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Two Paths to Content Production

content creation

True, marketers love false dichotomies… but a lot of things do boil down that way. (Not all dichotomies are false.) For example: all of your web traffic does fall into Paid and Unpaid buckets, no matter how you’d prefer to slice and dice the data in detail. Well, this is another place where things boil down neatly.

When you’re developing a content-marketing strategy, there are really only two ways to produce the content you’ll need: Creation and Curation. As you’ll see, these tactics aren’t exclusive but we’ll explain later why blending them can be tricky, and until then, we’ll get you acquainted with the specifics of each path.

For today’s Part I, let’s discuss the Creation path!

A few different approaches count here:

Old-School (starting with a blank page). There’s no substitution for good ol’ OC, or Original Content. It’s definitely not easy, but you won’t be able to avoid it completely—and on the plus side, this stuff can generate the biggest wins when it’s given a little TLC.

Updates & Adaptations. The single biggest mistake of the common content marketer is using content once and only once. You should always be looking for ways to renovate, revitalize, and refresh old content—partly for its own sake (drawing full value out of your existing work), but partly also for the ways you can build new stuff upon it. Ask yourself:

🦓  Can I somehow update, re-work, or expand this piece into a Totally Different Animal?
👉 Does this piece of content “point to” topics that my audience would want to read more about?
💿 Would this piece of content adapt well to a different format? (Audio interviews can be transcribed into features; videos can be spliced into photo galleries and recaps; information of all sorts can be morphed into charts and infographics.)

Commissioned (pay an outside creator). Assuming you want quality content as a result, this choice essentially trades the creative elbow grease for project management. You’ll need to scout and test candidates, articulate your vision and needs, and then see them through to completion (including payment). All of this can be managed on a platform like Upwork but, though that streamlines things, it’s still work and focus required of you—even if you’re diligent enough to establish an ongoing relationship with a reliable contractor.Commissioned might seem like a third category—and in some ways, it is—but we include it under Creation because it’s just one of the ways you can wind up with content that didn’t exist before you started.

We’ll have more to say about Creation as we go along, and we’ll pick up tomorrow with Part II on Curation!

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