Author: Suzanne Oxford
Categories: Business

The 6 steps of content creation

You know what your business is about. You’ve nailed down your story. You’ve worked out who you want to talk to.

Now you need to add some real value.

Time poor organisations need their content to work across different channels online – including websites, e-newsletters, blogs and across social media. One way to add value to your existing, more sales-focused, content is through content curation. Content creation means finding useful content online, curating it for your audience and re-telling it in your voice and with your advice.

Here’s how to optimise, write and curate content for your target audience.

Defining your goals

Every good plan starts with defining what it’s trying to achieve. How do you want your content to define your business? What are you offering your target market? Do you want to be a thought leader in your particular area?

Content curation is about meeting your customers where they are and offering them something they’re not getting elsewhere. It’s about finding, gathering and sharing information of value with them; positioning your business and brand as an authority both with original content – your sales offering and business learnings – and information you’ve found and shared online. Participating in conversations that are happening about your field leads to more engagement with your target market, the ultimate goal being to give your brand a voice of value that will see your audience come back again and again for your offering.

Getting started

It’s important to remember that well-executed content curation isn’t about regurgitating content that was already published. Instead, it’s your business’s personal re-telling of a story. As Susan Gunelius wrote for Forbes, the human element of content curation is what makes curated content compelling.

Therefore, when offering your audience valuable content, remember to tell your story. What are you saying that’s different? What do you know that others might not? Involve your whole team – not just marketing and sales – and that story will evolve to give your business a truly useful and unique voice.

Finding content

Here’s where you get amongst it!

Want to know where your target market is looking for information online? Go exploring! Ask them! Discover for yourself where the good stories are being shared. Find out what topics matter to your goals and audience, and go after them.

Integrating content curation into your broader marketing strategy is the way to go here – it legitimises the exercise and gets your team thinking about the value of your brand and how they can add to it. The best place to start is probably your social media accounts. Valuable content is being shared every day on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are also Google alerts and news aggregate sites that can be set up with your special business needs in mind.

Be authentic to find your voice

There is nothing like the instant world of social media to add value and timeliness to your content. Social media has changed the term ‘sharing’ forever, and the opportunities for your brand are endless. It’s important to add your own value to social content – as Mark Lerner says, if you just “retweet,” or share an article without including your own voice in the post, you’ll fail to distinguish yourself from everyone else who shared that content.

How do you find your voice? Authentically, of course! Offer your opinion and add your advice in areas you are confident about. Try to be friendly and informative, and adopt an approachable tone. Not so confident? Ask questions! Get your community talking and they’ll come back to you.

Context and thought leadership

Good content curation provides your audience with context and convenience – that means filtering and explaining what you find online, and rewording it in your voice so it’s useful to them. You don’t always need to be selling, but you do always need to be mindful of your brand and of offering real value. Knowing who your market is and writing in your ‘voice’ allows you to, as J-P De Clerck says, inform, educate, entertain and engage target audiences.

Where to share

There are many ways to share curated content, but the best way is in a mix of your existing ‘sales’ content. E-newletters and blogs offer an opportunity to share curated and original content, and social media is the most instant way to add your voice to a new idea, and also probably the first place your audience will find you. They’ll also find your website, so don’t forget about the curated content opportunities there. Always remember that you should be providing useful information, not just repeating content or working on the hard sell.

Content curation is convenient, but it’s also an important opportunity to add value, develop a business voice and grow an online community. What do you think about content curation? Has it worked for you? Got any tips? Let us know.