There are a few common problems people encounter when curating content for a website, blog, or newsletter. If you already know some type of struggle exists, it’s important to know you are not alone. Writing content is a common stumbling block for a number of reasons. From needing ideas to finding motivation and staying on schedule, creating content can be challenging. It’s especially frustrating for someone who knows it’s critical to accomplishing business goals, but who is running into unforeseen obstacles either with themselves or others on the writing team. This article aims to dig a little deeper, get at the root of some common barriers, and offer some solutions to get content flowing.
The Root of the Problem
If writing blog posts has stalled out or hasn’t even gotten off the ground, one or more of these things is likely happening. You and your writing crew need to start by identifying and addressing the following:
- Is Content Curation Valued? At the core of getting anything accomplished is “buy-in” from key players. That can’t happen if they don’t value what they are being asked to do. If they come from a different background, have never written before, have no marketing experience, are being asked to do something not in their job description, or lack the fundamental understanding of why content curation is critical, he/she is unlikely to value it, make time for it, and obliterate any obstacles in the way. Why would they? Why would any of us do something we didn’t believe to be important and valuable? Time is precious.
- Is the Thought Process Conducive to Content Writing? If those being asked to write are easily overwhelmed at the creative writing process, like to see immediate results, or like to work start to finish on a project, they are likely to be very frustrated or resistant to the content curation process. Linear thinkers tend to want to finish part one before moving on and see progress toward the end goal. Unfortunately, the creative writing process can stretch days or weeks, need input or pieces that rely on others, and circle around to changes to the beginning portions before the article is even finished. The end product may not even remotely resemble the initial intent when all is said and done. Does any of this sound familiar?
- Is this a Situation of Inside Looking Out? It’s unlikely those being asked to write don’t care about the business or organization. If they don’t, that’s another problem altogether. Most people care about their jobs and many are very passionate about what they do. Passion for the business and their role within the organization can be a stumbling block to content curation, because they are so immersed in their own knowledge and desire to tell everyone about the wonderful solutions they provide. Anyone trying to write from the inside-out is not only going to hit stumbling blocks with what to write, they are going to miss out on a plethora of opportunities too. Content curation is not about you. Ever. Period. Content curation is about your target market and what they need. Those too close to the organization are likely to want to focus on all the good stuff, the benefits, and success stories. While there is a time and place for those to be included, it’s critical to work from the outside-in. Is anyone on your writing team uncomfortable tackling tough topics or asking for audience feedback/direction? Is someone dictating topics to write about that are missing the mark and the writer is questioning value?
- Is Company Culture an Obstacle? Rigid environments and micro-managers can create a company culture that for the ordinary work day is manageable, but for the creative writing process is very inhibiting. If your company can’t find the words to describe what they do beyond phrases like “turnkey solutions” or have endless rules about sheltering information about projects, clients, pricing, trademarks, branding, etc, the prospect of taking on content curation duties will seem exhausting. With multi-level processes in place to approve every statement that leaves the company or policies in place that limit what can be shared, the company culture may be its own obstacle. Do you recognize this as a root issue?
- Ideas and Motivation Present? If you haven’t been able to identify your situation in any of the possible problems thus far, there’s good news. There is a plethora of ideas, methods, and tools available to keep content flowing for anyone who is willing and interested in making content curation a priority. If your obstacles are nothing more than idea generation, time, and ability, you are in great company with others who have found ways to create content that is valuable and has produced results.
So, what are some tried and true solutions, work-around, and tools to help obliterate some of these obstacles? Check out Part 2 of the Content Curation Process!