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Blogging and Storytelling 201: Intermediate to Advanced Content Creation


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From a recent talk at Craft Content Nashville 2015, this presentation outlines a two-phase approach to content creation that focuses on building a strong, agile foundation with streamlined processes to leverage content into growth.

This presentation is tailored to both entrepreneurs and marketing/creative professionals tasked with company growth.

Published in: Marketing
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Blogging and Storytelling 201: Intermediate to Advanced Content Creation

  1. 1. Blogging & Storytelling 201: Intermediate-to-Advanced Content Creation Craft Content Nashville 2015 #CCN15Blogging201
  2. 2. @bretthenley on Twitter
  3. 3. Two phases of advanced content creation Building the Foundation + Leveraging Existing Content
  4. 4. First step in building the foundation? Shifting mindset from static strategy to an agile framework for content creation. i.e. outcome vs. process
  5. 5. Static Strategies • Too often rely on ideal conditions being stagnant (when the conditions for success will likely shift before you ship). • Provoke a task-mastering mindset (outcome) vs. process (influences outcome). • Can easily become a tactical rabbit hole that locks you into react, aim, fire.
  6. 6. Agile Framework • Provokes a shift to agile mindset - from what is my destination to what I am creating day to day. • Content is part of an ecosystem: Create + share + measure + leverage + grow. • Encourages trial and error with consistency and momentum as key drivers of growth.
  7. 7. Why the distinction matters: The Content Gap • The content gap: A grey area between what we're creating and what our audience actually needs (identified need -> value we provide) • The space where businesses/content creators spend most of our time AND feel like we're tossing darts at a moving target.
  8. 8. How do we bridge the gap? By shifting our focus from trying to bridge the gap in a single leap to building stepping stones to the other side.
  9. 9. Continuous Creation: Capture Ideas > Create Content > Share > Gain Valuable Context > Leverage Content that Performs > Repeat Lean Startup: Product Dev > M.V.P./Beta > Customer Interaction > Data > Iterate > Repeat Looking to Lean Startup Philosophy for Inspiration
  10. 10. Building the Framework
  11. 11. Start with a Content Audit • An audit helps you benchmark where you stand in your market, where there are gaps to be filled, and opportunities to fill them (i.e. create distinction). • The goal: Record observations and opportunities to identify "pillars" of core content strategy going forward.
  12. 12. What to audit when you're brand new. • Categorization: What are they writing about? • Website: Navigation, internal links, overall organization/hierarchy of information, anything/everything that strikes as relevant. • Copy: On-page SEO, headlines, body copy, calls to action, blog posts, etc. • Core brand messaging: Is it clear + cohesive? Does it speak to an identifiable audience in a "human" voice or is it industry jargon? • Social media: Twitter, Facebook, blog comments, etc. Blogs/websites in your niche
  13. 13. An Established Brand • Audience: Turn inward first to identify intersection of need, your expertise, and what value you bring to the table. "You are your best customer" is not trite. • Market: Play in the search sandbox to find intent. Start by looking at relevant keywords and related searches at bottom of SERP. • Content / Website structure: Look for patterns and clues to what you're already writing about but not emphasizing in content strategy. • Analytics: Visitor metrics, demographics and interests data, etc. • Social media: Twitter search is my go-to because it natively does a great job displaying relevant search results based on hashtag. Otherwise, audit the conversations and look for clues as to what peeps need/are already asking for. • Existing business processes + tools.
  14. 14. Next: Identify Categorization What the hell do I want to write about? vs. What is relevant, valuable, useful? Specificity influences content structure but also your core content strategy.
  15. 15. Start with the audit Look for opportunities to fill a knowledge gap. These are the buckets you'll want to create content from.
  16. 16. Then: Establish a Content Creation Process 1. Capture ideas 2. Create the daily writing habit and build a content repository. 3. Separate editing from creating + establish frequency. 4. Sharing: Think integration, not automation. Repurpose talking points from content into social conversation. 5. Archive -> What happens after it's published? Organized. Backup. 6. Audit regularly to identify opportunities to leverage existing content into growth (e.g. blog post into lead magnet) 7. Rinse and Repeat.
  17. 17. A Few Ideas to Get Your Leverage On.
  18. 18. Email • Offer more value with exclusive content. • Bridging the content gap by earning permission: These are people who have asked to receive content from you, which puts you closer to conversion + community if you keep delivering value. • Giving your people a reason to stick around - not just capitalizing on traffic, you're creating the opportunity for a deeper value exchange.
  19. 19. The Anatomy of an Effective Email Opt-In
  20. 20. Leading with Value: Noah Kagan (
  21. 21. Aligned with core message: Jason Zook (
  22. 22. Social Proof: Paul Jarvis (
  23. 23. Clear Expectations: Joe Bunting(
  24. 24. Opt-In Placement: Jeff Goins landing page (
  25. 25. Opt-In Placement: Jeff Goins sidebar (
  26. 26. Opt-In Placement: Jeff Goins bottom of blog posts (
  27. 27. Create a Lead Magnet • Offers actual incentive in exchange for opt-in. • Simple: Doesn't need to be novel length, but does need to be focused on solving a core challenge/need. • Empower you to go deeper with content that is already performing. • Provides more data to understand what your audience/ potential customers need AND gather leads.
  28. 28. Michael Hyatt: Video series relevant to blog post topic (
  29. 29. Recap • Think agile framework vs. static strategy • Audit! • Identify top-level categorization • Content creation process • Leverage existing content, starting with email.
  30. 30. @bretthenley on Twitter