11 Ideas for Content Creation Greatness
by Audrey Howes
As one of our main content generators, I know the pain of regularly writing relevant content. I also know the many benefits of delivering relevant content to your audience. To help get you on the road to content creation greatness we've pooled our ideas for everything from finding topics to when to deliver your content.
Here are our 11 ideas for content creation:
Finding Relevant Topics
1. Ask the Audience
We all want to provide content our audience wants to read. To do that, we need to hear from them. Consider doing a survey or poll to find out about your audience’s interests and what they are most interested in hearing from you. Utilize tools such as the Swiftpage emarketing Survey tool and social media polls to gain this valuable information. You may also want to check out Social Mention for a real time view of what is being said by and about your brand.
2. Look at Your Data
You have so much data, you probably ignore a big chunk of it or don't look at any of it. Rather than ignore your data, use it to your advantage. Look at past emails, blog posts, social media posts and website searches to see what has generated the most interest in the past. Look for trends in the types of topics viewed the most often. Use your findings to generate new content about the topics your data reveals.
3. Check the Trends
While your users and data are excellent sources for content ideas, sometimes we need more. Try using tools such as Google Trends to see what search terms are popular in your industry. Subscribe to other businesses emails (i.e. your competitors) and blogs to keep up with what they are writing about. Use the trends to generate content that is sure to be noticed. Be sure to use your own words. Plagiarism is not looked upon fondly by anyone.
The Writing Process
4. Just Start Writing
Once you have a topic or two to start with, don’t delay, start writing. Keep it free form and just let your words pour onto the page. There will be time for editing and corrections later. For now, just write everything you know about the topic.
5. Mind Your Grammar
Personality in writing is important, but just like our English teachers told us, so is grammar. Once you have your thoughts out, go back and look for grammatical errors. Go beyond what Word tells you is a grammatical error. Check out this recent blog post for some of the most common grammatical mistakes.
6. Make it Scannable
When we read content online or in emails, almost all of us are notorious for scanning rather than reading. Keeping this in mind, read through your content and look for natural breaks to add bolded headers or subheaders to break up the content. Consider breaking your content into a list (like this article) or find areas to add easily digestible bullet points. Sit back and take a moment to scan your work or ask a coworker to scan it for you.
7. Read it Out Loud
As a final step in the writing process, read your writing out loud. Yes, it feels a little strange at first but you will likely find a few little areas to tweak for better readability and understanding. If you stumble over something while reading it out loud, chances are your readers will stumble over it too.
Putting it All Together
8. Use it!
Now that you’ve written some relevant content, it’s time to put it to use. Consider sharing it on your company blog, social media outlets and in your email marketing communications. If you think the content would be useful to someone else in your industry, email it to them and ask them to post it on their blog or social media sites. You just might make a few friends who provide content for you to use as well.
9. Matchy Matchy
Matchy matchy fashion trends may be out, but matching content in email marketing is in. Once you have created your content, make sure your email subject lines ‘match’ the content. Spam filters look for similar words and phrases from the subject line in the body of the email.
10. Consider Timing for Content Delivery
In an article for Marketing Sherpa, Jeri Dube said, “The right information, delivered at the right moment, creates a distinct competitive advantage.” We are always asked when’s the best day and time to send emails. There is no answer that works for every list and every industry. We suggest you run some tests to find what works best for your audience. Our next tip gives some ways to do just that.
11. Segment for the Best Results
Segmenting your list and tracking the results of your segmentation will maximize your email marketing ROI over time. In a recent blog post we covered 5 of the most common ways to segment your list including by demographics, email behaviors and by preferences. You can read the full post here. You can also test days and times for sending by segmenting your list into multiple groups or test different versions of content across different groups.
One final BONUS tip for you: On occasion, break the rules.
As the famous saying goes, Rules were made to be broken. We’ve laid out a lot of rules for content creation and use, but sometimes you may see more bang for your marketing buck by breaking a rule or two. While we don’t recommend breaking too many or breaking them all the time, taking risks now and then just might pay off.