Resisting the urge to create content

An email from PR Week landed in my inbox over the weekend that really made me stop and take notice.

This is the quote that caught my eye. It’s from Lisa Jedan, Global Head of Brand PR at Bacardi-Martini:

When marketers say: ‘We need some content’ – you can just replace the word ‘content’ with ‘shit’ if people don’t know what they’re going to say.

Anyone who has ‘content creation’ as part of their job description is bound to have felt the pressure of filling a pipeline with great articles, videos, blogs and news to satisfy a hungry and demanding audience. But sometimes resisting the urge to churn out another piece of ‘content’ is the very best thing you can do.

Creating content for content’s sake, without having a clear idea of your message, aims and call to action will typically leave both you and your audience feeling uninspired, unenthusiastic and pretty darn disappointed. Putting out something mediocre or off-message can certainly do more damage than going quiet for a few hours.

I recently attended a fantastic CPD course about business storytelling which had this message (echoed by Lisa Jedan in PR Week) at its very heart:

“We need to find passion points for our audience.”

Taking the time to understand your audience then creating specific pieces of content designed to connect on an emotional level will ensure your work is actually adding value to someone’s day, and is not just created to put another tick in a ‘to do’ box.

So next time you feel the pressure to post “something” on social media to fill a gap, try taking a breath and really thinking about what you want to say before you start. If you don’t have anything specific to share, perhaps it’s better not to post at all. An alien concept for some, I’m sure.


How to create content when you have no news

I was recently asked, “If it was your job to create a constant stream of content but your client/company had absolutely nothing ‘new’ to inspire you, what would you do?”



I thought it was a good question but, although it certainly makes life easier when your client is constantly making new discoveries, launching new products and unveiling new technology, if you’re in the content creation business, you can’t let something like a slow news cycle phase you.

My answer was simple; I would reinvent. I would look for original content that was now out-of-date, irrelevant or inaccurate and use these topics as a springboard for new ideas. I would look to the competition to see what they hadn’t written about and where gaps existed. And, if all else failed, I would use some of the fantastic free tools that exist to inspire content writers and bloggers.

Econsultancy recently published a list of ‘17 fantastically useful tools‘ which I have now bookmarked for future use (I recommend you do the same). The list includes a ‘content idea generator’, and ‘readability test tool’ and even a ‘cliché finder’. If you’re ever feeling uninspired, I guarantee one of these will swiftly set you back on the right track.