Why is everyone being so mean to content creators? After proving content’s popularity doesn’t mean content creation is bad and discussing the problems with the argument SEO copywriting is superior to content creation, its time to tackle the myth content creation is easy.
“OOoh, content’s just writing stuff, I can write stuff!”
Writing skill is only part of what it takes to make great content. That’s like thinking a doctor who is brilliant with foot surgery will be equally brilliant as your psychiatrist. They both went to medical school, they both know anatomy and they both studied hard to be great at what they do, but you’re not going to book the person who slices bunions off to counsel you after a marriage breakup, aren’t you?
Content is part community, part writing, part knowing marketing, part knowing social media and a heck of a lot of work. A good content creator looks at things like a Buying Cycle, a community management plan, branding and story. And not just on the level of “let’s stuff a couple of words in here and use the colour red”, either.
When you create content, you straddle the art of making it across various media channels based on research into the customer, company, vertical and content creation itself.
The irony is, for all you need to know to be an effective content creator, the more effortless and natural it looks, the better the content is.
Unfortunately, what stands out are marketers and copywriters dabbling in the content arena who think screaming “Hey, we do content! Get your content here! You asked, we listened, here’s content! CONTENT!!!” is appropriate when all it really does is make customers cringe and content get a bad reputation.
Professional content creators have to wear the stigma associated with idiots not only producing bad content, but also opening their yap holes to advertise this fact. They appear blissfully unaware they’re dressing up the results of a very drunken 5 minute fumble between advertorial and blogging as the real deal. It’s as though they are still operating on the completely outdated and disproven notion that consumers are blind to their vulgar display of condescending tripe.
Between that and the fear of change, the natural cynicism, the lack of understanding and the downright protectionist attitudes of some marketing and online professionals, the concept of content is copping a smashing.
Content is a process of defining, designing, deploying and maintaining content in the first instant before analysing, adjusting, expanding and maturing along with the audience growth, consumption and response.
You need to do this without alienating your early adopters through to your laggards, your potentials through to your loyalists, handing any ammunition to your saboteurs, losing the plot or becoming consumed by the desire to chase likes or comments over providing a genuinely useful conversation or sense of community.
So how can you spot a real content creator in the current popularity parade?
Here’s your bite sized list of the tyres you should kick when choosing a REAL content creator as opposed to a Muppet in a party frock:
- You’ll like what they write. And there’ll be heaps of it to read. Look for anyone who’s been doing this longer than 12 months who’s consistent, who’s grown in their style and you enjoy reading
- What they do produce across their channels is not simply to sell you what they do. There will be depth, layers and understanding. They’ll admire other forms of content and be willing to share that with you from all kinds of sources, not just their own
- The content they have for their own site caters not just to new customers, but to the everyday curious person, the loyalist, the lapsed customer and more
- Strong writing skills together with a high level of knowledge in either marketing or product management together with an understanding of personas, buying cycles, consumer psychology and experience with crafting campaigns (not working on them, creating them)
- They’ll turn blue and shake their head if you suggest working with them for less than 3 months because they know it takes time
- They won’t just think “content” is a fancy name for “blog” or that social media is Twitter, Facebook and one other channel for good measure. In fact, multi-channel won’t scare them one little bit
- They’ll respect SEO and advertising but they’ll ask you to dig deeper
- Words like “strategy”, “content schedule” and “research” will form part of your initial conversation with them
- Their own social media is scheduled, their blog regularly updated, you’ll find them in a few places
- They’ll have their ears open and their mouths shut until they’ve heard your story and done some research into what’s right for you
Or just come ask me to help you, give you some training, or hook you up with a content creator you’d suit.