Five years ago, I began creating content. I enjoyed the verbal carpentry, as long as my content manager was assigning the topics to me.
But, with the role shift that saw my employer’s entire content management resting on my shoulders, I had a brush with a wider range of content creation challenges. Battling deadlines, churning out articles to keep consumption pipelines busy and ensuring the quality and appeal of content were my primary concerns.
Anxious, clueless days followed by many sleepless nights—that was the turn my life at the office and at home went through. I was struggling to conceive the ideas, let alone create compelling content. I was soon forced to implement a slew of changes in my means, methods, tactics and strategies, and I quickly learned the importance of having a documented content plan.
Today, the fear of content creation is alien to me. I lead a team of over 25 content developers and guide them in creating different types of content including text, images, videos, audio, infographics and more.
Through practical experience, I have learned that content creation can be simplified with a few simple tips and tools. Here is the three point formula I developed to fuel my content machine and keep the windmills of lead generation running.
First, I turned to my industry for inspiration. My first few assignments involved write-ups on content marketing. So, I searched for the top websites offering content marketing services. I found big names such as Content Marketing Institute, Curata, and Social Media Examiner. Then I signed up for their daily email alerts and subscribed to their periodic newsletters.
Every morning at around 9:15 when I checked my email inbox, I had a barrage of articles—some overly promotional and others subtle in marketing. After all the sorting, slicing and dicing, I still managed to find valuable, relevant and useful content that hinted at potential topics on which I could write.
The variety and creativity overwhelmed me, but at the same time stimulated me intellectually. I was hardly missing any updates or developments in the field, and that alone was motivating enough to write. I developed a sense for observing and tracking trends as they developed around me. Ultimately, I was able to make educated assumptions about what prospects would want to consume and in what format, giving me the intuition to create content that resonated.
To curtail the time I was spending on each content piece, I resorted to a few very basic tools, and they helped! Sorted below by content type, here are my favorite tools for content creation:
Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to creating quality textual content. I strongly dismiss using any of the countless content spinning tools available on the internet. However, you can simplify the tedious task of editing and proofreading by using reliable grammar checking tools.
I use Grammarly, and even the basic, free version efficiently points out and corrects grammatical anomalies. You may believe you’re a grammar whizz with outstanding linguistic credentials, but I suggest testing that notion against Grammarly before hitting ‘send’ or ‘publish.’
The inclusion of images calls for two simple requirements:
Creating video content is perhaps more time consuming than writing original text-based content. I rely on these tools to streamline editing time, including:
Infographics are popular in content marketing because they do not require an absorbed reader. They convey the message easily and quickly, thus promising a higher retention potential.
But, it’s no simple task to research the facts and present them in a visually appealing way. Using a free Piktochart account, any amateur graphic designer can choose from over 100 themes with fully customizable templates to make beautiful graphics in a flash.
Content on the internet falls into two broad categories: time sensitive news and evergreen information, which never goes out of style. Sieve through your archives, find your evergreen content, then apply the three R’s (repackage, rehash and republish) with due respect to any new developments since the piece was first created. Not only is this a time-saving approach to content creation, it also lets you retrace trends and present them with a fresh perspective.
The more frequently you publish, the faster you are bound to run out of ideas. That’s not an excuse to give up, though. Rather than banging your head against the wall trying to come up with new topics and angles, put systematic sources of inspiration in place by subscribing to relevant trade publications. Streamline the production process using tools made to help content creators do their job better. Stop reinventing the wheel and lean on “The Three R’s” more often. By using this three point approach, you’ll find the challenge of consistent content creation to be much less daunting and much more sustainable.