Every week, I see the same blog posts and articles you see that promise to help hack the content creation process. I receive the same emails you receive from some marketing technology company that is pushing a platform that makes the content creation process easy by streamlining my workflows. I see the latest “formula” for the perfect blog post.
They’re all lies.
Because creating content – high quality, compelling content that human beings want to read, and maybe even share – is not easy. It’s not ever going to be easy. If it’s easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. Or creating and publishing crap (and, clearly, this is what a lot of companies are doing; I mean, just read the Internet for a few minutes). There is no silver bullet. You can’t summon a genie to say, “Poof! Here’s your content!”
I’m very sorry to tell you that great content requires talent and hard work. So, Step One: You have to hire good writers. Then allow them to make it great. This requires time and effort (as Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit”). You need to keep working to make it truly impactful.
Creating compelling writing can be tortuous. Because you’re going to get stuck at some point.
What sets great writers apart from others is that they don’t allow the difficulty to stop them. They forge ahead. They acknowledge that day-in, day-out writing is not going to be easy and they do it anyway because they’re driven. They obsess over making their content great.
When your organization decides that content marketing is the best path forward (and it is), you need to understand this. You need to plan accordingly. You need to hire people that are committed to creating great content and you need to understand that their process for creating high quality content is not a process your organization has used before. You need to understand that this new kind of marketing requires different skills and a different mindset than traditional marketing. With content marketing, you’re pulling rather than pushing, nurturing rather than selling and trusting your customers to make smart decisions.
If you do these things, you’ll have a tremendous advantage over your competition: Most of them will quit when the going gets tough. They’ll decide it isn’t worth it, or that they don’t have the ability to have success. They’ll stop, while you keep going. When they quit, you zoom ahead. They’ll never catch up because they’re burdened with doubt and old school thinking.
The key is to understand from Day One that it’s going to be hard. And that’s your advantage.