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Content Creation

Content Creation: The Essential Guide

Robert Mills • 18 minutes

In this essential guide to content creation we will define what content creation is, look at how to develop a content creation process, how to estimate the cost of content creation, cover different types of content creation, share advice around a content creation strategy and content creation plans, and touch on the people involved in content creation.

Finally, we share some best practice considerations and top tips and techniques.

Work through this guide step-by-step or jump to the bits you want to level-up immediately. The advice in this guide should be used and adapted to form the basis of your own content creation playbook.

Content Creation Download Graphic

Table of contents


Introduction

How much content are you exposed to every day? It’s a hard question to answer because content is all around us. There’s the information on the websites we browse, social media channels, newspapers and magazines, television and film, advertising, radio, emails, Slack channels, information from conversations. It’s a long list.

Some of that content isn’t relevant, some of it we are exposed to without choice (all those billboards on the morning commute!). But when we do seek information, especially in relation to products and services, we expect that content to be accurate, helpful, and timely.

It’s easy to create content these days and publish it, but the challenge is in creating content that is meaningful and in ways that are efficient.

This is why it is essential for organisations to be creating content that is relevant and useful for their audiences, whilst also ensuring it is an asset for their business. They have to provide their users and customers with the information they need, or else they will find it elsewhere, likely from a competitor. Creating effective and meaningful content is necessary for businesses to survive and those that do it really well will thrive.


What is content creation?

Our definition of content creation is:

A written definition of content creation
There are some key requirements for content creation which our definition brings together:

  • You need a plan for what content you are going to create.
  • Yes, it is about the actual writing, but also design as content includes video, infographics and many other formats.
  • Content created has to serve a purpose and be accessible.
  • Content must be created with specific channels in mind.

What is content creation and how can you build a playbook for it? This essential guide will get you started. #ContentStrategy #ContentCreation

These requirements ensure content will be effective in helping the customer and the business achieve their goals.


Why is content important?

Content is an asset for your business, and it is what will allow your customers, prospects, readers, and users achieve their tasks and find the information they seek. Here are some reasons why content is important that may drive your own content creation:

Provide value to audiences

If you’re creating content such as educational resources, guides, and articles, this provides value to the audience and can help them level-up. Value is also offered through content that helps people achieve specific tasks.

Build your brand (and trust)

What people think about your brand (and its content) is so important as they will recommend you, or not, based on their opinion. Creating consistently high quality and useful content will also build trust with your audience.

Attract and engaging prospects

This is where creating content as a business asset comes into play. You can start to establish your reputation with potential customers and users through your content. Educate them, rather than sell to them, through helpful content.

Delight existing customers

There’s a lot of focus on creating content to get new customers. But you should still serve your existing customers and audience through content too. Identify opportunities to add greater value as part of retention and growth strategies.

Position yourselves as thought leaders

Remember we mentioned how much content is out there already? It can be difficult for people to find what they need amongst all that noise. Position yourself as a thought leader through your content and they’ll know exactly where to find the information they want and trust.

Grow your business

Growing your business through content is a long-game, but creating content that is true to your brand, helpful to your audience and has a measurable business goal behind it can improve the ROI you get from the content. Quality content can drive more traffic, leads, and conversions.

Meet (and exceed) audience expectations

It always comes back to the audience. You should meet their expectations through the content you create (and surpass them if possible).

There is a high expectation from audiences for brands and organisations to be creating content, we live in a world full of information, so this expectation probably isn’t surprising.

Consuming content

When we also consider that the average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, suddenly the expectation is higher. So we’re expected to create lots of content for our audience? Yes! But it isn’t a case of creating something quickly and moving onto the next campaign, it still has to be high quality.

84% of audiences expect brands to create content and the average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. This guide to creating content will make sure you can meet expectations. #ContentStrategy #ContentCreation

In our article, measuring the effectiveness of quality content, it states that 60 percent of marketers are creating content every day to attract more business.

