How do you create digital content?

Whether we realise it or not, we are constantly consuming content. The home-gardening guide you were reading earlier, or the cat videos you stayed up way too late watching, or that diagnosis you found regarding the little glitch on your phone – content, content, content.

With the kind of access our phones, social media and the internet brings us, we are constantly surrounded by content that influences our life’s decisions in subtle and some not so subtle ways. Content is deliberate. If you got there, it was meant for you to read it.

In the digital marketing age, content has been touted king for years. But what makes it special is its reign on consumers. It is the one thing that breaks the barriers of conventional advertising and reaches homes and screens; and if your content creation really worked – then you’d have found a place in the headspace of your target group.

So what is content creation, what is content, and who is a content creator?

Content creation is the process of identifying themes and ideas that appeal to your buyer persona. Expressing it in the form of a picture, creative, blog, video, infographic, or any other format is content. The person, people, or brand doing all this stuff is the content creator.

To elaborate the concept further, we can look at the golden three Cs – This is a framework within which all content is created and distributed to the audience it was meant for.

The Golden Three Cs

Consumer

The very first step in creating content is to explore and define who you are creating this content for. Tracing the consumer’s journey will help you not only identify the content, but also the key areas to focus on when creating it.

You can start by asking who this person is. List down important information about their lives like their demography, interests, the digital platforms they are present on etc. In fact you can dig deeper to understand what their life is like. This will bring clarity and help concretely arrive at themes to upon which to build your broad content plan.

Content

You can begin by first putting down what your consumers’ interests are. This will take the centre stage in your content plan. The idea is to map what you want to communicate with what your consumers are looking for.

But that is not enough. In order to stay relevant, it’s important to consider trending subjects or themes – what is the world talking about, what’s on everyone’s mind? If there’s a TV show, a holiday, a global pandemic (you get the drift) etc., create interesting content to ride the buzz. Because of the great relevance of trending topics, you’re bound to catch some eyes.

Channel

The next step is to answer how you are going to present this content. How you deliver content is important. The fact of the matter is that content is not created equal. It varies according to the medium or is expressed in different forms to suit the medium – a blog, as a video, pictures on a social media handle and so on.

If your target consumer is on Instagram, use visual-led content. But for a blog, it would be ideal to be text led and supported by visuals. Being mindful about mediums and channels can go a long way in winning audiences.

For a 21st-century brand, content marketing is the key to successful digital marketing strategy. In order to create great, compelling content, a well-drawn content creation process is necessary.

So just follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way.

5 steps to create digital content

  1. It all begins with SEO

Now that you’ve identified your target audience and what they might be looking for, it’s time to confirm if that in fact applies to them. SEO or keyword research will show you how much a specific keyword phrase was searched for and help as a guide in creating content around it.

Say for example that you are café specialising in cakes, you will run a search to find out what themes related to cafés and cakes your audience is searching for.

Start with running a keyword search on keyword tools. E.g. Cake shops near me, blueberry cakes, birthday cakes. You simply have to key in the keywords and phrases that resonate with your buyer persona. Write down all the auto-filled queries by consumers. Don’t forget to also take note of the related searches section.

  1. Time to storm the brains

You have identified the keywords, now it’s time to put your minds together to arrive at content ideas. Brainstorming is the process of arriving at content buckets by first gathering and discussing different ideas without any restrictions.

If it’s getting theoretical, it is best explained through an example. Say you’ve identified that your target group likes cakes – your ideas will include ‘best cakes in the world’, ‘easy recipes for no-bake cakes’ and ‘the different toppings you must try the next time they visit your store’.

Now you find the forms for presenting this content – blogs, videos, infographics etc. If you’re running out of ideas, you can take inspiration from books, research in the category, or study competitors’ content strategy.

  1. Rules for writers

There are some rules that a writer must keep in mind when creating online content. First, to write to your target audience. What do they sound like, where do they resonate with you and what makes them laugh – it’s important to identify who you’re talking to and then talk to them.

Use titles and make them interesting; you basically have to compel the reader to consume your content thoroughly right at the beginning. Follow that up with focused ideas and a unique style. Be concise and clear – and stay true to your voice without getting carried away by the fancies of literary vocabulary.

  1. The editorial desk

This is a job that requires a clear understanding of the subject matter of the piece as well as an aptitude for what works for online content. Remember never to force-fit the SEO keywords for the first time while editing.

In fact, edit to make sure that keywords are naturally fitting into your storytelling. As you improve your content, encourage the use of active voice, clear language, short sentences, and plenty of white spaces.

  1. Uploading and Publishing

Once the content is ready in its form, the next step is to upload it. If you’re wondering whether they’re the same thing – the key difference is that you can upload your content before without having to publish it at that very moment. There are tools to help manage publishing content.

An important checkpoint is making sure you’re sensitive to trends and themes that are active or potentially growing while publishing. It’s important to keep eyes and ears to the ground and leverage the popularity of certain topics.

And voila! You now have a fool-proof process. It’s important to set the process because once you do, you can spend more of your time on creativity and creation. The content creation process is a balance between strategy and creativity – the best of both worlds.

Over time, its returns will shock you – and maybe inspire you to create more awesome content. For now, here’s a popular idea that evolved through the years – for your inspiration.

“Content isn’t king. It’s the kingdom.”
-Lee Odden