Content is essential for reaching your target audience and fueling your marketing engine.
But how do you get started?
In this article, we dive into various types of content and lay out a content creation process you can follow.
What Is Content Creation?
Content creation is the process of creating various forms of media that appeal to your target audience.
It involves multiple steps, from generating an initial idea to promoting a published piece.
And the content creation process involves different experts.
For instance, content strategists often identify relevant topic ideas that align with marketing goals. And writers, video producers, and other creators turn these ideas into exciting pieces of content.
Here are some of the most common roles based on our State of Content Marketing report:
Why Is Creating Content Important?
Content creation is key for ensuring you have what you need to reach potential customers.
Because it’s a key part of content marketing—a long-term strategy that involves developing and sharing content across channels to reach and engage your target audience.
Which helps in your efforts to:
- Grow brand awareness
- Engage with different online communities
- Retain existing customers
- Educate potential customers
- Build credibility
- Improve organic (unpaid) search rankings
Improving organic rankings through content can be especially beneficial for reaching potential customers.
You do this through search engine optimization (SEO), which involves creating and improving your website and content to rank higher in Google’s search results.
Types of Content
It’s a good idea to produce various types of content to maximize your reach. Here are just a few:
Blog posts are a great way to educate readers (and they often account for a lot of website content creation). Blog posts also help with brand awareness, search rankings, and customer loyalty.
In fact, the marketers and business owners surveyed in our State of Content Marketing report said both short-form and long-form articles were some of their best-performing content formats.
Take a look at the results:
Coming up with fresh blog ideas and executing them well is important. It helps your content to stand out from the crowd.
Content Creation Ideas for Blog Posts
Here are some blog post concept ideas to inspire you:
- 101 content: Answer frequent questions beginners in your industry have
- 201 content: Provide more sophisticated content for seasoned professionals
- Comparisons: Compare multiple solutions, products, or services
- Curations: Share the best resources on a given topic
- How-to guides: Give step-by-step walkthroughs for important processes
- News: Share announcements about recent company and product updates, awards, and more
Your blog can contain some or all of these content formats.
For example, Semrush’s blog contains multiple categories with many types of blog posts.
There are basic, 101-style pieces. But also advanced SEO articles, in-depth guides, and more.
Infographics are visual representations of data points or narratives.
Infographics do a good job of conveying complex or data-heavy information in a digestible way. They also help break up walls of text. And tend to be shared on social media and referenced by other sites.
You can look for interesting data relevant to your industry and visualize them with infographics. Or find inspiration from popular infographics in other industries.
Content Creation Ideas for Infographics
Infographics take many shapes and forms. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
- Process explanation: Break down a complex process related to your industry or product
- Industry trends: Use data to illustrate current trends in your industry
- Company timeline: Tell the story of your company and its key milestones
- FAQs: Convert your most frequently asked questions into an infographic
- Charts: Convey numerical data in bar charts, pie charts, and more
- Maps: Present location-based data and information with simple or custom maps
Infographics can be impressive. For instance, look at this infographic that shows how Captura removes carbon from the environment.
What if you don’t have the resources to produce complex infographics? Simpler infographics like the one below can also do the trick and get your point across.
Videos can be standalone pieces on YouTube or your website. But they can also enhance text content.
And 45% of the marketers and business owners surveyed in our State of Content Marketing report cite video as the single most effective content format.
Videos can be labeled with metadata, like tags and descriptions. But they can have limited searchability compared to text.
And you can repurpose existing blog posts into video content. Founders and executives can also post short video clips on social media sharing their thoughts.
Content Creation Ideas for Videos
Whether you opt for live-action footage or computer-generated visuals, here are several video content ideas to look into:
- Explainers: Concisely explain a product, service, or concept
- Product demos: Walk through a product or service, covering its features and benefits
- Case studies: Feature satisfied customers who share their experiences
- Tutorials: Share step-by-step instructions on how to perform a task or learn a skill
- Behind-the-scenes: Show a glimpse into the inner workings of a business
- Animations: Tell a story in an animated form
For example, McKinsey & Company uses video in its article on nature conservation.
The video (shown below) provides readers with additional details on the efforts their experts put into protecting ecosystems.
Podcasts create a deep connection with listeners through storytelling and discussions. They help build a loyal fan base.
And nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population over age 12 has listened to a podcast, according to Edison Research.
Starting a podcast doesn’t have to be daunting, either.
