It's clear that content creation is an essential part of an online marketing strategy, pumping out blogs, articles, videos, images and infographics frequently and consistently is only going to get you halfway. Content that isn't relevant or valuable to your audience isn't going to do much to grow your business, no matter how frequent or consistent it is. It's got to be meaningful or it won't hit home.
So how do you go about creating meaningful, valuable, relevant content that scratches your target market where they itch, and how do you do this consistently? Most companies outsource the task of content creation to professionals or companies who specialise in this niche area of online marketing, but whether your content is created inhouse or outsourced, there a few essentials to remember.
First, great content creators are also voracious content consumers. They devour industry news, trends and commentary. They inspect competitor websites and scour the net for blogs and press releases. They're well acquainted with related industries. They spend hours on social media finding out exactly who their customers are and what makes them tick and identifying influencers.
Second, content creators are always creating content. The key to creating content regularly is, you guessed it, to create content regularly. That can mean setting a schedule, keeping a BuJo of content tasks, having a morning or afternoon writing routine, talking notes into your smart phone in the store to jot down later, whatever keeps those creative juices flowing. Use it or lose it is the mantra.
Third, content creators know their audience. There are a few ways they get to know exactly who they're creating for. For outsourced content creators, the brief they get from the company is invaluable. It's not everything, but a great start to getting the targeting right. For inhouse creators, getting a brief or putting one together from interviews with colleagues can be just as important.
What happens once the audience has been defined is a process of elimination and incorporation. Content creators read their own work after its been published and more importantly, they read the results. Data on how many views, likes, shares or engagements is critical to forming the subject, tone and targeting of the next item. Split-testing and hyper-targeting is incredibly helpful in this regard.
Fourth is consistency in style, tone and form. Finding a voice that is suited to your target market yet also clearly recognisable amidst the cacophony of other voices in your industry is crucially important. Content creators are often creating for more than one offering, brand and audience. Keeping a consistent tone often means going back to what was done before and getting back into character to produce the next piece.
Fifth, know what you want from your content. It's difficult, if not impossible, to know if your content is making an impact if you haven't defined how you'll measure its success. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are what's needed here. Set your KPIs and create content around what's going to get the results you're looking for, whether that's traffic, engagement, conversions or kudos.
Sixth is leveraging the human element. Networking with real people, having conversations, engaging with people in the industry upstream or downstream of your focus area, organising or attending events are all ways of inspiring content that hits the mark. People are inherently social, so work with that and tell the people side of your business story. This creates that critical "Aha, that's me!" effect.
Finally, offer solutions. Content that matters solves a problem. Dig deep to find your target market's pain point, then meet it with practical advice, solutions, fixes or pathways that will make your brand stick. We're living in the age of optimisation, when everyone wants to do better even better than before. Leverage the yearning for learning and you'll reap the rewards.
The take-home is simple: content creation is about interaction, about people, about problems that need to be solved, whether you're marketing to consumers or B2B. Placing yourself strategically as both a consumer of content and a creator of content, you'll be in the best position to meet your audience where they're at with the message they're looking for, when they need it.
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