Digital Content Creation : Everything you need to know.

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATION:

We all know we need it, so why is it so difficult to produce? 

Why does every piece of digital content creation feel like such a monumental undertaking? 

It seems like it should be so easy. We all follow influencers and thought leaders who produce loads of engaging digital content in what appears to be their sleep – Content that is engaging and gets people to have conversations and share thoughts. So why is it that the thought of writing one single social post feels impossible to us. 

HERE’S THE TRUTH: DIGITAL CONTENT CREATION IS HARD.

If it were easy, we’d all have a million followers. So what are those influencers and thought leaders doing that you’re not? Well for starters, they’re producing the content their audience wants to consume. Are you? 

Digital content helps you reach a larger audience than you could through traditional print methods. It also allows you to target prospects who are most likely to buy your product or service. Additionally, in many cases it’s more cost-effective than traditional advertising, and even better – it allows you to track and measure success on a daily basis so you can pivot as needed.

The good news is that with a few helpful hints, we can get you on the road to great digital content creation in no time.

But first, what is Digital Content?

It’s basically everything you find online. It’s the words and pictures on your website. It’s the emails you send. It’s your blogs. It’s the response you made to a Google review. It’s your Instagram posts. It’s that podcast you’ve been meaning to start. It’s your Tik-Tok videos (c’mon, we know you’ve tried it with your kids).

Content is information that attempts to convey a message, image, or idea. It connects and unites. Well, good content, anyway. “Good” content educates, entertains and engages your audience – it gives them something they need and doesn’t waste their time.

Types of Digital Content:

  1. Infographics – A visual representation of data or information. It allows the stats or material you are talking about to be a lot more appealing to the reader.
  2. Memes – Extremely popular amongst millennials and Gen Z internet users. They are often videos and images with humorous text that typically go viral.
  3. Videos – Tend to be a couple of minutes long, allowing for a succinct explanation of whatever the videographer is trying to explain. This can be humour or learning based, and is great for everyone to enjoy.
  4. User Generated Content– Any form of content; written, videoed, blog posts or discussions created by your consumers – Glossier do this particularly well.
  5. Live Video – This comes in the form of streaming live feeds of videos, particularly sporting events or interviews. Social media has really captured this in live videos and stories.
  6. Newsletters – Typically an email issued to subscribers (or at least nowadays!), featuring news and updates to products and the business in general.
  7. Research & Data – A whole load of statistics that might aid your readers, or yourself for that matter, in the future.
  8. GIFS – Clips cut from videos, television and movies which users often embed within text to illustrate a point.
  1. Ebooks – This can be a well-designed, shortened version of a book, or used to simply explain. Of course it’s usable on an iPad or any handheld device as well as your computer.
  2. Digital Events– Events, such as Digital Olympus, or a day of webinars for brands can be used to help customers or educate those who would like to learn more.
  3. Images – A pretty obvious piece of content if ever there was one!
  4. Podcasts– Usually available in a series that you can subscribe to, they are audio files available to listen to.
  5. Webinars – Offering readers the chance to partake or watch a webinar of something useful that they may relate to means that depending on the niche, it will be seen by many. If you are skilled in your field, many will jump at the chance at taking part or being able to hear what you have to say.
  6. Blog Posts – Those entries to your blog, like a diary: if you weren’t entirely sure!
  7. Free resource – Everyone loves something for free, and if you’re able to offer information or templates that can get your readers from point A to B without hesitation, they will always return.
  8. Vlogs – Vloggers have taken over the world recently, with the likes of Zoella making an appearance at every corner. Vlogs are video blogs, and can be filmed for any niche. Often, this may work better for you, depending on what you focus on.
  9. White papers  – These are guides or often reports that allow potential clients or customers to make an informed decision before working with you or a particular product or service.

These are just some of the more popular types of content you can use to distribute your messages. You certainly don’t have to use them all, but by diversifying and including at least a handful in your content plan helps widen your reach. Using multiple forms of media can do wonders for building a reputable online presence, as well as boosting traffic to your digital platforms.

What Digital Content Types to Use

Sometimes it’s easy to get flustered thinking about how many different types of content there are to create and it leaves us with no idea where to start. But we’ve got some tips to help you narrow it down.

  1. You don’t have to do it all. In fact, you shouldn’t! Start small and grow from there. Figure out what you have the capacity to produce and go from there. 
  2. Find out what your current customers are consuming. Your current customers are your best gauge for what potential customers will respond to – since they have similar needs. Find out what they like and make more.
  3. Choose content types that align with your business. If you sell miniature finger puppets, chances are, you won’t need to be publishing white papers to engage potential customers. Great photography and cute videos are probably a better fit for spreading the word about your product.
  4. Figure out your technical and time capacity. Do you have the equipment and know-how to produce a podcast? If not, maybe blogs are better suited to your business.

