Content creation has changed drastically over the years, as have all things in marketing. And it’s not just the content that has changed, it’s the way it is crafted and presented. Here’s a quick example: In the Mad Men age, companies needed a creative to come up with a witty slogan, a risqué image to accompany it, and bada-bing, bada-boom, you have a 5-star ad and your content is ready to roll out for the general public to see. Fast forward to 2007, the year that Facebook ads were introduced. Now, companies no longer had to buy an expensive billboard and hope people saw it and called, (all while driving…) but could now meet their customers where they were. Radical, I know. Fast forward a little bit more to 2018. The average consumer now sees as many as 5,000 ads per day, and I guarantee that few stand out enough to make an impact. So, what’s changed? In 2007, Facebook ads changed the game, but now the game changers are you. That’s right, it’s that guy 2 cubicles down from you who takes the time to research the subject, determine buyer personas, creates a plan, and uses a mixture of strategy and creativity.
Content creation is no longer just for the creatives, but the strategists as well.
So, you read all that and think “Yeah, I get it’s more than just being a graphic designer or having a creative team hiding in the annex, but where do I go from here?”
Here are 3 simple steps any marketer can and should take to integrate strategy into their content creation:
Determine Your Audience.
This is a huge first step in your content creation strategy. You shouldn’t even begin brainstorming content to create until you’ve completed this step. I mean, why would you? Why would you risk wasting precious time and resources on a stellar piece of content that doesn’t resonate with your buyer personas. Know your audience: what they like, dislike, their interests, buying patterns, imagery/video preferences, time of day they are online, industry, voice, etc.
Let’s put it this way: You change your style, tone of voice, and the way you present yourself depending on the crowd you’re with, whether that is with friends, family, co-workers, or authority figures, and your content is just as flexible. What you post and how you present it matters depending on the crowd.
Determine Your Content.
Now that you’ve determined who will see your content, you get to do… you guessed it, more strategizing. Knowing your buyer personas and their preferences is so important, and in this step, you’re putting that knowledge to use. Let’s say you are a company that sells vintage t-shirts and after researching your buyer personas, you have realized that you are trying to reach 18-24 year olds that love the outdoors, love adventure, and are willing to purchase off an ad. You should be able to look at that information and know that:
1) posting on Instagram is key
2) promoting vintage park or outdoorsy shirts using Instagram ads
3) using a tone that excites an adventurous spirit
This means that when you sit down to brainstorm the content you are going to create, you need to remember that it has to be Instagram friendly, compelling to an audience of that age and with those interests, and more. The strategy helps guide the creativity towards content that will perform and resonate with your audience.
Now you’ve created your content, so what’s next?
Have a Plan.
I know, more strategy. You’ve created your remarkable content and you know who it is for. Now you just need a plan. It doesn’t do any good to just dump your content out as soon as it is ready. You need consistency. You could have created the greatest piece of content known to man, but if it is posted on the wrong platform, at the wrong time, or posted in a sea of mass posts, it will get lost and land on deaf ears. The creativity needs the strategy to hit home.
So, how do you create a content plan? Content calendars and campaigns. Content calendars give you the ability to audit and assess the content you have available, see gaps and needs, plan when the content will be released, and plan future content ideas. These calendars will also allow you to plan and execute a flawless social media campaign. Launching a new product that spans various demographics? Using a content calendar, you are able to plan the campaign, have the posts created that are tailored to each buyer persona and social platform, and have the campaign scheduled to go out simultaneously across all platforms. Because you know what the only thing better than seeing your crafted content out in the world? Seeing it out in the world performing and helping you reach your goals.
As you’ve seen, content creation and content promotion has changed throughout the years and it will continue to change and evolve as people do. In such a consumer-oriented industry, adaptability is key, because predictability doesn’t exist.
But for now, before, during, and after your content creation process, put your strategists and your creatives in the same room. The best marketers are a little bit of both.
Curious as to what a well-executed campaign full of strategy and creativity looks like? Check out our On The Tracks Case Study to see how we curated and created content, promoted the event, and the success that was the result of the blend of creativity and strategy.