Content – always on the recipient’s terms!
If this headline caught your eye, you’re probably interested in (or already work with) creating content for your readers. But what’s required from you to create content that will succeed in the long term? Here are some important reflections of what you should have in the back of your mind when you sit down with your laptop and start writing content.
What’s the buzz with content?
Traditional marketing communications tell you to market your products through bought media channels to reach your target audience. However, a content-based approach recommends telling something different and interesting to your target audience, without it always having a direct connection with your product. In this sense, the purpose of content marketing is to entertain an audience, not only to inform them.
So what should you think about when you create content?
Finding the common denominator
Companies who are efficient in marketing communications share a common interest with their audience. Gasoline company Preem tells stories about environmentally friendly fuel, H&M about fashion, McDonalds about employing young people and advancing their career. Examples of great companies with great resources, you may think? True. But today, every company has the ability to reach their target audience by finding a common denominator, in a relatively low-cost manner. The key is to define the following points:
What is your audience interested in?
What kind of information are they seeking?
What problems do they have?
How can you as a company help them resolve those problems?
Try finding new angles to communicate with your audience. Remember: you’re allowed to stand out from the crowd, but even more importantly, you need to keep to only one topic.
Who is your audience?
How well-versed is your audience in your products or services? Marketing communications to your existing audience are often built to make them discover more of your products or services, or upselling the products they’ve already bought. However, by analysing how your target audience reaches your website or other platforms and what they’re clicking on, you will find out much more about them.
Lifestyle, age, gender, travel experiences are just some factors that will tell you what you need to know before you start creating content. The bottom line? The more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to communicate with them.
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No excuse for boring products
So what can you offer your audience? Knowledge? Trends? News? Entertainment? Well, first of all: if you want someone to listen to you, you need to be generous and worth following.
Car tires are not an especially hot product for most of us. They’re more like something you have to buy because you need them. But the brand Michelin is often talked about as “the king of content marketing”: they created the now world-famous restaurant guide for Frenchmen who spent their days on the road. This shows us that there’s no excuse for not creating good content, not even if you sell what some would call “boring” products.
Writing for the geek
Before writing your text, think about who you’re writing to. This will give you great arguments towards colleagues and bosses who may only be interested in how many readers, shares or likes you have. The impact of B2B communication does not always correspond to the amount of readers you have. On the contrary, it may be enough to have only a few readers, who then make more or greater deals with your company.
Today, being a bit “geeky” and having expertise in a certain topic has become even more desirable and appreciated. To take the role of communicating news and insights about your industry to other professionals or experts is often underestimated, or even forgotten about. Take for example the photography enthusiast, who spends hours on research online before making a buy. Isn’t it worth reaching out to him?
Keep the topic alive
When choosing a topic, it’s important to repeat and explore everything around it. Be one step ahead and divide your ideas into different tactics, so that you can use your topic over a longer period of time. Collect tips, show external facts, tell stories about others who share the same interest and find authorities or influencers to share with your audience.
By researching and sharing information or news related to your chosen theme, you will show your customers that it’s important and interesting. One post is not enough. You have to dedicate yourself to the communication of your topic over a significant amount of time.
Here are some final tips to keep in mind when creating content:
Write something that your audience needs - like a guide for using your products or services, or an analysis of your industry, for example.
Share interesting articles, sites or videos from other (non-competitive!) brands that involve your topic.
Write about the trends within your industry - keep your audience up-to-date!
Last but not least, don’t forget: you’re a storyteller. Speak to the hearts of your audience by involving their feelings as well as their minds.