As you’ve built your business, have you committed enough time to content creation? Undoubtedly, You probably know everything that there is to know about your particular business. You know all of the nitty-gritty details that make your product or service invaluable to your current clients. Maybe, you are even a brilliant salesman in the room. Face to face with potential clients, your enthusiasm and passion for your business might bowl people over and have them begging to sign. But, today, you have to get in front of potential clients digitally before you get in front of them physically.
Is your digital game as strong as your in-person presence? Are you willing or able to put yourself and your passion out there in blogs, videos, emails, audio, and social media posts? Without a doubt, the two major stumbling blocks with building an active online content portfolio are time and talent. Would the logistics of your business allow you to write blogs, create audio and video scripts, then deal with the time-consuming production and postproduction? Can you spend time researching industry trends and keywords and sharing what you find in meaningful and creative ways across multiple social media platforms? It looks easy. When you look at all of the content that is out there, you might think, “I could do that.” But could you? Or, more importantly, should you? Let’s look at what content creation really involves before you decide.
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What is a Content Creator?
According to HubSpot, a global leader in digital marketing, “a content creator produces entertaining or educational material that caters to the interests and challenges of a target audience.” That sounds easy enough, and perhaps you can even envision tackling this on your own. After all, you are a witty, dynamic person capable of selling people on the benefits of your product and passion, right? Unfortunately, it is a bit more complicated than that.
Content creation is not merely a subset of skills that entrepreneurs have in their bag of tricks. Are some entrepreneurs more adept at blending the creative and the practice? Sure. As a successful entrepreneur, you probably have a million ideas about what would make for great content. Can you reasonably give one hundred percent effort to the day to day of your business and handle the content creation for multiple platforms?
What Does a Content Creator Do?
A well-known company recently advertised an opening for a content creator. The ad specified the following:
- Research industry-related topics
- Prepare well-structured drafts using digital publishing platforms
- Create and distribute marketing copy to advertise our company and products
- Interview industry professionals and incorporate their views in blog posts
- Edit and proofread written pieces before publication
- Conduct keyword research and use SEO guidelines to optimize content
- Promote content on social networks and monitor engagement (e.g., comments and shares)
- Identify customers’ needs and recommend new topics
- Coordinate with marketing and design teams to illustrate articles
- Measure web traffic to content (e.g., conversion and bounce rates)
- Update websites as needed
As you can tell from the list above, we aren’t just talking about creating content. Obviously, this particular position focuses on written content. However, writers that produce content need to be adept at multi-tasking and time management. As they are creating new content, they are researching future content and tracking the success of past content. Additionally, this content creation process is fast-paced and rapidly evolving. Your audience is fickle and has a short attention span. You must get ahead and stay ahead.
Folks with Many Hats
The job posting example above specified that the concentration of the position would be on blog posts, e-books, and social media posts. So, they need a writer. But, when you look at the list of requirements, it is evident that they need more than a writer. Historically, creatives and analysts were not at all the same. We understood the difference between left-brained and right-brained people. In the wildly popular tv show Madmen, there were never any scenes wherein an analyst poured over sheets of data and metrics. That would not make for compelling TV.
Of course, somewhere in the basement of Sterling Cooper, there is a guy or a team of guys with pocket protectors tapping away on calculators figuring out the performance of the most recent production of Don Draper’s brilliance (Seriously, Don, just take our money). Things have changed since significantly since the Manhattan admen ruled marketing. Are all of us content creators and copywriters dressed to the nines and bubbling over with smoldering sexuality? Absolutely. We just have a lot more responsibility and aren’t allowed to drink all day.
Content Creators vs. Creative Teams
Today, because of the rapidity with which content must be created and analyzed, creators need to wear many hats. Sure, there are massive teams made up of writers, proofreaders, editors, photographers, graphic designers, videographers, and analysts. Some companies can afford to staff all of those positions. If you are reading this, your company probably isn’t one of them.
