It isn’t easy being a content creator
The life of a content creator isn’t that easy. 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.
Here’s how it’s tough to be a content creator
“OOoh, content’s just writing stuff, I can write stuff!”
Gosh I wish I was joking with that headline. Unfortunately, I’m not. There are a lot of people out there that are convinced words on a page is good enough.
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?
A good content creator goes beyond the role of a writer.
Creating strong content is part community management, part writing, part marketing, understanding distribution through social media and a heck of a lot of work. SEO is a consideration. So too are individual writing guidelines for particular fields such as medical, legal, property and more.
A good content creator looks at things like a consumer’s road to purchasing, 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.
Good content is seamless
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 others 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 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.
People are spending money on content marketing that doesn’t work. Usually because the content creator in charge doesn’t have the skills. OR the person engaging them won’t get out of the way so they can apply those skills to the best efforts.
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
- There’s more than sales speak in their content. A good content creator will help you with their content as that’s what content is meant to do
- There is a variety of content. 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
- The writing is tippy-top quality. You’ll be looking for strong writing skills. This, together with a high level of knowledge in either marketing or product management will shine through
- Your content creator has a reasonable outlook. A good content creator will turn blue and shake their head if you suggest working with them for less than 3 months because they know it takes time
- They’re more generalist than specialist. 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 know SEO and how to follow guidelines. They’ll respect SEO and advertising but they’ll ask you to dig deeper
- Plans are important. Words like “strategy”, “content schedule” and “research” will form part of your initial conversation with them
- They walk the walk. Their own social media is scheduled, their blog regularly updated, you’ll find them in a few places guest blogging
- They believe in research. 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.
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