The Struggle of Creating Content

Posted by on July 11, 2013

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 Sitting on a glacier at 17,500 feet, outside in the cold and wind is not an ideal environment to be writing in.  To access to the internet you have to hike/scramble fifteen minutes from camp to reach a high moraine which has a line of sight to the nearest cell tower many miles down valley.  As an added challenge the tower is solar powered and will only work when it is sunny thus bright sun glares on your laptop screen turning it opaque enough so you cannot tell what you are typing unless you hold your hand against the screen or unzip your jacket and create a hood for your laptop.  Despite these difficulties I wrote blog posts, quite regularly that were verbose, scripting several at 1700 words or greater.  From base camp many others joined me at the “ internet hotspot”  and they produced reams of content.  My climbing team alone (three western climbers and our expedition leader Wally Berg) had so much to write that in the 70 days we were away from North America we created 256 pages of content!

I have been back in the world more than thirty days and this is my first non climbing blog post.  More over upon my return when I reviewed our corporate websites, no one on the marketing team had created a blog post since my last posts in February (they did post content created by other Flaman team members).  Only by the end of June has the team produced some content.  (Prodded by me upon my return)

So why is creating content in all the comforts of my home and office a struggle for me and the ninth store team?  

As a team we thought about this deficiency. It stumped us, we get all our other projects done on time why can’t we create content consistently and regularly? The first thing we grasped onto was that we had no deadlines for the content, thus no schedule.  All our other projects have definitive beginnings and endings.  Creating content is an ongoing process, not a project.  So in response to this thought we got together, brainstormed and created a content schedule with topics and deadlines.  We now have our beginnings and endings. I am happy to say the content calendar currently is working, we are getting content out regularly.

But I wonder about the quality.  Our desire is to produce videos, blogs, podcasts, info graphics, and white papers. On a personal side I have attacked creating “podcasts” with vigor, but I only have one idea I am interested in for a blog, and according to the calendar I have a lot of blogs to write.  The difference between the two is that all important thing called passion.  I have a passion for creating new and interesting content, but I am not interested in writing blogs reviewing trailers.  Partly because I believe blogs reviewing trailers are boring and self serving and do not provide real value to our customers.

It is not that I do not like writing blogs, obviously I was passionate enough about sharing climbing stories that I hiked out onto a cold glacier and with numb fingers pounded out posts.  So if there is a desire you will find the way.  I am passionate about podcasts so I am ahead of my required content schedule.   I have a blog due for trailers and I have not started it yet. So the real question is how to create a passion for creating content?

Hold on a minute, do you really need passion  to create content or do you just need butt glue that will keep you in your chair until the job is done.  Some argue for the web that while quality is good to have for corporate websites it is more important to have consistent quantity of content that will keep releasing new relevant information that will then increase your SEO. It does not need to be good, a search engine can not tell how good a post is written just whether it is relevant or not.  I understand that…but can’t we have both?  And how could that be achieved?

Wanting to achieve both quantity and quality we anticipated that some members of the team are going to want to write, others will want to make videos, while others will want to create podcast..etc.  I believe the problem we had before was twofold.  First we did not have a content calendar to create accountability so things slipped to the next week and the next week and so on.  Second we did not have enough people creating content.  The few we had got over worked and were not excited about writing so eventually with no deadlines, no content got done.  Now we a have a diverse team and a long line up of contributors so the pressure is off and the contributors are contributing content that they like, but they have deadlines to be accountable to.

With these two strategies in place I believe we have a good shot at sustaining consistent quality content. I know our simple solution seems obvious, but I believe we (like many others) fell into the trap of knowing what needed to get done, but not getting the work done, and then not knowing how to get it done .  It is easy to state we need to create content.  The reality is quite difficult.

Steve Whittington is President of Roadmap Agency Inc. He has also served for over a decade as a member of the Executive Team of Flaman Group of Companies an award-winning organization and has over 25 years of executive experience. Steve’s current board work includes serving as; President of Glenora Child Care Society; and Co-Chair of the Marketing Program Advisory Committee for NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business. Previous notable board work included, Chair of the board for Flaman Fitness Canada, a national retailer, a Director for a meal prep internet Startup Mealife and Chair of Lethbridge Housing authority, the third-largest Social housing NGO in Alberta.

Academically, Steve was an instructor of Project Management at Lethbridge College for seven years. Steve holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree; he is a Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Marketing Specialist (CMS) and (CCXP) Certified Customer Experience Professional.

Steve’s first book Thriving in the Customer Age – 8 Key Metrics to Transform your Business Results teaches about the customer journey and provides a guiding framework spanning all stages of the customer experience. The book explains how every metric impacts an organization and how leaders can best utilize each metric to provide a stellar customer experience. Everyone knows the customer is the most important part of a business. This book provides the tools to improve an organization’s customer experience and drastically transform business results.

Recently Steve’s Blog has been profiled as one of the Top 75 Customer Experience blogs

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