate, captivating, or valuable content. In fact, some marketers believe content is key no matter how well it’s written or what purpose it serves. Anybody can create content, but the question remains: What does it take to become a good content creator?
1. Stay Informed
To begin, in order to really connect with your audience, you have to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, events, and happenings in your industry. It’s not as simple as reading a few headlines each morning: Content creators have to know the ins-and-outs of every industry they’re creating for.
Exercise: One great way to keep up with your audience is to pay close attention to the things they’re liking and sharing online. In addition, ask colleagues and coworkers for recommendations on industry-related blogs to read, podcasts to check out, or books to get started on.
2. Write, Write, Write
Got writer’s block? That may be because you’re not writing enough. The more you write, the easier it gets for your brain to generate content quickly — which is helpful when working with multiple pieces and important deadlines.
Exercise: Writing 10-15 minutes every day will do wonders for your content creating muscles. Jot down your thoughts, things you’ve read recently, new content ideas — let it all flow out of you. Not only will this strengthen your mind, your voice, and your speed, but you’ll be thanking yourself for these thoughts and ideas if you ever do feel at a loss for new topics and want to be inspired by last-month-you.
3. Find Your Voice
Thirdly, because there are so many content creators out there — and so much content being created — finding your voice may be the most important exercise on the list.
Think of content writing as a bowl of pasta. The noodles make up the basic outline of the blog post, ebook or infographic you’re working on. The noodles taste fine alone, but with a little salt, cheese, marinara sauce, olive oil…you see where I’m going with this. Spicing up your writing and keeping it fresh with anecdotes, analogies and adjectives can take your homemade bowl of Wal-Mart pasta to a fresh Orecchiette ai Cime di Rapa dish from southern Italy. That’s called cooking up good content.
On the other hand, sometimes you’re paid to lose your voice. When you’re hired to produce content on behalf of a client, you may have to follow strict tone and style guidelines. This is why it can be important to continue writing daily outside of your professional environment.
Exercise: In your daily writing, try creating a Wal-Mart-pasta-style tip or summary with a spiced-up version beside it. Notice the differences and places where your unique voice stands out. Expand on that — discover first-hand what makes you different as a content creator.
4. Be Curious
In conclusion, going along with #1: In order to stay informed, you have to be curious. A lot of time and energy goes into the research required for effective content writing, so prepare yourself for hours of googling, reading, and keyword scavenger hunts.
Exercise: 1) If you already consider yourself a “curious” person, stretch yourself. Research topics you know nothing about, or that seem complex and challenging. 2) If you wouldn’t include “curious” in a list of your personality traits, start by researching things you’re already passionate about. This will make the researching process enjoyable and seem like less of a chore.
The Key to Content Creation
Success doesn’t come overnight. Finding the key to success in content creation is a process that starts with the exercises you plan for yourself — and the self-control to follow through and hold yourself accountable.