You Need A Content Creation Process. Here’s How.
This article is #1 of 6 in our series about content marketing. As a certified Content Marketing Expert, I share what I’ve learned at the Hubspot Academy and as Sunbird’s Content Manager.
Some things just need to be planned out in order to reach their true potential. Content creation is one of those things.
When you’re a solopreneur with limited time and resources, you barely have enough time to remember to post on social media, let alone create original content. Therefore, it may seem counterintuitive to set aside a great deal of time to create a detailed content creation process. However, I assure you, you’ll be thanking yourself later.
I’ve been learning the art of planning for success lately. As a college student, I’ve learned that essays need outlines. As a content manager, I’ve learned that engagement online starts with a social media strategy. As a student in Hubspot’s Content Marketing Certification Course, I’ve learned the importance of having a process for creating content.
Here are four reasons why you should have a process to create content:
1. You are busy.
But consider this: Having a documented process will decrease, not increase, the time you spend on content. It’s so much simpler to have an easy-to-follow plan to refer back to when generating content. This will keep you focused and less stressed out, so the content ideas will come to you a lot quicker and easier.
2. Your mind is not an endless supply of amazing content ideas.
As an entrepreneur, you may think that you can do it all (and most of the time you can) but eventually you will run out of content ideas.
Hubspot Academy calls this “content fatigue.” It’s when you reach that point when you’re staring at your computer screen, a blank page in front of you, and you whisper to yourself “I got nothin’.” This happens to all of us, and the content block may seem impossible to overcome. However, if you have a go-to process for content creation, you’ll at least have a place to start.
3. Some of our best ideas need to be pried out of us.
According to James Webb Young, creating new ideas isn’t about waiting for that perfect idea to hit you. The best ideas come from a process. They’re the ones that don’t immediately reveal themselves. They’re in our minds somewhere, but we can’t seem to fully develop them in a way that makes sense.
Having a content creation process helps pry those ideas out of us. Whether your process includes asking yourself several questions or seeking out inspiration, the hidden ideas will reveal themselves.
4. If you’re not supplying the content they want, your audience will find it elsewhere.
You are always competing for your audience’s attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean putting out content faster than your competitors; it means putting out content that’s better than your competitors’.
How will you put out original content if you have no time, are suffering through a bad case of “content fatigue,” and find your best ideas stuck somewhere far in the back of your brain?
If you have a reliable content creation process, you will save time, think of new ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, and unlock other ideas you didn’t even know you had. All of these will not only keep you on par with your competitors, but will even help you surpass them when it comes to content. Your audience will see that you produce helpful, relevant content of substance in a timely matter, and they will keep returning for more.
So what makes a content creation process great?
The details really depend on you. Every content creator has a slightly different process. But there are a few key ingredients to every great process.
If your customers are your greatest muse, try making Quora, a popular question and answer site, part of your process. On Quora, you can search your industry or offering and see what your potential customers are asking about it. This way, you can create content that answers your audience’s questions.
If other content inspires you, be sure to include checking out your competitors’ content as part of your process. Getting an idea of what content is already online will help you make sure you create content that helps you stand out.
Tons of reading
The best content creators are the ones who read the most. However, reading isn’t just good for content creation. The most successful entrepreneurs of our time are avid readers. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, Mark Zuckerberg reads a new book every two weeks, and let’s not forget Oprah’s famous book club.
Reading leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to success—and it’s no different for content creation. According to Hubspot Academy, you don’t even have to read books specifically on content marketing either. As long as you’re reading, allowing your mind to be exposed to new ideas, the content ideas will flow easily.
You don’t have to think of ideas all on your own. In fact, having group brainstorms with your team—or your peers if you’re a solopreneur—can be highly effective. However, remember the importance of having a moderator of the group brainstorm, as it could quickly lose direction and turn into an unproductive group hangout.
At group brainstorming sessions, word association games and “braindumps” (writing down anything that comes to your mind for an allocated period of time) can be very helpful. At our recent Sunbird Retreat, we used sticky notes during our group brainstorm. Sticky notes made it easy to creatively combine our individual ideas to come up with new concepts that we wouldn’t have thought of on our own.
What does a content creation process look like?
Let’s take a look at our process in action.Here’s how I used our process to write this blog post:
Any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment below! We love to hear from you.