Use a mix of content creation skills to consistently publish great content.
In this context, great content attracts visitors who take actions to yield profitable sales.
Does budget and headcount to create enough new content feel like a barrier?
Realize that, with good planning, quality content meets many of your marketing goals with cost-effective use of your limited resources.
- Builds audience trust through thought leadership;
- Supports search and social media marketing with limited, if any, extra work; and
- Yield measurable brand, house file and sales results that add to your bottom line.
To get the most return from your content creation skills, assess information:
- Needs across your business;
- Currently in use or in your business archives, and
- Missing or out-of-date to update, transform or create from scratch.
By doing this audit and planning, your content creation team focuses on the key pieces of content marketing your organization needs.
In the process, discover whether you already have employees, consultants, freelancers, and/or agencies who can meet your content creation needs.
What Content Creation Skills Do You Need To Succeed?
Due to the use of diverse devices and platforms and the different content formats they need, the content creation skills you need keep changing.
To help you, here are the 10 fundamental content creation skills you need to succeed.
1. Research Skills
To support content production, a researcher collects and analyzes information related to your key topics. Beyond background to help develop content, use these articles and data via quotas and/or references to add credibility and trustworthiness to your content.
In addition, this information can be shared via social media and other communications options to support your thought leadership.
Internal Area Specialists
Depending on your business focus, area experts may be employees or have other financial relationships with your organization.
So get them involved in your content creation as subject matter experts.
Often I’m asked, “How do I get internal experts to contribute to content creation?” My response:
“Figure out what your subject matter experts will gain personally by helping you.”
Instead of focusing on creating content via text, video, or audio to make you look good, ask: “What will make them look good to their specialist peers outside of your company?”
2. Customer Champion
Before you start to create content, know your audience. In today’s post-pandemic world your content marketing must appeal to your buyers (including their influencers and end users), employees (including your suppliers and distributors) and local community based on their needs today.
Post-pandemic, don’t assume your audience, their lifestyles, and needs have remained the same. During the pandemic, everyone went down a level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
As a result, your marketing personas need updating since your buyers and end users may use your products and services differently or have found near substitutes or competitors due to supply chain issues.
Actionable Content Creation Tip:
- Talk directly to existing and new customers, influencers and end users. Find out what they need from you in terms of products, services and content marketing.
3. Brand Expert
To ensure that your content reflects your brand, ask a member of your Brand Marketing team or agency to join your content creation team.
If your business doesn’t have a dedicated branding team, then add your company’s Brand Guidelines to your content marketing and mission statement. This way your content creation represents your brand in every piece of content across every device and platform.
Present a consistent brand voice and related elements to make your content easy to identify as yours. This allows you to include consistent branding at no extra cost.
The biggest investment is in the initial creation of your brand objectives, values and guidelines.
4. Text Content Creation
Text content creation involves a variety of skills.
As with traditional media, an editor sets the content marketing plans and integrates them into an editorial calendar. Often, quarters or seasons have different themes to help build a consistent message across different content iterations.
Writers create short, medium and long content depending on the assignment. At its core, great content needs to tell a story.
Also, they re-imagine this content to meet the needs of different marketing personas or for other uses.
Separate from the editor who manages the editorial calendar, the copy editor proofs your content to ensure that it makes sense, has no typos, and uses good grammar. Otherwise readers view your content as poor quality. In addition, good copyediting can remove the fear of poor writing.
5. Non-Text Media Experts
With the increase in the number and variety of devices and platforms where audiences can view and/or listen to content, get help from experts to create quality content.
Photography and Video Pros
Photography and video content requires the help of specialists with deep knowledge of these formats. Often these content formats require specialized equipment, related software, and editing to produce high quality results that your audience expects.
Additionally, you may need to tap talent to create these content formats. If you do, then get your legal team or advisers involved to ensure that you can use it across devices and platforms.
Audio and Voice Experts
With the increase in the use of voice-first devices, use audio and voice experts who can record and edit your content to sound professional. Further, this content may be transformed into different formats to work on an array of devices.
Graphic or Visual Artist
Depending on your content mix, use professional design resources to create high quality visual content aligned with your brand. Also, adapt these visuals across different platforms. This may require different sizing and formats.
6. Search Optimization Expert
Search optimization is at the heart of quality content to help it rank for specific keyword phrases. To achieve this goal, do your search homework to find keyword phrases your business can own. Use a variety of search tools like SEMRush, Moz, ARHEFs and others to do your research. Also add links to related content on owned media and text to non-text content.
7. Promotional Marketer
To succeed, keep each piece of content marketing visible and promoted over time in different formats and across various devices and platforms.
As Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media says:
In terms of content, promotion covers:
- Influencers either quoted in your content or sharing it to a broader or different audience;
- Social media organic shares, content publication (such as YouTube, Medium or LinkedIn), community management, or paid options ideally through the use of a social media editorial calendar;
- Email via content publication alerts, distribution of full articles, curated in owned newsletters, and/or promoted in third party newsletters;
- Paid options beyond search and social media including co-marketing; and
- Other promotional options such as guest posting, regular columns, or traditional PR (for major research).
Like Crestodina, I believe in on-going content promotion. I recommend the TIP Method:
- Test and track distribution results,
- Improve and republish content, and
- Promote repurposed content.
Actionable Content Creation Tips:
- Recycle content marketing in new formats for new platforms and devices.
- Keep content visible over time with content curation. Help visitors to easily find related content on your website.
8. Project Manager
As with any other complex process, assign someone responsibility for tracking each piece of content through the creation, publication and promotion processes. This resource helps to maintain communications regarding your editorial calendar and other content creation needs.
Actionable Content Creation Tip:
- Use appropriate software to support your project management such as Trello. The key is to get your entire team on the same page and to facilitate sign-offs and other team activities.
9. Technology Support
Since content planning and creation is part of a larger content strategy, get technology support. It helps you to manage the delivery and governance of your content. In the process, it ensures that your content is properly structured and findable so you deliver an optimal user experience. Also you may need help with related systems such as your CMS (aka: content management).
If you work in a large company, you may be able to utilize existing technology resources.
Actionable Content Creation Tip:
- Check that your website meets the markup standards set by Schema.org.
10. Metrics and Analytics Support
To track results from content marketing through to visitor action and beyond, you need analytics support. Align your metrics with your business and marketing goals. Further, integrate the ability to track results into your content marketing from the start.
For many content marketers, especially bloggers, analytics means Google Analytics. But, bear in mind, other analytics software measure different metrics such as sales systems.
Actionable Content Creation Tips:
- Include at least one call-to-action in every piece of content. Without specific direction, visitors may not know the next step to take.
- Test different offers to see which one yields the best results over time.
Content Creation Skills Conclusion
To get a balanced set of content creation skills, start by examining the content you already have and people who already work for your business.
By going through this analysis, you get an understanding of the content creation resources you can bring together across your organization. Even if it isn’t the employee’s main job. Also, assess the value of adding targeted freelance and/or consulting support.
While you may pay a premium for specialized talent, you don’t need to add more full time staff since they have additional costs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2012 with the title, 11 Fundamental Skills Your Content Creation Team Needs. It was extensively updated and enhanced on October 8, 2021.
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