Content Strategy – Step IV: Content Creation

Now it’s finally time to put pen to paper, keystroke to keyboard. If you’ve hired an outside writer, be sure that he or she understands any industry terms and usage they may encounter in the process. Does your company or organization have a standards manual or written communication guidelines to ensure that your new content aligns properly with the rest of your marketing communications tools?

Create a checklist to help with the details:

Step 4

Create a checklist to help with the details.

Research
This is where you cast a big net and draw in all the fresh data you can. It can come from a variety of places: in-house resources such as sales and product development departments, customers, vendors, the Web, trade and professional associations and publications, you name it.

Take an open approach – much like a brainstorming session – in which everything is considered and nothing is discarded without at least a preliminary review.

By using various sources for information, you’re opening up the opportunity for creating a wide variety of content; for example:

  • Sales Dept.: market trends, customer challenges, competitive advantages
  • Product/R&D: new product developments, product updates, technical FAQs
  • Customers: case studies, news releases, testimonials, application stories
  • Vendors: Industry insights, supplier updates
  • Aggregators & Syndicators: Online sources for competitive news, syndicated content, trend analyses, analyst reports
  • Associations/Publications: Industry overviews, white papers, case studies, general news

These are just some of the information source/content synergies that can exist within a typical company – you may have a number of others.

Raw Data Review
Raw information often needs a thorough “going over.” If it originates from within your organization, you need to ensure that it’s current and usable:

  • How old is the information?
  • Since its origin, has it been revised?
  • Rejected?
  • Does it still align with the marketplace’s needs or your business goals?
  • Does it compromise your market advantage or intellectual property?

If the information comes from outside your company:

  • Is it accurate and reliable?
  • Does it comes from a trustworthy source?
  • Do you have permission to use it? Can you legally do so?
  • Can you alter it or combine it with other information to create new content?

Write
With a fresh bucket of information to work with, you can now get creative and use it to produce new content for your website, e-letter, or e-mail campaign. Combine complementary bits of information to create new insights and a fresh approach to a topic or application that will help differentiate your company, products, or services from the competition.

Jim Schakenbach

Jim Schakenbach partners with inConcert Web Solutions to provide writing services for website pages and blog articles. He has over 25 years of writing and marketing communications experience in broadcast and the advertising industry. With a degree in journalism from Washington & Lee University and a career as a journalist, copywriter, and ad agency principal, Jim brings both real life experience and a depth and breadth of knowledge that enables him to write effectively and confidently about a wide range of subjects and industries.

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