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What Is Content Creation And Why It Should Matter To You

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Content creation is the process of generating topic ideas that appeal to your buyer persona, creating written or visual content around those ideas, and making that information accessible to your audience as a blog, video, infographic, or other format.

Now, it’s important to add that the information is relevant to your audience at various stages of their buying process so that they are aware of your business, interested in the value you provide, and motivated to take action when they are ready to make their purchase decision.

Content is the information and experiences that are directed toward an end-user or audience. Content is "something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts."

Lee Oddin, TopRank Marketing Tweet

Wondering why I am starting this post off like Webster’s New World College Dictionary? 

Simple – you can’t succeed at something you don’t understand and marketers are notorious for having multiple meanings for key terms, which leads to failure.  And I don’t want you to fail.

Beyond Avoiding Failure, Why Does It Matter?

Content marketing brings in 3X as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less.

Would you believe “other format” is the reason this information matters to you? 

You see, most people hear ‘content marketing’ and think ‘digital.’  And in reality, content marketing goes beyond digital and includes the traditional or ‘real’ world.

Remember the product brochure you saw at the car dealership? That’s part of their content marketing program.

Or the presentation at the conference with the PowerPoint slides that focused on how to identify the right solution provider? That’s part of their content marketing program.

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What Makes A Great content Creator And Why You Need One

Creating great content – the kind of content that grabs your audiences’ attention, stimulates their interest, and motivates them to take action – just doesn’t happen.

Great content typically requires a solid understanding of the target audience.  The great content creator doesn’t have a meeting with the marketing team and then go off and create. They speak with the audience. They speak with the front-line staff that deals with the topic every hour of every workday.

The great content creator speaks the language of the audience and not the jargon of the business.

The great content creator also uses that insight into their audience and educates the audience and helps the audience gather the information they need to make an informed decision.  Now, that decision might be to buy what you are offering – or it might mean to buy what the competition is offering.  Both are wins because it was your information that helped them, and that is something they will remember for a long, long time.

So what? Where’s the “win” for you if all the audience does is remember you helped them select the competition over you?

Let me share a little story about my earlier days in marketing when I was really in sales. I was working for a small tech services firm and had the title ‘director of marketing,’ but my primary responsibility was ‘business development.’  That meant I spent a lot of time developing leads and closing deals.

One day, I got in to see the Managing Partner of a mid-sized law firm.  He asked a lot of questions, and I offered a lot of answers with some options. At the end of a fantastic 60-minute conversation, he told me that he wasn’t currently interested in what we offered, but he had three clients that needed my help.

Next thing you know, this non-client turned into one of my best referrals sources, generating six-figures in revenue for this small, local tech services firms with under $1M in annual revenue.  Over the next 3-years, the tech services firm grew to more than $3M in annual revenue, and my Managing Partner friend helped refer about 15% of that growth.

That’s just one of many examples I have witnessed over the years – and it’s an essential part of content marketing. Once you build trust with the right people, they can generate a lot of revenue for your business even without making a purchase.

Another reason you need a great content creator is they use data to make smarter decisions moving forward. The more relevant data they can analyze, the better the results are from the content they create.

With all due respect to many marketers and copywriters, data analysis is not their strength.  This weakness leads to marketers creating “stuff” because they think it will work and copywriters that follow instructions without pausing to ask ‘what insights do you have to support this approach?’ 

Let me give you an example that resulted in one company reducing marketing expenses by more than $250,000 while increasing their ‘lead to sale’ conversion rate by double-digits.  This large, international corporation was generating more than 60,000 leads per month and spending about $60M annually to make that happen – the problem was their ‘lead to sale’ conversion rate was about 0.5%, so they were experiencing a very expensive ‘cost per sale’ that was eating their profits.

Looking at the performance metrics, talking with the sales team, and members of the target audience, I was able to identify what content was effective and ineffective.  This discovery led to the streamlining of the process, which included plenty of expensive materials that were being sent by USPS to the leads – and this led to an annual savings of more than $250,000.

The elimination of ineffective and inaccurate content also meant a smoother, more pleasant experience for the leads – resulting in a double-digit increase in ‘lead to sale’ conversions.

Great content creators understand the value of repurposing content and updating content.  For example, when I look at a topic, I start to think about how to create once, use multiple ways.  That video interview with the satisfied client becomes an audio clip that can be used on the website and in emails.  Then there are the excerpts that can add value to blog posts, testimonials, case studies, and even checklists.

And remember to update content regularly so that the content remains accurate.  I recently performed a content audit for a college and discovered that their welcome email campaign had information that was last reviewed in 2015 – and had been incorrect since 2016.  And they were wondering why their conversion rate from inquiry to enrollment had fallen off dramatically in the past 3-years!

As you know, I teach undergraduate marketing and at some institutions, their internal team develops the curriculum.  And in most instances, they don’t review and update regularly so it is common to find dated content – something that doesn’t sit well with someone paying $1500 for the course.

Last, great content creators create content on a regular schedule because they know the impact this has on reader loyalty and engagement.  Too often can overwhelm the audience.  Sporadically sends a clear sign to the audience that you are not dependable. 

All that said, finding the right frequency takes some time and testing, as well as feedback from the readers.

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A Few Closing Thoughts

There is a significant difference between a great content creator and someone that bangs out new stuff like a printing press used to push out the evening newspaper.  And like the evening newspaper, banging out stuff is a surefire way to become irrelevant to your audience and push business to your competition.

A great content creator uses data to drive action, understands their audience and works smarter by identifying ways to repurpose content and ensure content is updated to reflect today’s reality.  All of this creates an experience your audience finds more valuable, leading to more trust, engagement, and sales.

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