What is Digital Content Creation? (And How Can it Help Me as a Marketing Manager)by: Dustin Hawley | Monday January 14, 2019
It's a question that has been asked by many people. Everyone from the CEO to the greenhorn intern of an organization. The million dollar question: What is digital content creation? And how can it help me as a marketing manager? So let's kick it off with a 'dictionary' like definition of what exactly digital content creation entails.
According to Wikipedia, Content Creation is the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media for an end-user/audience in specific contexts. Content is "something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts for self-expression, distribution, marketing and/or publication. Typical forms of content creation include maintaining and updating web sites, blogging, photography, videography, online commentary, the maintenance of social media accounts, and editing and distribution of digital media. A Pew survey described content creation as the creation of "the material people contribute to the online world.
When you enter a question into the search bar of your internet browser, those links that appear in your search results are content. Whether you know it or not, you consume content on a daily basis.
That marketing strategy guide you found through Google? That's digital content. Those online articles that diagnose your flu symptoms? That's digital content. The video tutorial on how to edit videos on Adobe Premiere? You guessed it. Digital content. News stories, Instagram feeds, blog posts, cute animal videos, GIFs, memes...all digital content.
Let it be known, digital content creation is an important element of a company's online strategy. And marketing managers in every organization need to be activating effective digital content strategies in order to scale their business. Every piece of content you create—whether it's eNewsletters, case studies, blog posts, and more—should be crafted and designed to drive prospects to your brand, amplify your organic reach and increase your conversion rates.
What this means in so many words, is that if you’re not creating content, then you’re behind the curve. Last year, marketing managers and CEO's from businesses across the globe were surveyed and asked to detail the reasons their businesses had grown online over the previous years. The results speak for themselves.
A rule of thumb in digital content creation is that every piece of content you create must be useful and relevant to its target audience. The reason being that the more useful the content is, the simpler it will be for audiences to contextualize it to their specific situation, and in turn, share it with others in their network.
There are several steps you can take to get started on digital content. Some of these steps may not be applicable to all types of content, however, they generally apply to most of the content generated by B2B brands.
- Determine the purpose of your content: Specific types of content have specific purposes. Case studies, for example, demonstrate your organization’s experience and expertise in specific areas. On the flip side, video content can be used to engage a different demographic through visual content that is both entertaining and educational. Determining the purpose at the very beginning of the content creation process will improve the chances your content will achieve the desired results.
- Create useful, quality content: As referenced above, a rule of thumb in digital content creation is that every piece content you create must be useful and relevant to its target audience. In addition to the usefulness of the content, there also needs to be a strong emphasis on creating high quality, professional content.
- Promote content on social media: Sharing different content on each of your companies social media networks expands your brand’s reach and adds scale to campaigns. The content you share on each site should preferably be unique, in order to give your followers incentive to follow you on more than one network. Content like blog posts, for example, may have a lot of views, likes, and shares. This typically results in increased search engine rankings.
- Implement an SEO program: Simply guessing keywords to use throughout your content hoping it resonates with your audience is likely going to lead to lackluster results. It’s much more beneficial to implement a formal SEO strategy that leverages tools like Google Adwords and other similar resources. A well-orchestrated SEO program helps you determine the most searched, valuable terms for your location and industry.
- Track and analyze content: Under ideal circumstances, your analytics program should dive deeper into the data wormhole—beyond simple page views and video plays—to evaluate the behaviors of the people who are viewing specific pieces of content. It’s also important to maintain awareness of your rankings in the top search engines and continuously work to improve those rankings.
As marketers, we tend to put our focus in areas that don't always pertain to the creation of digital content. We wear many hats, and often creating content isn't one of them. So when it comes time to begin implementing your digital content strategy, a common question asked by marketers is "where do I start?"
How To Go About The Content Creation Process
Us marketers are very busy. Our bandwidth is limited, and that’s why we create processes for everything we do. Content creation is no different. It's an organized collection of processes that of Follow these steps to create content, remove the guesswork, and allow for more creative mental space.
SEO research — a.k.a. keyword research — will show you the search volume of a specific keyword or phrase. The results of that search can help you determine whether it’s worth the investment of creating a piece of content around a specific topic or keyword. Perform some research around the keywords and phrases that pertain to your industry, to see if enough people are searching for them to justify building content around. A common practice is to target keywords that have a monthly search volume (MSV) and keyword difficulty that corresponds to your domain authority. For example, trying to target high volume (read: highly competitive) keywords during the beginning stages of your blogging efforts likely won’t produce tangible results. There are some great keyword research tools like SEMRush or Moz Keyword Explorer that can provide a great start in determining the best words or phrases for your brand to target, and begin building traffic and visibility for your content.
