A no-bull discussion about
creating good content
…and how to do it.
#SMBMTL | @spundge | @craigsilverman
1
Quickly about me
• Director of content at Spundge
• Former columnist for Globe & Mail, Toronto
Star, Columbia Journalism R...
About Spundge
• Content curation and creation platform used by
marketers, knowledge
professionals, agencies, newsrooms etc...
We’re in a content gold rush
4
• Everyone wants to create it.
• Onslaught of (often conflicting)
advice.
• Tons of tools.
...
What do I mean by no-bull**** content creation?
• No buzzwords or jargon.
• No complicated techniques.
• Nothing that cost...
Content excuses
• I’m not a writer/video producer/radio host!
• How to get started?
• What do I talk about?
• How do I fin...
7
There’s good news.
Fear not, my friends…
8
You already have what it takes to create good
content.
Good news!
Content comes from natural human activity, NOT
techniques
• Collecting.
• Loving/Hating.
• Thinking.
• Gathering.
• Commun...
Making it good
Creating good content requires:
– Generosity
– Curiosity
– Consistency
– And…
10
Making it good
Creating good content requires
– Generosity
– Curiosity
– Consistency
– Literacy
11
Alright, let’s do this
12
9 simple, bull****-free steps for creating good
content.
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
1. Think about what you know
13
They say, “Write what you know.” Sometimes, they’...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
2. Find good sources
14
Who produces good content and good data about the items o...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
3. Read
15
Every day. The good stuff, a lot of it. Within your topics, by the
sou...
Reading/consuming always comes before creating
Question on Quora: “How did Ashton Kutcher
prepare for his role as Steve Jo...
Works for writing, acting, filming etc.
Kutcher’s answer: “I started by consuming
content about Steve Jobs.”
17
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
4. Save things
18
Remember when you read that one piece and you realized
what it ...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
5. Hold an editorial meeting (be sneaky if you gotta)
19
Grab a few colleagues, t...
Ways to kick off your editorial discussion
1. “What if…”
2. “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…”
3. “What that piece was missi...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
6. Give yourself deadlines.
21
Deadlines provide focus and motivation.
To make th...
Editorial Calendar
22
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
7. Write
23
Now you have everything you need to write something. Sit
down, get st...
Chris Brogan describes watching Mitch Joel blog
“When I watch Mitch
blog, what I see is
someone who can
synthesize other
m...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
8. Get edited
25
Those people in the editorial meeting? One of them is going to
b...
9 steps for no-bull**** content creation
9. Repeat
26
Good content takes practice.
Keep following the process, keep readin...
What else isn’t bull****? Getting attention for your content
• Think about who you’re creating for.
• Think about how you ...
Remember: Content comes from natural human activity, NOT
techniques
• Collecting.
• Loving/Hating.
• Thinking.
• Gathering...
Your turn
What other non-bull**** activities help you
create content?
29
Thank you!
Craig Silverman
Director of Content | Spundge
Free 30-day trial:
http://www.spundge.com
craig@spundge.com
514-8...
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9 No-Bull Steps to Creating Good Content

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Content is seemingly the gateway to a new world of success for every professional and business. Everyone is obsessed with creating it, using it for marketing, and pushing it out on every social channel.

But it's hard to consistently create quality content — and to avoid all the suspect advice and buzzwords that can lead you astray. Here's the simple, proven path that anyone can follow to create terrific content — every time

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9 No-Bull Steps to Creating Good Content

