Have you ever been so excited about trying a new restaurant only to get there and find that the eccentricity of the menu leaves your appetite anything but whetted?
Obviously, for the sake of progression and to stand out from the crowd, a certain element of creativity and experimentation is required, but to keep us from straying off the beaten track too much you will always find that the latest trend is based on something tried and tested… and quite simple.
Be that food, fashion or the fundamentals of marketing, the content must be right and merely adapted for your target market, audience or objective.
So content is king, and last week I talked about how to use research to help guide your content and make sure it is consistent. But perhaps a more important question is how do you create content that your users/customers will want to consume or interact with?
Firstly you have to establish the purpose of your content and what you want it to do so ask yourself, what is the objective of my content?
Are you creating content for the sake of it? Are you space filling? Has it been a while since you added content to your social media? Is everyone else doing it? As doubtful as it seems that the answer to these questions will be yes, sadly it does happen. Make sure that all content is created, published and shared for at least one tangible reason.
I was once given a piece of advice by a wise “old” man to help me shape my content and make sure it had a purpose. The advice is applicable to all content; images, copy, tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts etc., and was based around simple human nature… ICEE. At first I thought this was a colloquial phrase I was unfamiliar with but it was actually an acronym and the letters stand for:
If your content will not do this in any way then there is no real reason for creating it as the end user will not get any benefit from it unless they want to pass some time. When creating content you need to look at it through the eyes of the audience it is meant for. If it doesn’t inspire them, connect with them, educate or entertain them then you will probably have to go back to the drawing board armed with a big red pen.
INSPIRE your audience by providing content that gives them ideas, poses them with scenarios and that lets them imagine themselves with your product or service. This could be target audience relative images which are often found in holiday and home brochures, tips and tricks of the trade that would make a task easier or a recipe perhaps next to your newly launched easy cook product. As long as the content inspires then don’t feel limited to one avenue.
CONNECT with your audience. Connecting is a huge part of any content creation and your aim is to make your audience feel like you are talking directly to them and that you know what they need. Your content shouldn’t alienate your target audience or be too aspirational for them as they will find it difficult to relate to you and will leave thinking “I could never do that” as opposed to “ I can definitely do that”.
EDUCATE and engage. Educating is a great way of creating engaging content that will not only benefit your existing customers but help attract new customers. Most people use Google to ask a question and search engines receive hundreds of searches a day for “How to get red wine out of a carpet?” and “How do I cook a steak” so it is important that your content answers a question and educates. If you are the authority voice on a certain topic then you can quickly become a great presence online and become a trusted destination for many users. Content such as infographics, videos or step by step guides are great for this and can also be easily shared.
ENTERTAIN and be remembered. Quite simply, content must entertain! We want to be stimulated as humans, and boring content just won’t cut it any more. You will all have been to a lecture, seminar or training course that had you thinking more about what to make for dinner than it did the topic in hand, so chances are you left without retaining any of it…am I right? Even if your content is short or non-vocal it still must entertain and be a pleasure to watch. Also if content is entertaining, the odds of it being shared or referred to online (or even offline) increase considerably. Look at examples such as Harlem Shakes, or corporate messages such as the T-Mobile Flashmob dance routine in the London Station during rush hour. Entertaining content encourages your brand name to be spread and increase visibility.
So there you have it, a simple easy application that can be applied to all forms of content. Now go forth and cement yourselves as the next Spielbergs and Rowlings!
Next week I will talk about how to set and meet realistic goals what with it nearing the world cup and all that.