Content creation isn’t just for influencers! If you’re a brand professional wondering how to become a content creator, you’re not alone.
More than ever, brands are creating original content across multiple platforms to engage with their audiences. It’s one of the best ways to showcase your brand personality, build customer relationships, and drive more traffic and conversions.
But content creation shouldn’t happen haphazardly. There are decisions brands must make about types of content, processes, resources and more.
In this article, we’ll cover how content creation has evolved over time, why content creation is so important for brands, types of content brands create and how to begin creating consistent, high-quality content.
- Content creation has evolved over the past ten years into a necessary part of every digital marketing strategy.
- Influencer content has largely taken the place of celebrity endorsements.
- B2B buyers rely on brand content to do more than half of their research before ever contacting a brand directly.
- Video is set to soon become the most published and consumed type of content of all.
- Companies should consider outsourcing content creation if their internal resources are not enough to meet content goals.
- Work plans and content calendars are important planning tools to keep content creation on track.
The evolving role of content creation
When I originally wrote about content creation on this blog in 2012, I titled that article: Join the 1% and Become a Content Creator. Little did I know that over the next decade, content creation would explode beyond what I imagined. Today, content creation has become a full-fledged career path for individual influencers and a competitive imperative for brands to have digital marketing success.
The impact of influencer marketing
The launch of Instagram brought on the rise of influencer culture, and with it the nature of content creation changed forever. All of a sudden, consumers cared more about what influencers had to say about products and brands than A-list celebrities with advertising deals.
Brands had to shift their focus to influencer partnerships and more authentic messaging in order to resonate with the modern consumer.
We now call this the creator economy, in which influencers monetize their social media content through strategic brand partnerships. In just the past six years, the influencer marketing global market size has grown by 10X and 93% of marketers say they have used influencer marketing in some way.
B2B buyers look online
At the same time, consumers in the B2B sector increasingly looked to the internet to do their brand research, and today, most complete more than 57% of their research before ever reaching out to a brand directly. This has drastically changed the way B2B brands approach the sales cycle and has required them to create content in order to reach potential customers in need of their solutions.
In 2022, content marketing is used by more than 90% of organizations and yields 6X the ROI of other forms of marketing. Even brands who adopted content marketing early on and were once seen as innovators must continually get more creative, keep up with trends, and produce better content in a more and more competitive environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic also forced even those most traditional brick-and-mortar companies to get online and reach their audiences in new ways.
In short: brands need to be using content marketing. And in order to do that, they need to be content creators.
What content creation means for brands in 2022
Content creation is a multiform, multichannel endeavor for brands today. Content creation encompasses blogs, social media, video, infographics, email and more. And while not every type of content or channel is for every brand, companies need an intentional, customer-focused process and plan for content creation in order to be successful. This means understanding who your target audience is, the kind of content that’s valuable to them, and what your brand is capable of creating.
In the graphic below you can see the many types of and channels for content marketing as well as the goals each accomplishes for brands.
You can learn more about the overarching strategy required to manage content in our how-to for developing a content marketing strategy. Here, we’ll stay focused on the actual content creation itself. Let’s start by going through some of the most common and effective types of content brands create:
Blogging is what most people think of first when they hear the term “content marketing.” A typical blog lands around 1000-2000 words (although this can vary depending on the topic) and blogs that are longer form tend to get the best results. Blogging requires frequent post publishing (11-16 times per month for the most ROI, according to Hubspot) and an SEO strategy behind it (to get your articles ranked on SERPs).
Image Source: HubSpot
The takeaway: blog writing is time consuming. Frankly, that’s why many brands don’t do it well. For blogging to really pay off, you need a dedicated team with the right knowledge and experience, or you need to outsource to an agency that can do it for you (more on that later).
Video is taking over as the most preferred and most consumed type of content of all. Cisco reported that by the end of 2022, video would account for 82% of all online traffic. Current trends certainly align with this prediction — short form video is everywhere (thanks, TikTok!) and COVID-19 has made longer videos like lectures, workshops, and webinars the norm.
