With billions of people connected across the world thanks to the online growth of social media and apps, we live in a world that has never been more about connectivity. But, with all the content available, a surprising number of companies don’t get it quite right.
The power to be able to connect and encourage short-term growth is corrupting the marketing and content plans of businesses everywhere. We see companies pour content onto all available channels hoping to see a return on investment similar to the tech giants who reached a billion in under 10 years (Facebook, Snapchat, etc.), but it’s not that simple.
The market is saturated with an overabundance of content, much of it not relevant or interesting, so the creation and distribution of content alone just won’t cut it these days.
Despite the very common misconception that the more content you have, the better, the opposite is actually true. No-one wants to be inundated with content, so creating high-quality content less often is much more likely to see results than creating lower quality content at an increased frequency. You should be prioritising quality over quantity. High-quality content has more value, more engagement and is more likely to gain a return on investment.
User experience isn’t just about the website or product design, it refers to every interaction a customer has with a company, and it’s one of the most important marketing factors. In fact, it’s probably the most important. So, simply shelling out poorly thought out content without considering the effect it will have on your customers, how they’ll interact with it, and what impression it gives, really is missing the mark.
All content should be produced in order to build and strengthen your relationship with your customers; they need to feel listened to, valued and you need to appeal to them. Otherwise, you’re just creating content no one will see or care about, and that wastes everyone’s time.
It’s important to note that a lot of companies put out a lot of content that’s optimised for SEO, which is good. But, where these companies go wrong is that the content is ONLY optimised for SEO. With the growth of social media, SEO isn’t as important as it once was, and you get more brownie points with Google by just writing high-quality content that people actually engage with. Remember there’s a person consuming the content you produce, and optimise it for them, not for Google.
Moreover, it is always better to optimise for both search engines and human but as per the latest Google updates, if you optimise the content for humans, it is automatically gets optimised for Google as well. In short, work to impress people, Google gets the idea of how the people are responding to your content, and accordingly, you get the ranking.
Content creation on its own means very little for a business. Even high-quality content won’t gain enough traction to see a real difference. This is where branding comes in. Social media, websites, blogs, marketing campaigns, and email marketing all come together, and should be consistent.
The tone of voice, style, subject matter, graphics, and colours should remain the same or similar across platforms and campaigns. Consistency of branding is the key to getting your brand recognised, talked about and engaged with. Make sure your brand is designed to enhance your relationship with customers, is consistent and serves your purpose.
The most important part of the brand is arguably nothing to do with aesthetics or experience. It’s about showcasing who you are beyond the money. With so many choices and so many companies saturating the market with content, it’s essential that you have an identity with which customers can relate to. They need to trust you, to like you.
Providing quality content that is useful to them is a step in the right direction, but having a full company profile outlining who you are, what you stand for and what you hope to bring to your customers is key. Following this profile, this brand identity, and remaining consistent throughout your content is even more important.
Customers want content that makes their lives easier or gives them entertainment, but they also want to feel valued and more and more people are gravitating towards companies with ethical, eco-friendly brand identities.
Furthermore, when it comes to content creation, you need to analyse what does well and what doesn’t in order to put out more of the ‘good stuff‘. Blindly distributing content you think is what your customers want might not go as you planned, and that’s okay. Marketing isn’t about getting it right the first time, it’s about adapting your strategies to accommodate changes in trends, opinions, and world-view.
Using data analytics to measure content engagement, as well as acquisition from content, social shares and what’s currently ‘trending’ can help you build content that your customers really want to see.
But how do you know where to start? By knowing who your customers are and what they are likely to want. Every company, product and service has a target market. This target market is usually an age range, gender, location, and other factors, but you need to go deeper. Create an individual profile for two or three of your likely customers, who they are, how old they are, what they like, how much they earn etc. These profiles will help you to create personalised content that your customers are more likely to engage with.
It’s a misnomer that content should be as broad as possible in order to reach as many people and not alienate any demographics. By not tailoring content, you risk alienating ALL the demographics, so be as specific as you can and personalise all your branding, content and marketing efforts to a specific demographic to increase overall engagement.
Content creation is great, it’s a step in the right direction. But, it’s not enough on its own. You need good branding, high-quality content and tailored campaigns in order for your content strategy to hit the right spot.