Think of the original PAC-man gobbling up everything in its path, and you begin to get an idea of the size of the huge, insatiable monster that stalks the internet searching for delectable content to fill an infinite hunger gap. Just a quick Google search under blogs returns over 2.5 billion…that’s billion… hits.
Whatever your focus for creating content, whether to post a weekly article for your niche blog, or to fill the social media demands of a large corporate client, you need to resist the temptation to throw up a piece of content, any piece of content just to keep the beast fed and happy.
Instead taking a thoughtful, measured approach to your content needs will pay off in big dividends later.
I never thought of myself as a content machine, until a recent conversation with my business coach brought home to me just how much original content I generate in any given month. That content ranges from blog post, video posts, workshop development, email marketing, writing a book, while also keeping two pipelines full of inspirational video content. I also own tons of content from a ten-year-old blog ready to supply me with an endless stream of re-purposed material.
Along the way, I learned some simple steps to maximize my efforts to create a cohesive body of work rather than a random scattering of words.
Below I outline 5 ideas I use to guide my content creation.
- Every piece of content must serve a specific overall purpose.
Before I start work on any piece, I ask myself, what purpose does this content serve for my business and its growth.
As an example, this blog post is stretching me in an area of expertise I don’t usually write about: content creation. I see this article as an opportunity to work beyond my familiar audience thus increasing my reach and possibly gaining new readers and subscribers.
You don’t have to have a multi-layered purpose as I have here but for each piece of content you want to be able to express its purpose in one or two simple sentences.
- The content needs to offer value in abundance.
Writing something just to fill a content void might serve a short-term need, but fails to enhance your overall body of work over the long term. Again, it’s important to ask yourself a question. Does this piece of content offer value to my audience? Does this piece of content add value to my overall body of work?
If you get a “no” to either of those questions, it’s time to re-evaluate the piece. A bit of soul searching and Google searching for that matter, will help you develop the content that provides value to your audience while added value to the volume of your work over time.
You need to see your content from a big picture viewpoint focused on a long view perspective.
I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t always done this. Seeing a piece of content that trends wildly often tempts me to do something similar to get that immediate media hit. In the end, you pay for that shortsightedness in terms of wasted time and effort.
- Does the content mesh with my brand image?
When I began to think about this article, I questioned whether it really promoted my brand or detracted from that identity I want people to think of when they see my name and picture.
Until my coach mentioned the amount of content he’s seen me write in a week, I felt the content might not fit with my overall direction which is to inspire people to rediscover their unlimited potential through coaching, personal development, growth, and showing people how to create daily practices that lead to success.
Suppose for instance, that you saw an article that touted the financial benefits of writing pornography. You decided to go ahead and give it a shot despite your brand image of a committed and compassionate champion of living a higher consciousness life. At the very least you dilute your brand, if not destroy most of the work you’ve done to create your brand.
You don’t have to look far in the media to find people who destroyed their careers by doing something out of brand character.
- Is the content congruent with your core values?
If you have a helter shelter approach to content creation your work will lack the power of an overall congruent message. This affects your “authority”. When you speak with a congruent message you tap into a power easily recognized by others. I hold congruence as a core value. I work hard to ensure “as is above, is below. Keeping you voice and your content aligned impacts your band image, your standing in a community, and the perception of your success.
You often hear reporters talking, in admiring voices about politicians who stay on message.
You want to stay on message in all the content you produce. This is a great reason to do some work on identifying core values if you haven’t done so.
- The final test for your content creations: Can I re-purpose this material in other forms?
As an example, I can use this article with other material to create a report about content creation as a lead magnet. I can use the points in the article to produce a video for people who want to improve their content. I could also create mini posts or an email series by breaking out the points into separate lessons, perhaps with added examples or explanations.
Creating content takes time and effort and you need to maximize every piece of content your write.
If you approach each piece of content you create as a building block designed to shape your image and your message into an instantly recognizable brand, then you content has a chance to stand on its own and create an impact on your tribe or community, while keeping that all consuming content monster from swallowing your work into the dark oblivion of temporary sound bites.