Some of the well-known entrepreneurs that we recognize as having serious social media and content creation prowess are actually backed up by a team of people that provide the slick productions for which they are so famous. Undeniably, guys like Gary Vaynerchuk saw the direction that content creation was heading in and got on board early. Despite a keen intuition, these guys aren’t doing it on their own. So, what can you do if you need content support but aren’t ready to hire an entire team of professionals? Worse, you ask your team to do work beyond the scope for which they are being paid. Let’s take a step back and figure out what type of content will work best for you.
Content Creation Customized for Customers
Who is your customer? What kind of content will interest them the most? Will you need a content creator to supply fast and flashy content that is easily consumed? Or, is your audience going to be looking for more in-depth content in the form of podcasts and blogs with penetrating data. A well-developed customer profile is the first step in effective content creation.
Creating a Customer Profile
- Ensure that your goals and target market line up for long-term success.
- Compete for your target market’s attention by isolating what differentiates you from your competition.
- Create your buyer persona by identifying the demographics, socioeconomics, psychographics, and brand loyalties of your ideal customer.
Nail Down Your Brand Story
Before your content creation can come to life, you’ll need to nail down your brand story. To build empathy among followers, enough so that they share your story, they need to know your story. Your brand story should encompass what led to the conception of your company. This conception story needs to include the original message and values of your brand and how they continue to influence the company’s current direction.
What About Brand Voice?
Out of your brand story, your brand voice should organically evolve. All of the components of your marketing and content should be relatable and easily identifiable. The sound of your brand should complement your brand story. Likewise, the music, voiceovers, and even jingles that you use should all represent one cohesive message that your audience will ultimately recognize as yours.
How to Become a Content Creator
The big question is, should you become a content creator? Can you successfully create valuable content for your company while also running your company? Or, should you supervise the content creation and leave the actual production to the pros?
According to HubSpot, highly successful content creators should do the following:
- Read news about your industry every day.
- Write on the regular.
- Study your industry’s audience.
- Establish your own voice.
- Curate other people’s content (when it makes sense to).
- Understand your KPIs.
- Network at every opportunity.
- Offer solutions, not just commentary.
- Question everything.
What You’re Already Doing
Looking at that list. What is a reasonable expectation for a small business owner? Let’s isolate the things that you are most likely doing as a part of your regular routine. Reading industry news every day? That’s probably something you do anyway. Also, knowing your industry’s audience is a given for a business owner.
What about understanding your key performance indicators? You should be on top of these indicators for any marketing efforts. Although, as you further develop your content creation processes, this will become even more important. Obviously, networking is nothing new, and offering solutions and questioning everything is probably second nature for every business owner.
What You May Not Be Doing
If you haven’t been actively pursuing content creation in the day to day of your business, it is unlikely that you have curated content from others. However, as you read about your industry every day, collecting great ideas shouldn’t be a big leap.
Are you writing every day, or at least a few times per week? Writing is a skill that needs to be developed over time. Are you confident enough in your writing abilities to consistently produce high-quality, valuable content?
How do you feel about establishing your own voice? As discussed earlier, authentic brand stories should allow for the brand voice and sound to emerge organically. Do you feel qualified to nail that down? Most likely, you will be able to identify it when you hear it, but would you need help?
The Benefit of Creative Outsourcing
Considering content creation and how to become a content creator, it seems unrealistic that a business owner could do it all. Alternatively, hiring a content creation team, or even one content creator full-time may not be an option for a growing business. In that case, you should consider creative outsourcing.
The benefit of working with a company like Bunny Studio is that you can outsource as much or as little of your content creation as you desire. If scriptwriting is your favorite hobby, you can write away and hire a Bunny Studio Voice Actor to narrate the audio ads that you write. Do you love photographing your products, but dread having to write the accompanying descriptions? Or are you a creative mad genius with brilliant content creation ideas? Could use a few pros to reign it in and help organize those ideas.
Whether you need a helping hand or want to hand it all over to pro content creators, creative outsourcing is probably the solution.