5 Lies About Easy Ways To Create Content

The B2B Content Solution: [Easy Button]. Warning: Will effect quality and resultsThere are easy ways to create good content, right?

No. Sorry.

Creating good content is hard. And it’s getting harder.

If you take the content shortcuts that are recommended by so many self-labeled content marketing experts, you will be sorely disappointed in the long run.

Here are five common bits of advice you shouldn’t follow.

Easy Content Myth 1: Just Post Your Slides On SlideShare!

When is the last time someone said “I love your slides!” And when was the last time you just put them on screen and advanced through them, not saying a word, and left the room wanting more? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Putting your slide deck on SlideShare is a recipe for boring what little audience you have left to death.

If good slides were easy to create, there wouldn’t be so many bad slidedecks!

Easy Content Myth 2: Just Record It

Have you noticed the number of hmms and umms in normal conversation? That would make your video painful to listen too already. Putting a video camera in front of most people will make it worse.

Once your video is created, your work isn’t done. To make it search friendly (and to make it useful for people that don’t love video), it needs to be transcribed or summarized in text.

If you have a legal team that reviews your content, you will need a script and you will need to actually stick to it. You will probably need to have both the script and the final output reviewed. And if legal has concerns with the video? You may have to pull the camera back out and do it all again!

By the time you’re done, you could have interviewed someone and written an article yourself, three or four times over.

Easy Content Myth 3: Just Answer Questions

You already answer these questions every single day. Just answering them in public for the world should be easy, right?

Not so fast. This approach does help you identify topics for your content, but it doesn’t change the burden of creating content or address the quality of content that often comes from individuals not normally involved in creating content.

In addition to leaving all of the hard work of content creation on the table still, for enterprise B2B marketers this approach often focuses content on topics that matter to late stage prospects, completely missing the early stage prospects still researching (anonymously) that you also need to reach.

Easy Content Myth 4: Outsource It

Outsourcing content is always a shortcut (with cost) option, but what are you looking to accomplish with your content?

If you are looking to present your perspective and incorporate your unique value proposition, you can outsource writing or production activity but the briefing and integration requirements are still significant.

If you are just looking to address current industry topics, remember: if someone can create it for you, they can create it for someone else too. Your unique voice and expertise is completely lost.

Easy Content Myth 5: Just Publish Guest Posts!

This approach leads quickly to two problems (and they are rampant, particularly on many blogs):

  • Quality suffers. Today, many guest posts are thin, written for backlinks and apparently blindly accepted. As the overall quality suffers, the quality of the guest authors you can attract will decline, and your audience will quickly follow.
  • Your perspective is lost. Sure, guest posts cover topics you care about, but does the opinion of a consultant or partner on an industry issue published on your site make someone look to you? No.

Third party perspectives are a valuable part of your content, but if it’s just a shortcut to content, the only person it might help in the end is the guest.

Your Turn

What other content shortcuts do you see individuals or businesses take that simply don’t work? Share them in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  • Denise Williams

    good content for us content creators ๐Ÿ˜‰ I advise clients on these very things — thanks for the reminders.

  • Maureen Blandford

    Seriously. Yes.

  • Eric, the first three myths you’ve listed (Slideshare, record it, and just answer questions) seem to be about the power of editing and the perils of not editing.

    Slideshare can be wonderful medium, if used appropriately. Likewise, interviews and Q&A can generate new and compelling insight.

    Thoughtful planning and rigorous editing are what differentiate the quality content from the commonplace, in my experience. Editing takes time, and great communicators edit ruthlessly, leaving only the most meaningful content for readers and viewers.

    Well-edited content is a gift.

    • Andrew, I agree. That type of editing isn’t easy for many people and organizations, and many people today use these ways to say “content is easy.”

      Video, slideshares, questions, etc are great options, as long as you don’t see them as an easy way out! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Sven Bries

    Myth 6 just grab a movie from youtube, a vaguely related infographic from Pinterest and add some paragraphs with good keywords. Slap on a product boilerplate at the bottom. Its that easy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • GAH! Thankfully I haven’t seen that advice elsewhere, but I have seen the output. Spot on, thanks for the addition!

  • Good points – in my opinion you are quite correct content marketing is not easy. Here is the problem as I see it for small business owners. It is possible to argue all day long about the merits of the Panda and Penguin updates (for the record I tend to believe they were a good thing) but it used to be a small business owner could purchase SEO services with a reasonable chance of success for a realistic price. That is changing as, you point out, content marketing is not easy and is therefore expensive to outsource. As you also point out, outsourcing content is not always a great idea. Even with tools and training the reality is most small business owners will not take on content marketing in house so where does that leave them? with PPC?

    • Kitty Kilian

      I would love to hear your answer to this, Eric!

    • Phil, this is definitely a challenge, I think the answer depends in part on what you were paying for, and getting for, SEO before. If you were paying $500/mo or less for SEO and getting good results, it will be difficult to replace.

      That said, I think small businesses can push more on #3 in particular and more broadly on a light blog approach. Your people know your business and customers better than those in a big company and you don’t need to be as involved in early stage demand creation for the category. You can wait until someone gets into market and starts asking these questions to engage.

      Combine this approach with some part-time production help (consider a virtual assistant) and unless you are focused on a small geographic market, where PPC’s geo-targeting is very helpful, it will likely cost less than a PPC approach over time.

      One last note on the value of taking a content approach: when you create content, there is a ramp up, but it pays dividends over time. I may share some stats from the growth of this blog in the next few weeks, but the trend is clear: growth has been driven by the growing library of older content. Today, only 25% to 30% of page views are on new posts each month. When you start, that number is almost 100%, for me it was still over 60% a year after I started blogging.

      Hopefully that helps, thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      • reviewing my bargain of SEO basis – here’s Matt Mansfield providing a good reason of SEO in Everyday English. For a record, it’s not “gaming a sym28s&#et21;; it’s “getting in step with

  • MCJansen

    Awesome advice Eric! Myth 7: Just write interesting content, but don’t make it actionable. I always strive to teach people how to do something in my blog posts.