The Best Content Creation Strategy for Noobs
The best content creation strategy for noobs is simple to understand, and easy to implement.
If you haven't yet read my previous post about content marketing for noobs, which explained everything you need to know about the whys, whats, hows, and what ifs of content marketing, then I'd suggest you go read that first. Click on this.
The best content creation strategy for noobs...
Should be easy and simple to follow and have you creating awesomely engaging content in the shortest amount of time.
With that in mind rookies, here's what we're going to cover in this post.
- Generating ideas for your content.
- Researching your content topics.
- How your content will be formatted for delivery to your audience.
- Content structuring.
- Content creation.
- Editing and testing your content.
- Tweaking and refining your content.
- Publishing your content.
Chompin' at the bit to get going, are you? Alrighty then, read on!
Generating ideas for your content
How's the old brain feeling today? Ready for a storm? I sure hope so, because a vital part of the content creation strategy for noobs is brainstorming, which is a lot of fun.
Never done any brainstorming?
No worries, because I'm going to provide you with a couple of techniques right now so you can get started.
Brainstorming method #1 is called Starbursting, and I love this one. Here's what to do.
On a blank piece of paper, draw a five-pointed star. In each arm of the star write down one of the following words: Who? Why? What? How? When?
If you like, start with WHO would want this content? For instance, imagine your new online business idea is Break Free From PowerPoint.
WHO would want this information? People who need to make presentations. More specifically, perhaps soft skills trainers who currently are using a lot of PowerPoint in their workshops.
Next, think about WHY would soft skills trainers want to learn how to break free from PowerPoint?
One good reason is that not having to rely on PowerPoint to conduct workshops would save trainers a lot of time when preparing their materials.
Another reason might be that a lot of soft skills trainers would love to have the confidence to conduct their workshops without relying on PowerPoint.
Also, imagine how much more engaging a workshop could be to an audience if they didn't have to sit through slide after slide of boring PowerPoint.
Now you're getting the idea, right? Great, let's keep moving, shall we?
Continuing, the next step would be WHAT information you're going to provide for your target audience to help them break free from PowerPoint?
Perhaps the following:
- additional skills needed to be more energetic and engaging during workshops.
- ability to present more effectively instead of relying on PowerPoint.
- tools needed to replace PowerPoint.
Next, HOW are you going to distribute your content to your target audience? That is, what format or formats are you going to use? I'm going to cover this further down the page, so be patient.
Your next step could be either WHERE or WHEN, so let's continue with the WHEN, shall we?
This could include WHEN your audience of soft skills trainers should or should not use PowerPoint. There may be specific situations where some PowerPoint is necessary or helpful. Hence, you would need to clarify this question when preparing your content.
Another aspect of WHEN is related to structuring content. With our example, you may have a list of 10 important steps that trainers need to take in order to break free from PowerPoint. You'll need to determine WHEN in the process each step should be taught and acted on.
Now you're getting the hang of brainstorming for generating ideas for your content, aren't you? Fantastic!
Brainstorming method #2 is what I refer to as Stardust. You've already used the Starburst method. When a star bursts, what's left over? A lot of star dust, right?
You have left over stardust from the starbursting brainstorming session too. It's all of the related ideas that came out of the brainstorming and are left over, but could also be used to create content.
For example, we said that one reason soft skills trainers might want to break free from PowerPoint is because they could save a lot of time preparing materials.
That is a bit of stardust, because now you can also create a complete article, or even a series, on how to save time when preparing for a training workshop.
Those are just two methods I use, and I'm confident that once you start using them and other techniques, you'll become a content idea generating machine.
We've got generating ideas for content covered, don't we? Yeah? Okay, so let's move to the next step, which is...
Researching your content topics
Now listen up noobs!
No matter if you're writing just one post on a topic, or an entire series, you're going to need to do research.
The only way you can avoid the research is to turn your content creation strategy over to someone else. If you can't afford that at the moment, then you'd better be comfortable with the idea of researching your content topics.
I'm assuming that because you're reading this and you've got this far into the post, you're not afraid of the big R word. That's a good thing!
But you've got to stay hungry and keep learning. That's how you're going to expand your knowledge and strengthen the foundation of your content creation efforts.
And that's exactly how you should look at your strategy. It's like the firm foundation of a building. If the foundation is firm and solid, the building will be too, and it'll still be standing decades later.
Same goes for your content creation strategy. Well researched means strong, solid content.
It means authority.
Where should you start researching?
How about Google? It's the number one search engine for the Internet. And here's a great way to use it.
You can use Google Alerts to have information on the topic you're researching sent directly to your email inbox.
For our breaking free from PowerPoint example, you can see that once in Google Alerts, in the search box I typed "study OR research + overuse of powerpoint."
Next to the CREATE ALERT button, you'll see a Show Options button. Use this to choose how often you want alerts on the topic emailed to you.
