The Struggle Of Content Creation
So recently, I sent a survey inside of my marketing clarity community, which is a space for solopreneurs and small business marketers, I asked, “would you rather write a blog post, or make a video?” and 100% of the respondents preferred doing a video. And, you know, it got me thinking for most solopreneurs and small business marketers writing is intimidating. And it’s easier to just hit record and let it fly. But today, I’m going to share with you the biggest mistake that most of my clients make when it comes to creating blog and video content and how to fix it.
So here’s the issue when we’re talking about blog writing, you say, “I’m going to write a blog today.” And you sit down at the computer ready to go, right? You’re all bright-eyed, you’re ready to go. But then it quickly turns to frustration. So what you need is to approach content creation, using my 4 P’s of Content Creation.
Just like makin’ pizza…
Now, the most common thing my clients do is they say, “I’m going to create a blog or video.” And that’s kind of like saying, “Today, I’m going to make a pizza.”
But what do you need to do before you can make a pizza? Well, you need to make sure you have all of the ingredients. You need to have a recipe. Are you going to just do a simple pepperoni pie? Are you going to add pineapple? Is it going to be New York style crust, Detroit-style crust? Do you know how long it has to cook?
Unfortunately “pizza” is not one of the 4 P’s of Content Creation – I wish it was. But we can learn from it.
When you are making a pizza you have to make an ingredient list, you have to go to the store, and you have to prepare the ingredients. Then you put everything on the counter, assemble it, and cook it.
For a seemingly simple task, there are a lot of steps to get to the final product.
It’s the same way with creating content for your business so what you need to do is break content creation into smaller tasks.
Step #1: Plan
The first thing you need to do is have some idea of what you are setting out to create. If you’re not sure, here are some topics to get you started:
- Breaking down or explaining a process related to your industry or business
- Answer questions that people frequently ask about your product/service/business
- You could review a tool, or a book, or a system that’s related to your industry or business
- You can also do a comparison post, maybe there are widely utilized tools or software or something like that in your industry that you can talk about.
Once you have decided on a topic, I find that the entire process of content creation is made better and easier if the next thing I do is outline what I plan on creating. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, a video, or a podcast – I will create an outline with the key topics I want to hit (those usually then become the section headings) and then add any supporting points or links underneath them. Spending time organizing my thoughts BEFORE I do anything else really improves what I create and streamlines the production and editing (more on that in the following steps).
Now, the one thing I want you to do is to take a quick stop here if you are already overwhelmed. You may be saying “I don’t know what to plan. I don’t know what to talk about. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t know. I don’t know anything about this stuff!”
If that’s you, I want to highly recommend that you check out my Marketing CLARITY Coaching program. In it, we will spend 10 weeks together, I will get you customer clarity, company clarity, and content clarity. Together we will better define your ideal customer – what are their problems? What are your solutions? if you don’t have that stuff in mind, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for you to create really compelling strategic content. And when we’re done, you will learn what to create, how to create it, and you’ll walk away with literally hundreds of different content opportunities.
Step #2: Produce
Okay. So the second P is Produce. And when I say “produce”, I don’t mean actual vegetables. I know we’ve been talking about pizza but let’s forget about that for now.
This is where you would create your content.
It starts with creating your first draft (as I mentioned in the “Plan” step, this is made soooo much easier if you’ve made an outline). This is where you expand your content – if your outline was the skeleton, your first draft is adding meat to the bone.
A quick note about creating blog content…
For me when I write I get in the flow. So I just want to tell you, if you’re in the flow, that’s great, go with it. But I also highly recommend and encourage you that after you’ve done your first draft, you step away, whether that be for an hour, whether that be for a day, whether that be for a week, I mean, I don’t know your own schedule, but you step away, and then you come back to create your final draft. The reason I recommend this is because you will come at it with a fresh perspective. And so I think that’s something that is really valuable to do the first draft, stepping away, and then coming back to it.
