You have to absolutely nail who the audience is; the most important person in any story is the person who is going to read it. Whatever the sector, the question is what content are my readers or viewers going to be interested in?”
So says multi-award-winning editor and content creator, Richard Siddle, who after years of editing leading trade magazines, set off on his own to turn the online world of wine and spirits content on its head, successfully.
Content creation in whatever form has to have a laser-like focus on audience engagement. The author of this piece is a content creator and it’s up to you decide whether you, dear reader, have been engaged?
There’s always been content creation of course except it hasn’t always been called that. This is the buzz phrase for the digital age and yet all those old names like journalism, film and programme making, animation, radio production still exist and each has its place today.
And so accordingly, there are lots of different hats donned by today’s content creators. There is an increasing need for digital content and rich media – video, podcasts, infographics, memes etc. There will always be a need for what might be considered traditional content, that’s written copy – news and blogs, like this one – and that has to be mindful of digital impact. It will more than likely be published online and has to have the right key words to optimise its presence on a search engine (SEO).
What is a content producer?
A Junior Content Producer (JCP or Creative Content Assistant) is responsible for developing and creating content that can be used across a variety of media including digital, social media, broadcast or in print and therein lies the difference between the old and new. Written content today often has to be able to be repurposed for all platforms.
Working to a customer/client brief, they research, prepare and develop the media messaging to maximise audience engagement, capturing the strategy and objectives of the brand and needs of the customer they are representing.
The content they create can be used as part of media, advertising and marketing campaigns. They have to capture what is exciting about a campaign and design the elements that can be used across media platforms and channels.
Former daily newspaper journalist and now Head of PR and Content for Liverpool’s Appreciate Group, Tori Hywel Davies said: “The way in which we produce or write content now is different from how it used to be as journalists because everything – whether it’s print, film or digital – is driven by metrics and the need to generate revenue.
Producing a blog is rarely about producing straight static copy. But it might require a journalist’s skills – interviewing, offering advice or insight or ghost-writing for someone else – to give it greater interest and authenticity. Like a ‘feature’ in old world terminology.”
Message, audience, tactics
Jo Shelbourne-Stockton, unlike the two previous contributors here, is not an old ‘hack’, she’s a bonafide new world content creator and marketer who works in the NHS having cut her teeth in a PR and marketing agency. She too, though, knows that content is about providing something the target audience wants.
“Depending on where you work and in which sector, it’s about providing content that delivers value to the end consumer,” she said.
Sometimes that value is information, advice, or just for entertainment purposes, say for channels like YouTube or TikTok where a lot of content exists just to entertain.
“But the key part of any content creating process is asking, ‘What’s the message’? In other words what am I trying to say and to whom [the audience] and that will influence the way I deliver the message, the language and the tone. Then I need to ask what medium – video, blog etc – would be best to get that message across to that person – that’s tactics.
“Regardless, I always think that good content evokes some kind of reaction or emotion; it has resonance and can be memorable and encourage people to engage with or share it.”
What you need
Communications, marketing, PR and everything else in this field is so fast paced because of how quickly it’s consumed on digital platforms that content creators are often flying by the seat of their pants.
According to Jo: “You need a lot of energy, that’s true. TikTok is the fastest growing social platform over the last couple of years and that’s all about video so keeping up with evolving creative skills in video and audio production and graphic design are also important.”
Tori agreed: “Working at speed, you need to be able to read a brief well and target it for the right demographic. As so many people write for their own social these days, there’s a tendency to forget that there is a real craft to producing quality content: being able to shift seamlessly between different audiences, media and times – all on deadline – and with a full understanding about the business or industry for which you write.
You need to understand the objectives and targets of the organisation, translate key business messages into compelling narratives.”
And the last word to Richard Siddle because it’s so simple and an important aspect of the content creation process: “My biggest piece of advice to any young content creator is that it’s not about you, it’s all about your reader and when best to hit them with it. It’s about finding the discipline to produce consistent quality work and have the passion and desire to deliver time and again.”