Biz Tips: The Content-Production Checklist

Biz Tips: The Content-Production Checklist

GROWTH:

The Content-Production Checklist

Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

10 elements your work needs, if you want it to be read.

As a blogger, I have been asking myself for a long time, which elements make an article succeed, and which elements make an article fail.

The goal of this article is to put all my learning points together and, ultimately, to create a kind of checklist, that I can look at, whenever I am about to publish an article.

And, of course, to share that checklist with you guys.

Obviously, this checklist is not meant to be 100% final, let alone complete. It only involves all those things, which are coming to my mind. I would appreciate some feedback on this matter, and perhaps some ideas on other elements to involve.

So, let’s get right into it.

1. Is my work simple?

I think, this is the most basic element of all. In order for people to appreciate your work, it needs to be simple to understand. Particularly when it comes to work on the internet, people don’t like overly complicated content.

They want to understand right away what you are saying.

Not sitting there for long periods of time, while trying to interpret your work, like an 18th century poem.

2. Is my work relatable?

In order for people to appreciate your work, it needs to be relatable. It needs to be somehow relevant to the lives of your audience. If your message doesn’t resonate with them on an emotional level, then they simply won’t care about what you have to say.

This means, that your work needs to address a problem, that people are also facing in their own lives.

And they need to be able to see immediately, that this is something, which affects their own lives, as well.

3. Is my work practical?

And this brings us to the point of practicality. Not only does your work need to address a problem, it also (ideally) should include a potential solution, which people can immediately apply in their own lives.

It should be something, that is realistic, and takes the constraints of your audience into account.

4. Is my work ‘fresh’?

There needs to be something new about your work. If it has already been addressed in a similar way a thousand times, then people simply won’t care about it.

And why would they?

This, however, doesn’t mean that you need to come up with highly innovative ideas, every single time. Essentially, there is two ways of doing this:

  1. Fresh idea, familiar packaging
  2. Familiar idea, fresh packaging

So you can either come up with a new idea, but figure out how to get this idea across to your audience, in a way they are familiar with.

Or, you can take an idea your audience is already familiar with, and try to get it across in a new and different way.

5. Is my work relevant?

With relevant, I mean that your work needs to be published in the right place and for the right audience. Your work also needs to be slightly tweaked and adjusted, according to whom you are writing for.

One example could be something as simple as word-choice.

If I were to use the word ‘hustle’ to anybody outside of the entrepreneurial/and or creative community, then they probably wouldn’t really be able to identify with that.

7. Does my work educate, entertain, or inspire?

Now, this is a very old marketing advice. But I still think that it holds true, until today. In the ideal case, you want your work to fulfill at least two out of these three conditions.

People like Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, are doing edu-tainment, which means that they educate and entertain at the same time.

Perhaps, like me, you are not a natural-born entertainer.

Then you can choose to go the inspirational route. You can provide your audience with education, while at the same time also inspiring them with your stories.

2/3 is the key.

8. Does my work include storytelling elements?

When work doesn’t tell a story, then it is unlikely to work. Why? Because it can be considered neither as inspirational, nor as entertainment. It is just plain education.

And not many people are interested in ‘boring’ education per se.

Consequently, you are going to have to bring some storytelling elements into your work. Even if that is just a tiny part of the whole.

9. Is my work vulnerable?

People love hearing content in which you are sharing about your own life from an open, and vulnerable perspective.

Vulnerability is what differentiates your work from all those masses of generic content. Essentially, you are sharing your own struggles and difficulties, and what you are doing to overcome them.

And you are brutally honest in ways, that people don’t often get to see.

10. Does my work have a clear message?

Sometimes, you might write stuff, and even you yourself are not really clear on what you are actually trying to say here. If that is the case, then you definitely will have to take time to rework your piece.

Without a clear message, any work you do, is worthless.

And if it does have a message, then the next question is whether or not this message is coming across. And whether or not it is immediately visible for a reader, to tell what the message is supposed to be.

Conclusion:

Ideally, you want your work to include all ten of these elements. This, however, is not always going to be achievable. And that’s okay. Nobody produces perfect content, anyways.

But try to get as many of them right, as you can.

If you are looking at a piece, and you realize that you have fulfilled hardly any of these elements, then you should definitely take a step back, and make some serious changes to your work.

This piece, for example, has a complete lack of any storytelling elements.

And I know that.

But that’s okay. Because I think that it is simple, practical, and relevant. If that assumption is wrong, however, then this piece is going to be a complete failure.

We will have to see about that.

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