Content. It’s what the Internet is made of. It’s all content. From blog posts to videos to websites and social media, it’s all about content. Even the simple act of commenting on blogs is a form of content creation.
That’s why we’ve shifted from just talking about blogging or social media to engaging in content marketing.
Whenever you post something online, you’re creating content. Every little tweet or status update is a piece of content; content that is meant to be consumed by those who follow or friend us. After all, that’s why we create content, right? To be read. By someone.
Sometimes we have a specific audience in mind; other times we really just want to voice our thoughts and opinions to whoever is out there. Though admittedly, we sometimes “speak” and create content before we think, not fully understanding who is out there reading. Sometimes we target the wrong audience or create content that isn’t what our audience wants or needs.
If we’re going to create content online—and we all are doing it in some way—there are a few things we should have:
1. Thick skin
If we’re going to create content and put ourselves out there, there’s always the chance that someone won’t like what we’ve written. Even if it isn’t controversial, there are those who like to nitpick. They might disagree with what you say, or how you say it. They might correct your spelling or your grammar. They might even go as far as to call you names or call you out. It happens. I’ve been on the receiving end of this, and, sadly, I’m sure I’ve been on the giving end as well.
If you put it out there, be prepared to have your feelings hurt. So, get some thick skin and understand it’s just part of being online.
2. A sense of humor
I admit it: I don’t get people with no sense of humor. Most people have at least some sort of sense of humor, right? But it sure helps to not be so serious all the time. We need to lighten up at times, especially as we’re creating content.
A little humor in your content can go a long way. Humor can even work well when dealing with serious topics, as long as you are careful and use it properly.
3. Broad thinking
Even if your blog or social presence is pretty narrow in focus, you shouldn’t let that hinder you. My business relates to digital marketing and social media for small businesses and nonprofits.
That doesn’t mean everything I write relates specifically to those topics. I like to mix it up, and even when I do write about those topics, I like to throw in other interests as well. That’s why you’ll find me creating content that talks about my life, family, baseball, music, food, and more. Don’t be one-dimensional.
4. A community
When you create content, you’re not just speaking out into a vacuum. Hopefully you’re not even speaking to a random, faceless, nameless audience. It helps to know your intended audience and know them well.
I’m thankful that I’m a part of several great communities, which includes both people I have met in person, and others whom I have only met online. I value them and their opinions, and I appreciate when they read the content that I create, regardless of the platform.
The varied pieces content I write on each platform are intended for different audiences. Though there is some overlap, my Facebook community is very different from my blogging community. Without my communities, I’d be nowhere.
We all have ears, but not all of us use them. As we create content, we should not only expect a response, but desire one. I want to hear what my readers are thinking. I want their feedback and opinions. I love that many of them are willing to comment and respond, even if they aren’t always in agreement with me. I love the ability to respond.
Content creation is as much about listening as it is speaking. We’re not talking about books or newspapers here; this is the Internet. By nature it is a two-way street, so keep your ears open; you might be surprised by what you hear.
What other intangibles do you think are important to have for those of us who are creating content online?
Ken Mueller is the proprietor of Inkling Media, where a version of this article originally appeared.