Regular readers of this innovation blog will hear the Babcox Media editors and content creators singing the same song — the modern marketer needs to meet the customer wherever they want to be reached. As I discussed in a previous blog post about integrated marketing, today’s consumer is all over the place; they’re on social media, watching short- and long-form videos on YouTube, scrolling through their emails, listening to podcasts on their commute or at the gym, and, believe me or not, some are still flipping through magazines on their coffee breaks. Thinking of the countless channels we need to produce content for to reach our target audience, it’s not hard to feel overwhelmed when brainstorming content.
However, with the right mindset and content plan, I have learned to keep these overwhelming feelings (mostly) at bay. Keep reading for my thoughts on creating engaging content while working smarter, not harder.
Look at the big picture
When brainstorming marketing campaigns, once I have a couple of broad ideas down on paper, my first step in the planning process is imagining how that campaign will look on all my brand’s channels. Is my idea something that will only work in print? Does it have a video component? If I saw this topic in my email inbox or on my Twitter feed, would I want to click on it?
Typically, I try to come up with content that will work across all brand channels. I want content that has a video component, but also can work in print without the video. I want content that is interesting and relevant, but also has good visual elements. When in the beginning stages of content creation, I map out what the lifetime of a piece of content will be. For example, when planning episodes for Wash Talk, the Professional Carwashing & Detailing (PC&D) podcast, I take the meat of the campaign (the audio podcast) and imagine how it will be distributed to different PC&D channels. The end result looks something like this:
- Episode is posted to podcast platforms
- Episode is posted to the PC&D website
- If the episode features a video interview with a guest (it should!) it is posted to YouTube
- Episode information is posted to social platforms — usually with an audio clip playing behind still imagery
- Episode is sent out to the audience via email newsletter
- Episode description is included in the “Streaming Now” print section of PC&D magazine.
That is ONE piece of content being used across SIX channels. The idea is this: if I can create one piece of content that will work in print, online, on social media, etc., I can blast this content to all my audience members, wherever they are, but not get burnt out from having to create three, four, maybe even five different pieces of creative and independent content. Try to think of content that will help you work smarter, not harder.
Stick to the schedule
Another content creation tip that has helped me stay organized is sticking to a content schedule. If I know on Monday’s I will work on creating and posting X content, Wednesday’s I will create and post Y content and Thursdays I will create and post Z content, it makes campaigns feel like a well-oiled machine. Plus, for content that is also being pushed on social media, the more regularly you post, the more your content will be picked up by those pesky algorithms. So, instead of creating one large piece of content, I would suggest creating a campaign that repeats weekly or monthly, such as the “Wash of the Week” which is posted on PC&D’s site and socials every Wednesday, or another Babcox brand, Fleet Equipment, that produces content called “Five Truck Trend Takeaways from [Previous Month]” on the first of every month.
The biggest content creation tip that I have learned is to know your team’s specific set of skills and build from that. Maybe you’re not comfortable on camera — there is no reason to force a weekly video series if it is going to be a subpar finished product. Your brand will be the most successful if you nurture and grow the skills you and your team naturally possess, instead of wasting time trying to create something outside of your skill set.
With that being said, I by no means am suggesting any content marketers stay stagnant in content creation strategies. We all know how fast the spectrum of communications is changing and evolving — it is important to stay on top of the trends. If you aren’t on all the social media platforms, watching and listening to podcasts, at least flipping through some industry relevant publications, you will fall behind your competitors.
All I am suggesting is that if you are investing hours of valuable time and emotional energy into a project, and not getting the results and audience interest necessary to justify the commitment, head back to the drawing board to see how you can better utilize your time. Or, if it is what you believe to be a rockstar idea that needs some tweaking, meet with your team to discuss how you can divide and conquer the campaign. Maybe someone else will excell as the on-air talent and you can focus on managing the project, for instance.
In my roughly 14 months in my post-college content creation role with Babcox Media, the aforementioned information is what I have found works for me to get the best product, with the least amount of stress possible. My biggest advice is to know yourself. Odds are, if you are a content creator, you are a creative individual, so use your creativity to come up with the best plan so you can work smarter, not harder.
Or, email me and we can work on one together.