With your outline ready to go, it's time to start drafting.
But drafting means different things for different content.
In text-based content, it means writing out your idea in its entirety. From start to finish, you want to have everything on paper that you want to say about a topic.
In graphic-based content, drafting is about creating the final product so you can review it and tweak it to perfection.
In audio-based content, it refers to recording whatever you need and getting that raw "footage" ready for editing.
In video-based content, it's about getting your raw video footage to prep for editing.
We'll take a more in-depth look at these below.
1. Text-based content drafting
Text-based content — articles, blogs, downloads, and any accompanying text — requires you to write out your entire content piece, word for word.
This is basically the process of copywriting.
Using your outline, write out explanations to your customers' most pressing questions and give as much detail as is appropriate.
You'll probably have a few new ideas as you write. Many writers modify their outline as they write their first drafts because they think of new ideas they want to add or old ones that don't quite fit.
This is called self-editing, and it can either help or hurt your writing depending on you, personally.
Other writers choose to save self-editing until they have all of their ideas on paper. That lets them write out a first draft and move to the editing phase in an organized fashion.
On top of that, a small percentage of writers edit themselves both as they write and after they write. This isn't 100% necessary for everyone — it's just how some people work.
Last, some writers don't self-edit at all. This is not recommended since it's easy to write typos, insert extra words, and just communicate poorly in general without looking at your content a second time.
Thankfully, you don't have to rely on your own two eyes to self-edit.
Online, you can find a whole suite of copywriting tools that'll help you get your first draft written down.
That doesn't mean your first draft will be perfect — but it'll definitely be on the right path.
These tools all serve different purposes. Some will help you identify complicated words, others will just help you get organized.
Some, like Google Docs, will just let you write.
But regardless of their purpose, they all contribute to good copywriting.
Plus, you can't beat the price!
As you're writing, you'll probably learn that you're writing a certain way.
Most people write conversationally, like they're talking to a friend. They also write informatively, like they're explaining a concept.
But those aren't your only options.
While it's definitely smart to write with simple words, you can change the tone of your copywriting depending on what you want to achieve.
These unconventional copywriting models include four major styles:
Humor is adding a splash of comedy to whatever you write. Typically, this only works if an entire piece is funny or if you add a clear joke at select points in your content.
But humor is a little dangerous. It's always possible that your joke will fall flat and nobody will appreciate it.
Empathy demonstrates your ability to relate to your customers. Showing that you stand with them creates a whole different feel compared to talking at them.
Awe creates a sense of excitement by making something fantastic sound attainable. This is also called altercasting, where readers project new identities onto themselves (like superheroes).
Last, creativity is a general writing style that can be goofy, informative, or just generally different.
Creativity is a little risky to use, kind of like humor. It's always possible that someone will interpret your offbeat, fun-loving text as unprofessional, uneducated, or misinformed.
With all of that in mind, drafting your text-based content requires you to make a few key decisions.
But once you've made them, you can write (or learn to write) fantastic content.
2. Graphic-based content drafting
Graphic-based content — infographics, interactives, and other static visuals — are often created with cutting-edge software like Adobe InDesign or Adobe Photoshop.
These programs are arguably the best graphics programs on the market. They're used frequently by graphic designers, web designers, and web developers, though they tend to be expensive.
Regardless, creating graphics is more involved and requires a lot more technical knowledge than writing text.
That means unless you have a background in graphics, you may not see much of the work that goes into your graphics.
But some free marketing programs allow you to make simple designs that still look professional.
Canva is one of the most popular because it's so easy to use and the best functionality is all free.
With Canva, you can draft simple graphics with templates or images that you've found.
They won't be 100% unique or have the charm of a from-scratch graphic, but they're great for any small business that doesn't have a budget for a designer.
Whether you want blog headings or full-fledged infographics, you can create them on Canva.
But the best part is that it's so easy to learn. Everything is laid out in a common-sense dashboard, and it only takes a few minutes to get started.
The Internet has other alternatives available, but none of them can quite match the simplicity, ease, and results of Canva.
If you're drafting graphics for the first time, Canva is the best place to start.
3. Audio-based content drafting
Audio-based content — like podcasts — is done by getting everyone in the same area and recording their conversations.
These conversations can be about anything related to your industry. The important parts are your equipment and recording software.
You can prepare your company for audio content by spending about $135 on affordable equipment and downloading free recording and editing software.
Audacity is the most popular audio recording and editing software by far. It's available for download without ads, and you never have to pay to keep using it.
Like our other DIY-type software, Audacity functions well and lays out all of your options in simple menus.
It also creates an easy-to-understand interface as you're recording, allowing you to watch sound levels, stop recording, and perform other tasks as needed.
While it's smart to have an experienced audio editor on your team, anyone can pick up Audacity and learn it in a few minutes. It has its own help forums, and you can find a ton of tutorials online if you want to learn something new.
When you're done, you can easily export the final audio file, upload it to your website or podcast distribution network, and move onto your next task.
4. Video-based content drafting
Finally, you draft video-based content by filming the scenes you need for a completed product.
Videos require a decent camera (a DSLR is usually fine), compatible microphones, memory card storage, tripods, lighting, and any other bells and whistles you might want.
That gives video an unusually high cost of entry. But it's possible to create great videos without spending thousands of dollars.
Plus, the benefits of video marketing are huge. It has a profound effect on your SEO, and site visitors love them.
When you're "drafting" (or filming) your video, it's smart to follow three key best practices.
1. Choose a quiet place
First, you need a quiet place to film your video.
Book a conference room, use an employee's home, or even book shooting space at a local studio to make sure you get the best possible results for your investment.
Videos take a long time to make, and the last thing you want is ambient noise in the background when you're editing everything together.
In the event you do pick up background noise, it's always safer to assume that someone will be able to hear it than risk an imperfect scene in your final product.
And speaking of scenes…
2. Shoot in scenes, not all at once
When you're filming, it's tempting to let the camera run and just dice one video file in post-production.
Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time.
Don't be afraid to flex your — or encourage someone else to flex their — director muscle to shoot in short, crisp scenes that you can easily splice together.
Chopping up your video into portions also makes it easier for your talent to prepare for each scene and get through it without any foul-ups.
15 to 45 seconds is a good length for a scene.
That may sound short, but in front of the camera, it's almost a lifetime. But this helps make sure you get the best performance so you don't have to reshoot later or rely on a bad scene.
But even if you get a bad scene once, you can solve that problem easily with our last best practice.
3. Get two takes
It's essential to get more than one take of every scene in your video.
Even if you think someone nailed a performance, you may see or hear something in your final product that you didn't notice when filming.
That happens more often than you'd think, too. If only one person is filming and manning the audio equipment, it's so easy to miss a fly zipping on screen, shadows from people walking near a window, and a whole range of other mishaps that you can't notice until it's too late.
So even if your talent gets it right on the first try every time, get at least two takes.
You'll be happy you did once you start editing.