3 minutes reading time (588 words)

8 First Steps For Effective Content Generation

Here's an overview of the first steps required when generating effective content. Whilst practice makes perfect we all have to start somewhere. So we hope these pointers guide you in the right direction.....

1. Choose Genuinely Interesting Topics

Draft a shortlist of the most interesting topics that you can generate content about. This should not just be interesting to you but to others too. Where possible, relate these topics to industry events or current newsworthy happenings. Once you have your ideas, ask yourself whether your proposed content areas pass the 'so what' test. If they don't, then go straight back to the drawing board.

Next, think about what you can say about your product, brand or services and how this can relate to the chosen topics. You are not writing blatant advertising or web copy but being in a market does give you the right to generate content relevant to that market and where appropriate to relate how your own products and services are relevant.

2.Research And Then Research Again

Effective research of your chosen topic is critical. So research extensively. This might be reviewing the works of key industry figures or of thought leaders. Ask yourself, why you find their work interesting and what can you learn from them for your own content. Keep reviewing these areas as part of an on-going process.

3. Keep A File Of Content Ideas

Use apps like Evernote to collect useful pieces, links and images that you might want to use later. It might just be an isolated sentence that inspires you or a clever idea for an infographic.

Once you have five or six ideas noted down, the chances are that the opportunities for cross fertilisation are far greater.

4.Establish Firm Timescales

Some content ideas can drift on forever or go way beyond the time when they were originally hot & trendy. So allocate a certain amount of time to generate your content and stick to it. See if you can build up a routine for generation and review.

5 Prepare First Drafts

Prepare initial drafts of what you are aiming to write. Walk away from it and then come back to it later. Ask yourself again if what you have written is still of interest and whether it still passes the 'so what' test? If the answer is yes, then start to edit it – checking spelling and grammar as you go.

6. Identify Striking Images

A picture tells a thousand words and posts with striking images are always going to attract more attention on a busy screen. So set up an account with a good and cost effective source of images for content. Getty Images and istockphoto are good places to start. Alternatively use one of the many online tools for generating infographics.

7.Third Party Review

Get other input and initial reviews of your content and images from your friends, family and colleagues. Poll them for additional ideas and be open minded if they are critical.

8. Use Social Media To Boost What You Publish

Once you have published your content online – be it in a blog or elsewhere, use the full panoply of social media to drive your work as far and as wide as possible. Encourage your colleagues, friends, family and suppliers to post, share or retweet it. Also join and then target specific communities that are relevant on Google+. Lastly, experiment with different days and time slots for posting future content pieces over time. This will allow you to explore what is right for your business.



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