Have ever been tasked with creating content from scratch? If you have, you know it can be quite daunting. We often think the creative brainstorming part of the process is the most difficult aspect, but sometimes the logistics and legal technicalities can be even tougher to conquer. As someone who has been creating different forms of published content for over four years now, I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of this somewhat tedious process. Here are my tips that will (hopefully) guide you in the right direction.

#1. Have an Organized Plan

Just like any essay or report you’ve ever written, you were probably encouraged to create an outline of some sort. Instead of looking at the brainstorming process as a tedious and unnecessary distraction, think of it as a nice little cabinet with designated shelves to place all of your creative ideas in. If you’re a loyal reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I follow a similar structure for organizing my tips in each post. This personally helps me stay on track and formulate my thoughts into one cohesive content piece. Whether you’re creating text, graphics or video content, organization is key for keeping your audience’s attention.

#2. Use Your Own Graphics and Images

Copyright Law can be a pain in the you-know-what. There are a few websites out there that provide royalty and license-free images, but they’re pretty limited in what they offer (as you can imagine). For this blog, I personally prefer to take my own images and create my own graphic illustrations. I’ve found this to be much easier than worrying about the legal ramifications behind borrowing content off the internet. If you have no other option than to use stock photography, I suggest using sites such as pixabay.com or pexels.com where everything is covered under the creative commons.

#3. Site Your Sources

The amount of facts vs. personal opinions you are incorporating into your content can directly correlate to the amount of research you’ll need to conduct. Anytime you are researching and using other people’s intellectual property to back up what you are trying to convey, you need to site your sources! This can be done in numerous ways, and for proper text citation you can find any number of preferable formats by conducting a quick Google search. For images or infographics, it’s common practice to add a small line of text to the bottom with your sources or the original artist behind the image and/or illustration. If you’re creating a multimedia piece, try to cram your sources into an end credits section. No matter how you decide to do so, it’s important to give credit where it is due!

#4. Be a Professional

If you have to lean on others in order to create your content, make sure you follow common courtesies! Get signed permissions if you are filming someone and ESPECIALLY if you’re interviewing them. When it comes to written interviews, ask them if you’re allowed to record them in order to ensure accuracy. If you are taking more of a journalistic approach, let your subject know what is “on the record” vs. “off the record”. If you’re only including a casual interview in your piece, maybe send a final draft to that person before publishing it. At the end of the day, I like to take the “Golden Rule” approach and treat those who have helped me out how I would like to be treated. Not only does it make you a moral professional, but it helps you with your long-term networking goals!

There are so many different aspects to content writing that I haven’t even covered in this post, but I believe these key basics are a good place to start. Just like anything else you do, the more you practice, the easier it will become to perfect your craft. Remember, you will make mistakes, but try to study what you did wrong and learn from them! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or ask below in the comment section. See you next week!

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