Content Creation: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

A few weeks ago I attended Content Marketing World (CMW) in Cleveland, Ohio. As a writer at heart, I was thrilled at the opportunity to attend so many sessions on content creation hosted by some of the industry’s greatest.

At CMW, I learned that while it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, finding what works and simply repeating it over and over… and over again, trying new things, pushing ourselves and thinking differently is what creates truly exceptional content. It’s what allowed Wendy’s to become such a powerhouse on Twitter, GE to create truly inspiring commercials and Coca Cola to continue their influential legacy through all these years.

I took pages and pages of notes at CMW, scribbling any and everything that was useful… and there was a lot. So I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite tips I came away with in the world of content creation. This information comes from some very thought provoking speakers, including Ahava Leibtag, Michele Park Lazette and Ann Handley.

Put Your Audience First, Always. We often come to content creation as a means to satisfy a need we have as a company. This idea of creating content because we need to, instead of creating content that our audience needs is detrimental to the quality of your content and how it is received. Think of what your audience needs and wants from you, and create exactly that.

Draw Inspiration from Different. When you find something that works, it’s easy to do it again and  again until it doesn’t work anymore. But this type of creation leads to outdated results, lazy processes and lackluster content. New and different content is memorable content. If you sound the same as you always have, or worse, sound the same as everyone else, you’re likely to fall by the wayside with your customers. It’s important to push the boundaries of your brand and try new things to see what truly resonates with your audience.

Look Around You. If you have any experience as a writer, or have interacted with anyone that writes, you likely understand the concept of writers’ block. Overcome this issue by looking at what’s going on in the world around you. Whether it’s pop culture, politics, the weather or other trends, drawing thoughts, ideas or frames from those events can help you break though the barrier and create content that better speaks to your audience.  

Be What They Want. We are oversaturated with less than inspiring content. Just venture onto Twitter and you’ll see hundreds, even thousands of boring companies posting boring tweets. To truly make an impact you need to fully understand what grabs your audience’s attention. Instead of interrupting what they want, become what they want. Not sure what I mean? Check out Chipotle, the Cleveland Indians and Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feeds for inspiration.


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