Content has to be intelligent – how to structure your content creation

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Today the production of content is a far more complicated process than it was fifteen years ago. This applies to any type of content – an article, a list, an image gallery or a video.

In former days you produced for your distribution channel. Without any further thoughts. Today there is a plethora of touchpoints to address your audience. A broad distribution of your content is a sheer necessity. No matter if your channel is a printed magazine, a company brochure or your own website, you have to distribute your content also through all social media channels that have an impact within your audience.

Compared with this scenario it was easy to produce a piece of content some years ago – the main objective was to fill your own channel. Your article was written to be distributed via your magazine. And when the magazine was published, your job was done.

Today’s landscape is far more complicated. For being able to distribute content through all accessible channels you have to structure your content from the first moment you start to think about it.

 

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Implement content atomization into your content creation processes to maximize your return on content (by the way – suitable software such as Enterprise and Elvis DAM can help).

 

Content consists of MIUs

Please be aware that content consists of so-called minimum information units (MIU) – they are, so to speak, the atoms of your content. That may be different ideas or topics which are woven into a text or a video. There may be different pieces of information such as graphics or lists. Or an interview which is placed within a bigger piece is a minimum information unit by itself.

If you remember the old days of magazine publishing, you will imagine a clear picture: A long article normally consisted of a text, pictures, graphics, perhaps of lists to provide some rankings, one or two interviews and so on. All these pieces were minimum information units, but normally no journalist considered this.

These MIUs can be used separately. A graphic can be used within a magazine article, but it can also be distributed separately through Facebook, through a blog or within Instagram. And that is a big difference compared with former days.

 

Structure makes the difference

Years ago, you could create a piece of content but distribute it as a whole. If you stick with that today, you will miss a lot of chances to reach as many people as possible within your target audience. From the first moment of creating a new piece of content you have to structure the process. From the first moment you have to be clear about your content goal, the personas you want to address and which keywords you want to place in the centre of your thinking.

  • A content goal may be to get the widest possible reach, to convert the reader into a buyer or to motivate the user to use adequate links for a deeper consumption of the content you do offer.
  • A persona gives you a clear picture of a sub-segment of your audience you want to reach with that dedicated piece of content. Don’t try to write for many personas at once, you will fail with that approach. Concentrate on one persona and then create the best fitting content for exactly that part of the target audience.
  • Keywords are absolutely vital for getting the necessary visibility in search engines. If you are not aware of the keywords you want to address, you will probably be invisible in search engines. That has nothing to do with keyword stuffing – it is an intellectual exercise and helps to think precisely.

After you have defined these three very important parameters, you have to make a first outline which MIUs should be contained in your content. Which different ideas could be separated into autonomous pieces? Which elements can be used separately? Pictures? Graphics? Lists? An interview?

If you haven‘t done these steps before you start to produce, you can be sure to create bad content. If you do it right your content is structured from the very first moment simply because it is clear what you want to achieve, whom you want to address and which keywords are pivotal. Furthermore, you know which different MIUs your content will contain.

These steps done, you are able to produce an interesting and compelling piece of content. But apart from the whole piece, you can broadly distribute the different MIUs for a wider reach and link these pieces back to the whole story.

 

Create intelligent content

It doesn’t matter if you produce content for a magazine, for a blog, for a YouTube channel, if you are a journalist for a publishing company or a content marketer within any industry. When you produce content, you should structure the content and make it intelligent.

Intelligent content is created to achieve the biggest thinkable impact and is not locked away in a single container. Intelligent content has an inherent DNA to be distributed as widely as possible.

Gerrit Klein, CEO of Ebner Verlag - Guest blogger

Gerrit Klein, CEO of Ebner Verlag, a special interest and business media publishing house in Ulm (Germany), looks back on a long career in the magazine business. After more than seven years as Managing Director of the Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverlage (Association of German Magazine Publishers), Klein served as publishing director of Deutscher Fachverlag and Managing Director of Vogel Business Media, two renowned trade magazine publishers in Germany. Klein often speaks at conferences on topical issues in magazine publishing.