Everyone at your organization has a story to tell, an insight to share, or an experience to learn from, so why isn’t everyone at your organization creating content? You may assume that the answer simply boils down to strengths and weaknesses – some people just aren’t gifted for content creation, right? You may assume that some divisions have no need for content – sales sells; leaders lead; customer service serves, so no content is required, right? Well, you’d be wrong on both accounts – anyone who can communicate can contribute to content creation, and anywhere there’s value to share, there’s valuable content. Admittedly, though, content creation comes with its challenges, and these challenges can easily deter people from getting involved. To help you and your business break down these barriers and harness to the full value of content, however, we’ve highlighted five common obstacles you may regularly encounter and how to overcome them.
If You Can’t Write, You Can’t Create Content:
It’s a common misconception that the world of content belongs to writers. If you’ve ever asked people to create content for you, you’ve probably heard at least one person opt out because he or she didn’t feel confident as a writer. As content marketing research shows that the majority of organizations (92%) develop and manage their content internally, however, the limitations of a writers-only content creation mindset can become apparent – if you want to have content, you have to have people who can write on staff. Content, though, isn’t exclusively textual. We all know this, and yet still, we often still think it’s a writer’s game.
The truth is, content is meant to inform, educate, and entertain – it allows people to learn. However, we don’t all learn in the same ways. Writers, for example, are often textual learners – they learn best by taking in words in writing, so they aim to educate others in the same way — by churning out insights in writing. You, however, may be a visual learner, or an audio learner – you understand things best by seeing or hearing them. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a writer too, but it does mean that your strongest means of communication may be in using visuals or in talking out your thoughts. Visual content and audio content is still content, though. Whether it’s recording yourself on video, drawing out your ideas, or just having a documented discussion with someone, those can be valuable content assets for your organization as well.
Your Role Won’t Benefit from Content Creation:
The point of the previously debunked obstacle was that even if you think you can’t create content, you can still find away. This second obstacle, though, is a bit more pragmatic – sure, you can create content, but should you create content? If you’re in sales, for example, what’s the benefit of wasting time on a blog post for marketing? Well, sure, sales effectiveness research from Peter Ostrow shows that “the most successful firms empower their reps to function as ‘micro-marketers,’ supported by content,” but why should sellers be the ones creating that content? To be blunt – along with delivering value through content, sellers can better sell themselves as trustworthy resources by creating trustworthy content. They know their audience better than most business units (they’re talking to customers and potential customers every day) so they should already know what matters and what doesn’t. Sharing what matters or what works in their sales activities through content creation can actually be a helpful expansion of their typical sales efforts.
The point: If you want to deliver value to an audience – whether external buyers or internal stakeholders – you have value to gain from creating content. What’s more, even things like documenting how you do your job, and what makes you effective at what you do can make for good content, and the creation process is still essentially just doing your job.
Content Takes Too Much Creativity:
I’ll be honest, if this is the obstacle that stops you from getting involved in content creation, you’re right, you’re not very creative – there are way more original excuses out there – but guess what, you can still be a valuable content creator. In fact, what you think is a weakness can actually be a strength as there are times when creativity is the last thing you need. In explaining a complicated topic to a new and uninformed prospect, for example, the ability to be as simple, direct, and to the point as possible can make you a valuable voice to that person. Sometimes, people don’t need inspiring, over-the-top assets; sometimes, they just need a translation, an explanation, or a clearly mapped out course to follow.
What’s more, resources like third party research, content from your peers, or other industry-relevant assets can be fine frameworks to build off of, curate, or share. You don’t have to be the most creative person in the room to contribute to your organization’s content creation efforts; you can simply piece together the right points from what’s already out there, and add your own two cents wherever you can.
You Don’t Have Enough Credibility to Create Content:
I hate to say it, but this obstacle isn’t something most Millennial professionals experience – the common critique of my generation being how we feel entitled to everything – but for more seasoned, and often more humble professionals, the fear of not being an authority can be enough to stop content creation in its tracks. It’s only human to wonder “why should anyone listen to me?” but if you have a valuable lesson to share, an interesting experience that helped you grow, or a tactic or strategy that helped you improve in your career or in your performance, you do, in fact, have the authority to create content. If you’re still in doubt, you can always seek validation in research, or in the collective insights of your peers, but if you’re willing to do the work to create valuable content, you can be confident that people will find your content well-worth their time.
Management Doesn’t Value Content:
This is a bit of a tricky challenge – if your boss doesn’t think you should be creating content, creating your own content anyway is probably not going to earn you any brownie points with him or her. Reactions like “I pay you to [do X]… not to mess around with content” come to mind, so what can you do if you do believe in content creation, but the powers that be are in your way? Use those powers to your advantage, and by that, I mean present a use case to your boss where content is necessary, but position the content you need as something in which your boss would have to be involved.
If you were in the finance department, for example, something like, “marketing has been over delivering for the business on their current budget, but they could really use some help in requesting a budget increase so they can grow even more… It’d be great if I could give them your guidelines in a quick reference sheet…” would justify the case for content, while inviting your boss to be involved. If your boss says “I don’t have time for that,” you can then easily offer to pull together a draft for him or her to approve, and your case for content has been made.
Do you have any additional barriers to content creation that you’ve overcome? Please share your insights in the comments below!