Creating content takes a lot of effort. Which is why it’s so important to be confident that the content created is what’s required, and you haven’t wasted lots of time and money creating content that isn’t fit for purpose.


What is the cost of creating content?

It depends. It really does. But in our Content Strategy and Delivery Masterclass, we try to answer this in relation to effort.

We present all attendees with a typical content creation process (more on process and workflow later). The stages are:

Typical content creation workflow stages

Then we ask attendees to estimate how long it would take at each stage for a simple web page of around 750 words (no images, additional formats, etc, so a relatively straight forward content creation requirement).

Across dozens of Masterclasses, with thousands of attendees in the last 4 years, the average number of hours to get this example web copy through the typical workflow is 15.

For one short page of content for a website.

Imagine scaling that up to all of the content you need to create for all your audiences, channels and needs.

A formula to calculate the cost of creating content

To calculate the cost of content production, you might have a spreadsheet with some variables and formulas that helps determine the scale of their content challenge. Any insight will allow you to make smarter recommendations around timescales, resource gaps, expectation setting, and approach, e.g. phased content rollouts.

A good starting point is to answer these questions:

  • When does the content need to be delivered?
  • When are you able to start creating content?
  • How many writers are assigned to work on the content?
  • How much effort (in hours) do you expect each page or piece of content take to create?

Getting started creating content without knowing these answers is risky business.

You can begin to calculate the cost of your content creation by using a similar approach to the project management triangle of:

  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost/Resource

Content cost estimation triangle

Depending on the project, adjust Scope (the amount of content), Schedule (available working days), and Cost / Resource (amount of writers) to affect the others.

Reducing the number of writers means the amount of working days must increase to create the same amount of content without impacting on quality. Or if a hard deadline means no extra working days can be added, it means reducing the number of pages.

Things do speed up with practice and there are efficiencies of scale but never underestimate the effort needed to create and deliver quality content.

What’s your annual budget for content creation?

According to Content Science Review, 53% of organisations don’t know their annual content budget. If that content they’re creating isn’t effective and is poor quality, they might be wasting lots of money on content that isn’t even working for them. But they don’t know what they’re spending, so can’t know what they’re wasting.

Annual content budget

53% of organisations don’t know their annual content budget. Do you? Estimate your content effort using the formula in this essential guide to content creation. #ContentCreation

Considering scope, time and resource will give an idea of how much your content creation takes in terms of hours, people, and money. It will vary from content to content, but even a ballpark is useful for planning future content creation requirements.

Content Creation Download Graphic


Developing a content creation strategy

There are lots of elements to content strategy, and you should adapt those to your own organisation, teams, and clients as needed. All the content you create should be informed by a strategy and strive to achieve the principles of good content, as highlighted in Erin Kissane’s book, The Elements of Content Strategy.

Erin states that good content is:

  • Useful
  • User-centered
  • Clear
  • Consistent
  • Concise
  • Supported

As part of your strategy you may want to:

The list of potential tasks you could complete is long (the above list is a good starting point), but there are some key considerations needed in order to ensure any content that is created is effective.

“One of the most important things you can do for your Content Producers is to help them understand your strategy, from what business goals you’re trying to achieve to what your users want and expect from you to why you decided to create the content you’re asking them to produce.”

Meghan Casey Author and Content Strategist

Creating content with a purpose

All of your content needs to have a purpose, or else why are you spending time creating it? Whether for the business, user or both, content must be purposeful. Deciding on the purpose will be driven by different goals and needs but if you can’t answer ‘why are we creating this content?’ with a detailed answer then perhaps that content isn’t actually needed or necessary.

Example: The purpose of this eBook is to educate our audience on the requirements and considerations for creating content.

Creating content with a measurable goal

When you know your purpose you can consider what goal can be assigned to the content to measure the ROI and its effectiveness. All goals must be measurable.

Example: Update help centre content to increase self-service and reduce call volumes to the call centre. Or, we want a 30% increase in registrants to our Q3 webinars.

