How you can create great content even if you’re not a creative person
If the thought of filming a video, writing a blog post of taking a photograph terrifies you, then you need to keep on reading. We’re all good at different things: some of us a great with numbers, others are stunningly organised, and some of us are quite creative and so marketing and content creation comes a little easier to us. However, just because you don’t consider yourself a creative person, doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of creating something great. In this article I’m going to show you how you can create great content in a simple, stress free way.
Now to put you at ease and to keep things simple, please remember this – there are only five types of content you can actually create, no more, no less. These are:
Audio (podcasts, audiobooks)
It’s not a big list, however when you’re not a creative person it can naturally be a bit overwhelming because they all require specific input that you may or may not know about. So we’re going to make it easy for you. The first thing I want you to do is choose one of the above, just one, whichever one you feel most comfortable with, or whichever you feel least afraid of, depending on how you look at things. Once you’ve chosen you content type, skip to the relevant section below.
A word of comfort for you, the aim of this article is not to create a week or a months worth of content, this is about getting you feeling comfortable with one format, so that when you have something you want to share with the word online, you have a medium you can call upon to do so.
Video content is the most popular type of media right now. It’s generally quick to consume, fairly visually stimulating, and can be watched privately by using headphones, so its great if you’re on a bus, in a taxi, or on the train. It also doesn’t need to be overly complicated to create.
In order to create great videos for your business you don’t need any fancy equipment or expert knowledge, all you need is a mobile phone or a computer with a webcam. Sure there are benefits to hiring a professional and getting something really polished made, but for now let’s forget about that and think about how you can share your expertise with your local network.
The first thing I want to you to remember about videos, is I want you to ignore any thoughts you may have around “am I interesting to listen too”, “will people actually watch”. No matter what you choice of topic is, it will be valuable and useful to someone.
The first thing I want you to do before making your first video, is to find a way to secure your phone. Now you can buy small table top tripods on Amazon, just search for “mobile phone tripod holder”, or you lean it up against something. You will have seen people holding their phone in their hands and talking to it, but if this is your first time, it can be a bit off putting. By stabilising, it’ll make it easier for you to concentrate on what you’re saying.
The next thing is to then decide on what you want to talk about. How you go about this is up to you, so choose whichever you’re most comfortable with. If you’re like me and don’t like to plan, then there is nothing wrong with just talking off the cuff. A few ums and erms here and there makes it feel real and authentic. So if you want to just start talking to the camera, then do that. You don’t have to get it right first time, I usually don’t. You can rerecord it as many times as you want.
Now, if you prefer to plan and know what you’re going to say in advance then there are a few things you can do. There are some apps that you can download that will turn your phone into an autocue, whereby you can write a script, upload it to you phone and read it directly on the screen. It can take a few goes to get used to reading from an autocue, but it’s a good way to go. Alternatively if that doesn’t work for you, scribble some notes down on a piece of paper, or an entire script if you like, and stick it in front of you, just behind your mobile phone. Try not to look directly at it, where possible you want your eyes looking into your phone to build a connection with your audience, but by having your notes available and to hand it will make you feel more comfortable about what you’re saying. As I mentioned already, you don’t have to get it right first time.
The more videos you record in whichever way you choose, the more comfortable you’ll become and the more comfortable you’ll be with experimenting and trying different things. But this is a great place to start.
Podcasts and audio books are hugely popular ways to consume stories and information, and a great medium to create in. Podcasts are the only form of media that can be consumed whilst the audience is doing something else. Most people don’t sit down and decide to listen to a podcast, and they equally don’t usually stumble across them in a news feed. They’ll often be listening whilst they’re cooking, driving or doing the gardening.
The barrier to entry for creating audio is now very low and very inexpensive. Now, as with video there are of course benefits to hiring a professional company and recording in a professional soundproofed studio, however, my view on podcasts, is that it’s all about the content. The sound obviously needs to be clear and easy to hear, but beyond that I don’t think you need to worry. To create a podcast for your business all you actually need is a mobile phone or a computer with a webcam.
If you’re comfortable talking by yourself then you can either talk directly into your phone, use an app like Anchor to record the audio, or if you have a good microphone for your computer, maybe you have a headset with a mic that you use for calls, then you can record it through your computer. If you’d like to try this but aren’t quite sure what to talk about, a good trick is to actually revisit any blog posts you’ve written and read them on the podcast, present them like you’re reading a story. It’s something we do on our Launch Podcast.
