Lane Ellis

Don’t Blink: 3 Often-Overlooked Practices for Highly-Effective Content Creation

Lane Ellis on Nov 7th, 2018     Content Marketing

Green hedge row maze with hut.

Welcome to the fourth installment in our multi-part “Collective Wisdom” series of content marketing strategy articles.

In this episode, we’ll take a look at the value of specific strategy practices that are sometimes overlooked or underutilized when it comes to creating strong content, featuring insight and examples from some of the world’s best digital marketers.

We kicked off our series with the planning process in “How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts By Planning Ahead,” went forward with content creation in “The Art Of Crafting More Powerful Content: 5 Top Tactics from the Experts,” and then dug even deeper into messaging with “5 Powerful Messaging Tactics For 2019 And Beyond From Marketing Experts.”

Now let’s explore a selection of commonly overlooked methods and tactics used by some of the best in the business for creating engaging and powerful content.

#1 – Staying Fresh While Thinking Long-Term

Fresh flower beside ancient Parthenon.

It’s no secret that content marketers feel pressure to continuously produce more and more content. But in the race to create, the question is: Can your content feature enough time-tested elements that it will still be useful and relevant in a year or two, or even a decade from now? What about 10,000 years from now?

Marketers should never overlook the value in thinking for the long-term and writing material that can offer lasting value. Nor should they overlook the opportunity to continually refine and refresh that evergreen content.

Even pop culture icon Grace Jones recognizes the benefits of smartly planning for the long run.

“There will always be a replacement coming along very soon — a newer, crazier, louder version. So if you haven't got a long-term plan, then you are merely a passing phase, the latest trend, yesterday's event.” — @Miss_GraceJones Click To Tweet

via GIPHY

While there’s no way to guarantee that all of your content will still be best-practice-worthy 10 years down the line, if you’re crafting content with longevity in mind, you’ll have a head-start in extending its useful content shelf-life.

Josh Nite, Senior Content Marketing Manager at TopRank Marketing, has written extensively about evergreen content and how to foster and promote it.

“Evergreen trees are part of an ecosystem. When they’re rooted and cared for, they thrive and the whole forest benefits. #EvergreenContent is the same way.” — Josh Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

You’ll also make it easier to write new future versions that can re-purpose some of that evergreen content you thought to include, altering only the portions that have had significant changes, part of the re-use techniques our CEO Lee Odden has explored.

“Using a modular approach will make the repurposing process easier, keyword relevant and meaningful for the audience because topics are driven by an understanding of customer interests, questions and triggers.” — Lee Odden @leeodden Click To Tweet

#2 – Experimenting—And Not Only Following The Guidelines of Others

Mountain hiker with map at guideposts.

There are many fantastic guides available for creating content, from Lee’s guide to making the process more efficient, to MarketingProf’s infographic look at viral content strategy, by some of the smartest marketers and industry influencers alive.

While their advice is chock full of good ideas that have worked very well for them and for others, don’t sell yourself short by sticking solely to the advice of others.

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, is both the creator of many excellent guides on content creation and a proponent of trying new techniques.

“The best content creators take risks. They experiment. And they sometimes fail.” — Ann Handley @MarketingProfs Click To Tweet

If you’re in tune with your creative side and not afraid to try something new, you’ve got your own unique talents and insights that can help you create content in ways that nobody else can.

Following helpful advice from others while still creating your own unique methods of content creation aren’t mutually-exclusive, however, as some of the best material comes when someone puts their own new twists on the smart techniques already in use, to bring forth something wonderful and new.

#3 – Being a Life-Long Student of Your Customers & Their Journey

Grand research library image.

Every marketer realizes that knowing and understanding your audience are both key to success. But the question is, are you consistently researching and refreshing your audience intelligence?

Finding trends in what your current customers need can help you answer questions that your prospective customers might be asking, too,” Jessica Best, Director of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley, has said.

Research can even help set you free, according to novelist and poet A.S. Byatt.

“The more research you do, the more at ease you are in the world you're writing about. It doesn't encumber you, it makes you free.” — A. S. Byatt Click To Tweet

By devoting time to regular audience and customer research, you’ll keep a pulse on the changing customer journey. And what you find can even turn into a new best-answer solution for whatever content area you’re working in.

Our own Senior Digital Strategy Director Ashley Zeckman has explored how research tools can help uncover customer needs, another practice that falls into the long-term best-practices category.

“The amount of data available today while daunting, provides an incredible amount of insights into what customers want.” — Ashley Zeckman @azeckman Click To Tweet

Open Your Eyes to Better Content Creation

By staying fresh while thinking long-term, experimenting with new techniques, and identifying needs through research, you’ll be using often-overlooked tactics to stay a step ahead of the competition and ensure that you’ve got your bases covered for powerful content messaging.

Now that you’ve planned and crafted your content, next up in our “Collective Wisdom” series we’ll move on to the art of content promotion. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, learn more by catching us at an upcoming conference, including Lee speaking today at ITSMA Marketing Vision 2018, which you can follow on Twitter using the #MarketingVision hashtag.

Then catch both Lee and Ashley Nov. 15 and 16 in San Francisco for MarketingProfs 2018 Marketing B2B Forum, where Lee will explore “The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success,” and Ashley will present “Stranger Things Have Happened: How Collaborating With Influencers Can Help You Save the Day and Change the World.”

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Lane Ellis About Lane Ellis

Lane R. Ellis (@lanerellis), TopRank Marketing Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, has over 34 years’ experience working with and writing about the Internet. Lane spent more than a decade as Lead Editor for prestigious conference firm Pubcon. When he's not writing, Lane enjoys distance running (11 marathons including two ultras so far), genealogical research, cross-country skate skiing, vegetarian cooking, and spending time with his wonderful wife Julie Ahasay and their three cats in beautiful Duluth, Minnesota.