One of my best superhero buddies, Dr. Bruce Banner, is among the best-known super scientists out there. Day in and day out, he labors away at experiments, tweaking a gene sequence here, splicing an atom or two there. He’s made some really great progress over the years, and of course, he’s had a few catastrophic failures. Historically-noteworthy radiation accidents aside, Bruce is a man of science to the core who values the scientific method just as much as I do.
“As much as YOU do?” you may ask, just as Bruce did the other night, snickering into his appletini. “That’s nice, Cap. Have fun blogging about local businesses while I finish up on my gamma radiation experiments.”
I didn’t bother arguing with him at that moment, since our appletinis were the only green I cared to see; but whether you believe it or not, content creation is a careful and precise science that requires a good deal of research, the right set of tools, and a great amount of brain power. Just as you can’t throw chemicals willy-nilly into a solution and expect the experiment to work (or expect to live another day, for that matter), you must carefully construct your content for it to do its job.
So, exactly what IS the science of content creation? Does it involve beakers, bunsen burners, and boron? Not exactly. Here’s a brief overview of my scientific method:
- Strategize. Before your pen even hits the paper (or your fingers hit the keyboard), it’s important to understand your purpose in generating your content. Are you informing your customers of an upcoming event? Reaching out to new audience members? Who are you targeting, and why? You and everyone on your team should know these objectives like the backs of their hands.
- Gather Materials. Just as in a lab experiment, when generating content, you should collect the tools and materials you’ll need to make a great piece. Google Analytics can help give you insight as to what your audience responds to the most. Social data can fill you in as to trending recent topics. Make sure all your sources are credible.
- Sanitize Your Station (a.k.a. push your junk to the side). Believe it or not, the state of your surroundings can affect whether you create good content or GREAT content. Find a clean, comfortable space–not too comfortable to avoid an impromptu nap–and fill it with nothing more than ideas and positive thoughts.
- Detail Your Procedure. Determine which keywords and writing styles will best achieve your writing goals. Find a few solid quotes to sprinkle in, if applicable. Create a basic outline of your main points.
- Perform the Experiment. My favorite step! It’s time to put all that preparation into action. With your thorough research and detailed outline, you should have no problem writing an engaging, informed piece.
- Clean Up. Always leave yourself a little extra time for editing. It can be helpful to have an extra set of eyes at this point. Sleuth always helps me proofread–that guy can spot a misplaced comma from miles away.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to treat a creative activity as a process, but once you get started, you’ll find that your writing is much cleaner and easier. Bruce may never believe that I’m a scientist, but you and I know the truth.