“As you plan your production process, be sure to build in a way to establish goals for each piece of content. You can use a template for this or even a simple questionnaire. If you set goals before the research and writing start, the rest of the process will be much faster. Clearly articulated goals help your Writer know what questions to ask and what to write. They give your approvers and Subject Experts a framework for evaluating the content. They even give your Copy Editor a better idea of what changes should be made.”

Michael Metts Designer, Writer, and Speaker

Watch our webinar: Maximising your return on content:

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If you want to learn from more of our experts on a range of content strategy topics, including content creation, check out our library of upcoming events and on-demand webinars.

Creating content with your audience in mind

It’s important to know and understand the people you are creating content for and may have personas to drive this, data to inform, and customer research to refer to.

Example: It is one thing to know you have 33,000 newsletter subscribers or 320 attendees to a webinar, but what are their motivations, what content challenges are they facing, where are they in your buyer journey, etc? Try to move from knowing to understanding.

Audience research iceberg

Creating content for specific channels

You need to know what channels your audience is using and create content specifically with those channels in mind, rather than create once and share everywhere (unless that works for your audience!).

Example: Have guidelines for how you format, sound and write content for different channels. Understand what content types perform best on each channel.


Developing a content creation plan

Once you have a strategy for your content creation, it’s time to think about tactics and draw up a plan for creating the content.

There are some key elements to determine and have in place, informed by your strategy work:

These apply for website content creation, all digital content creation, marketing content creation, social content creation and all other content types, formats, and channels. Wherever you’re serving information to your audience, having a plan in place will help you operationalise your content creation, especially important for the on-going day-to-day content creation and for scaling content creation efforts.

Check out these core elements of a content creation plan (and much more) in this essential guide. #ContentCreation

Let’s look at these elements of a content creation plan in more detail.

Creating different content types

When you know what you are saying and who you are saying it to, you can start to make informed decisions around what types of content you need. The list here is long, as you’d expect but some core rules are:

  • You don’t need to create content for every possible type
  • You don’t need the same content type for all your audiences

Think about where your customers, prospects, readers, champions, and influencers are. Maybe an infographic would be better for them than a blog article. Perhaps they prefer consuming video content to sound bites on social. A long form e-Book might resonate more with them than a short and snappy cheat-sheet.

Identifying and structuring different content types can help you adapt your content to a multi-device and multi-channel reality.

Creating content for different channels

By now you know what your message is, who it is for and what format it needs to take. From here you can think about the channel this content will be published to and distributed via.

Channels you may create content for include:

  • Blog
  • Social media platforms
  • Website
  • Podcast
  • Printed collateral
  • App

Perhaps you need to change your tone to suit different channels, your content style guide can advise on this.

Deciding what topics to create content for

There are plenty of methods for generating ideas for what content to create. Ideation is an important part of any content creation plan. You could:

  • Involve subject matter experts.
  • Ask your audience.
  • Look at what content is performing well for you.
  • Keep an eye on what content your competitors are creating.
  • Create content for the areas you want to be thought-leaders in.
  • Perform an SEO audit to influence keywords and topics to create content for in your domain.
  • Perform an audit of existing content to identify gaps in topics you want to cover or areas of opportunity to expand on topics.

Whatever topics you commit to, they have to be relevant and useful for your audience and the business. Remember, content is an asset. It should never be a case of churning out ill-considered content and then moving onto the next creation task.

An editorial calendar to keep content creation on track

An editorial calendar is only one part of the content creation plan and toolbox. It’s useful to create a content calendar to schedule content and define the cadence in which you will publish your content. Editorial calendars can help you keep track of:

  • What you are publishing.
  • When it needs to be published.
  • Who will publish it.
  • Where it should be published.

Establishing an editorial calendar with your team is an important process and can involve them more closely in content planning and creation.

A style guide for content creation

Your content style guide will help content creators know your organisation’s rules around format, style, voice and tone. This is important for achieving consistency across all content that is created and is even more important if you use third-party writers or have a decentralised publishing model.