Regardless of if your content creation strength is videos, graphics, podcasts, etc, writing quality copy in your content is essential to the creation process. But no matter what your content creation strengths are, the process follows pretty similar guidelines for each medium.
- Write content that caters to your audiences wants and needs. Use their voice, euphemisms, and even their line of humor in order to construct a piece that resonates with this demographic.
- Be unique. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, but simply regurgitating information that’s already out there is not going to help you attain viewership or create value for your audience. Create a unique approach or incorporate new research into your content to make it stand out.
- Stay true to your voice. Steer clear of trying to impress your audience with an expansive vocabulary if they don’t speak that way. Your additional efforts to impress will likely go unnoticed because this communication simply won't resonate with your audience. Instead, maintain consistency in your brand voice and build trust with your viewers
- Use titles, meta descriptions, and other teasers to compel your audience to read your content. Put the benefit of your content right in the title to let them know why they should read it.
Editing as a whole is a very subjective process. Some people like to edit their content as they are creating it, others prefer to wait a few days and review their work with fresh eyes. Either way, you should refine your content during the edit, monitoring elements like voice, language, and aesthetic.
The luxury of living during this technological revolution is that publishing marketing content is as simple as clicking a button. But as easy as this sounds, the process isn't that simple if you want to achieve results. So you can publish your content immediately after uploading, sure. But you could instead maximize its impact by waiting for an optimal time to post it.
When you’re just starting out, publishing your content right away likely won’t impact your audience too much, because you are still in the initial stages of building your audience. But if you eventually construct a publishing schedule, like delivering a new post every Tuesday per se, your audience will expect to see posts published on Tuesday's. A publishing schedule builds trust with your audience in knowing that they can expect content from you on a consistent basis.
How does digital content help you as a marketing manager?
According to HubSpot, 47% of buyers engage with 3-5 pieces of digital content before directly engaging with a company. So what does that mean? It means that content is essential to any digital marketing strategy. Content can be used to engage with your audience and prospects at every step of the buying process. Below is a graphic that details this process, known as "The Buyers Journey".
There are also additional benefits that content can provide to you as a marketer beyond the buyer's journey.
Digital Content Builds Brand Reputation
Creating quality content provides a medium with which you can effectively communicate with your audience online. This content will help the members of your audience transition to paying customers that will go back and interact with your content or website on a regular basis.
This will prove beneficial for your brand reputation. Satisfied customers will likely tell other people about their experience with your brand, product or service. And when that sentiment is positive, it typically yields results in growing your customer base.
Digital Content Increases the visibility of your brand
This benefit falls under the brand awareness umbrella. Brand awareness is essential in attaining visibility in today's ultra-competitive marketplace, and digital content is crucial in developing that visibility. To garner attention online, you need to find your audience and publish content that interests them enough to engage with it. This grows the visibility of your brand for one simple reason—the more people who are discussing your brand, and engaging with it, the more likely it is that other people are going to see and hear about your brand.
Digital Content Facilitates Business Survival
It's an everyday occurrence for brick-and-mortar establishments to see visitors entering their store, browsing their products, then leave without buying a single thing. Window shoppers come and go, but a select few actually make a purchase. And when a customer is satisfied, they will likely come back for more sometime in the future. However, if you happen to be getting more window shoppers and fewer customers, your storefront will likely cease to exist for very long.
Businesses that revolve around the internet can also be likened to this description. Regardless of if you have tons of website visitors, your business will fail if none of those visitors ever convert into paying customers. Digital content provides you assets that help you make use of strategies and techniques that attract not only more traffic – but more highly targeted traffic that delivers results and produces ROI that will keep the lights on in your establishment. And as a marketing manager, also keep you gainfully employed.
Working as a marketing manager is not an easy gig. There are so many elements to factor into your efforts, and enormous amounts of data to analyze when attempting to establish best practices. Creating digital content forms the foundation of these practices because it builds the data points and consumer feedback necessary to detail what efforts are proving effective, and which are not. And that fact is arguably what makes content creation so important to every marketing manager in today's age.
The business landscape as a whole is catering more and more to the digital consumer, and that focus on consumer experience in the digital realm is all but guaranteed to maintain growing importance in the coming months and years. So if you haven't already been implementing a digital content strategy into your brands marketing efforts, the time is now. It's more crucial to your business survival than ever before.