  1. 1. A no-bull discussion about creating good content …and how to do it. #SMBMTL | @spundge | @craigsilverman 1
  2. 2. Quickly about me • Director of content at Spundge • Former columnist for Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Columbia Journalism Review etc. • Author of two non-fictions books. • Founder, Regret the Error • Helped launch digital news org OpenFile. 2
  3. 3. About Spundge • Content curation and creation platform used by marketers, knowledge professionals, agencies, newsrooms etc. • Enables professionals to use content to gather and monetize knowledge. • In public beta, free trial: http://Spundge.com. • 100% made in Montreal! 3
  4. 4. We’re in a content gold rush 4 • Everyone wants to create it. • Onslaught of (often conflicting) advice. • Tons of tools. • Huge amount of noise and confusion.
  5. 5. What do I mean by no-bull**** content creation? • No buzzwords or jargon. • No complicated techniques. • Nothing that costs money. • No search/social gaming. 5
  6. 6. Content excuses • I’m not a writer/video producer/radio host! • How to get started? • What do I talk about? • How do I find the time? 6
  7. 7. 7 There’s good news. Fear not, my friends…
  8. 8. 8 You already have what it takes to create good content. Good news!
  9. 9. Content comes from natural human activity, NOT techniques • Collecting. • Loving/Hating. • Thinking. • Gathering. • Communicating. 9
  10. 10. Making it good Creating good content requires: – Generosity – Curiosity – Consistency – And… 10
  11. 11. Making it good Creating good content requires – Generosity – Curiosity – Consistency – Literacy 11
  12. 12. Alright, let’s do this 12 9 simple, bull****-free steps for creating good content.
  13. 13. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 1. Think about what you know 13 They say, “Write what you know.” Sometimes, they’re right. What do you know about? What do you like to talk about? What do people seem to like to hear you talk about? Now make a list of the things you know about, the topics you’re interested in (and that matter to your business) and that you get excited about. Hey, look, someone just put a list of interesting topics in front of you that you’d be good at writing about, and that will help your profile and business.
  14. 14. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 2. Find good sources 14 Who produces good content and good data about the items on your list? Find the websites, blogs, books and other material that contain the best writing and reporting about your topics. Did you notice they’re now your topics? Yes, take ownership. You’re now invested in them, and that means you need to learn everything you can. Find the sources you need to track, and collect them together. Keep adding new sources and pruning the less valuable ones.
  15. 15. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 3. Read 15 Every day. The good stuff, a lot of it. Within your topics, by the sources that matter. Reading tells you where you can add value. It tells you what people are talking about, and helps you see what you have to say. You’re also staying up to date on the topics that matter. Now you’re not just consuming content — you’re analyzing it and understanding what makes it work. This is how you get good at creating good content. It’s also how to generate ideas.
  16. 16. Reading/consuming always comes before creating Question on Quora: “How did Ashton Kutcher prepare for his role as Steve Jobs in the new movie Jobs?” 16
  17. 17. Works for writing, acting, filming etc. Kutcher’s answer: “I started by consuming content about Steve Jobs.” 17
  18. 18. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 4. Save things 18 Remember when you read that one piece and you realized what it was missing, or it sparked a related idea that went unexplored? Did you save it, file it away in a proper place with your notes? That’s what writers do. They read things and they save them and they jot down ideas and questions. You must save the things that matter, and annotate them. Add your thoughts. Keep notes and ideas.
  19. 19. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 5. Hold an editorial meeting (be sneaky if you gotta) 19 Grab a few colleagues, tell them to bring in a few good things they read recently and one or two topics they’re interested in. Now talk about this stuff. Talk about the things you read and what they made you think about. Make strange connections. Take someone’s idea and help make it better. Then think of a headline for what you come up with. No go write something to back up that headline. Repeat this weekly, and start reviewing the stuff you created and whether it worked or not, and why.
  20. 20. Ways to kick off your editorial discussion 1. “What if…” 2. “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” 3. “What that piece was missing is…” 4. Think of the headline. Now write the rest. 20
  21. 21. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 6. Give yourself deadlines. 21 Deadlines provide focus and motivation. To make them really work, don’t keep deadlines yourself. Make them public, on an editorial calendar. That other people have access to. Hold yourself to your deadline. Get other people to hold you to them. Hold other people to theirs.
  22. 22. Editorial Calendar 22
  23. 23. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 7. Write 23 Now you have everything you need to write something. Sit down, get started. Don’t censor yourself too much in the early stages. Just get things down. Quote from sources, and link back to them. Credit other people for good ideas. Three things to always keep in mind: 1. Being clear and/or useful is better than trying to be funny and/or outrageous. Easier, too. 2. Don’t use words you don’t understand. 3. Don’t waste the words you do understand by using them carelessly.
  24. 24. Chris Brogan describes watching Mitch Joel blog “When I watch Mitch blog, what I see is someone who can synthesize other materials around his core idea.” — Chris Brogan 24
  25. 25. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 8. Get edited 25 Those people in the editorial meeting? One of them is going to be your editor. Tell them to help you follow the above advice. Tell them to be ruthless in the name of ensuing what you’ve written is clear and has a point. Tell them to be generous with praise. We all like that. But they also need to tell you what doesn’t work. Talk about the changes they made. Argue a bit when you disagree, but always focus on what best serves the reader, rather than your ego. Good content comes in part from good editing.
  26. 26. 9 steps for no-bull**** content creation 9. Repeat 26 Good content takes practice. Keep following the process, keep reading and saving and sharing ideas and writing them. You’ll get better. People will compliment you on your progress. Say thank you and get back to work on the next thing, because people only really care about your next good piece of content.
  27. 27. What else isn’t bull****? Getting attention for your content • Think about who you’re creating for. • Think about how you make them aware of what you’ve created for them. • Think about encouraging their feedback. • Think about making them part of the process. • Think about surprising and delighting them. 27
  28. 28. Remember: Content comes from natural human activity, NOT techniques • Collecting. • Loving/Hating. • Thinking. • Gathering. • Communicating. 28
  29. 29. Your turn What other non-bull**** activities help you create content? 29
  30. 30. Thank you! Craig Silverman Director of Content | Spundge Free 30-day trial: http://www.spundge.com craig@spundge.com 514-808-04548 @Spundge @CraigSilverman 30 Slides and infographic: http://blog.spundge.com/no-bullshit-content/

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