October 27, 2017

2 Step To Create Content

If the internet is eating the world, then content is eating the internet.


Everywhere you turn, someone is teaching you, selling you, or showing you (something with cats in it).


So the question is no longer “Should we create content?” It’s how do we create content that is on strategy and interesting enough to cut through the noise?


Here is a two-step process for igniting your content development.


Step One: The Rule of 10

In step one, our goal is to get as many ideas down as possible. This helps ensure there will be some good ones and if you dig deep enough, great ones.   


We borrowed this from a writer’s workshop, but the idea is that for every 10 ideas only one will be good enough to ship. The other nine are probably crap.


What we love about this is it gets you digging deeper and removes all ego. It’s easy to get married to an idea if all you have is one. Here are a few tips that we hope will help.


  1. Brainstorm in intervals. Focus and write everything down. Take a break. Then get back to the page.
  2. Keep your pen moving. Try not to do this on your laptop. Go analog with whiteboard or pen and paper.
  3. Fill your page with every ounce of thinking you can squeeze from your brain. When you feel empty, use techniques like the Five Why’s or Starburst method, but keep writing.
  4. Do a bunch of work. Edit. Do More. Edit. Repeat.


This is harder work than most expect, but when your focus is on strategy, who the content is for, and what it’s supposed to do (KPIs), you’ll come up with some winners.


Step Two: Magnificent 7

Now that we have a lot of ideas, let’s shift our efforts to choosing the best ones.


In the old days, marketing concepts needed to be translatable to print, radio and TV. Now, good concepts have to work in traditional media as well as web channels like social and mobile, and new mediums like messenger bots and AR. Our goal is to create a “Magnificent 7” with every content concept.


There is an old western (based on Seven Samurai) where gunman are hired to protect a village. Each of the men have specific skills and unique attributes. Together, they’re an unstoppable force. We try to create the same dynamite team with our content so it can be used in at least seven different ways.


For example, a concept for your product or service could include a blog series, social media campaign, email, live event, TV, web videos and a mobile app. If the idea is only good for a Facebook contest, it isn’t strong enough.


Once we’ve played around with the different executions for each concept, we can identify which ones are the strongest.


Your Turn

We’ve talked about creating ideas with The Rule of 10. We’ve nurtured them and identified the ones with the most potential.  


Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to shipping.

Photo of David

David Horne writes at davidhorne.me. He collaborates frequently with Fifth Letter and leads creative and product development teams at Honestly.