Why do you turn on the television? Why do you open a magazine? Why do you read the newspaper, whether it is online or folded and crumpled on your coffee table?
We want to be entertained, amused and educated and the reason you open the laptop, turn on the tablet or browse on the mobile, is that we are seeking information and it is called content.
Google earns $30 billion a year indexing and helping you find information and content. In an information age, creating content should become the focus of your marketing, whether it is for the consumer or for business.
The Difference Between Success and Failure
Content comes in all types of formats, shapes and styles and often the creator has only a few brief seconds to entice you to go beyond the headline or the opening line.
Creating compelling contagious content can be the difference between success and failure of any media marketing venture whether it be social, mass media or traditional.
So where do you start?
Well for one it’s not about you, it’s about “them” your prospects,customers, viewers and readers.
Step 1: Find and Define your Target Audience
There are many questions to ask here and if you are a large organisation or brand then your advertising agency will certainly tell you who they are. They could be female and aged between 25 and 34 or they could be male and be in the 40-50 bracket.
But you need to know much more!
- What television shows do they watch?
- What magazines do they read?
- What words do they use?
- What events do they attend?
- What fashion do they like?
- What music do they listen to?
If you are creating content for a B2B market then you ned to consider 3 core topic categories
- Solve their problems
- Educate and inform them
- Keep them updated with News
If you are marketing to a consumer then they will want to be entertained, informed of specials and up coming sales and also to be educated about the product.
Step 2: Identify Your Customers Social Networks
There are so many social networks and social media channels that it makes your eyes blur and your mind turn to mush. You need to ensure that you are publishing and placing your content where your customers hang out.
There are a few no brainers that should be in your mix.
Other channels such as Slideshare (the “YouTube for Power Point Presentations) and LinkedIn are important if you are communicating with the business crowd.
Step 3: Establish Their Media Preferences
In an information age of rich multimedia, just going with text or words is not enough any more. To reach the widest audience possible you need to publish the same core content on a variety of media formats and types such as:
- Images (Flickr and Instagram)
- Video (YouTube, Vimeo and other online video networks)
- Audio (Podcasts)
- Presentations on Power point – Slideshare
Mixing these up into hybrid content formats as a package or selection can ensure that everyone receives their preferred media type.
Step 4: Find Ideas for Creating the Content
Writers block is real, it happens to everyone!
So how do you keep those ideas flowing to create that compelling content?
- Read other top blogs and develop content on industry Trends – where is the industry going, what are the emerging hot segments
- Write about customers successes – Write up a case study about a clients successful project.
- Publish content on what not to do! – highlighting where something hasn’t worked
- Create a video blog post by interviewing a successful client – this can a powerful providing authentic evidence of authority and credibility for both you and the client.
- Subscribe to the top industry blogs in your market, both company blogs and personal blogs for ideas and view them in one place with an RSS reader such as “Google Reader”
- Look through your latest news releases for ideas
Step 5: Create the Content
Creating content does take time and effort but you must remember that you are building up online assets that will continue to provide value well into the future. A “How to Video” that is published on the web will educate customers and prospects while you sleep.
Blog articles can be the outline for creating an online video or a PowerPoint presentation. So don’t forget that re purposing content is a very efficient way to build your media library.
If you are considering crowd sourcing content such as inviting guest authors for your blog then you may need to set some standards and writing guidelines.
- Length of article such as 1,000 words
- Images to be supplied
Creating video content can be as easy as interviewing someone at a Cafe with an iPhone!
Step 6: Optimize the Content
So if you think that by just writing and hitting the publish button on your blog is enough then you need to take a deep breath… because your job has just begun!
You need to optimise your content. Some core elements are
- Headline – learn to write an enticing headline that will make people want to click on the link in Twitter
- Structure – Write sub titles that break your content up into bite sized chunks and draw your readers into the article. Write for skimming and scanning
- Search – Write articles using key words and phrases that customers would use to “Google” you. Also if you are publishing images on Flickr, Videos on YouTube and presentations on Slideshare (or any other social media channel) then make sure that you optimise the content by writing a headline, including a description, enter tags (Keywords)
- Social – make sure you have social media sharing buttons wherever you have content. You want people to share. Don’t make it hard for customers to share and spread your great content!
Your challenge is to be everywhere! – Be ubiquitous.
Step 7: Make it Mobile
Laptops and personal computers are not the only devices that your customer, prospects and readers are using today. So ensure where resources and budget allows that your content can be viewed on the various mobile platforms
- Android Smart phones
- Apple iPhones
- iPad’s or Tablets
Step 8: Monitor and Measure
This can be really simple to monitor, such as measuring how many hits the blog post receives or using Facebook Insights to measure its virality on Facebook. Other paid tools such as Meltwater’s Social Media monitoring tool “Meltwater Buzz” can provide in depth statistics on your content’s performance and virality.
Step 9: Repeat What Works
This is not rocket science and if an article about a certain topic is shared many times or receives a lot of hits and traffic, then create more content for that topic.
Give them more of what they want, with the topic and media type that resonates.
What successes and challenges have you had with your social media content?
- What are 10 Addictive Types of Content?
- How to Increase Your Blog Traffic by 55% with One Button
- 5 Motivations for Sharing Content
- 20 Ideas for Social Media Content that Engages
- Is it Better to Share on Google, Facebook or Twitter+
- 9 Questions to Ask your Customers When Creating Content
Image by Sanofi Pasteur