The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Content Creators
Content and marketing are one of the most prolific duos of all time. They can stand toe-to-toe with the best pair in any genre from Jordan and Pippen to Montana and Rice to Bogart and Hepburn. For both B2B and B2C businesses, content marketing is often a central focus for a well-rounded marketing strategy which is why consistently creating interesting and engaging content is such a valuable skill. As a top digital marketing agency, we wanted to share the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Content Creators to help others become better at content creation.
Not surprisingly, some of the habits of successful content creators’ mirrors those of highly effective people. While being naturally creative is important when it comes to content generation, just as important are the habits and routines put in place to help the creative process.
Some people might mistakenly think content creation is like other types of writing, but it isn’t. Content creation is a very specific niche or writing which combines creativity with research and structure and as such there are several things that should consistently be done to become successful at it.
7 Habits of Effective Content Creators
- Read regularly – This is variation on a habit from Dr. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His concept is focused on “sharpening the saw” which entails a combination of a balanced self-renewal program for the body, spirit, and mind. When it comes to content creation, one of the best ways to stay sharp is by regularly reading not only industry news and articles about a particular subject, but also general news and information. Some of the most successful authors in history were also voracious readers because that incoming knowledge provides fuel for creativity. Many writers utilize a systematic approach to the day where they sit down with coffee or tea and then read news, blogs, and feeds for a short while to not only stay current in their industry but also start ideas percolating in the background.
- Write on a schedule – Stephen King is undoubtedly one of the most successful and consistent writers of his generation. One of the tips he regularly providers writers to become better is to make a habit of writing every single day. King writes 2,000 words every single day when he is working on a project including weekends. Often, he says that he will write much more than 2,000 words, but he sits down in the morning and gets those words out. The same lesson should be applied to content creation. Set your writing schedule for each day, then sit down and start banging away. It is not important that those 2,000 words are perfect, because they won’t be. The point is to get words on a page and let concepts start to flow.
- Begin with the end in mind – This concept is taken directly from the best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. However, that concept is a bit more general compared to the focus used when it comes to content creation. In Dr. Covey’s book the idea is focused on the desired direction and destination, then focusing each day to make things happen towards that goal. For content creation the concept is to understand the complete purpose of content prior to writing it. Is the content going to inform or educate? Will it look to nudge a user towards a specific action? What is the marketing goal behind the piece? Once a creator understands the ending it is a matter of working backwards to the beginning.
- Understand the audience – A key aspect of marketing has to do with understanding the audience as well as you understand yourself. Great content is geared to the audience, which is something that simply cannot be accomplished if there is not an in-depth understanding of that audience. It is more than just simple demographics. Different audiences are going to have diverse needs, questions, and problems to solve. How can your content effectively do this if you don’t know all of the pain points?
- Leverage analytics – Analytics are a godsend for content creation once you understand how to incorporate them into the overall process. You can understand which content performs the best with an audience and then look at content options around those topics as well as identifying opportunities for exciting new content and ideas. Analytics are useful for also identifying underperforming content and improving it for higher engagement and increased reach.
- Regular strategy sessions – Content creation works best as a team effort for the simple reason that two heads are better than one. The most effective content marketing teams meet daily or weekly to strategize and discuss ideas, direction, performance and more. It is ridiculously easy to stay connected with tools like Slack or virtual meeting options such as Zoho.com so there should not be any excuses for getting together and sharing information to enhance the entire creative process.
- Be curious – Curiosity is a common trait of great writers. This curiosity often leads to exploring new avenues and thoughts along with learning more about the world which then provides insights which can be applied to writing. It isn’t always just about understanding existing problems but also finding unidentified problems worth solving in an industry or niche along with coming up with solutions, or in some cases fresh solutions to old problems. Play the Devil’s advocate and ask “why” more often to see where it leads.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that creating great content isn’t easy; if it was then a caveman (or cavewoman) could do it. Many of the best content creators have attained that status because of routines that have been developed over many years. Our list of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Content Creators offers a nice shortcut to that knowledge and can be applied immediately to help anyone improve in their content marketing endeavors.
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