Well, ok, maybe they are not exactly boring. But most sites of any kind these days lack one important aspect that would make them a lot more interesting.
That aspect is content diversity. And I don’t mean diversity regarding the topics of the content. I mean diversity in content types. Content creation for these sites seems very limited to just a few types of content.
Look at this blog for instance: What do you see? Lot’s of articles around social media marketing. That’s all great. But why don’t we create different types of content as well?
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What about videos? Infographics? Podcasts? Webinars? White papers?
Well, we created most of these in the past, and we are going to create these kinds of content in the future as well. You can find the existing episodes of my podcast for instance here.
So we did provide most of these content formats in the past (and we are continuing to do so). But we should do this more often.
And so should you.
I know what you are thinking right now:
“I neither have the time nor the resources…” Or at least something along those lines.
Well, in this post, I will prove to you that you do have both! Your content creation doesn’t have to be limited to the content you are used to. If you are a blogger, for instance, you can easily create some types of content you never thought you would be able to create. Even video content is not as far out of reach as you may always have believed!
Here are 3 content forms that you thought you would never be able to create – and how to create them.
Video Content Creation
What do you think about when you think about “Video Content”?
If you are like most people you think of a TV and professionally edited content.
Now, let’s think again, but this time, don’t think about “Video Content”, but instead think about “Youtube Videos.”
If you are like most people you will now reflect on some or all of the following items:
- How to videos
- Funny videos created by people at home
- Videos about animals
- Videos recorded from TV and recut
- Conspiracy videos
And when you think about Youtube videos, you probably don’t think exclusively about high production quality anymore, right?
Granted, there is a lot more you can think about when you think of the stuff that finds its way onto internet video platforms. But the point is: It’s not the same items that you think about when you think about “video content.”
We have been conditioned to believe that the only form of “video content” that people are going to watch is the type of content that looks and sounds like “Game of Thrones,” that has big celebrities as talent, and that is sent to you in the form of a cable broadcast.
The truth is, however, that for video content the same rules apply as for any other content: It needs to provide value to an audience.
And value can be one of two things:
- Information (for instance How-to-videos, explainer videos, …)
Almost 100 years of television history have conditioned us to mistake these two aspects of value with production quality.
But nothing could be further from the truth! Production quality may be able to enhance value, but only if it is there even without it! Think of all the Hollywood blockbusters that totally bombed. Game of Thrones is only great because it has a great storyline and great characters.
How to Create Good Videos Yourself?
So, how can you create great video content yourself?
Lot’s of great options actually:
- Use screen recording software and Power Point slides like Susanna did in this video.
- Use screen recording software to explain certain features of a piece of software, like this guy.
- Create a Video Podcast by sitting in front of your webcam, like these guys.
- Lot’s more options
Now, the truth is: The first videos you are going to create won’t be amazing. But think back to your first blog posts – they weren’t either. But they did the trick! And so will your first videos.
The hard truth about creating any content is that you need practice. But with time you learn the tricks to make your video just the little bit better that you want it to be like. With time you may invest in a better camera or microphone (within your limits of course) to make it just that one bit more enjoyable to watch.
But the point is: For starting out that is not required – what however is required is what I mentioned above: Value.
What this means is that you need to be clear about what kind of value you want to provide. Do you want to provide information? Great, make that information clear and well structured.
Do you want to be entertaining? Also great – make sure that it really is entertaining.
Writing a short script to structure your video content helps a lot. You may think about your video as you would about your blog post. How would you structure your information in a blog post? How would you make sure that people reading your post would be entertained? What would be the story of your post?
Same rules apply for video content creation!
Here are some tools that will allow you to create great video content for your blog:
– PowerPoint (on Windows) or Keynote (on Mac)
– CamStudio – Free Screen Recording Software (Windows)
– ManyCam – Recording and Broadcasting studio for screencasts and webcams (Windows, Free version with limited features)
– Jing – Free screencasting software which is limited to 5-minute recordings. Great for quick how to videos.
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Podcasts seem to be the Holy Grail of online content creation – at least for some people.
And sure, there are podcasts out there that set the bar high. This American Life and Serial, for instance, provide some of the greatest shows ever and probably all traditional radio stations out there would be proud to have them among there repertoire.
There is no denying that these podcasts again feature great production quality. Sound recording, mixing, and editing are all great.
