Creating Content Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Creative
The pursuit of creating content that is compelling, creative and worthwhile doesn’t mean you have to be 100% creative.
Most of us aren’t born creative, it is something that is nurtured over time.
The more experience you have within your industry, the more creative you become. You don’t need to look at the bank canvas in the hope for inspiration.
We are being told to think creatively and deliver consistently in order to differentiate from the competition.
We are being encouraged to use Slideshare to create something that is on a different level from a glorified Powerpoint Presentation. We are encouraged to use imagery that represents more thought and consideration than a goldfish jumping from a small bowl to a larger bowl. There are more of us fishing in the same waters, so we better start learning new casting techniques and using different bait.
I know that it can be hard when you are making a commitment to create something that represents a well-oiled machine, rather than a stuttering engine.
To consistently be on top of your game and say something that the rest of your competitors haven’t jumped onboard yet, takes a huge amount of commitment. By the way this is not about being original either, it’s about being true to yourself and seeing things in a way that is beneficial for your audience.
For instance, no one has reinvented the wheel when it comes to marketing, we just says things differently to our audience. The principals are exactly the same.
Five Traits For Creating Consistently Relevant Content
I believe that being creative is only one small part of a series of actions. It becomes the starting place, not the end result.
Creativity is only part of a process. It is not the destination. The cycle of reward and fulfilment isn’t at the top of a mountain or realising you have just gained 5,000 next Twitter followers in one weekend. You need to bring in being a problem solver, a planner, a strategist and an implementer.
1) PROBLEM SOLVER (20%)
This shows you can interpret something that can be detailed for your audience into something that is easier to understand. Imagine the Malcolm Gladwell approach, by basically taking complex data and making it easier to illustrate a point. His books sell millions of copies by making the detailed look understandable.
Being a problem solver means you don’t have to be 100% creative. You are able to clarify what the problem actually is and action.
Take for example Dropbox, a space where we have no restrictions on the files that we store. Prior to 2008 storage and access to our ever-growing files was via separate hard drives. How the world has changed from solving a problem.
This now carries throughout the Dropbox content creation. As well as the articles that showcase how to use to make our world easier but real people and their stories and experiences for how they use it in their lives. Problem solving, sorted.
2) STRATEGIST (20%)
In it’s most basic way, a strategy represents the ability to understand the space that you are part of, the role that you play and the choices that you make.
Creating a strategy that is believable, trustworthy and consistent goes beyond a creative mindset. Whilst creativity may represent one idea, a strategy represents an all-encompassing representation to what your goals are and how this will be measured (and achieved).
For instance, a business that is creating regular content via a new blog section because everyone else is, does not represent a strategy. Showcasing new business wins and recent projects is not a strategic move. This is just called ‘posting noise by pressing the publish button.’
The company that has chosen a more strategic direction, will understand the role their business plays from the outset by asking themselves the question ‘we are…’
By understanding the purpose of the business aids direction for who the customer is and how you can build and maintain an ongoing dialogue.
3) PLANNER (20%)
Planning means taking accountability and the ability to reflect and review what has worked (and what hasn’t).
It doesn’t necessarily mean that huge change has to be implemented. Think of planning as a series of seeds that can germinate into bigger and better things. Planning doesn’t mean you have to be right every time. It may mean that out of 100 seeds planted, 60 won’t progress and grow into anything fruitful. However, there may be 40 seeds that become stronger plants. Planning can help you maintain and let these plants grow into something more meaningful.
This is similar to the content that you create. Out of the articles that you produce, you cannot think that everyone one will strike a chord that leads to something more meaningful ie. more views, interaction and perhaps converting to a customer. To build momentum, involves planning. Reflect and review what has worked.
4) CREATOR (20%)
As you can see being creative is not the crux of differentiation.
It represents the message and delivery for how you want others to see you.
Whilst I was in London last week, the city was full of iPhone 6 posters highlighting impressive photos that were taken on an iPhone 6 (and then massively Photoshopped or keeping it real to a device, using Snapseed). The creative represents the delivery of a message.
Creativity represents one small aspect of an overall picture when producing content with the intention to strike a chord with someone else.
5) IMPLEMENTER (20%)
A wholly creative person may only see an idea through. An implementer is someone who can keep the momentum.
This is not about thinking that a podcast is the answer to growing your influence and four months later, there is a site (or iTunes) that has four episodes and nothing else since the end of month two. If you are not going to be committed and have a goal to connect with others, then you are not being effective with your time.
The implementer can turn ideas and concepts into a reality and pursue it. For every Steve Jobs (the visionary), there is a Steve Wozniak (the implementer). For every Buzz Light Year (the visionary) there is a Woody (the implementer).
The next idea is not important. What is important is that there is a drive to pursue what has been created and to maintain a train of thought.
Those elements that you are lacking, you now have the ability to buy in what you are missing.
What this highlights is an ongoing cycle of activity that should always come back to the reason why you are doing it.
The answer does not lie in one magic bullet to stand next beside to deliver, but a mix of disciplines that can help form a consistent way of working. Take the elements of being a problem solver, strategist, planner, creator and implementer and you begin to build momentum.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of Josh Wedin