However if you feel strange talking by yourself then consider recording conversations with colleagues, clients and other people in your network. Podcasts with multiple participants tend to get more attention because when you share it online, everyone who took part tends to share it too and it therefore reaches more people. Now, there are two ways you can approach recording conversations, much like recording videos.
If you’re a planner, then you might want to pick a topic and write down a basic structure of the conversation, as well as topics and questions you’d like to get people talking about. However if you’re not a planner, then all you really need is a topic you want to talk about and then go from there. There’s no right or wrong, every podcast is different, and different creators approach things differently. Whichever you choose, you get used to it in time and you’ll become more and more confident. Also, the great thing about recording conversations with others, is that if you don’t like the sound of your own voice, you can orchestrate it so that 80% of the audio is your guest talking, with you just popping up from time to time to ask questions.
Writing blog posts and articles doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and for some it can take days to create one blog post. As with everything we’re talking about in this article, it’s ok to take a few goes and it’s ok if it takes you a little while. The point is to get you used to creating something.
Now there’s a couple of ways you can go about writing an article. The first way is to pick and topic and start writing. However if you’re going to do this, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself, don’t say – “I have to finish this today”. Create little pockets of time for you to write: 15mins, 30mins, 60mins, whatever works best for you, and see how much you can get done. This is not about getting this written quickly, it’s about getting it done at some point and getting you used to writing. The more you write, the quicker you’ll become and the more confident in your writing ability you’ll become.
The second approach you can try is to use transcription – the secret weapon when it comes to creating blog posts. Let me explain. If you’re looking to write an article but aren’t quite sure how to write it, pick a topic and ask someone to ask you questions about that topic. Grab your phone or an audio recorder if you have one, and record yourself answering the questions. Then take that recording and transcribe your answer – you can do this manually or use a platform like Rev.com to do it for you. By doing this you’ll have the basics of a blog post. All you then need to do is read through it, correct it for grammar and tweak some wording here and there – sometimes the way we talk doesn’t always translate 100% perfectly when written down, and then you’re done.
You don’t need to be a photographer you take photos anymore. If you have a smart phone, the camera is sufficient enough to take photos for social media. But what to take photos off? Social media is about sharing, it’s about telling your audience who you are and what you’re about. Consider simply documenting what you and your business gets up to everyday. Take photographs of your staff, your office, your work (depending what you do). Take photos of where you are today. Perhaps you went into Oxford for a meeting, or going on the train to London, or even flying abroad for a conference.
Don’t worry about what the photo looks like at first, the lighting or how it is composed. Think about what’s in it, what are you showing people? The more photos you take the more comfortable you’ll be at taking them, and the better they will become over time. The more your confidence builds the more creative you will naturally be, you’ll start looking for unique angles and interesting lighting, but you don’t need to start that way, you have to train your eye. That’s how every great photographer learns, and that’s how you can be learn to be creative with photos for your business.
Out of the five content types, creating graphics is the one that most people avoid, because how can you create graphics if you can’t draw, or aren’t a graphic designer. The truth is, if you’re not a visual person and can’t draw, then yes, certain types of graphics are probably off limits unless you get someone else to make them. However there are many other forms of graphics you can make yourself without having to work too creatively.
Firstly, I want to draw your attention to an app called Canva, it’s free, so that’s great. Secondly its a design platform that allows you to create graphic images very quickly with no real creative input required.
No graphics don’t have to be crazy image or anything like that. In fact there’s a big trend right now around turning Tweets from Twitter into quote cards. And this where I want you to start. You all have something to say, you all have opinions and advice and tips that you can share. And I want you to use Canva to create quote cards. We’re not going to overly complicate the designs, we’re going to use one of your brand colours for the background, and we’re going to use your font for the text, and then we’re going to add your logo, and that’s it.
Much like with photography, over time, the more quote cards you create, the more comfortable you’ll become with making graphics, and the more you’ll find your self experimenting with different layouts and other design elements. You don’t need to try and be a designer, you just need to start putting out basic graphics and build from then. Again, the greatest designers or artists had to learn how to draw, how to paint, how to design in a computer, and that’s how you’re going to learn to become comfortable creating graphics for your business.