But here is the rub: Production quality is not the same thing as quality. A podcast lives of being either informative or entertaining. It lives by great storytelling. It lives of value.
Better production quality is not equivalent to great value.
That said: Great storytelling, compelling information, and entertaining elements are.
How to Create Great Podcasts Yourself
While I just told you that quality is not based on production quality, that doesn’t mean you should record your podcast with your laptops built-in microphone. You can, but you shouldn’t!
However, I’m not telling you to buy an expensive mic as soon as you are starting out. Less than 30 Dollars should be enough starting out! You could use a headset for your first podcasts, and the quality would be alright!
Next thing you need is software for mixing and editing – and this part comes for free:
On a Mac, you can use Garageband which comes included with every Mac, and on PCs, you can use Audacity or the free entry versions of Pro software like ProTools or Studio One. Recording wise that is all you need.
If you want to discover an even easier route to create podcasts and leave the mixing to an automated tool, you can run your podcast through an automatic tool: Auphonic.
Auphonic is an online web service that cleans up your audio, levels it out and removes background noise. The best thing: You get 2 hours of processed audio per month for free. That means 240 minutes – that is probably more than enough for your podcast.
Auphonic does a pretty good job of cleaning up your audio – but if you need real editing (cutting pieces out and stuff like that), you will need one of the pieces of software above.
Technology wise, that is all you need. Now let’s talk about how you will create your podcast:
If you heard stories about how great radio people could just sit in front a microphone and create a great show, that is not how you do it!
Before you start recording, you will have to write a script. You probably have no practice at creating podcasts or radio shows – so the least you need is a script.
You will have to experiment with the type of script you need. Some people feel comfortable with notes and less comfortable with a detailed text that they would just need to read. Other people need a detailed text to read and are not able to create a show just from notes.
Both options are ok.
After recording and editing your first podcast – what do you do? Hit publish? No, not yet.
Instead, you will create a second and maybe even a third episode. Why?
Because if you are planning a regular show, you want to have a backlog of available episodes, otherwise stress will take over. (That is the mistake I did with my podcast – and it showed in the episodes!)
Once you have 2 or 3 shows ready, you can start publishing them weekly!
Infographics are a great way of conveying complicated statistical information in an easy to understand form.
What’s more – they work great on Social Media! Why? Because they make complex facts accessible to those who only have time for a quick glance.
They also have the power to drag huge amounts of readers onto your website or blog. For instance: Here is an infographic on Jon Loomer’s blog for advanced Facebook marketers about the right image sizes for images on Facebook:
32,000 shares on Facebook alone. Wow.
So wouldn’t it be great if you could tap into this traffic source yourself?
Yet… Don’t you need to be a Photoshop wizard to create them? No, you don’t.
How Can You Create Infographics Easily?
What are the main things about infographics? Numbers and how you present them. And there are a few online tools to create these types of infographics – either by using templates or by making the actual design so easy that you can do it during lunch break.
The first tool I want to recommend here is Canva:
Canva is an online toolset that you can use for free to take on easy design tasks all by yourself. Let me show you an example of what I did in a couple of minutes while writing this article:
No, it’s not a perfectly designed infographic – but it serves the purpose of visually highlighting 3 important facts about infographics. It makes the post more shareable and visually more pleasing. All done in Canva in less than 10 minutes.
But this is a short infographic.
What if you want to add more data to an infographic – for instance, if you want to add the most important data from an industry report to the infographic.
Well, there is a tool for that too!
It’s called Venngage.
Venngage is template based, and not all templates are free. However, you should be able to get quite far with the use of free templates. Once you select a template, designing your infographic is a matter of selecting the right elements and entering your data.
Advanced content creation is easier than you think! Videos, Podcasts, Infographics: Most bloggers in this world believe that these types of content are out of reach for them – especially as long as their budget is limited, and they aren’t able to hire designers, videographers or get expensive toys.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I told you before that I believe that the next digital distribution is about to start – and part of that next digital revolution is the ability not just to distribute content digitally, but also to democratize content creation.
It may have started with ebooks and blogposts – but creating valuable content to distribute online is now within reach for almost everyone across almost all content forms.
For bloggers, one important aspect of this is that they need to diversify their content creation efforts to reap the benefits of this development. They need to start creating the content that seemed out of reach only a couple of years ago.