Content Creation: Meaning, Process, and Examples
Content creation has always been what makes the Internet popular and useful. From the early days of message boards to the Reddit communities of today—from Angelfire to Squarespace—from chat rooms to chatbots—the internet runs on information, and it always has. That’s why it was dubbed the information superhighway!
Today, how to create content for your brand is an even more important concern of marketing teams than the early pioneers of the Web. Back in the year 2000, 17 million websites seemed like a lot. Now, there are almost 2 billion to compete with, and around 300 more added every minute. In this fast-changing online environment, it’s not just what information your brand shares, but how the information is shared that makes the difference in your ranking. This is where the most experienced content creators stand out and help the brands they work for do the same.
Why is content marketing so important? What does a content creator do? And what is different about content creation today? Let’s explore these answers and more with a deep dive into how to create quality content.
What Is Content Creation?
A true “content creation” meaning isn’t just about the work of writing, filming, designing, or producing content. A content creator is responsible for coming up with topic ideas, creating the content itself, and then promoting the content to the right audience. But there’s also a lot of strategy that must inform content creation. Keyword research and collecting customer feedback are just the beginning of finding out what information or perspective is missing from the Internet, and therefore where there are opportunities for creation.
Another important part of content creation is the review and revision process. Not even the most experienced content creator will write, film, or design the perfect first draft, though they might sometimes get very close. Content creation is a cyclical process of creation, revision, and recreation to make sure the business is getting the most out of everything in its library.
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Content Creation Process Flow
The question of how to create content is different for every business and marketing team. Questions like how many stakeholders must approve the content, the integration between sales and marketing, and the goals of the content strategy will define the approach. However, there are some general steps that every content creation process should flow through.
- Brainstorming: In this initial stage of the process, content creators are just coming up with content topics. While part of this will be grounded in experience and understanding of the business, it should also be supported by research. They will look into the top keywords for the market niche, collect feedback from customers, and call on internal subject matter experts. Then, content creators put all this information through the lens of the target audience perspective. This helps make sure the content being created will appeal to key audiences, not just the internal stakeholders.
- Planning: Once the topics are decided, it’s time to consider the format of the content. Some ideas might naturally stand out as great blog topics, or webinar subjects. But great content creators dig beyond the obvious to think about the different ways an idea can be creatively presented to attract as much attention as possible. Part of this also entails investigating what other content exists on the same topic. For instance, if there are already dozens of “how-to” videos, maybe a different format will help the information stand out. The planning phase also includes questions of scale and order. Maybe one topic is so big it will need several pieces of content published in a specific order to tackle.
- Creation: Next, it’s time to create the content. As the content creator writes, films, designs, or produces, they may also call on creative vendors who are experts in those areas. And, even though there’s already been lots of planning to this point, this is also a critical moment to take a step back if something isn’t working. If it becomes obvious the content won’t resonate with audiences as intended, or there’s a logical gap in some of the earlier planning, it’s better to reset than press forward.
- Revision: Once the content is drafted, the creator themselves may take a pass and correct any errors. From there comes the secondary process of getting the content approved by key stakeholders. This should include internal subject matter experts, to confirm the information is accurate; higher-level marketers or company leadership, to approve the position and message; and perhaps even the legal team, to confirm no claims are out of compliance or put the business at risk. It’s important to gather feedback in stages and make all revisions from one group before passing on to the next, to avoid content getting lost in the process.
- Publication: Last, it is finally time for the content to be published! This often means going live on the company website, though it could also include publication by a third-party like a blog or industry magazine. Publication is usually supported by a promotion strategy to make your audiences aware of the content, like social media posts or email blasts.
Having a structured process for creating content means that content will go out more consistently. This five-step content creation process will support any content creator in developing pieces that the business is proud of and audiences will keep coming back for.
Types of Content Creation
Though the process of content creation is relatively similar for any type of content, there are also lots of different types of content creation. Some content creators can do it all, while other specialize in only a few digital content types. Here’s a list of the main types of digital content, and some statistics about why each is or might become important to a content creation strategy.
- Blogs: Marketers who blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. (HubSpot)
- Video: Viewers retain 95% of what they watch in a video vs 10% of what they read. (Insivia)
- Case Studies: The average consumer reads 10 reviews before trusting a business. (BrightLocal)
- Infographics: Infographics are 30x more likely to be read than a full article. (Digital Info World)
- Checklists: Checklists are actionable educational content, great for lead generation. (Content Marketing Institute)
- eBooks & Whitepapers: 50% of B2B marketers say downloads like eBooks and whitepapers are their most effective content. (Content Marketing Institute)
- Podcasts: 63% of listeners have bought a product advertised on a podcast. (WebFX)
- Webinars: 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads. (Outgrow)
- Long-Form Content: The first-ranked Google result typically has over 2,400 words. (SerpIQ)
- Social Media Posts: 52% of online brand discovery happens in social feeds. (Hootsuite)
- Email: Every $1 spent on email averages a return of $42. (Digital Marketing Association)
Looking at these statistics in isolation, it becomes easier to see how different types of content can overlap and become something new and exciting.
For instance, if so many people retain information better from video, and also rely on case studies and reviews, what if you made a case study into a video? If you’re considering how to create an eBook, could you find connections between your most popular pieces of long form content to start deciding a topic?