You will need to disseminate your style guide effectively for others to use it as intended and you need to be proactive in maintaining the guide. Get some top tips from the University of Dundee and Mailchimp as to how they manage this.

Creating a content brief

One way to start off on the right track, and help others understand what’s needed of them, is to write a content brief. This will outline the precise requirements and ensure the content that is created is what’s needed. Easier for the creators, less time wasted making edits and amends and it’s always handy to have a reference for what was asked for … just in case.

Watch our webinar for more information: How to create a content brief for any occasion:

 

 


If you want to learn from more of our experts on a range of content strategy topics, including content creation, check out our library of upcoming events and on-demand webinars.

Content Creation Download Graphic


Designing your content creation process

How you get content from brief to published (and beyond into governance) is dictated by your process or workflow. We’ve written entire guides on content creation planning, cover this in our content strategy and delivery masterclass and

As noted in our article, Who, When, and Why of the Content Creation Process, ‘great content isn’t stumbled upon, it’s carefully designed for a specific goal.’ This design takes place during the content production process – a series of stages all geared towards producing content that performs. This process is a workflow firmly rooted in project goals and audience needs.

That said, the content production process isn’t set in stone. Every content project and client is different so why should the process be one size fits all? Your content production process is just that, yours.

A workflow brings order to processes, connecting all those involved in content creation to ensure content is delivered on time.

A typical content creation workflow

A typical content creation workflow could look like this:

Content creation workflow stages

Whatever your stages, it’s important those involved are part of the content creation process design (more on the people, later). You can either focus purely on the creation part of the process or expand on this to include publishing, governance, and maintenance. Creation is one small part of the entire content lifecycle.

The earlier you can design your own content creation process, the better. The more time you invest upfront in your content, the fewer obstacles and challenges you will face after you kick-off production and move towards delivery. A clear and agreed workflow should be in place as a standard part of operations for all content initiatives.

There are six steps to creating a robust content creation process:

1. The goal.
2. The tasks.
3. The roles.
4. The order.
5. The timeline and due dates.
6. The content inventory.

Running a workshop is a great way to design your process whilst engaging key stakeholders. The workshop will need a facilitator, if you’re reading this, it may well be you. Follow our handy steps here to co-design your content creation workflow for an upcoming redesign, content initiative, campaign, or just for how you’ll deliver content on an on-going basis.

A step-by-step guide to collaboratively designing your content creation process. #ContentCreation

Content creation process workshop goals

  • Design an appropriate workflow for the project (it certainly won’t be perfect).
  • Identify content delivery gaps and red flags early.
  • Inform content governance.

Prepare the content creation process workshop

  • Book a meeting room for 2 hours.
  • Invite stakeholders: Senior Editor, Writers, CMS Editor, Subject Matter Experts, Content Strategists and Designers, UX/Design, etc.

Content creation process workshop activities

Introduce the workshop participants:

  • Split the room into two teams with a mix of roles in each team.
  • Handout/share a generic workflow diagram (like the one at the end of this guide) to give them a mental model of what such a process looks like.
  • Give them a specific example of a content item (like a blog article or staff profile) relevant to the organisation that needs to go through the workflow (they are about to design).
  • Share print outs of that content and/or the latest sketches and prototypes of that content type.

Content creation process workshop – Task 1: Map your content workflow

Content creation process workshop – Task 1: Map your content workflow

Ask both teams to capture the appropriate workflow steps for producing the example content item you’ve decided to focus on.

Ask them to use a post-it note for each stage (to move them around).

Content creation process workshop – Task 2: Add people

Content creation process workshop – Task 2: Add people

Assign and label a person or role to each stage in their workflow.

Look out for:

  • Are all the assigned roles already filled?
  • Is the same person or role appearing time and again?
  • Are the named people aware of the content requirements and their responsibilities on it?