Making A Plan

Before you start digital content creation, you need to have a clear plan and strategy in place. In the planning stage, you need to ensure your content ideas align with your overarching business and marketing goals.

A well-defined content management strategy is a structured plan to create, publish, and govern your organization’s content and data. It is a foundation to help you make tactical decisions and is critical to organizational survival, especially in the digital age we’re living in now.Making a plan for how you’re going to create and distribute your content takes away the guesswork and allows you to be proactive in your communications. By planning ahead, you are in control of your messaging and your customer journey.

So what does creating a digital content strategy entail?

We suggest you start here.

Planning – In addition to selecting the right technologies and people, the planning stage involves installing the proper workflows to help bring greater control, accuracy, and efficiency to your content management system. Planning positions you to understand what’s not working with existing processes so that you can more easily identify effective fixes.

Research – There is so much that goes into proper research for a content strategy. You’re not only researching the topics you’re going to eventually highlight, you’re also auditing existing materials, developing user personas, identifying trends, studying industry leaders and completing a thorough competitive analysis.

Collecting all of these useful insights and data will help lay the groundwork for your action plan. Plus, you can use it to back up claims in your content. Look for ways to take existing topics trending online and make them your own. Provide a unique perspective that no one else has touched on that aligns with your company’s mission. This is a great way to get more views, clicks, shares and comments on your channels.

Audience curating – Defining your audience (and we mean really defining it) with demographics, psychographics, behaviors, empathy maps, and online habits will help you determine the type of content they are seeking. And very often, they will tell you themselves! You just have to make sure you’re listening. Oh and don’t forget to create content for every stage of their journey. 

Organizing Your Digital Content

Strategic organization is the lifeblood of content management

Content Buckets / Wells – Some people like to call these content repositories or digital asset banks or buckets. Regardless of what you call them, these are essential for keeping your content organized and ensuring you’re painting the right picture. Here at VSG marketing for instance, we use buckets to specify the content as Evidence of Success, Evidence of Knowledge, or Evidence of Culture. We want to be sure that we have a healthy dose of each. Too much of one over the others won’t give our audience the right perspective of who we are and what we do.

Don’t Forget to Organize Your Files – Your supply of visual and text content should not be living on your iPhone, or in a bunch of desktop folders marked “misc social”. 

You can use Dropbox, Google Drive, your company’s internal network, or made-to-purpose database software. A social media content library has several key features:

  • It’s spacious enough for large files
  • It’s accessible from your phone as well as your computer (trust me on this one)
  • It’s easily shareable with team members, but you can trust its privacy features
  • It provides links to individual files so that you can quickly drop them into your calendar (or perhaps it interfaces with your calendar natively)

The way you set up your content library is almost as important as your content calendar. Take the time to organize your files and name them properly – the time you’ll save searching for and accessing them later will be worth it!

Determining Frequency / Cadence – This is an important piece of the puzzle and it’s different for everyone. In the end you have to determine 1) what your audience can consume and 2) what you’re capable of producing. Make sure you choose a cadence that works for everyone involved. The worst mistake you can make is committing to a certain schedule and not being able to meet it. It can feel like a big let-down to your users. Whether it’s once a year or once an hour, once determined, you need to stick to your commitment to show reliability and credibility.

Content Calendar – A content calendar sounds like a big undertaking at first, but you can rest assured it’ll pay that time back in the future. (Not to mention preventing minor panic attacks.) Your calendar can be as simple or complex as your brand needs it to be.

Why use a content calendar?

  • Save time by being organized
  • Post consistently
  • Make fewer typos, and also reduce the risk of big mistakes
  • Get more ambitious with your social strategies
  • Don’t miss out on relevant moments
  • Make higher-quality content
  • Track what works, and improve it

We use something very similar to this { See Content Calendar Download below } and it works well for us. It keeps us organized across internal teams and external platforms. We’re able to plan out our content months in advance which alleviates stress and last minute scrambles.

Content Calendar Template

The Key to Creating Good Content

While it feels extremely difficult, the act of creating content can be really simple: if you’re organized and you know your audience.

If you can manage to get a handle on these two things, we promise, the actual creation will feel so much easier and you’ll spend less time running around in circles and more time creating quality content your audience can appreciate and enjoy. And we all know what happens when we have an engaged audience – we get conversions, which is the goal. 

Have questions? Reach out to us today.

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