Writer

| By Lucy Helliwell Expert View

5 reasons why content doesn't need to be a chore

As a content producer, I hear many misconceptions about content from those looking to introduce it to their business. These misconceptions often lead to the failure of their content creation and sometimes prevent them from beginning the process of content creation entirely.

Some marketers/business owners already have content, but don’t know how to distribute it. Some have ideas but don’t know how to produce them. Some simply keep delaying the process as they don’t feel it’s the right time. Fear of failure will never be an issue if you realise that content is achievable for everybody, from the one-man-band working out of the garage, to the multi-national brand with the big budgets.

Here are 5 common misconceptions about content and why they are untrue: 

“Content is too expensive”

Big budget doesn’t necessarily equal results. A creative concept that talks directly to the target audience will always win, no matter how big your wallet. We already know that humour, nostalgia and cute animals tend to succeed on social media - some of the biggest viral video hits were filmed on an iPhone. But sometimes there is a need to spend time and money on producing content, for example when brands have ambitious filming requirements. But other times, a simple Instagram post may hit the spot.                                                              

Big budget example:

The North Face recently released a 2-minute ‘anthem spot’ on Facebook as part of their global digital content campaign, providing “an emotionally charged insight into the minds of great adventurers”. Instead of advertising a product, they’re advertising a lifestyle.

On the other end of the spectrum, content can be created with zero budget. It may not have the same visual impact of The North Face content, but as long as it offers value to the audience, then mission accomplished. It all depends on what you want to achieve. 

Zero budget example:

Travel blogger ‘Mikebloggity’ posts photos and short videos on Instagram. What started out as a blog to keep his family and friends up to date with his travels, turned into 64,000 unique visits a month! One particular video is just a few seconds of footage. Mike has pointed the camera to his feet, revealing him walking along a transparent bridge on top of a glacier. It was probably shot with his iPhone and took no preparation. The purpose – to share the experience with the viewer and to engage them with his work. 

“It’s too big a job for one person”

Get others involved and spread the load. If you have a team, get them together and have a brainstorm. Note down ideas in a content calendar as you come up with them. Give team members ownership of the content. For example, if you have an amateur photographer in the midst or a keen writer, give them the responsibility to contribute content. To maintain quality control, you will need an editor to ensure that you are delivering to a certain standard (and inline with your overall brand strategy). 

Everyone’s a content creator. If you take photos, post to social media or share articles, then you’re a content creator. If you have no team it’s no problem, just keep it simple. One example is ‘Father of Daughters’ - a full-time businessman and young dad of four girls. He has established a brand for himself through insightful and entertaining blog articles, and a popular Instagram page full of funny photos and videos.

He has succeeded because he is relatable to the audience. He provides amusing observations surrounding parenthood, and his content is entertaining.

“It’s a waste of time. Once it’s been shared on social media it’s old already”

It’s true, some marketers will post content and forget about it. Yes, it may have added value for the time it was visible on social media, but that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give it legs to keep going. Think about repurposing content.                                                          

Take an existing blog post and transform it into a different medium. Does it contain statistics or data? Then it’s perfect content for an infographic. Does the blog warrant discussion? Get a panel together and record a podcast. As well as repurposing the whole item, you can also dissect it, cut down a video clip and post it on social media, or take some key statistics from an infographic and incorporate into a Twitter post.

Repurposing content can give new life to old content and by using different formats, will appeal to a wider audience. Jamie Oliver is one example; his team have repurposed material from his TV show into web videos. It’s targeting a different audience and allowing that audience to consume the content when they choose.

“I haven’t got enough ideas to create original content”

Constantly coming up with ideas (or ideation as they call it in the advertising world) can be hard work and immensely time-consuming. Original ideas are important but that’s not to say you shouldn’t use other peoples. That’s where curation comes in. Curating content is the sharing of existing content, i.e. it’s not new content, it’s other peoples. 

Content curators sift through content relevant to an area of interest and distribute those of value to their audience. You see it everywhere on social media, news channels in particular. Social media pages are often entirely created from curated content that specialise in certain topics. One example being social media phenomenon ‘The LAD Bible’. Their growing popularity has led to their followers sharing their own content (500-1000 user generated videos a day), making the act of content curation a whole lot easier!

“I’m too disorganised to add another department to the business”

Create a simple plan, it doesn’t need to be flash. Of course there are plenty of software options that allow you to create a comprehensive editorial calendar, many of which you have to pay for, but if you want to keep it simple, just use an excel spreadsheet. Write the date down the side and fill in each day with a proposed piece of content – whether it’s a Twitter post, curated image for Facebook or blog post. Make sure you are not too ambitious too quickly, build up the amount of content gradually over time otherwise you’ll burn out. 

Content is for everybody

At The Brand Agency we often see the responsibility of content being handballed to whoever has the most time on their hands within the company. Often the person responsible has had little experience of content creation or distribution. For most of our clients we act as an extension of their team. Depending on what they are lacking - we fill in the gaps.                                      

We have a team of strategists to ensure that the purpose and messaging of your content is in line with your brand strategy. We have a team of creatives that produce original concepts and ideas. We have a team of designers to make sure all content follows the correct tone and style. And also a media department to advise where to distribute your content (and distribute for you in some cases).

Whether it’s to produce a series of customer testimonial videos, a fortnightly blog or whether you just need an editor to assist with the output of content created in-house, this is the beauty of content - brands can outsource as much as they like.

Content boils down to working out what you can achieve, and getting help in the areas needed. Content is for everybody, get in touch to find out how we can integrate content into your business.


‘Writer’s block II’ by Drew Coffman

Father of Daughters

Author

Lucy Helliwell

Lucy Helliwell | Content Producer

Lucy has over 10 years experience producing content for radio, video and TV in both the UK and Australia working for a variety of clients from small not-for-profits through to the big corporates.

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