Tip: Use colour-coded stick-men or post-its to quickly visualise recurring roles.

Content creation process workshop – Task 3: Identify risks and pain points

Content creation process workshop – Task 3: Identify risks and pain points

Highlight and annotate potential pain-points in your workflow.

  • Consider bottlenecks, known issues, lack of skills, internal politics.
  • Give the teams red dots for visual impact.

Ask these questions:

  • Are there lots of people with a say in the content?
  • Is an unfair workload falling on one person?
  • Do we have the required skills? Where might things get political and contentious?

Content creation process workshop – Task 4: Design solutions

Content creation process workshop – Task 4: Design solutions

Develop ideas that could help to mitigate or smooth out the potential pain points.

  • Consider the use of software, systems, and tools.
  • What are the current techniques and coping strategies for producing content?

Content creation process workshop – Task 5: Estimate time

Content creation process workshop – Task 5: Estimate time

Estimate in fractions of hours how much effort each stage may realistically take and total them.

Attempt to estimate how much Effort (as fractions of hours) each stage could realistically take to perform – write the agreed number against each stage.

Remember to be realistic and go with previous experience. Better to be conservative until proven otherwise.

Calculate the actual man-hours of work (Effort) required to complete the stage rather than the span of time (the Duration) it takes for the stage to be completed, although both are important when planning to resource.

  • Total up all the stages at the end of the process.
  • Multiply the total with the anticipated pages on the new site to get an estimate of total effort for all your content.

Content creation process workshop – Task 6: Pitch and critique the workflows

Content creation process workshop – Task 6: Pitch and critique the workflows

Present your workflow for the rest of the team to critique. Allow ten minutes per team.

Each group walks the whole room through its workflow and invites discussion.

Video presentations to watch back later, take lots of high-res pics of the outputs and back up ASAP.

After the content creation process workshop

Digitise the draft workflow plans from the workshop and refine them into version 1.0 and share back with the team for feedback.

This can be a simple Powerpoint, Google Doc, or diagram that you can easily iterate with the team’s feedback and the inevitable insights you will get once you actually start to move content items through the workflow.

You may need to do some more thinking at this point about how you are going to address the gaps and pain points that emerged from the tasks. For example: make a recommendation that you need to hire a dedicated Copywriter for some of the project, or to recommend that the CEO does not get to review every item of content in the workflow.

This can be a good time to circulate and present to Senior Managers to get their buy-in. It will help to set their expectations about:

  • Who is involved in delivering content
  • How much effort it will take per content item
  • Where the pain points are expected to be (and your solutions)

You can also use the diagram to communicate to Subject Matter Experts where they fit into the process.

Watch our webinar for more on designing processes with your team:

If you want to learn from more of our experts on a range of content strategy topics, including content creation, check out our library of upcoming events and on-demand webinars.


Who should be involved in the content creation process?

Knowing what needs to be done and when it crucial, as we’ve established. But who needs to do each task and where do responsibilities lie? There will be a lot of people involved in your creation process. There is a lot of cross-over between job titles and multidisciplinary individuals and teams mean the swim lane process is not always viable.

Instead, focus on roles and organise your content team with clear responsibilities. Roles and tasks in your content creation process may include:

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Reviewing
  • Approving

These roles and tasks might be assigned to any of the following people within your content team and organisation:

  • Content designer
  • UX Writer
  • Copywriter
  • Editor
  • Proofreader
  • Marketing manager
  • Content strategist
  • Subject matter expert

How prescriptive you need to be will vary but clarity is essential when defining your content creation roles.

For example, if you’re asking someone to review content, make it clear what they need to review; voice and tone, accuracy, spelling and grammar, etc.

The main thing is to stop guessing who’s responsible in your content creation process by having clearly defined roles and tasks allocated to each role. This increases accountability and reduces wasted time and effort as it removes overlaps in responsibilities, and avoids duplicate content being created.