Identify topics that both you and your audience are passionate about. Then, plan your content ahead. Decide whether you will invite guests or run solo, how long should episodes be, and more.
After you record episodes, you can publish them on podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
You can also use listener feedback to improve.
Content Creation Ideas for Podcasts
Podcasts lend themselves well to many creative formats. Here are some ideas to explore:
- Expert interviews: Feature industry experts, thought leaders, and influencers
- Success stories: Explore how businesses related to your podcast’s theme achieved success
- Q&A sessions: Focus on answering questions submitted by your audience
- Industry trends: Highlight trending topics and emerging technologies in your niche
- Panel discussions: Engage experts in a panel discussion on a specific topic
- Reviews: Discuss books, movies, and events related to your podcast’s theme
Try to release various types of podcast content to engage your audience. The popular business podcast “Acquired” is great at this.
The hosts produce interviews, company origin stories, panel discussions, and more.
Here’s a snapshot of what they’ve covered:
Social Media Posts
Social media content enables brands to reach over 4.5 billion users. So they can connect with different audiences and cater to their preferences.
And comments, likes, shares, and direct messages offer an opportunity to interact with audiences and foster a sense of community.
One thing to keep in mind:
Each platform has a specific type of content that performs well.
For example, TikTok is known for its fun, short videos (shown below). And high-quality imagery is popular on Instagram.
These platforms also collect user data. And brands can tap into this data to improve their content.
You can also repurpose some of your blog content for social media.
For instance, popular SEO-focused content can be turned into short explainer videos and shared across social media accounts.
Content Creation Ideas for Social Media Posts
Test different types of social media content to see what performs best. Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Content promotion: Share links to content published on your website
- Behind-the-scenes: Post photos or videos of your workspace or creative process
- Product spotlights: Explain the benefits of your latest product or service
- User-generated content: Reshare photos, videos, and reviews generated by your customers
- Polls and surveys: Gather opinions or insights from your audience
- Seasonal content: Comment on current festivities and holidays
- Inspirational quotes: Share motivational messages and quotes paired with exciting graphics
- Giveaways: Run social media contests to reward your followers
- Live videos: Conduct live Q&A sessions, event spotlights, and more
And social can be a good place to share a laugh.
For example, Burger King doesn’t shy away from using humor in their social media posts.
But you probably want to go beyond just posting humorous content.
You also want to be approachable and share helpful content as well. Here’s how we do that:
Interactive content encourages users to engage with your content, which can translate to them spending more time on your site, following you on social media, and more. This can increase brand awareness and even help them move closer to making a purchase.
Interactive content pieces also add instant value. Think calculators, polls, and interactive maps.
And other sites are likely to link to useful pieces of interactive content.
One way to ideate interactive content is to think about your audience’s needs. And how you can meet those needs in a way that static content can’t.
Content Creation Ideas for Interactive Content
Interactive content can take numerous forms. Here are some different formats:
- Quizzes & surveys: Enable visitors to learn more about themselves or their customers and employees through a series of questions
- Calculators: Help users find a numerical value for a specific process or purchase
- Interactive webinars: Give attendees the opportunity to comment and ask questions in real time
- Interactive maps: Allow users to focus on different geographical areas to uncover specific information
Looking for more specific examples of interactive content?
Review these great examples:
- Madison Reed’s Hair Color Quiz
- Clearbit’s Total Addressable Market Calculator
- Empire Flippers’ Online Business Valuation Calculator
How to Develop a Marketing Content Creation Process
Create great content by executing on an agreed-upon content strategy. Here are some key content creation steps you and your team can follow.
Generate Content Ideas
Great content starts with developing ideas your audience will find interesting and useful.
Those ideas should focus on your audience’s needs, interests, and pain points.
How can you find that information? Here are several resources you can use to learn more about your audience:
- Analytics tools: Use Google Analytics, social media platforms, and other tools you have to learn about your audience’s interests and problems
- Sales reps’ input: Talk to your sales reps to discover the topics customers and prospects bring up most often
- Customer support calls: Listen to recorded calls from you support team to identify common themes across support calls that can be proactively addressed with content
- Online communities: Look for the topics your target audience talks about on forums, social media, Slack groups, and other online venues
- Competitive research: Examine your competitors to discover what kind of content they’re creating or find new angles on popular topics
As you research, make note of overarching content ideas that align with your audience. These topics can inform seed keywords—broad search terms you can enter into a keyword tool to find more focused and relevant keywords.
