Being methodical in the creation of content does not limit creativity. We as marketers have goals and our content should reflect those goals. There are now ways to create with purpose and still respect the creative process.
When I have the time, I like to make breakfast in the morning. Usually my approach is to take whatever vegetables and available proteins are leftover in the fridge, combine them together with some egg whites. Without much effort, sometimes I end up with a scrambled egg concoction that is both tasty and healthy.
Other times, due to the lack of availability of certain ingredients, and my incredibly limited culinary skills, I will end up with a pile of slop that our dogs refuse to even consider. This is usually where things go from bad to worse as I start iterating on my scrambled egg surprise to try and save my breakfast. And let me tell you; things like asparagus, beets and ham do not go together great, even when you try to dress it up with hot sauce and havarti cheese.
So I learned over time, why not make sure I have the ingredients that actually go together well stocked in the fridge to ensure I can reach my goal of a quick, edible breakfast every time? I know this seems incredibly obvious, but it often takes my wife to point out these logical conclusions that so often allude my completely obtuse, oblivious view of the world.
So while my creative culinary process worked out some of the time, I didn't always reach my goal; an edible breakfast. Things were even more consistently bad when I began iterating on a bad outcome. Which brings me to my point: iterating on something without a goal (and in my case actual skills) often results in a worse outcome.
Creativity with purpose results in great content
The creative process in the context of marketing, is really no different. Yes, a truly creative process ideally has no structure and perhaps no real purpose, except the beauty of the result. All of the greats, like Michelangelo or Van Gogh continued in their creative process until they just “felt” they arrived at the appropriate conclusion. They knew when a piece was complete and avoided the dangers of continuing beyond the peak of a piece's beauty.
But let’s be honest. The creative process in the context of marketing should and does have purpose. We are trying to move people to engage; inspire customers to act. So, our content must be created with purpose in mind. And when iterating in the creation of that content, we can’t just reach in the fridge and grab whatever is there and hope we’ll make it better.
Creative with purpose is measurable
We have customers that have taken this concept to heart. They have specific goals in mind like increasing blog engagement, brand awareness or purchase velocity. So in their creative process our clients are very specifically working to include the elements that will help them drive the metrics they care about.
They test individual pieces of content to ensure the elements they need to drive their goals are present in the content itself. If a blog post requires more insightful language, they add that specific ingredient and test it again. If a landing page requires more benefit communication to lower the bounce rate, they are sure to include it before publishing.
The partial report shown here is specifically how our customers test their content before publishing to ensure they have the right ingredients for success.
Content with purpose still respects the creative process
Its important to note that this can be achieved while still respecting the artistic freedoms required in the creative process. Its one thing to provide guidance to a creative team on required ingredients, its a completely different thing to hand over a recipe or tell them HOW to create. Creatives and the creative process is incredibly important to what we do. But it is possible to feed that process with the purpose it needs to be successful.
There is still A TON of room to be creative and truly build art, even within the context of content marketing. But we all have objectives we want to achieve with our marketing. So be sure to publish with purpose.