This is also where you would translate your content to the web. What does that mean? Well, if we’re talking about blog content, I typically write my first draft, and subsequently kind of my final draft in either a Google Doc, or Word (the reason I use Word is because I know myself, and I know I might get distracted). So this might mean taking that draft and putting it into your WordPress/Squarespace/etc as a blog. Taking the text, bringing it in. And this is also where you would do things like the formatting the links, the images, etc. So this is where you are, again, taking it from purely a written piece of words into a web piece of words, links, images, formatting, that kind of thing.
This also applies to video.
I know we’re talking a lot about blogs, but this is going to help you with video too. So creating your first draft would be recording it. Then step away, come back, and doing your first edit (rough cut) which would be your final draft. For me, there are things in post-production I want to add, whether it be lower thirds, or graphics, or moving things around. The final video would then be translated to the web – uploading it to YouTube or whatever platform you use.
If you’re not sure about what that’s all about. I do also offer a YouTube SEO + Video Optimization Bootcamp that you can check out and learn more about YouTube optimization for SEO. It’s another involved process, but let’s not get too sidetracked.
Step #3: Publish
So we’ve talked about Plan, we’ve talked about Produce, the third step is Publish. Now, this is perhaps the simplest of the four P’s. But it is important, because you do need to actually publish your content and get out there on the web. Now, you might find it hard to believe but I’ve actually forgotten this step before. It can happen. So you need to make sure that this makes the list that you actually publish the content and make the content visible on the web, you need to launch it, you need to get it out there so people can actually see it. Now, you would be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t be, at how many people quit after the publish step.
But there’s one more critical P for content creation…
Step #4: Promote
People skip over this step all the time. And there’s a line from the movie, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come” Well, that’s somewhat true. You know, depending on how well optimized your site is for SEO, maybe your content will be grabbed by Google or search engines. Again, if we’re talking about video and YouTube, that kind of thing, maybe it’ll grab and be put in recommended feeds, things like that. So it’s somewhat true. And there may be people who discover it through search and recommendation. But let’s not leave that to chance.
You need to post this content on social media, share it with your newsletter, send it to your clients, if it’s a video, put it in a blog post and put it on your site. You’ve put in all the work, creating it, tweaking it, editing it, you hit publish, don’t just walk away. You need to be sure to actively promote your content. And remember, you can promote content more than once, even on the same platform. Different days, different times different captions, different images, you can get the most juice for your squeeze, keep sharing your content. It’s not just a one-and-done type thing.
The Content Creation Checklist
Now that you know all the 4 Ps – Plan, Produce, Publish, and Promote – let’s kind of take a step back and remember the pizza. Going back to the beginning, I don’t want you to just say today, “I’m going to make a pizza.” Instead, I want you to say, “I want to make a pizza, what are the things I need to do to make that happen?”
Now in case I lost you, let me just be abundantly clear here.
When I say “pizza”, I actually referring to “content”. Okay? So say,”I want to make content. What are the things I need to do to make that happen?” Let’s go through the steps remembering that not all these things have to be done in a day. That’s the big thing I want you to take away from this is you can space these tasks out. And it helps to do that. Because if you don’t, you get back to being overwhelmed.
- Start with identifying the topic, what the heck are you talking about? What’s the subject, let’s outline it. We talked about this, make your headers make your key points that you want to hit work on your first draft.
- Create first draft, you can then step away, take a break, come back to it.
- Do your final draft. With a blog, this is writing, with a video, this would be editing it together. Then, translate it to the web, take your words or your video and put it on your blog, or on YouTube or whatever video platform prospectively that you use, publish it, make it visible to the world.
- And then you have to promote. And you’ll notice here that Promote is one step but has multiple parts. It’s important for you to specify the platforms and schedule (ex. Today at 3pm I’m sharing on Twitter, tomorrow at 9am I’m sharing on LinkedIn, etc). This is a very helpful thing. Because if you just say “share”, it’s too nonspecific, you’ll do it, we’ll do it on one platform, and you’ll forget it, you won’t do it on the other ones.
You don’t have to be wandering around in a marketing fog…
You Can Achieve Marketing Clarity
I’m not here to tell you how this will end,
I’m here to tell you how it will begin.
-Neo, The Matrix
No matter where you are on your business journey, our Marketing CLARITY coaching program is the starting point for getting your marketing on-track and making you a better, more informed marketer.