This is a special guest post from writer Antoine Bonicalzi, founder of The Content Production Line.
There’s no doubt that content marketing is the way to go online. You produce high-quality, educative, relevant and interesting content, you find a way to distribute it and good things happen.
Your content is what allows you to grow an audience and to position yourself as an expert in the eyes of this audience. Your content is what you share on social media and it helps your site rank in the search engines.
You may even sell some of that content as part of online courses or membership sites.
At the moment, you may be looking to create:
- A free report (pdf) to give away as an ethical bribe to join your mailing list
- Text content for your email autoresponder sequence or your blog posts
- Audio and video content for high perceived value free offer or paid digital products
- Fresh content for your membership site
You may even need all of the above. In an ideal world, you would create multimedia content on a regular basis.
Actually Creating The Content Is A Real Challenge, Right?!
You need to create high-quality content on a regular basis. You have the knowledge and the expertise, that’s not a problem, you’re an expert. You even have a pretty clear idea of what you want to say…
But the problem is finding the time to do it; there’s so much to do that it seems overwhelming. What type of content should I produce? Should I go with text, audio, video? Where do I even begin?
If only there was an easy, simple, step-by-step system you could follow to create content. And while you’re at it, ideally content that you can use in more than one way.
I’ve been there myself. In my past internet business, the weekly blog post and video I promised myself I would put out soon became monthly rather than weekly. No to mention the pdf report I’ve been meaning to write for two years and never did.
Quick & Easy Content Creation Strategy
The game changer happened when I signed up for Teaching Sells, a course by the CopyBlogger folks. In this course, I learned a recipe for creating quick and easy content in multiple media formats. Basically, it goes like this:
- Make an outline of what you want to cover in your content.
- Take the outline and record audio of either you talking or someone interviewing you based on the outline.
- Edit and clean the audio so it’s ready to be shared with your audience.
- Have the audio transcribed into text.
- Clean and format the transcript and turn it into articles, emails or a pdf report.
- Take your outline, make a nice Powerpoint (or Keynote, or other) based on it and match it with your audio to produce video content.
Isn’t it great? You start with audio and you end up with content in all three formats!
I always had the tendency of starting with writing or with video. But if you’re like me (and like most people), writing can be hard and videos can be intimidating.
Let’s look at each step in more details…
It All Starts With A Solid Outline
In this methodology, it all starts with a solid outline for the topic you want to cover. An outline can be bullet points of what you want to cover, it can be a set of questions you want to answer or a combination of the two.
For example, if I wanted to produce content on the topic of using the gratitude attitude in order to be more successful, my outline could look like this:
- Introduction: What are we going to cover and why does it matter?
- What is the gratitude attitude?
- What are the scientific evidence around it?
- What are the benefits of having the gratitude attitude, how can it make you more successful?
- Examples of well-known people who use it, talk about it, say it helps them.
- Concrete ways and strategies to effectively start using the gratitude attitude in your life.
- Conclusion: Summary and what’s the next step.
Of course, you could go in more details and add sub-bullets under each sections.
Going One Step Further With Your Outline
A simple list like this one may be enough to go to the next step of the methodology. But what I really like to do at this point is to make a basic Powerpoint (or Keynote) presentation with the outline.
You don’t have to use a fancy template or use a lot of images. At this point, you just want to organize your thoughts in a logical and chronological manner. Structuring the outline as a presentation often gives me more ideas so I can simply add slides and more bullet-points.
The more you go in details in your presentation, the more material you’ll have for the recording. And it’s still much less work than writing the whole script like a lot of people do (and like I did too many times).
Now, Let’s Record Your Words!
The second step is where we start producing the actual content, and it starts with audio. What you want to do now is sit in a quiet room and record your voice while you go over your outline (or your Powerpoint presentation). Push the record button and start talking as if you were giving your presentation to one person in front of you. Simply go through your outline and if you mess up, don’t worry it can be fixed later.
There are several ways to do it. You can obviously use a computer, a microphone and a software. As far as the microphone, it can be very basic; a USB headset with a microphone will do just fine. I use this model that I bought for $25 at Walmart. As far as software, I use Camtasia which is made to record screen capture videos but will also effectively record audio. A free alternative to Camtasia is Camstudio. Although I never used it to produce audio only files, it should work just fine. For Mac user, Camtasia has a Mac version but I know that ScreenFlow is very popular. All the options above are made to record your screen and the sound of your voice. But since at this point we’re only looking to record audio, you could also use a “sound only” software like Audacity, which is free.
