When It Comes to Creating Content, Question It

This week, we are pleased to present guest blogger and Thin Pig friend, Rebecca Frisch. An award-winning journalist with a diverse career spanning broadcast news, public relations and digital as well as social media, Rebecca is recognized for her ability to both shape and parse brands. Rebecca currently leads social medial and public relations for the Pacific Northwest's largest casino, Muckleshoot Casino. Connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/beccafrisch.

Which is right?

A.     The internet is an amazing fount of information for content marketing and strategy.

B.     The internet can be an intimidating maze of content marketing advice.

While the inclination is to state “A,” we’ve likely all had moments where we have mentally penciled in a “C” option for “all of the above.”

“Oh, that’s interesting. But, wait, that’s good, too.”

Content, Content Marketing Everywhere

A seemingly harmless Google of the phrase “content marketing” can send browsers down a rabbit warren of opinions thought leadership. “Content Marketing Made Simple.” “Seven Creative Ways to Revamp Your Content Marketing.” “How to Ace Content Marketing.” The headlines, and the Google returns, go on and on. And, while knowledge is power, what if you’re new(ish) to the field, a team of one (or few), wear multiple hats and have a content calendar that seems to be judging you?

First, breathe. No, really, take in a deep breath. Relax those shoulders. Didn’t know they were so tense, right? Now, the suggestion: just ask, “And, then?”

“Wait,” you think. “Did I just read advice inspired by the stoner classic, ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’” Yes. Yes, you did. A bit for levity, but more importantly for the reminder that maybe we’re not diving deep enough (or at all) into the content (read: information; see also: data) that’s right in front of us.

Don’t be Content with Content

Google alerts and content creation tools can help find related content, but what happens when you need to tell your brand’s story and the info is slim? Creating new posts can be as simple as asking yourself what more you can do with the news or objectives you already available. Granted, that’s easy to write. But, it’s not as hard to do in actuality as you might think. Let’s visualize it together.

Scenario 1: You’re in charge of social media for a hotel. Execs send you pics and ask you to work your magic. You post about the great news. “The renovation is over and new rooms are available for booking!” Done and done, right? Nope. That should just be the start.

Instead of stopping there, ask if you can reach out to the design team and, once given the okay, let your curiosity loose. Was there anything unique about the project or materials? Is the design meant to evoke a certain feeling or be reminiscent of a locale? Was there a challenge that was overcome? What happened to the old furnishings? Once you ask, you may discover there was a special effort made to introduce increased energy or water efficiency, that a local artist is responsible for the artwork over the beds, or that the old furnishings were donated to low-income families.

Now, keep going! Were the toiletries made just for your brand? Is it an exclusive, new scent? Are they all-organic? Is your brand the only hotel in the area to offer them?

Also, monitor third-party review sites which will likely start filling up with renovation reviews. They could provide interesting ideas of their own and could even be strong enough to stand alone. See where we’re going here?

Scenario 2: You’re in charge of content for a restaurant. Execs send you details on a new special along with a pic. You post about this delicious, limited time offering. On to the next, yes? No. Once again, pondering “what else” and taking the initiative to ask a few thoughtful questions could yield unexpected, but welcome new ways to re-frame the narrative. Perhaps, you discover the recipe is the idea of a waitress or a guest. Or, that everything on the plate is locally sourced. Or, that it’s one guy’s sole job to smoke all that yummy brisket, day in and out.   

Bottom Line: “Question” Your Content

While information (or data) is a great foundation for content strategy, it’s questions that will give it life. Our jobs aren’t just to tell our brand’s stories, but to reveal them, too. As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.” And, if we may be so bold as to add a third line, “Ask and repeat.” Don’t wait for information to come to you. Question your content. Allow it to lead you somewhere unexpected. It will pay off, for you and your brand. Also, don’t forget. Once you have all this wondrous new content? Remix, reuse and reshare! (See what we did there?)