“The faster you can all forget your job title, the better. If you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve for your audience, the goal is to bring all your expertise to solve that one problem. Work as one team, no matter who you report to or what building you sit in, and you’ll get to that goal a lot faster.”

Sarah Richards Author of Content Design

Creating effective content

Your content creation strategy, plan, process and people will vary depending on what content you are creating. There may be some similarities and overlaps but consider each type of content in its own right, to make sure you are creating effective content every time.

Does your organisation have to create lots of different content? Use this essential guide to creating content to make sure your process is efficient and your content is effective. #ContentCreation

Here’s a rundown of some of the common types of content organisations need to create:

Website content creation

Who doesn’t have a website these days? It can be your 24/7 shop, the first port of call to provide help to customers, and a hook to attract prospective customers. Everything covered in this guide is applicable to website content creation.

What your website content needs to do:

Meet a user need, inform your audience, be specific to your personas. Your website content will need to sell, educate and serve your customers and prospects. Be specific, have a clear message around your services and solutions.

“It’s tempting to complete easier sections of content first so things get ‘ticked off the list’. But be realistic — more complex sections of content will take longer to produce. Make sure the sections you focus on are important to the success of the site.”

Sally Bagshaw Content Strategist

Digital content creation

Digital content is more than a website. It is your entire content ecosystem and digital footprint. As well as a website you may have content on properties you don’t own like YouTube and content on social media channels.

What your digital content needs to do:

All of your content should serve a purpose and be undoubtedly your content, on brand, in an authentic voice and tone and consistent in style.

UX copy creation

UX content and microcopy can be some of the most difficult to craft due to the need for brevity and clarity. Whether copy within a product such as onboarding, call to actions on blogs and websites or error copy, it must be clear, correct and specific.

What your UX copy needs to do:

Be precise and concise. Make it crystal clear what the action is so expectations are managed, dead ends aren’t reached and the overall content and user experience are considered.

Marketing content creation

Marketing content is a wide-term and can include websites, blog, social, email newsletters, campaign content, webinars, eBooks, podcasts and much more.

What your marketing content needs to do:

It needs to sell, inform, engage, empower and educate. Not all marketing content will need to do all things but be clear on the purpose of all your marketing content and ensure it is created in the appropriate format and published and distributed via relevant channels.

Social media content creation

You don’t need to have accounts on all social media channels because they are ‘emerging’, ‘on the rise’, or because your competitor does. Have social media accounts if that’s where your audience is and you can communicate with them via meaningful content.

What your social media content needs to do:

Social media is a chance for you to create and share content that is engaging and part of a conversation. Your website may be more of a broadcasting platform, but your social media channels are a chance for you to listen, engage and chat with your audience.


Refining, repurposing and optimising your content

Once you understand what content you have and need, you can make decisions around what you need to create, but it isn’t always a case of creating brand new content every time. You could:

Refine your content

If you have existing content that can be refined to suit a new goal or meet a new purpose, make it so. This could be a change in phrasing or vocabulary, updating with new references, stats or thinking, or just having a read through to identify low-touch and quick areas for improvement.

Repurpose your content

You may not need to write a brand new eBook. Perhaps a blog post or series of blog posts could be turned into an eBook. It may be a good idea to get a webinar recording transcribed. Look through your content inventory and identify opportunities for repurposing existing content for different channels and new audiences.

Optimise your content

If any of your existing content is fine as it is, perhaps it needs optimising. This could be through linking to other related content, amending the title, adding a call to action, adding share to social buttons, ensuring all headers are correct, including a meta title and meta description, and adding alt text to all images.

Archive your content

Look at every piece of content you have and ask what purpose it serves for either your audience, your business or both. If it doesn’t serve any purpose, why is it published or why does it exist? It’s so easy to slip into habits of creating more content and adding to your inventory but a content declutter is a good opportunity to archive any content that is no longer useful or needed.

