Of all the types of business you could run, nothing offers you freedom like a content creation job does. Whether you’re part of a business that wants to create content to draw in more customers, or if you want to run a blog or YouTube channel to express your thoughts and opinions, content creation can be difficult if you’re not sure how to approach it.
However, this guide will hopefully teach you some of the basics about content creation. After reading this guide, you should understand the basics of creating your own content, sourcing content, and how to research and structure it to fit the needs of your audience.
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Finding a Niche
Perhaps the most important aspect of creating content is finding a niche to work in. Anyone can write or talk about random things without much meaning or purpose, so finding a niche or subject that you enjoy can give your words meaning and make it easier for you to structure your content. For starters, let’s think about what you enjoy talking about. Is it video games, movies, business or art? Find something that you are passionate about and stick with it as your primary subject.
If you are creating content for a business then a little extra care needs to be taken because your words are going to reflect what the company’s thoughts are. For starters, work with the company you are creating content for and ask them what they need. If you are going to be managing their blog, then you want to get involved with the company and research how they work, what they do and ask them to give you a report on different cases and products they have made.
A blog for a business usually consists of the business’s own challenges, hence why it’s usually written by someone that works in-house because they can soak up all the atmosphere, knowledge and daily ramblings to put into words. If you are a freelance writer, then the topics you write about are likely going to be more generic and, as a result, you have a little more freedom with what you write about.
But what about YouTube? YouTube content creators are very generalised and there aren’t many niche channels that are extremely popular. What’s important with YouTube is your personality. Your content definitely matters, but you’re going to get far more viewers and subscribers if your personality resonates with the crowd. It also has to match the type of content you’re doing, but clashing personalities can sometimes be fun to watch and create a niche. For instance, you could be an angry film critic, a calm business person that talks about investments and startups or you could be a cynical games reviewer.
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Outsourcing the Work
If you need content for your business but don’t have the time or skills to do it yourself, then you can always outsource it. No matter what content you need, there is most likely a company that deals specifically with that subject. You can search up SEO reseller plans if you need content created that will boost your Google ranking, you can look up video content creation for your YouTube channel or for introductory videos on your website, and you can even hire freelancers to write about things for your company blog.
Outsourced content is usually very separate from your own content because, unless the writer is very skilled and does plenty of research, the writing style and topics they delve into will be different to yours. Some content writers offer a very personalised service that involves visiting your business and getting to know you and your employees. These types of freelance writers are more akin to journalists. They are more expensive and the work takes more time to finish, but you’re guaranteed to get premium-quality content.
If you run a business from home, then you’re most likely not going to have the time and resources to hire someone to create personalised content for you. Most freelancers can get by with just a couple of tidbits of information so that they can meet your specification. For example, you could tell them that you want an article that promotes your product, a top-10 list that includes your services, or something similar along those lines.
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Researching for Your Content
Unless you’re reporting on something, analysing specifications or writing fiction, then you want to make sure that you research every point you make and every statistic you include in your articles. Misinformation is something that every internet user frowns upon and if you’re caught fabricating facts, then your reputation will plummet and people are less likely to visit your website or use your services as a result.
The best way to do research is to use Google. However, there are times when you will need to visit a library if you need to find something specific. This usually happens when you are creating content about a historic moment or if you need to cite a source from a certain book. However, most books can be found online in PDF format or through online bookstores. You probably won’t be able to find every book you need for free, so a library is still very useful.
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When creating content, it’s common for you to be resourceful and use whatever you see. Do you like that image you found on Google? You’ll probably end up using it. Do you like that song someone made on YouTube? You might end up using it as well. However, unless you have explicit permission from the creators or they are marked as royalty free and available for commercial use, then you might end up in serious trouble.
There are some very vague rules surrounding fair use on websites like YouTube. The best course of action to take is to always use your own images. If you have photographs of something that you personally took, then turn to those first and use them. If you need a logo, banner or advertisement made, then make them yourself if possible or hire a freelancer to do it for you. Do you need music created? Look up royalty free music libraries and stock sounds to use instead of ripping them from other videos. Even if you have a small music clip of your favourite song in a video, chances are you’re going to be flagged and either your video’s income will go to the owner, or it will be taken down. Either way, you’re losing money.
When looking for images, sign up for a commercial stock image website such as Adobe Stock or Shutterstock. These are premium websites and cost a lot of money, but the library of pictures you get is incredibly vast and constantly updated. If you don’t have the money to spend on these premium services, then a free website such as Pixabay or Flickr (with the commercial use filter turned on) are good alternatives, albeit with a smaller library of images.
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Creating Original Content
Original doesn’t mean it has to be completely your idea that no one has ever done before. Original content just means that you aren’t blatantly stealing someone else’s thunder. If you are copying and pasting large chunks of someone else’s work and adjusting it slightly, then that’s called plagiarism and you’re going to be in huge trouble if people find out. It’s simply not worth the risk, and internet bots can detect plagiarism. For example, if Google’s searching algorithm detects that you are copying content, then it will lower your search ranking or outright ban you from the search results, meaning that you won’t be discoverable.
Original content, as mentioned before, doesn’t have to be an entirely new idea. It can be your own spin on something as well. For instance, there are probably hundreds of top 10 lists that cover everything from “favourite foods” to “crazy celebrities” and “underrated fashion trends”. You can even use the same idea for a list, but as long as the items inside the list aren’t the exact same and ordered in the exact same way, it’s not plagiarism and it counts as original content.
So whether you’re making video content to place on Facebook or articles for a publication, make sure that you put some thought into your content and don’t blatantly copy someone else’s work. You might get sued, your site might get blacklisted by Google, and it’s going to set your business back. Copying content and re-spinning articles might be quick and easy, but it’s not worth your time in the long-run.
Content creation can be extremely easy as long as you follow the rules, get enough help and do your research. Just remember these points: find a niche, don’t be afraid to outsource, do your research, don’t plagiarise, and create original content for the best exposure and results. Next time you’re tasked with the job of creating content, refer back to this article so that you know the steps to take and how to create premium content without breaking a sweat.