The types of content do not exist in isolation. In fact, repurposing one piece of content to do more in other content mediums is simply good use of the investment. Ultimately, not every strategy has to make use of all these content types. But as each business grows its marketing library, it’s possible a content creator will do work on all these projects and others.
More Content Creation Examples
It isn’t just the format of content that creators can experiment with. Within each content medium there is also the opportunity to present information and facts from a creative perspective. This really makes your blog, video, email, or any other content stand out and attract attention. Here are a few more ideas for content creation:
- Cartoons: Go beyond the simple icons and layout of an infographic to provide humor and entertainment to your audiences. Taking a situation like one of their primary pain points and creating a cartoon to shed light on why it can be an absurd and humorous struggle will catch attention—and show them your brand might just have the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Quotes: Quotes are one of the most effective ways to make an emotional appeal, especially on social media. They allow brands to make statements in the words of other people, whether they are industry experts or revered historic figures. Plus, lots of times, these thinkers say the truth better and more eloquently than marketers ever could. Just be sure you accurately cite the quote and give credit where credit is due.
- Allegories: Using an allegory means thinking of a story or picture than can be interpreted with a second meaning. For instance, if you want to speak to the audience’s pain points in a whitepaper, you might work backward from those pain points to write about a completely different situation where the same pains are evident—and get solved through the services or products of a business like yours. This helps the reader or viewer look at their challenges and possible solutions through a completely different lens.
- Answers: Ultimately, anything you can do to answer the questions and concerns of your audience is going to be content that resonates. Get creative and also get active. Beyond the content on the company website or social profiles, a member of the content team can answer questions on message boards, respond to company reviews, or get (professionally) involved in conversations on social. That interaction and relationship-building will pay off in the long run.
People look for content to be entertained and educated. If a content creator can achieve both these goals in one, they have really succeeded.
The Don’ts of Content Creation
We’ve talked about a lot of great ideas and tips for pulling off excellent content creation, but what are some of the pitfalls? Here are six of the no-no’s that every content creator should be aware of and try to avoid:
- Don’t Make Assumptions: Any time a content creator catches themselves making an assumption about their audience, they should take a step back and examine it. Broad assumptions about the group are the doorway to sounding like everyone else in the industry. Content can only address the needs of the audience when the audience isn’t taken for granted.
- Don’t Ignore Design: Even in blog posts and other written content, design cannot be ignored. Make sure pages aren’t too cluttered or difficult to skim. When it comes to visual content, it’s even more essential that the design elements do not overpower the message of the content. If the content creator doesn’t have design experience themselves, this may be a great time to call on another professional.
- Don’t Take it Personally: This rule applies to both the creative process and the audience’s reception of the content. Once a content creator has decided on a vision, it can be challenging to let go of the idea when it isn’t working out during creation. But this means the content creator is putting their own goals for the content above the people it is meant to serve—the audience. During the feedback process, it’s also essential to accept the insights of others and not get defensive. Lastly, if the audience responds differently to the content than anticipated, this isn’t the fault of the audience, or really of the creator. It just means something is misaligned, which provides a chance to learn more and correct the issue.
- Don’t Talk About the Company: When content is talking about the brand and what the company does, it has lost focus on the audience. Telling readers or viewers that a business offers great service and their products do X, Y, and Z doesn’t tell the audience anything about what that means for them. Instead, content should focus on what outcomes and improvements those features of the business help the audience achieve. Keep the sales pitch to a concise call to action (CTA) at the end of an article.
- Don’t Get in a Rut: When content starts taking off and achieving great results like increased web traffic and more leads, it’s easy to want to set it and forget it. But this is actually the time to look ahead to the next great thing and start planning. Whether it’s a new format, new topic, or new angle, content creators should make changes to ensure content doesn’t get stale to those who have been following along.
- Don’t Stress Out: Lastly, remember the fact that every day is a chance to create new content and learn something else about audiences. Whether an idea isn’t coming together, a creative project is taking longer to get approved than expected, or a piece of finished content is not performing as well as hoped, all these challenges are really just opportunities. Don’t stress out—content is supposed to be fun!
By keeping this list of five don’ts in mind, content creators can avoid stress and work more efficiently with their peers and the other stakeholders, while also feeling confident they will achieve future goals.
How to Create Content More Easily
Content creation is an exciting industry offering opportunities for research, analytics, and strategy right alongside the more creative elements of writing, filming, design, and production. But all that potential can add up to extra hours of work, and yes, sometimes even worry.
DemandJump delivers confidence to content creators through our one-stop consumer insights platform. Our users save time on keyword research and competitor research at the same time as the platform delivers real-time insights into the most popular keywords, and what exact content the competition has ranking.
The customer journey also becomes more transparent as cutting-edge machine learning breaks down the keywords and questions audiences are searching at each stage of their research. These insights help creators target content based on which segment of the audience they want to educate with basic or specific information.
Our One-Click Content Outline tool takes all these audience insights to an even more actionable level. With this feature, content creators select the topic of their choice and receive an optimized SEO outline defining exactly which keyword and questions will get their content to the top of search rankings.
DemandJump saw the transformative potential of machine learning and integrated technology. Our vision was to reduce time marketers spend on repetitive research and competitive gap analysis. We’re pleased and humbled to provide this portal to our clients, and to see many users achieve huge gains in organic search ranking and marketing ROI within just a few weeks or months of using our platform. By centralizing all these insights in one place, we take away some of the confusion and tedium and let users focus on creation and success. We invite you to sign up for a free trial and experience the difference for yourself.