Being in the content marketing industry, I have spent a great deal of time brainstorming what companies can do – and what I’d like to see them do – in terms of content marketing. I spend lots of time coming up with great ideas for how companies can leverage content strategies – create and promote infographics, complete and publish primary research for lead generation, film short videos with nuggets of knowledge for thought leadership, and the list goes on, and on, and on…

But, one of the most pressing questions companies and marketing teams always end up asking after I present a vision and executable ideas is, “How do we create content?”

When I am asked this question, I instantly transform into professor-mode and break out the content marketing education tools that I was schooled by when I began thinking about content in strategic, business-driven context.

So, as a refresher or to use as your coffee cup of inspiration as you work out your 2015 content marketing strategy, here are some content considerations, a new way to look at your types of content, and distribution channels to keep top of mind that will help you understand how to allocate time and resources and create the content you need.

Content Considerations

Remember that not all content needs to be created; it may already exist. And some content may only serve one focus. The first thing to consider is what content do you want to create and how will it be used as part of the buyer’s journey.

First, consider the types of content you need:

  • Blog posts
  • Social media
  • Infographics
  • Tip sheets/lists/eBooks/downloadables
  • Native advertising

For each, what is the volume and frequency? Which business goal does the content relate to and why will it matter?

To help with this, use a system of classifying content. To categorize, I place content into tiers, which helps me prioritize which content needs more time/focus and what can be created on a tighter budget or within a tighter timeframe.

Content tiers include:

  • Tier One Content – one use, one focus/goal, minimal effort for creation (e.g., social media posts and status updates focused on engagement).
  • Tier Two Content – one or more use, one or two focuses/goals; medium effort for creation.
  • Tier Three Content – two or more uses, multiple focuses and highly targeted/goal-oriented; higher effort for creation.

From there, explore other uses and sources of content.

Content uses and sources can include:

  • Created vs. curated – do it yourself or curate it from credible sources
  • Influencer-driven – guest contributors, interviews
  • Pitchable – use it for PR placements
  • SEO/keyword driven – serving more of a search-related function
  • Newsjacking – content responding to hot industry/news topics

So, at this point, you should have a good idea of the type of content you need, how it fits into the overall marketing strategy, and the purpose each piece will serve. From there, prioritize specific efforts, and assign a resource for completing the content.

For instance, if you have great in-house writers, grab the best ones to create the longer format and tier three content. If you need to outsource content, choose wisely – whether you hire an agency or freelancers, you need to be sure that they’re the right team at the right price, with the right level of commitment.

By breaking this down into qualified content and understanding what you need by priority level, you can better organize and create the content you need.

Oh and as a side note, don’t forget about promoting your content – just because you write it doesn’t mean anyone will read it without some effort to spread the word and grow your audience!

3 Takeaways:

  1. If you’re  stuck on how to create content, first figure out what types of content you want and need.
  2. Prioritize those types of content. It’s best to think of your needs as being in three tiers of importance.
  3. Align resources available with your content needs.