The purpose of this comprehensive guide is to give you an introduction to content creation. By reading this guide, you'll learn the importance of creating content and how to develop a content creation plan. Hopefully, you can get some inspiration by looking at the types and formats presented below.
What is content creation?
In a broad sense, content creation is the process of building a content plan, generating content ideas, producing content in different formats, and then making it accessible to your targeted audience. Accordingly, your company is a content creator and, it's about providing the right content type, of the right quality, to the right end-user in your business context.
Ultimately, content creation is about providing relevance to your audience to find leads and turn them into happy promoting customers of yours. But will relevance be enough for creating quality content? Here are some things you should consider.
Why is content creation important?
Your content is a bridge between your company and your market. Creating relevant content is the basic condition for attracting your target groups. Content fuels the entire customer journey – from finding leads to converting them into customers and keeping them delighted. That's why content creation is important to your business.
Also, continuity is as important. Accordingly, content creation should be an ever-going process where both efficiency and effectiveness will improve over time.
There are many more benefits for businesses to content creation; let's take a look at the main reasons why content creation is vital to your business.
How to create content
Start with relevance. Content should be relevant and adapted to the specific stages of your defined customer journey. Keeping it relevant will significantly improve the perceived value of the content, and it will tie your audience closer to your brand.
But, to create relevant content, you must first know what's relevant to your audience. All kinds of data and research can be used to gain insights and understanding of the needs and behaviours of your audience in their customer journey stages, respectively. This insight is used to customise content for specific needs. Simply, all your content should be created with your personas in mind.
You may have experienced the buzz around AI-powered content creation. The idea of an advanced, artificially intelligent computer program writing all your content for you in a few seconds is very appealing - we've tested it. Technology like this allows you to produce a large quantity of content. Nevertheless, for true quality, you need to focus on relevance and extensive research around what your audience actually needs too.
Customise content for customer lifecycle stages
Whenever a question arises, virtually everyone will use Google as the first option when looking for answers, facts, or opinions of peers. That's why content should comply with the mindset and challenges of your persona – at her specific customer lifecycle stage.
The more relevant your content is to your persona's current needs, the more value it will add to her.
Content creation tips
Whenever you write an article or create visual content, these tips should help you create relevant and engaging content for your audience.
Learn from your analytics
Review your analytics and look for the content pieces that are generating the most views, leads, and shares. Then determine how you can replicate that success. Use your web analytics to identify the most read articles or most viewed videos. From there, create a content planning sheet with topics that will help you replicate past successes.
Write great content for humans and optimise for search engines
Pay attention not only to keywords, link generation and SEO best practice. Start writing content with people in mind, and Google will reward you for it. Add new value to the conversation in the form of opinions from industry experts, new research or new data from a recent survey you've conducted. Create content that your audience wants to consume, and you will see success in SERPs. In this article about reaching decision-makers with your content, you can get some tips on effectively creating content that really solves the problems of your target audience.
Continuously produce quality content
A company should prioritise and support content creation, and it is crucial to have a content board team. Often, the content director carries the entire burden of the content creation process, which is not scalable. Instead, find creative ways to get employees across the company to contribute to content creation.
Ghostwriting is one way of doing this. Your company is bound to be full of colleagues who are experts in their field, and there are probably lots of interesting stories and angles hidden there somewhere. The content producer should work very closely with experts across the company and correctly interpret their thoughts and ideas through interviews and review sessions. In this way, some of the pressure is taken off the content producer regarding research and developing new topics.
Additionally, keeping a consistent publishing schedule is important - for you, for your readers, and for the sake of SEO. Take a look at this article to find out the correct content cadence for your company.
There is no need to create new content every day; there are ways to recycle your existing content. Use content that someone within the company has already created - it could be an article or a webinar - update it and reuse it. It's all about repurposing content within your organisation and making a little go a long way.)
Reviewing and proofreading
Use a spelling and grammar check tool, such as Grammarly or Hemingway. Take a break between writing and proofreading and try to avoid proofreading a text you have just typed. Have your text proofread by the fresh eyes of a colleague and ask for advice before publishing.
Stick to your publishing plan. It can be beneficial to allocate a few hours a week to content creation, keeping your calendar clear of meetings, e-mails and phone calls.
Find more content creation tips to speed up the process.
If you don't reach the expected impact with your content, learn from these common mistakes to improve your content creation.
Types of content
Define your content types
Define what content types are most relevant and effective for your audience. Your content will be a mix of different types, but the ideal combination will vary for different businesses and audiences.
To improve content type accuracy, you could define the specific characteristics of your content types by using a content tonality guide.
- high-level, often emotional, content.
- content for presenting your offering or supporting the sales process.
- typically news or blog articles in a documentary style.
- trust-building, based on your company's specific knowledge and expertise.
- content aimed at explaining your offering or rationale in an unbiased and pedagogical way.
Blogging is extremely effective, but there are a large number of other formats that you can add to your content mix. A diverse content mix can help you to connect with your target audience in several ways. A variety of content formats is ideal for reaching and connecting with users at various touchpoints of the buyer's journey.
In this chapter, we are going to look at the eight most popular formats of content to increase traffic and conversions.
Blog articles allow you and your business to publish thoughts, facts and knowledge on your .com/.xx about any topic. Learn more about the writing challenges and solutions in this article.
Before your piece is ready for the world to see you should proofread it. Read our tips and checklist for effective proofreading.
A content offer is a valuable content that your target audience can download in exchange for an email address, e.g. by filling out a form on your landing page. Creating content offers is one of the most important parts of inbound campaigns, and if you want users to be willing to hand over their personal information for them, you need an effective landing page. In this article, 'How to create landing pages', you can get some tips on the actual creation process.
A pillar page is a website page that covers a core topic in-depth, and that you should link to a cluster of related content. Make sure that your pillar page content is relevant to your current and future offering as well as maximises SEO.
You are missing a huge opportunity to connect with a lot of people if you don't use video content to attract and convert your target audience. Video content is straightforward for your audience to digest and understand. Here are some tips on how to create engaging video content online.
A slog (short for sound blog) is the recorded audio file of a blog article. Slogs are perfect for your audience when they have little time to read a blog article and increase reader engagement.
Infographics are presented in graphic form and provide a good overview of information. They could be facts about your company or your offers, or simply a guide for the use of your products. Brainstorm and come up with ideas.
The name comes from the iPod and radio but goes back to the 1980s. At that time it was known as audio blogging. Today, podcasts are generally audio files and videos that are distributed online, subscribed to, streamed or downloaded via RSS. In a couple of previous articles, you can find out why podcasts are so good for businesses, and get some essential things to consider.
Social media content
Social media enables companies to interact with a large number of people in real-time and increase brand awareness. Read our complete social media guide for business here for a deeper explanation of using social media for business.
If you want some more detailed explanations of the different content formats you can use and why you should use them, take a look at this article.