One of the most challenging parts of our jobs is creating content for our clients. Let me rephrase that, it’s not the actual creation of it – the copywriting, or the putting ideas into words, that’s the bit we love. But more helping clients understand the transition between what they do and what is of interest to the media, or general public.
Many companies, or those working for companies, understand the need for content. Especially in this changing world where creation of content helps drive awareness, traffic to websites, credibility and of course SEO. However, what they often fail to understand is the need for interesting, relevant, non-promotional content.
So, as it’s nearly July we thought we would give our Summer Guide to What Makes Good Content (and what does not).
1. Think like the customer
All good content starts with the customer. To attract customers you need to talk in their language. You need to address a need, a requirement, help them solve a problem in their business, or enhance their lives for the better. Building a brand is about making your product or service feel like part of that customer’s life, that they can’t live without it. That’s why you need to personalise your content. If you have more than one customer group, talk to them differently. Just like you wouldn’t recall the same story to your granny and your best friend in the same manner, neither should you talk to two different customer groups in the same tone.
2. Don’t assume they are interested in you
To keep a relationship going you need to be interested in each other. A client/customer relationship is like any other, if it is too one way, the other person will tune out. Shouting about your business, telling them all about YOU. ALL. THE. TIME. Is not going to make them like you more. Ask questions in your content. Find out about them. Have some interaction and most importantly, give them a voice in your conversation. In the literal sense this means open up your content for comments, invite threads in your social media and bring in guest speakers.
3. Be topical
If you want to know what is of interest to the media, read the news. It’s as simple as that. Just as you should personalise your content to your target audience, so you should personalise your content to your media. Read the blog/website/magazine/newspaper that you are interested in placing an article in and write for their audience. Listen to the radio programme that you want to be/get a spokesperson on, and pitch according to their editorial interest. That means thinking topical and linking a service/product to something bigger than what is happening with you. For example, run an accountancy business, link financial advice to Brexit. Challenge an assumption, and have an opinion about something current and then explain why you are credible to have that opinion.
4. Have your own voice
Which leads on to having your own voice. If you want people to listen to your opinions, make them your own and different. No-one is interested in the same thing said over and over again. Ground that voice in your values, your culture and your ethics. Make it credible and believable and consistent with your brand and your service. Don’t be a me-too. Be yourself.
5. Don’t sell your product or service
And finally, and the thing that most clients fail to really understand, but don’t sell your product or service. Audiences want a conversation, they want information and they want opinion. They don’t need a sales spiel. So many clients want to use sales collateral for blogs and social media content that in 99% of the time, really isn’t relevant. Sure, there is a time and place for pure sales, but content platforms generally aren’t it. This is about collaborative selling, discussion and building a relationship. Weaving in your company, what you do and how you do it when appropriate is great. But blatant selling is back to the guest sitting next to you shouting at the dinner party.
Everyone has a well of content within their company. Many have more content that they could ever use in their lifetimes. However, the trick is to think about what bit of content complements your customer. What topic, piece of information and message will engage with them and make them want to have that further conversation with you.