Space Cowboys and Content Creation

Content creation is probably the biggest stumbling block in the web design and digital marketing world… but it doesn’t have to be.

Your web designer, your marketing manager, or your SEO consultant will all tell you: In order to run an effective digital marketing campaign you need content. Most companies don’t have a dedicated copywriter or video editor to churn out reems of content on a weekly basis. But with a little time even a small team with little experience can get the job done and do it well.

The secret, that I tell all my clients, is that in the near future every new hire will have content as part of their responsibilities. That doen’t mean you need to hire new people, you just need to get your existing staff genreating content.

Sit down with your sales staff and ask them, what are the top three questions new customers ask? Ask your support staff, what are top three problems your existing customers call about.

Your engineers, your receptionists even your accountant have valuable stories about your company and your products that can be turned into content.

You promissed me space cowboys!

So before you think I’m out to lunch, let’s look at Roberts Space Industries. Chris Roberts, the founder, made a name for himself producing some really popular video games in the early 90's.

Back in 2011 he decided he didn’t want to build another game, he wanted to build a universe. Of course he ran into the same problem all megalomaniacal would-be gods encouter: how am I going to pay for this thing?

He started a crowd funcding campaign in 2012 on the company’s own site and kickstarter, with the modest goal of leveraging his name, and his game creation history to raise $500,000 to start his project. By the end of the campaign they had raised over $4.2 million. The crowdfunding continued after the original campaign and to-date Star Citizen has raised over $72 million.

That’s a crazy story, but…

…what does this have to do with content creation?

Take a look at the Comm-link section. The company maintains an aggresive publishing schedule to keep their backers engaged. Granted some of the content is “in-verse,” meaning it’s part of the game narative, but the majority of it is interviews with staff, news on development milestones, and Q and A sessions from the CEO himself.

The “Around the Verse” videos even feature a Bug-smashing segment where one of the devs fixes an in-game bug on camera. Yes, they managed to turn bug fixes into content.

Over time the videos have become more polished a put-together, but if you go back into their archive on YouTube, and you’ll find video with bad sound, red faces, and grainy, dark video.

For over two years they’ve had regular staff member who have been shooting and editing video, conducting interviews and tours, writing blog posts and answering forum questions ON TOP OF doing their regular day-to-day “build a video game” job.

You could argue that their business is creative content creation and I’ll keep pointing you to“Bug-smashers.” There is one staff member who didn’t sign up for on-camera coding when he was hired.

Start Creating

Now, you don’t need to have a huge staff meeting and start cracking the content whip. Start small, get your staff used to the idea. Your marketing people will proabably have to play editor for a while. Keep the posts/images/videos on-brand and on-message and they’ll do fine.

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