Treasure Maps and Shovels

by · July 5, 20131 comment

Treasure maps get all the glory. After all, without a treasure map, how else is the young adventurer  supposed to find where that chest of doubloons is buried.  X marks the spots, you know the drill. But what about the lowly shovel. Though never taking center stage in any story, the shovel is still a necessary part of the treasure gaining process. Without a shovel, how are you supposed to dig up the buried treasure? Without a shovel, a treasure map is essentially worthless.

Sure you know where the gold is buried, but without a shovel you have no way of getting to it.

Coincidentally, your content strategy is a lot like a treasure map. Obviously you aren’t going to find your content strategy stuffed inside an empty rum bottle; but like a treasure map, your content strategy does outline the steps you need to take to find true content success.

However, a content strategy will only take you so far. I’ve seen too many people create a content strategy and then assume that success is already theirs, “We’ve got our content strategy right here! The gold is ours!” A strategy is only part of the success equation, at some point you’re going to need to put down the map and start digging. 

You’re going to have to start producing content, great content.

How To Start Producing Great Content

Great content can’t simply be willed into being.  Consistently banging out last minute blog posts or frantically editing your company’s next podcast does not lead to consistent content greatness. Great content needs to be planned for. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Give Great Content The Resources Due

Take a look at your content strategy and compare it to the internal and external resources you have available. Great content takes both time and money. If need be, can you bring on new team members? Do you have the budget necessary to hire an outside partner to create those new webisodes you’re dreaming of publishing? If you don’t have the resources to produce the content identified in your current content strategy, than it might be time to redraw that treasure map.

Create A Content Production Calendar

A single calendar entry on a random Wednesday that reads, “Publish that blog post!” does not make a content calendar. If you really want to start digging, you need to think through the entire content production process. At the very least, a content production calendar should account for:

  • Brainstorming
  • Production Assignment
  • Initial Version Received
  • Iterative Reviews
  • Finalized Content Version Received/Approved
  • Content is Published
  • Celebratory Drink!
Clarify Content Pieces Early On

Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of creating a piece of content to determine things like focus or audience. The sooner you clarify the main aspects of a content piece, the easier it will be to produce it. Once you have an idea for a content piece finalized, take a few moments and create a content outline to accompany it. The outline should identify the content’s intended audience, main focus, finished length and lastly, the Holy Smokes factor.  By identifying early what a piece of content needs in order to be considered “great,” the more likely you are to produce great content.

True content success comes from having both a solid content strategy and a clear production plan. As I said earlier, a treasure map without a shovel is just a sheet of paper with a pretty drawing on it. Conversely, if all you have are shovels, than sure you might dig a lot of holes, but you’ll never find that chest of gold.

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About Jason Spooner

Jason Spooner

Jason Spooner is the Director of Client Services for SME Digital, the digital marketing extension of Social Media Explorer. During his career as a digital strategist, Jason has worked with a variety of large and small companies including: NAPA AUTO PARTS, NASCAR, Kraft, Wal-Mart and Wrangler. His passion: creating powerful digital marketing strategies that drive results. Oh, and he does improv comedy. Follow his antics @jaspooner.

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