o you cringe at the thought of creating content? Many marketers do. Let’s be honest, it’s a hard job. Every day you must post content on social media to show others that you exist, send out a least one digital newsletter per month updating your supporters, and maintain your website with new events and blogs.
The good news is that your struggle to create content has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to create, but more so your ability to streamline your creativity. That sounds crazy, right? How do you streamline creativity?
The answer: systems and processes. By incorporating a creative system and process, you save yourself time, headaches, and you can become more efficient with your work. You may be wondering, how exactly do I start streamlining my creativity?
You can begin with production of different types of content, such as:
· Blog Posts
· Pre-recorded videos
· Live Videos
· Digital Newsletters (email)
· Social media graphics
For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on blog posts, email marketing, and social media.
There are a couple of items you need to get started: index cards, a watch, a writing utensil, a project management or organization system (this will become your editorial calendar), a word app (Google docs or Microsoft Word), and about one hour.
Decide on the Purpose of Your Content
Purpose drives everything else. Your content should be designed to entertain, to educate, to persuade, or to connect. Once you know the purpose of your content, you can then begin to think about the goals for your content and how you want it to be, sound, look, or feel.
Have a Brain Dump
While the title of this step may be a little unflattering, it is the first step in you creating this new process. Make sure you block out time on your calendar and get rid of any distractions. Grab a stack of note cards, a pen, and a watch. Then, for the next 15 minutes, on each note card write about any ideas that pop in your head for content. The key here is to make sure you don’t think about it too long, literally think and write. Then repeat.
Categorize Your Content
Now that you have a pile of notecards, begin to categorize them. If you find that you have multiple cards with the same or similar topics, then group them together. Congratulations! You have just created your themes for your content.
Decide What Channels You’re Going to Produce the Content On
Now that you have your themes, it’s time to decide how you’re going to produce your content. For example, if your topic is financial readiness, and one of the cards you write is on decreasing credit card debt, then you must decide how you are going to write about credit card debt. Will you write a series of blog posts on the topic, will you produce a video series, how are you going to incorporate it into your email marketing?
Create Your Editorial Calendar
Congratulations! You have your content, now it’s time to assign them to months. But first, you need a place to store the editorial calendar. There are a couple of ways you can keep track of your content. You can use a project management system such as Asana or Basecamp, or you can use a system like Google Drive. Either way, you need a place to house all your information.
Your calendar should consist of the theme for the month, the social media content you will produce, email marketing content, and any blog content. Keep in mind, your digital content doesn’t have to encompass everything about your organization. It should actually be a mix of 70% your content and 30% external content such as relevant articles, breaking news, and other organizations’ content (sharing is caring).
Write + Press Go!
Now that you have the timeline and the content ideas, it’s time to write and push the button. Make sure your content is formatted to accommodate the channels it will be published on. Social media content should be kept to 25 words or less (especially for Facebook, Instagram Posts can be a little longer, and of course Twitter is 140 characters). Email marketing content should be concise, with no more than 80 words per article in the email, and blog posts on your website should be 350 words or more.
Track the Traction
Now that you have published your content, it’s time for the fun part! Every 30 days, check your engagement to see how your audience is receptive to it. Make special notes of what content is doing the best and which content your audience is not paying attention to, then adjust accordingly.
Aleshia Patterson is the Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit Marketing Magazine. She has served in the nonprofit sector for almost a decade. She currently works as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator for a local nonprofit in Saint Louis, MO. In her spare time, Aleshia loves to travel, binge watch Netflix, and go on Office Depot excursions.