In an episode in season six of Mad Men, Peggy Olson, the secretary turned copy chief, lectures a pair of underlings when they spin her three different versions of the same idea, thinking that they are giving her three different ideas. “If you can’t tell the difference between which part’s the idea and which part’s the execution of the idea, you’re of no use to me,” she says. What it boils down to is this: ideas are nothing if they aren’t well executed, especially when it comes to content.
So how can you avoid Peggy Olson levels of frustration when working with grant writers for hire or freelance content writers? How can you make sure the content you’re creating is not only a great idea, but a great idea that’s well executed? It involves some brainstorming, not just to think of things to post, but also to think of the best ways to create those posts.
Ideas for your content can range from focusing on trending topics to profiling the people in your company. Coming up with ideas is often the first place to start when you’re working with a writer. It’s important not to treat those ideas as too precious, though. Some you can leave behind for another content planning session while others you might want to chuck out right away. It’s OK to value ideas, but you want to avoid valuing them so much that they end up getting in the way of actually making worthwhile content.
It’s also perfectly OK to use recycled ideas when coming up with content. There really is nothing new under the sun — just take a look at Hollywood. It keeps making the same films over and over again, and those movies (such as Batman or Spiderman) end up making millions of dollars, even though people have already seen the concept.
The execution of the idea is really where you and your writing team are going to want to focus most of your effort. Think of the difference between Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman and the Adam West version of Batman. One’s dark and somewhat threatening, the other is campy, yet both are the same character.
How you execute that idea and turn it into stellar content has a direct impact on the content’s conversions and how popular it ends up being. You’ll want to think of who you’re targeting with the content and the best way to put the idea into practice that will reach and engage that audience. A .gif heavy blog post might appeal to a younger demographic, for example, while a text heavy news article might be your ticket to getting older customers.
When creating content, just remember that it’s not the idea that’s as important as how you execute it. Don’t tire yourself or your writing team out trying to come up with the next groundbreaking idea. Instead, focus on producing content that takes a somewhat familiar idea and executes it in a new and exciting way.
A professional writer since 2007, Amy F specializes in personal finance, gardening and writing for the web. Based in Philly, she also blogs about fashion and sewing projects in her spare time.