The main roadblock many brands run into is the cost and skill required for production, and it can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be for many types of video content, like webinars or social media stories. With the right training and practice, your content team can produce much of the engaging video content you need from an iPhone.
Nearly two-thirds (72%) of consumers prefer email over all other types of direct communication from brands. Most people check their email multiple times every day. It’s a surefire way for getting in touch with your audience and a great channel for amplifying other content you’ve created.
Image Source: Marketing Sherpa
Email is very much about timing and targeting. Send an email at an off time and your open rate can really suffer. Send many emails too close together and you risk being spammy. Blast out a blanket message to too many people and you come off generic — the best emails are tailored to specific customer segments based on demographics or preferences.
All of this said, there are tons of email marketing tools you can use to help automate much of your sending, organize segmented lists, and track email performance metrics.
Infographics are a super engaging way to take complex (even dry or technical) information and make it engaging. They can be made for any topic under the sun, but they’re especially helpful for communicating a large amount of information in one place and making it digestible for the reader.
For example, Marketing Insider Group used infographics as a way to put our anatomy of a perfect blog post and blog post checklist (both with lots of information) in one place for our customers and readers.
Social media posts
People love to engage with their favorite brands on social media. In fact, 90% of social media users say they’ve made a purchase from a brand they follow, and they interact with brands all the time in many different ways.
Many brands think about social media as a means for simply sharing other content (like blogs or YouTube videos) but you can also create content specifically for the social media platforms you use, like surveys or polls, stories, or short-form videos for TikTok and Instagram. Social content is the most interactive type of content on our list, and it’s a great way to build relationships with your audience.
How to become a content creator: the brand version
Now that we’ve covered why content is so important for brands and the different types of content they usually create, you’re probably wondering: how can your brand actually be a content creator? Where do you get started? Let’s walk through your next steps:
Evaluate your current team and resources
First thing’s first: what current resources do you have to dedicate to content creation? This is an important thing to assess first because it helps you make a decision about whether or not you’ll handle content creation internally or outsource to an agency with the right knowledge and skills. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, right from the start you’ll need writers, people with SEO experience, and designers. You’ll also need access to important tools for strategic jobs like keyword research, email and social media automation, and data tracking.
You’ll also need your current staff to be able to dedicate a significant amount of time to content creation. The only thing worse than no content is bad content, so you don’t want to take it on without the right resources in place.
Decide which types of content you’ll create
In this case, I recommend starting small and building on your success. For example, maybe you want to create a really great blog and be more active on two social media platforms where you share your blogs and post some interactive content. Once that’s going well, you might add another platform and create some short-form video content (and so on and so on). This is just an example. The point is to do a few things really well, get experience, and keep succeeding rather than failing fast by trying everything all at once.
Build your work plan and content calendar
This step is absolutely critical, and here’s why: without a detailed, documented work plan and content calendar, you risk your content creation falling through the cracks. Your work plan should track every task that needs to be completed, who is responsible for it, and its deadline. Your content calendar tracks when your content will be published and where.
Identify the performance metrics you’ll measure
To keep your team accountable and your plan on track, you need to set goals for your content. What do you want to accomplish for your brand through content? More traffic to your website is an obvious one. Maybe you want to grow your social media following. Perhaps you want to establish your brand as an expert on a particular topic.
Whatever your goals are, the most important thing is to set them and define them well. I recommend using the SMART goal framework to help you do it.
Once you’ve done the prep work, it’s time to take the leap! Start following your plan and seeing results.
Continuously evaluate, refine, and improve
It’s last but it’s definitely not least. That content plan we talked about before? It should have specified processes and dedicated times for you to evaluate your content’s performance and make adjustments when needed. You can do this in an ongoing way using tools like Google Analytics, your CMS platform’s analytics program, and social media performance analytics dashboards
Outsource for reliable, high-quality content creation
Content creation takes time! If you’re running a business, you probably don’t have hours to spend writing blogs or making videos. That’s why 70% of companies outsource content creation to agencies with the experience, knowledge, and resources to execute for them. The team at MIG includes writers and SEO experts who can deliver you optimized, ready-to-publish content every week for one year or more.