Let’s go over how to do that next.
Now, it’s time to research topics based on your ideas and seed keywords. To find specific angles that you can create content around.
You can do this using a keyword research tool like Keyword Magic Tool.
Let’s say you want to find topics related to selling ebooks.
Open the tool, type in your seed keyword, select the target country, and click “Search.”
You’ll now see a list of keywords related to your topic, sorted by search volume. Like this:
You’ll probably see thousands of results. So, how do you narrow your results?
You can filter this keyword selection by including or excluding specific words.
For example, maybe you don’t sell on Amazon. Just add “amazon” to the “Exclude keywords” field.
You can also use the suggested groups and subgroups in the column to the left of the keyword list. This helps you sort keywords by subtopics.
Here’s how it looks when you select “online” as a subgroup.
Then, use the “Advanced filters” drop-down to find long-tail keywords. This option enables you to specify the word count, search engine results page (SERP) position, and other details of your ideal keywords.
You can repeat this for multiple groups and subgroups. Then, you can group them into keyword clusters (groups of related terms) you can create different pieces of content around.
You can also find ideas by using Keyword Gap to find out which keywords your competitors are focusing on.
Navigate to the tool, enter your domain and the domains of up to four competitors, and click “Compare.”
When you see the dashboard, scroll down and click on “Missing” in the “All keyword details for:” section.
You’ll see the list of keywords your competitors’ sites rank for but your site doesn’t.
There are probably a ton of options. So, how do you find good options?
One way to do that is to filter by your competitors’ top pages.
Go to “Position,” select “Competitors,” and click “Top 10.”
Once you have a solid list of topics, you can use them to plan a content calendar that lays out when each piece of content will be published and on which channel.
Then, write a brief for each upcoming topic.
A brief outlines the specifics and expectations for a piece of content. It guides the process to ensure everyone understands the objective, audience, proper messaging, and other details.
Tip: Semrush’s Keyword Manager offers an automated way to create topic clusters. Click the green “Create list” button, then add your seed keywords in the next menu, and press “Create list.” You’ll be provided with various clusters to work with.
Produce Great Content
It’s time to start the content creating itself.
Maybe that means assigning it to a team member or freelancer. Or maybe you’re producing the work yourself.
Either way, you want to focus on quality.
Producing any form of great content involves making it:
- Audience-centric: Tailor content to your audience’s interests and pain points
- Valuable: Provide value to your audience by educating them or presenting solutions
- Clear and concise: Use plain language, avoid jargon, and keep the message straightforward
- Engaging: Use storytelling, visuals, and possibly interactive elements to capture your audience’s attention
- Credible: Cite credible sources, use data to back up claims, and consider interviewing experts
- Unique: Your content should offer something different than what's already out there
- Actionable: Good content encourages the audience to do something, whether it’s to think differently, apply the knowledge they've gained, share the content, or make a purchase
There are other nuances to producing great content that you can explore in our content quality guide.
One example of great content is this CB Insights piece about Discord:
The article delivers value by sharing multiple examples, quotes, and data points. It’s written clearly and uses a lot of imagery to get the point across.
And its structure is logical and easy to follow. It takes readers on a journey, starting with how Discord was launched and ending with what lies ahead.
You also need to make sure an article is easy to understand and optimized for your target keywords.
It’s easy to do this with the SEO Writing Assistant.
Open the tool and click “Analyze my text.”
Type or paste your content in the text field, add your target keywords, then click “Get recommendations.”
You’ll now see suggestions for improving your content related to “Readability,” “Originality,” “Tone of voice,” and “SEO.”
Here’s an example of what you might see:
You don’t have to act on every recommendation. Assess to determine which ones are important to you, and then implement them.
It’s also easy to share this content with team members to edit. Either share directly in the tool or choose the option to “Move to Google Docs.”
Once your content is written and edited, it’s time to publish it and work on promotion.
Further reading: 14 Tips for Writing Awesome Website Content
Content creation and marketing go hand in hand. So, you can (and should) promote content across multiple channels. To help it reach even more audiences.
The tactics you’ll use will vary depending on the content type.
But here are some of the promotion tactics to consider:
- Send content to your email list, preferably to segmented audiences
- Use paid ads on social media and search engines
- Pay or partner with third-party sites, influencers, and newsletters to feature your content
- Share content in forums, Slack communities, and subreddits where your audience spends time
- Create organic social posts or teaser videos to promote your latest article
Traffic Analytics can give you even more ideas on ways to promote your content. Because you can use it to learn more about how competitors drive audiences to their website content.
