Brilliant content springs from the heart of the writer and into the mind of the reader. It takes a certain amount of skill and innate talent to produce and is extremely hard work. Publishing a piece of writing that will stand the test of time and be cherished for generations with the likes of Hemmingway, Twain, and Tolstoy is a noble goal, but for the content marketing program of a company, brilliant may be out of reach and the company will need to settle for good, and occasionally great.
But how does a company generate enough ‘great’ content that it can gain the attention of an audience that is already awash in a flood of content?
The first step is to establish clear editorial guidelines that streamline the approval process and avoid approval committees. It is easy for a committee to label every piece of writing as “not good enough,” with no clear set of expectations of what good writing actual looks and sounds like. Editorial guidelines will expand the pool of potentially successful contributors and help content move through the approval process with fewer rejections and rewrites.
Remember that each piece speaks to a specific audience and the writer and editors are probably NOT the target audience. Just because a piece doesn’t speak to an individual who is involved in the publishing process does not mean it won’t be a hit with the target audience.
When in doubt about a piece, test it. If there is doubt about a subject or a headline then test it. Remember, digital publishing is unlike print publishing in that everything can be rewritten and updated in a moment. Use your blog space to test what works, drive traffic to it and measure the engagement of the piece. If it holds up and looks like it could be popular then distribute it across a wider network of social platforms.
Increase the pool of contributors. Finding, hiring, and managing good writers can be a job in and of itself. Publish your editorial guidelines company wide and ask for volunteer contributors. Not everyone can pump out a dozen publishable blog posts a month, but if several people write a solid piece a month it can help flush out the total amount of good content you produce. If you are in a highly specialized field, finding outside writers who can contribute may be very difficult or out of budget and in house writers may a better option.
Another solid strategy is to develop a subject and headline pool. Help your writers get started by brain storming 50-100 subjects and potential headlines. Publish the subjects and headlines as part of the editorial guidelines with the full the choice to use one, change it or not use them at all. They are there to help the writing process but not control it.
And don’t forget to experiment with different formats and media. Audiences react to similar content differently depending on if it is written, audio or visual. Podcasts, video shorts, infographics, and pictures will help give your writing flair that your audience will love. You will only know what forms your audience leans toward by testing the different forms. And then apply the test results to give them more of what they want.
Never allow the never ending quest for brilliance someday in the future get in the way of good enough right now!