One of my all-time favorite commercials is the Snickers spot that riffs on The Brady Bunch. At the end of the spot, the actor Steve Buscemi stands at the top of the staircase in the Brady home and spouts the famous Jan Brady line, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”
I’m laughing out loud as I watch the commercial right now on YouTube! There’s even a GIF that was floating around the Internet a few years ago when the spot first aired.
It’s All About Content
OK, so why do I bring up this commercial now? Because “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” came to mind when I was thinking about the topic for this month’s article: content creation. Ask any marketing director and they’ll tell you that these days, marketing is all about “Content, Content, Content!”
According to the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of 10 businesses use content marketing, spending more than a quarter of their marketing budget on it. That’s pretty incredible when you consider that “content marketing” wasn’t even a thing 10 years ago.
5 Tips for Better Content Creation
If you work in marketing, it’s probably safe to assume that a big part of your job is content creation. So how can you become a better content creator? Here are 5 tips you can put into practice right away:
1. Stay on top of your industry. One of your main goals in content creation should be to position your company and/or yourself as the go-to expert in your industry. To do this, you need to stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends and developments in your industry.
I specialize in financial services and business-to-business, writing a wide range of blogs, articles, whitepapers and other types of content for organizations in these industries. To do my job, I have to be aware of what’s going on in these areas all the time. This requires regularly reading industry publications and websites.
2. Always be looking for new topic ideas. This is a never-ending task because good content marketing programs present a never-ending need for new topics.
The key is making tip #1 a priority. If you’re doing a good job of regularly reading industry resources, generating new topic ideas will be much easier. Keep one or more idea files active at all times, whether they’re old-fashioned manila folders or electronic folders stored on your computer.
3. Put your own spin on topics. Great content creators do more than just rehash material they found by Googling a topic. And they do much more than just curate content written by other people.
The best content creators add value by enhancing topics with their own unique angle and perspective. This is the best way for your content to stand out from the crowd and position yourself and your organization as industry experts.
4. Learn how to reinvent the wheel. “Don’t reinvent the wheel” might be good advice in some situations, but not when it comes to content creation. One of the keys to churning out quality content on a consistent basis is learning how to write about the same core topics over and over again and still keep the content fresh.
I’ve specialized in the financial services and business industries for my entire 30-plus year career. At this point, there are few if any financial and business topics I haven’t written about before. So one of my biggest challenges is figuring out how to make the one-hundredth article I’ve written about boosting your cash flow fresh and relevant.
5. Never stop improving your writing. Becoming a great content creator is a process that never reaches a final destination. Trust me, you’ll never reach the point where you can kick your feet up on your desk and say, “I’ve arrived. I can never be a better writer than I am right now.”
Always strive to be a better writer. Maybe this means taking some professional writing courses. Maybe it means finding a writing mentor who can help nurture and develop your skills. For sure, it means writing, writing and writing some more — even when you don’t feel like. Especially when you don’t feel like it!
It’s Not Going Away
In the 10 years since I became a full-time freelance writer, I’ve watched content marketing go from an afterthought to an integral part of most marketing campaigns. And I don’t think it’s going away any time soon.
This makes it critical to sharpen your content creation chops. Print out these 5 tips and keep them handy to help you become a better content creator.