Head to the tool, enter one or more competitors’ domains, and click “Analyze.”
You’ll reach the “Overview” dashboard first. Then, click the “Traffic Journey” tab.
You’ll now see the percentage of traffic your competitors get from various channels, including referral, organic search, paid social, and more.
The “Traffic Journey Details” table at the bottom is especially useful for seeing how certain channels drive to certain pages.
For instance, if you select “Sources” and “Organic Social,” you can see which social platforms drive the most traffic to your competitors.
These insights can help you understand which channels are successful in driving traffic to your competitors. To help you prioritize your own distribution channels.
Further reading: 20 Content Promotion Strategies to Make Your Content More Visible
Analyze and Iterate
Analyzing your content performance can help you understand what works and what doesn’t. So, it’s important to track metrics that make sense for your marketing and business goals.
Here are some of the metrics content teams tend to track:
- Conversion rates: The percentage of users who take a desired action on a webpage, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service
- Page or video views: The total number of times a webpage or video has been viewed by users
- Organic traffic: The visitors who arrive at a website by clicking an unpaid search result in search engine results
- Social media reach: The total number of individuals who’ve seen your social media content
- Average engagement time: The average amount of time your webpage was a user’s focus
- Keyword rankings: The position your website holds in search engine results for a keyword
- Backlinks: Links on other websites that direct users to your website
- Episode downloads: The number of times your podcast or other episodic content has been downloaded by users
You can use Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to collect many data points.
Let’s say you’re interested in seeing your top-performing landing pages.
To get started, open Google Analytics and click the “Reports” tab.
Then, click “Engagement” and ”Landing page.”
Now, adjust the time period to see the specific data you’re interested in by going to the date in the top-right corner.
Sort pages by sessions, users, and other metrics to find the best-performing ones.
Monitor the most relevant data points for your site as a whole and for individual pieces of content. To find out which topics, content formats, and pieces perform well.
Then, you can move away from the topics that don’t resonate with your readers and focus more on ones that do.
Content Creation Tools
There are many content creation tools on the market. Some help with research, some with writing. Others help with creating visual elements.
Here’s a selection of some of the best content creation tools:
SEO Writing Assistant
SEO Writing Assistant is an AI-supported tool that evaluates your content for readability, originality, SEO, and tone of voice.
And it can generate, summarize, or rephrase text with the Smart Writer feature.
The tool can also help you SEO-optimize your content. It lists semantically related keywords you can add based on your target keywords. Which you can then incorporate into your content.
And the tool also helps you identify any signs of plagiarism you should remove.
ContentShake is an AI-powered content writing tool that helps users ideate topics, write and optimize content, and publish.
The tool helps you find the right angle for your content, generates a recommended outline, offers recommendations, and analyzes similar content from competitors.
It can also help you maintain a consistent tone of voice in every piece.
And you can send articles to Google Docs or publish them directly to WordPress. All without leaving the tool.
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that can generate topic ideas, write various types of content, provide feedback on your writing, and more.
For instance, the tool can generate multiple content ideas based on your keyword or topic.
It can then draft the article by itself or using an outline you provide.
You can even share your style, flow, and tone of voice preferences. And it will edit the content accordingly.
ChatGPT can also translate content to and from several different languages.
Keep in mind: AI-written content should always get a thorough human review for accuracy and desired style.
Canva is an online tool for creating blog images, presentations, social media videos, infographics, charts, and other types of content.
The tool offers plenty of templates for many different formats. To help you quickly elevate your content quality.
Users can also access a huge library of photos, graphics, videos, audio clips, and fonts.
Canva’s versatility means your team can create content for multiple distribution channels.
Descript is a multimedia platform for editing video and audio files, capturing and sharing screen recordings, generating transcripts, repurposing content for social, and more.
Creators can use Descript to put together everything from explainer videos to sales presentations.
And it’s easy to share content with team members. So they can review and provide feedback.
You can also write and edit your script directly in the tool. And watch as your script is turned into video.
Take Your Content Creation to the Next Level
Producing great content has never been more important.
And you can gain an edge over the competition if you choose your content types carefully and execute each piece well.
Take the next step in your content creation journey with The Content Marketing Starter Kit. Or by trying all of Semrush’s content and SEO tools for free.