How to Craft Better Content: 30+ Creators Share 10 Big Ideas
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen we start out producing content for whatever channels we’re using—blogging, podcasting, or video—most likely our notebooks, Google docs, voice memos, Evernotes (choose your method) are filled with tons of ideas about the message we have to get out to the world.
But the longer we create, the easier it becomes to run out of ideas, burnout on producing them, or get discouraged when that Evernote file is looking a little sparse and we’re struggling to fill it back up.
Recently, we asked the FinCon Facebook community to share with us one major step they were taking to continually create better content for their blogs, podcasts, or video channels. If your content struggle is real, this is a great resource to help get your creative juices flowing. And if you’ve got nothing but killer content right now, it’s still a helpful list to push you even further to that next level—or to file away for some extra help on a rainy day.
Tried and True: Ask Your Audience
“I listen to my audience. At Money Boss, I ask email subscribers to send me their goals. I catalog their responses. When people leave comments or send me private email, I note what their questions and concerns are. When I visit related blogs, I pay attention to what the audience is concerned about. All of this helps me provide better content.” – J.D. Roth of MoneyBoss.com
“I started asking my audience what kinds of content they need from me. I can better serve others when I know what topics are weighing on their minds and how they want it delivered (video, blog post, eBooks, worksheets, etc.).” – Jessica Garbarino of EverySingleDollar.com
“I survey and ask my readers what they want to learn about and how. I think both the content and the way it’s delivered matter.” – Robert Farrington of TheCollegeInvestor.com
“We conduct live Q&A sessions on Periscope and Facebook Live and use the concerns and questions that we see being asked consistently as the basis for future content creation.” – Talaat and Tai McNeely of Hisandhermoney.com
“I ask my subscribers questions all the time and then record the answers in a Google sheet so I can have a reference library to create content when I’m in a funk.” – Jessi Fearon of TheBudgetMama.com
“I listen to readers, friends, neighbors to get ideas on what people need and want to know about finances. I have a small notepad in my bag and I’ll jot them down as I hear them.” – Elle Martinez of CoupleMoney.com
“I like to pay close attention to blog comments. Often times people will tell you exactly what to write next and they are coming back to check!” – Lena Gott of Whatmommydoes.com
“I give away the info for free. I spend a tremendous amount of time answering individual questions so that I can create more stuff that people want to read. I warn military veterans what’s going to happen if they have to grow up…” – Doug Nordman of TheMilitaryGuide.com
“I’ve been focused on answering readers’ questions and providing as much value as possible. There’s no point in hoarding knowledge!” – Kate Dore of CashvilleSkyline.com
Provide Content Upgrades
“I’ve been trying to build content upgrades in the form of printables, guides, and other resources. The purpose is to draw in more email subscribers and give them something tangible they can use to execute on the ideas shared in the post.” – Jim Wang of WalletHacks.com
Repurpose Popular Content
“I’m going through my most popular posts to convert into infographics and videos. I’m trying to offer the information any multiple formats for every type of visitor.” – Joseph Hogue of PeerFinance101.com
Show Case Studies
“I provide actionable tutorials and case studies for my audience. It’s easy to show success stories and results, but showing your audience how to get there is the real value.” – Zac Johnson of ZacJohnson.com
“I listen to my readers carefully about what they want to see more of on my blog, and I try to relate it to my life. Real life experiences do best on my blog, and I try to remember that even if sometimes it makes me not look so smart!” – Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Makingsenseofcents.com
“I like to make sure that I am truly passionate about what I write about as well as include my own personal experience about the topic at hand. People can tell in my style of writing how passionate I am and I think that attracts readership.” – Alexandra Aguilar of Cashflowdiaries.com
Align with Your Mission
“I’ve gone through every piece of content on my site to make sure it’s in alignment with my mission. Considering every piece of content I publish within the scope of my central idea has completely redefined my approach and created a better experience for my readers.” – Stefanie O’Connell of StefanieOConnell.com