It’s not always a case of creating content from scratch. In Content Creation: The Essential Guide learn about repurposing, optimising and refining existing content. #ContentCreation

Creating content is more than writing walls of text for a page. It goes beyond body copy. Here’s a little list of all areas to consider during your content creation:

  • Headings.
  • Descriptions, summaries, excerpts, and other component copy.
  • Images and captions.
  • Call to action labels.
  • Links.

If you have a content style guide you can include rules and guidelines for all of these different content creation requirements. You could also have a checklist with all of these elements listed to ensure nothing is forgotten.


Best practices for content creation

The information and advice in this guide will form the basis of a solid content creation playbook, but there are many facets to content creation. There could be a separate guide listing best practices alone, but here are some best practice considerations for content creation, with links to additional resources and further information.

Don’t forget SEO

Don’t forget to include the information needed to help it get noticed by search engines and make it more findable for your audience. For example, include a meta title and meta description, and add alt text to all images.

Read more: SEO for copywriters.

Ensure your content has a measurable goal

It takes a lot of effort to create content so you need to be able to find out if it is effective. The key to this is to set a measurable goal for all of your content. You could ask what:

  • Do we want to achieve?
  • Would success for the content look like?
  • Is our expected ROI?

Read more: Get started with measuring the performance of your content.

Create content for a specific audience

All the content you create must have an audience in mind. You may have personas to write for, content for different stages of a buyer journey, be writing for existing content for retention and upselling. Whoever you’re writing for, make sure you understand your audience so the content you create is relevant, helpful and will resonate. Never underestimate the feeling of ‘this is for me’ that your content can create.

Content creation: people involved

Read more: How to understand your audience in order to make informed content decisions.

Three best practices for creating content. #ContentCreation


Content creation tips – 5 things to keep in mind

There’s a lot of work to be done before you start creating content. You need a clear process, the right people involved, and an understanding of what content you need, who for and where it will be published.

Getting those fundamentals in place will provide you with an efficient content creation playbook as part of your content operations.

Here are some final tips and practical advice to help you. get started with your own content creation:

1. Make your content accessible

It seems unfair to pass over such an important aspect of content in a final tips list but making sure your content is accessible is imperative to ensure good content and digital experiences for all.

A great place to start is checking out the Readability Guidelines project which is an on-going and collaborative initiative to create a universal style guide that is based on evidence and ensures content is accessible.

2. Proofread your content

This sounds obvious but how many times have you read something and noticed a formatting issue, grammatical error or typo! Mistakes happen, of course, but making proofreading part of your content process is a sensible step to avoiding unnecessary mistakes.

Five content creation tips (and much more) in this essential guide to content creation. #ContentCreation

3. Write in plain English

Clarity is an important goal when creating content. Writing in plain English is good practice and far from dumbing down. As stated in our article, 10 plain English principles for writing better web content, plain English isn’t ‘about simplifying your work or heavy-handed editing. It’s not about stifling creativity. Plain English is about understanding who your reader is, what they want, then writing in a way that speaks to them clearly and concisely.’

4. Read your content aloud

Yes, this will feel uncomfortable but when you read your content out loud, you hear how it really sounds. It may be that your written style and tone is more formal than you wanted. When you read your content out loud, if it doesn’t sound like how you would speak to someone, perhaps it needs some refinement.

5. Train writers on your content style guide

Having a content style guide is one obstacle. You need to get people to use it. That way, they understand the rules for creating content that will be in the organisation’s style. GOV.UK train their writers on the content style guide and Mailchimp also have effective dissemination techniques in place.


Further resources

Content creation is a broad topic which links to lots of other content-related activities and processes. Whilst this guide aims to share the essentials, here’s a handy list of further resources related to content creation and broader areas, that you may also find useful:


Conclusion

It’s no mean feat to create meaningful, purposeful and effective content. It takes time, effort, and real investment in content. Content has to be seen as an asset, only then can it be given the attention it deserves. Use this guide to create your own content creation playbook and have confidence that the content you create will meet your audience’s needs and grow your business.

Content Creation: The Essential Guide

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