Using this Google tool really makes your research a lot simpler, it's like having Google acting as your personal research assistant, and for FREE. Great idea, isn't it?
Using Google Scholar enables you to search for articles, theses, books, and other relevant work across the world of scholarly research. It's another great tool for researching the subject of your content.
Read, Read, and Read Some More
If you're really going to be able to write with authority on a subject, you've got to be a reader.
I know that sounds so simplistic. You're probably thinking, "Come on Mike. Of course I know I've got to be a reader if I'm going to educate myself on a topic."
Just hold on a moment, because when I say you've got to be a reader, I mean that you've got to be willing to read information on both sides of your topic so that your research and the resulting content you produce isn't completely biased in favour of your opinion.
You want to be sure that what you're giving your audience is accurate, truthful information because nothing will damage your authority more than creating content that is not factual.
Of course, the Internet is chock full of great information, just be sure you're sourcing it from credible authorities.
Amazon is a super source for researching and you can use the List feature in your Amazon account to save information on the books you want to purchase and read in the future.
Below is an example of a list of books I have created related to content marketing. You can do the same for creating content related to your topic or niche.
How your content will be formatted for delivery to your audience
Alright! We're making great progress with our content creation strategy for noobs. I like that. Progress is always a good thing.
Thought about what format you'll use to deliver your content to your audience?
If not, here are some great ways to get started.
- the printed page, like this post you're reading right now.
- a podcast of your post. You write a post, then you create a podcast of same post and include the podcast on the same page, either at the top or at the bottom. Benefits: can be downloaded and listened to at another time. For some individuals, reading doesn't come easy, so they prefer to read and listen to the podcast simultaneously.
- videos of yourself teaching the content of your post. This could be teaching main action points, or a whiteboard video of the main action points, or a slide presentation video with you narrating.
- infographics are a great way to attract eyeballs. Humans are highly visual and infographics can be more fun than plain text. We're constantly bombarded with information and infographics grab the attention.
How to structure your content
In my opinion, the main thing to remember about structuring your on-page content is KISS.
Keep It Short and Simple!
Keep your paragraphs short, as in only 2 or 3 sentences. You usually won't need more.
Keep sentences short too.
Have lots of white space.
Page design doesn't need to be fancy or crowded with stuff.
What some great examples?
In fact, when you look at the Copyblogger page design, you'll notice how simple, clean, and white it looks. Gotta love it, eh!
Use bullet points to highlight lists of things.
Use H1 tags for your page title and H2 tags for your subheadings under the main H1 heading.
You can use other H tags if you like and may want to read "Headings and why you should use them," on the Yoast site.
How to create your content
You've done all the homework, thoroughly researched your topic, have all of the information you need at hand and even written an outline with key points you're going to highlight.
Now it's actually time to start creating. To start writing. To start waxing poetic? Not!
Just start writing, and you don't need to get fancy with your language, either.
Pay attention to creating the following:
- an attention grabbing title to, well, grab attention. Make's sense, doesn't it? You want people to find your information and to click on it, right? Right!
- break the main points you want to make into smaller chunks. If you have 4 main points, then you'll have 4 chunks. Work on 1 chunk at a time. Make sure you spend enough time and provide quality in each chunk.
- write with confidence and authority. Your readers must be 100% convinced that you know your subject - that you're an expert.
- Make valid arguments for everything you state and back up main points with data, links to other authority sites, graphs, charts, videos, and graphics.
Editing and testing your content
Once you've got your content on the page, it's time to test and edit.
Provide the content to others who have an interest in the topic you've written about. Ask them for feedback on the following points:
- was it clear and understandable?
- did it flow logically from one point to the next?
- was it valuable and did it offer practical tips and suggestions that could easily be implemented by your audience?
- would they share this content with others?
- was there anything they didn't like about the content?
- did it stay on topic and on point throughout?
Get the idea, noobs? Great! The main point here is ask questions that will enable you to clarify anything that may need adjustment.
Tweaking and refining your content
Wow! Almost done. At this stage of the process, I and many other experts will tell you to leave your content sitting for a day or two before you actually press the publish button.
You've edited, had it reviewed, received feedback and made corrections, so just sitting on it for a day or two is a wise thing to do so you can give it some further thought.
It's very possible that as you continue to consider the piece you've written you'll come up with some valuable additional points or ideas to include, or you may even decide there is a part or two that could be removed.
Regardless, it's not necessary to rush to publish. This piece you're reading right now actually took me 6 days to complete and publish, and you know what?
I know it's not perfect and could still be improved. And that's okay too. You and I are never going to create a perfect piece of content. We can always improve!
Publishing your content
Once you've given some thought to your piece of content, refined it and are pleased with what you've put together, go ahead and press the publish button.
It's live and ready for the whole world to see. Great feeling, isn't it? You bet it is!
That's the content creation strategy for noobs that I recommend you give a try. And I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions. So please do leave a comment.
And remember to share this piece on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and Pinterest.