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January 6, 2016

How Content Creation Has Become a Full-Time Job

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Photo Credit: Michael Heilemann via flickr

Ever since Google’s Freshness update in 2011, updating content is one of the primary tasks of copywriters and SEOs everywhere. Unfortunately, content creation is a lot of work and it’s often too much for people who are busy running their companies.

Because of this, content creation has given birth to a whole new sector of SEO and copywriting professionals that are responsible not only for content creation, but also for content distribution and marketing.

Ranging from CCMOs (chief content marketing officers) to copywriters, content creation is now a full-time job that needs plenty of skilled people to make it happen.

The Rise of Content Marketing Positions

In 2013, Contently published “The Rise of the Chief Content Officer.” This piece covered the ways in which the world of content marketing had changed to include people who were specifically in charge of representing and organizing the incredible need for content within big-time companies.

This shift coincided with the transition to digital media and a new and pronounced need for content creation. Around 2003, many companies began to shift their digital marketing budgets to accommodate for the sudden importance of content. In fact, a 2013 Content Marketing Institute study found that spending on content marketing jumped from 26 percent to 33 percent between 2012 and 2013 and that 54 percent of B2B marketers were anticipating raising their content marketing budgets in the coming year, as well.

Looking back now, we know that digital marketing has experienced huge growth and that projections for 2016 call for increased marketing budgets, new forms of social media advertisements, new purchasing options for Web-based shoppers and a steady demand for high-quality, unique, original content.

What happens, though, when content begins to outgrow the teams that were previously in charge of handling it? The answer is that positions like CCMO and CCO (chief content officer) begin to crop up. These positions have been growing in popularity since 2003 and, right now, they’re in demand by most major corporations and some up-and-coming businesses as well.

The purpose of CCMOs and CCOs is to address the bottomless demand for content and to find new ways to produce and market it. Most importantly, however, people in these positions are responsible for creating and writing a brand’s story and then finding a way to ensure that all of the brand’s content and products support and further the brand story narrative.

Currently, corporations like Petco, Netflix, Coca-Cola and Time all have CCMOs and CCOs and these positions are being filled by small companies as well. What’s more, these positions aren’t part-time or insignificant, either: they’re full-on, in-the-spotlight, full-time positions for a selection of highly gifted and skilled professionals. People in these positions are responsible for overseeing a merger between business and editorial departments in order to bring forth a new brand of marketing machine. For those skills, CCMOs are being rewarded with hefty salaries, an average of $111k annually, according to Indeed.

If you’ve found that content is King, Queen and all the rest of the royalty at once but you’re having a hard time giving it the attention it deserves, it’s time to dedicate some energy to figuring out how to free up your team for content creation.

6 Tips to Free up Your Team’s Time for Business and Content Creation

If you’re not in a position where you can hire a CCMO or a CCO, don’t fear: There are still things you can do to ensure that your team has ample time to create content your readers will love. These tips will help you get started.

1. Create a content strategy

Right now, only 44 percent of marketers have a defined content strategy. In addition to being an invitation for disorganization and inter-office chaos, this is just bad business. Not having a content strategy sets you up to miss a great portion of what your content could be doing. That said, the first step in freeing up your team and making more time for content creation is to develop a content strategy.

This includes thinking about things like your brand image and how you’re going to communicate it through content, which types of content your target audience will love, and which social media platforms will be most effective for delivering that content. Defining a content strategy gives your team a goal to work toward and keeps everyone organized while also making results easier to track.

2. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm

There is nothing that kills creativity quite so much as sitting down to write for an impending deadline and having no ideas at all. To avoid the stress and bad content that’s associated with last-minute pushes for material, dedicate some time each month to brainstorming topic ideas for the coming month.

Many content specialists believe that coming up with new ideas is the most challenging part of creating content, so you’ll save yourself time, energy, and stress if you do it all beforehand. This will help your content be more consistent and will ensure that you’re writing quality, thoughtful content that your readers will love. To gain ideas for topics, peruse question sites like Quora, search trending Twitter hashtags or consult some of the most frequent questions your customers ask. These things all make great topic ideas and having an arsenal of them prepared in advance can cut your creative work in half when it comes time to write.

3. Create formulas for headlines

Eight out of 10 people read your headline while only two out of 10 read body copy, so great headlines are important. To prevent yourself from falling short of the mark or creating headlines that don’t inspire curiosity and interest, create a formula for fantastic headlines ahead of time. If you need help, consult this BufferApp resource and use it as your go-to for headline creation in the future. While this may seem like a silly way to spend your time, it can help you cut down on creative while also ensuring that you crank out a great headline every time you sit down to write.

4. Work efficiently

Some forms of content (heavily researched articles, eBooks, etc.) take a great deal of time to produce while others are valuable to readers and easy to crank out. While you’ll need to create a mix of both types of content to keep your readers’ interest, it’s fine to opt for quicker forms of content to keep your content creation efforts balanced.

Great examples of quick yet satisfying content include expert interviews with industry leaders, user-generated content, and raw behind-the-scenes posts or videos. These things are interesting to readers and can also help you promote your brand, encourage brand recognition, and help your customers bond more strongly to your products.

5. Optimize your content

Social media is a huge piece of content marketing right now and, to save your team time and effort, it’s wise to optimize each piece of content you write for a variety of social media channels. For example, ensure every piece of content you write includes social sharing buttons in visible, high-traffic areas, that you’re using CTAs to prompt readers to interact with your brand, and that you’re brainstorming different content headlines for different social media platforms. This is important because, as it stands now, 50 percent of all millennial customers are using social media platforms to find new brands and engage with products, which means that you’re likely missing out on traffic if you’re not optimizing content for the social media channels they use.

6. Let go of “perfect” 

One of the quickest ways to hamstring your content creation efforts is to push yourself to make everything perfect. In addition to being unrealistic, this doesn’t serve your company or its customers in the long run. While your content should be free of duplicate information, misspellings, grammar mistakes, and plagiarism, it doesn’t need to sound like it was written by a scholar and it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Keep it simple and valuable and post often – more likely than not, these simple tips are more than enough to earn your company plenty of traffic while also de-stressing your team and freeing them up to work no other tasks.

Conclusion

Content is hot right now and it’s only getting hotter. The demand for content has been so huge and constant that large and small companies around the world are hiring people like CCMOs specifically to handle content creation and distribution. While a CCMO may not be in your company’s budget just yet – it’s always possible to create better content more effectively.

By doing things like optimizing content for social media, brainstorming topics and headlines ahead of time, releasing your company from the illusion of perfection and defining a content strategy, your company can boost its content game and compete with the big dogs of the content world in no time.


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Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.

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