Feel like you’re gung-ho ready to smash out your latest article or video? Maybe you’re quickly jumping on some trend and want to push out an animated clip sooner rather than later? We’re here to tell you to slow your roll! There are many things to consider before you get going in creating your latest piece of content. Asking yourself these 5 questions before you begin could really save you time and a whole lot of effort in the long run. Here we go:
1. What am I trying to achieve?
You may have already briefly thought of what you’re trying to achieve through your creation, but have you deeply considered whether it’s being translated externally? Here you may need a little bit of feedback from colleagues, friends, or even some external individuals. There can sometimes be a misalignment in what you believe your goal is and what you think it will achieve, and what the actual creation is letting off. So, take a moment to present the idea you have to your colleagues or friends, and discover what they feel it’s trying to achieve. Does it hit the mark?
2. Who am I creating this for?
Do you know who your creation is directed at and more importantly, if it’s appropriate for them? What’s important here is researching and then truly understanding whether or not it’s the right target market for the creation, and vice versa. For example, you wouldn’t really post a fun, animated video if your target market is more reserved and conservative. Here you should research what works for who and ensure that you’re on the right track. You can even reach out to others to cross-check yourself on your ultimate decision.
3. Which format am I going to use?
While it’s wise to research your audience to figure out what kind of content they are most likely to respond well to, it’s difficult to know for sure until you do a little testing. Try your content idea out on a small group of individuals in your target market and get feedback from their reactions. This will help guide you when deciding on an appropriate format. One thing that’s non-negotiable, however, is that it tells a story. As Seth Godin says, "Content marketing is the act of telling a story to people who want to hear it. And making that story so vivid and true that the people who hear it want to tell other people."
4. How will this stand out?
The truth is, there is more content being created and published today than ever before. In order to stand out from the mass of articles, blog posts, videos, graphics and animations, you need to present to the market a unique take on the subject—if not a completely new approach to it. Therefore, research what others are saying to avoid repeating the same old advice and to also discover a unique angle you could take with your piece.
5. Do I know how to measure its success?
How will you know whether your created content is a success or not? Have you set up any measurement plans? This is where it gets a little tricky because it depends completely on the nature of your content. However, no matter what you’re hoping to achieve with your idea, there will be a way to determine if and how it works out. This could be through surveys, post-release research, or even simply observing.
No matter whether your newly piece of created content is an instant success or not, there will be a time when a follow up is necessary. What is the next plan of action? Either improve this piece of content, or simply expand it and continue it as a series? Here’s where a little educated creativity comes into play. You’ll use a combination of all the information you already have about your content, plus the new information you gather after you’ve implemented it, and create a plan of what’s next to keep it fresh and engaging.