But for this step, you don’t even need a computer. You can use the phone service at FreeConferenceCall.com. You sign up, set up a conference call and they’ll give you a phone number to dial. Call the number from any phone and go through your outline. The call will be recorded in your account and you’ll be able to download it. This is a great service that doesn’t require any equipment but if you want to edit your recording, you’ll need one of the software products I mentioned above (or any other with sound editing capabilities).
When you’re done recording, it’s now time to edit and clean your audio. I won’t go into the technical details of how to do it (each software is a bit different) but basically you want to put together the different takes (if you didn’t record everything in one take) and cut out any part where you messed up.
What About Interviews?
Alternatively, you could have someone (a colleague, a friend) interview you if you’re not comfortable speaking all alone or if your topic is more suited to an interview format. In this case, I would suggest that your outline be a set a questions that you have pre-selected. What’s great about interviews is that your answers will spark new questions so it has the potential to cover more material than you thought it would in the beginning.
What I do to record interviews is set up a Skype call and record the call with Camtasia. If you don’t have Camtasia, I know you can buy a Skype extension that will give you the ability to record your call. There are many Skype extensions for that on the market such as this one that is recommended buy Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com.
From Audio To Text
This is the easy part! Now that you have a clean audio file of your presentation, you can send it to a transcription service. I use Speechpad and they are very good. The transcripts they send me back are always well written with no grammatical errors. I don’t suggest you do the transcription yourself because it will take you lots of time, it will most likely drive you crazy and there are other things you can do that are a better use of your time (like coming up with the outline for your next recording).
What you’ll receive from them is a word for word transcript of your audio file so you’ll have to do a little editing and formatting in order to make it look like a finished product. Use a compelling headline, use sub-headlines and break the text in short paragraphs. Go through the text and edit any part that doesn’t make sense, that’s not clear or that uses too much of a conversational style.
You can also add some visuals and branding elements depending on what you want to do with this content. You can easily use it as a blog post, a series of posts, content for an autoresponder sequence or even save it as a pdf and turn it into a report or a white paper.
One of the things I like of this method is that the transcript of your audio will most likely sound very natural, it will be your own voice since it comes from the recording of a “live presentation.”
While We’re At It…Why Not Video!
At this point, if you follow this methodology, you’ll have:
- A basic Powerpoint presentation
- A clean audio
- A clean text version
Wouldn’t it be nice to also have a video version? In the eyes of your audience and your customers, audio has a higher perceived value than text and video has an even higher perceived value. Video is also the preferred way of learning for a lot of people.
The first step of the video production is to make a good looking presentation using Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi or another program of your choice.
The first presentation I recommend is simply an in-depth outline. And you most likely covered more in your recording than what was written in your outline. So now that you have a finished audio and a text version, you can make a comprehensive presentation that includes everything you covered in the recording. This time, use lots of images and other visuals that match the audio. The idea is to have slides that accompany your audio and have a good mix of visuals and bullet points. Also think of adding your company name and/or logo to the presentation for branding.
Once you have that good looking presentation that goes along with your audio, you are ready to record your video. Once again, I recommend Camtasia or Screenflow for Mac users. I have a PC so I use Camtasia a lot. It even has an add-on that integrates directly in Powerpoint. Basically, you want to record your screen while you go through your new presentation. Then you upload your audio and sync it with your video. And when that’s done, you can export the whole thing as a video file, the standard is .mp4.
As you can see, I use Camtasia a lot and at different steps of the method; I use it to record audio directly, to record Skype interviews and to make videos. So if you had one software to invest in, I would say that’s the one!
One thing that can make a good difference in this type of video is to have a custom animation at the beginning and at the end of your video. It makes a good branding effect. You can easily have it done on Fiverr.com for a few bucks. If you have a logo, send it to one of them and they’ll do the rest.
This Method Works!
Since learning this methodology, I used it to help many clients create content and we had great success. One of them had more content created in 2 weeks with this strategy than she had in the last 2 years! One of my client had been wanting to offer a digital product to her clients for years but didn’t know how to start. She produced one in less than 3 weeks using this strategy.
Now it’s up to you to get the ball rolling and try it for yourself. Start with the outline and go from there. If you have questions or comments, let me know below…