Marketing and social media are all about content. Any tweet you send out, as well as any TV-commercial, and any Instagram-post – it is content. The core rule of content is that it needs to add value to the recipient’s life (career, hobby, education, free time, etc.) to be relevant, and still there is so much irrelevant content out there! Why is that? The reality for many companies is they struggle to find the time and the inspiration to create content, and when they do, they find it difficult to get any attention and engagement from their audience. Often I find that these issues share a common source: the lack of a coherent content process.
Businesses tend to go straight to the What (Let’s start a Youtube channel! Let’s create an app! We’ll work with influencers! We need a chatbot!) – and they forget about the Why (What is the purpose of our communication, what is relevant for us to be talking about and who should be listening) as well as the How (What kind of content will strengthen our brand)
To help you I’ve created a simple 7-step process that I’ve humbly named: The only content process you’ll ever need. Because it’s broad enough to let you adapt the parts to your specific reality – just don’t skip steps!
The foundation and inspiration for this process comes from NPR’s 3-part model for content management, called “Create Once, Publish Everywhere” (COPE). I wrote about that model a few years ago and added content creation as a fourth part. NPR’s model was a technical solution which of course meant it dealt with storing, displaying and distributing content – but because I found those parts so relevant to us content creators I build my idea on top of it, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel altogether.
As social media has grown more sophisticated and become a more indistinguishable part of our online experience I’ve evolved the model to represent a process businesses can follow to ensure they truly own the full process, regardless of if they end up outsourcing the content creation or not.
I suggest you use it to create your content strategy and plan and then use it as a checklist for individual content pieces.
1. Plan your approach
First of all, make sure you’re clear on why you’re creating the content.
- What goal do you have (with this content piece)?
- Who is the target audience/intended recipient?
- What do you need to do, when and how?
- Through which channels will you communicate
2. Capture information and inspiration
Inspiration isn’t always there right when you need it; therefore it’s great to make it a habit to keep your eyes open for interesting stuff as you go about your day.
- Monitor relevant news sources
- Monitor social channels to learn about your target audience needs
- Save all your ideas and links in one place (I use Evernote)
3. Curate others content
There is no need to reinvent the wheel! Most likely, others have already created a video, written a blog post or written a tweet that you can build on! Just make sure you always contribute something to create value.
- Collect and publish link roundups to news or other relevant content
- Create a follow up on someone else’s original content
- Add your thoughts, comments or conclusion
4. Create content
Original content will be your core pieces. Whether it’s video, infographics, text in the shape of long-form analysis or short and sweet posts, you’ll need to find your way of creating content.
- Prioritize what you create. Make it relevant and suitable for the stage of the customer journey that your audience is in.
- Reuse and re-purpose what you have already created
- Remember to create a great call-to-action and craft an alluring title
5. Store your stuff
Ideas, drafts, pictures and published stuff can all be used in the future. Make sure you’ll be able to find it!
- Group you texts, links, research, photos, and graphics to make it easier to find
- Try to only use one place to store your things (I use Dropbox)
6. Distribute through your channels
It’s unlikely that people will find your amazing content if you don’t distribute it yourself. But, this does not mean sharing once to all of your social media accounts! It does mean using your smarts to help people find stuff that will improve their day (it just happens to be that you wrote it).
- Share your content repeatedly (“relevant” is your keyword, not “just published”)
- Adapt your messaging to suit the channel, but not too much; the core message is still the same
- Involve others; ask them to comment, share and mention those that you’ve been inspired by
- Pay to distribute your content when you know you have quality stuff to share with the world!
7. Measure your activities
The only way to tell if you’re reaching your goals is to measure.
- Decide what questions you want answered. They are most likely related to your business and communication goals.
- Improve continuously. Don’t be scared to try new things, just make sure you follow your progress.
- It’s absolutely fine to track “vanity metrics” like Number of Followers – as long as you know why you are doing it!