Tips for creating content

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I’ve recently discovered a great new book called Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi, author and founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This book is an excellent overview of content marketing and content strategy for everyone from beginners to seasoned professionals.

In this brief post I want to zero in on Chapter 18 of the book, “Extracting Content from Employees.” Here’s some of what I discovered in this compact but information-packed chapter:

  • Two useful approaches to generating content. One approach is to look for creative ways (interviews, storyboarding, email analysis, etc.) to get content from folks who are not normally content producers but whose work can generate highly relevant content—everyone from CEOs to customer service reps. Another approach, a bit more geared toward writers but applicable to anyone generating content, is to freewrite and then mine your text for usable ideas.
  • Two great new books I didn’t know about. Okay, given my propensity for collecting too many books on writing and content, this may be a mixed blessing! But it’s great to hear that Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, has a brand new book out called The True Secret of Writing (2013). Mark Levy’s Accidental Genius (2010) also looks fascinating and essential for any writer’s bookshelf.

On page 213 of the book, Joe lists potential blog topics he generated during a freewriting session—more than 20 possible topics from just five minutes of writing!

If the folks you’re trying to extract content from seem reluctant—perhaps they’re unsure of their writing skills—Joe has some good advice. Assure them their content will be carefully edited before it’s published. This can go a long way toward increasing their confidence and willingness to contribute to your project.

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