As a team member of a very small marketing department at a small business, I have the pleasure of involving myself with both content strategy and its creation. Oh boy is it difficult to devote two distinctively different brain functions to a single task for every given project, but task after task, I find myself getting to understand the needs and nuances of proper content strategy and execution.
Is it the best situation? Probably not. I do believe that it’s a great start to skin my teeth into a discipline I am starting to grow to love dearly.
For the last four days or so, I’ve been repurposing this flagship piece of content (a 40-minute presentation) into a more personal report for our end users to download. As I wrote section by section, I tried my best to stick with a philosophy of asking myself:
- How does this fit in with our target market's buying cycle?
- Why do they care to read this?
- What action will they take after consuming this content?
As each section unfolded, I continuously asked myself these questions. I wondered if “Frank,” my user persona, would appreciate all the sweat and work I was putting into this piece.
Let the distractions begin.
It is really easy to get wrapped up in developing content, to the point of reiterating internal dialogue or messaging because well– it just makes so much darn sense! Buzz word after jargon after industry lingo, and sections began to form and take shape.
But wait a second… Internal messaging is to keep the company on track. It’s much different than what the end user wants to read in order to persuade them to dance a certain way. Oops…
A few rewrites later, while following the three base rules from above, I believe that I finally have something worthwhile for a person I will probably never meet. For the end user, whom we should all keep in mind while creating business-driving, delightful content.
Is it useful?
That’s the million-dollar question. You see it everywhere, written by anyone who knows their salt about content. “Is it useful?”
What’s useful to me is completely different than what’s useful to my target audience, the end user. What’s useful to my superiors is another complication.
Will this look good on my record?
Will this get us some leads?
Will this make our brand look a little more awesome?
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The right question to ask is will Frank want to read this? And, if so, what will he do?
Being in the content creation seat is tough when there are all of these checks and balances to maintain. However, I believe that if the work stems from a genuine need to fulfill and satisfy the end user, the work (though may be tough) will seem all the more worthwhile.
I realize I break many rules by trying to play a role in both content strategy and its creation, but it’s a necessity given the circumstances. A fledgling business with big ideas, but not much of the necessary machinery and processes to pull it off means a lot of stretching of internal talent. I’m sure I’m not the only one doing this.
Anyone else get what I’m saying?