Stick to Your Strengths
“I say ‘no’ to a lot of ideas—and outsource others—so that I can focus on building my core strengths. For example, I believe that writing is one of my strongest skills, so I spend a lot of time studying writing techniques and learning how to become a better writer. I also spend a lot of time editing my blog posts. I enlist others to handle non-writing tasks like site optimization, creating images, etc.” – Paula Pant of AffordAnything.com
“Writing fewer posts. I was trying to keep up with a writing schedule that sacrificed quality for quantity based on what someone else said was good frequency. Dropping down to 2 (from 3) a week frees me up to create more thoughtful, better researched posts. I also have more time to focus on promotion.” – Toni Husbands of DebtFreeDivas.org
Focus on What Others Are Missing
“I go where others don’t. The work-from-home conversation (surprisingly) isn’t everywhere yet, so I use competitive research to see what social channels aren’t being used as commonly and hit those hardest.” – Linsey Knerl of 1099mom.com
“I am constantly searching for topics that don’t have high quality content and then creating the best content for that topic. I’m looking to write quality not quantity.” – Kirk Chisholm of Innovativewealth.com
Collaborate with Others
“Besides paying attention to which posts and topics seem to resonate best with my readers, I collaborate on a bunch of different regular features on my blog. Working with someone else not only brings in new ideas, but it forces me to be better and put forth more effort.” – Jana Lynch of JanaSays.com
“One major step is to stop calling what I make ‘CONTENT.’ I write in-depth articles, film quality videos, produce engaging podcast episodes, and design entertaining graphics. I also code beautiful websites. I don’t make content. Thinking of it like that takes the craft out of what I do. It’s my art.” – Matt Giovanisci of MoneyLab.co
“I often disregard what people say they want and give them what I feel they need. Also I only write about what I actually want to write about and never what’s ‘hot.’” – Billy Murphy of foreverjobless.com/blog/
Do the Work: In-Depth Research and Education
“I’ve been answering questions on Quora and engaging people more on financial topics (my friends talk to me more than readers right now!). Quora people seem to have basic information but they are not sure how it applies to their unique situation (which they always see as unique). Understanding how other people think and act is helpful in crafting content. I still like to give basic info but can find ways to make it more useful.” – Julie Rains of Investingtothrive.com
“For everything I post, I research Google AdWords and corresponding results. Great content is important but so is making it easy to find for those looking for it.” – Limor Markman of Limor.money.
“I’m a constant ‘content consumer’ of the industry as well. The more I learn and the more I keep up with emerging trends, the better the information I can pass on to my audience.” – Angie Nelson of TheWorkatHomeWife.com
“Keep growing personally. The more I’m learning, growing, and experimenting, the greater value I can offer my audience.” – Brian Bain of InvestorintheFamily.com
“I scour the internet, research potential ideas, and compile data to see what topics resound with our audience. Our combination approach is to participate in forums, keep apprised on the most recent news, and to consult buzzsumo to see if our ideas have good sharing potential.” – Chris Huntley of InsuranceblogbyChris.com
“I study the writing and production techniques used by the bloggers growing their fan bases faster than the competition to see what can be learned and applied to my own work.” – Todd Tresidder of FinancialMentor.com
“I read a lot. I use this to generate ideas for blogs, content for myself (and others), and to find ways to channel my creativity. Sometimes I read in order to spark inspiration, and I can be brainstorming for hours.” – Sarah Cain of Highfivingdollars.com
“At FinCon12, Liz Weston spoke about pursuing professional financial exams for better credibility and a higher level of knowledge. This struck a chord in me and I am now academically qualified to be a professional financial adviser. This has helped take my content to the next level.” – Adam Piplica of MagicalPenny.com
Thanks to all of the crafty content creators that contributed to this collaboration post!
What’s your take? What are you doing to craft better content this year? Share your thoughts below.