How To Create Compelling Content

Delivering consistent, quality content is paramount for businesses in 2017.  In 2016 88% of B2B companies used content marketing to drive profitable customer action. (Content Marketing Institute)  But producing and promoting relevant and engaging content is one of the biggest challenges businesses battle today. Here are some tips on how to make great content that can be used across multiple platforms. 

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1. KNOW YOUR PERSONAS

“Knowing your audience is key to content marketing success.”

— Martin Jones (Content & Digital Marketing Strategist)

Consumers have a constant stream of relevant and relatable content available to them at any time. Without clear focus your marketing will easily get lost in this ceaseless sea of social media. To connect with customers you need to know who they are and what they care about. But knowing your audience means more than demographics or the general metrics you get from analytics. 

Dive deeper by developing detailed customer personas. Personas are essentially one-page summaries that serve as generalized representations of your ideal customers. Through a combination of market research, surveys, and customer interviews you can uncover insights and learn specific interests, hobbies, style, music preferences, etc... 

Personas provide a clear focus that will allow you to create quality content that will resonate with your specific audience. So instead of coming up with something general and targeted to the masses, brainstorm ideas that Jessica (persona #1) and James (persona #2) would find useful or entertaining.


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2. STAND FOR SOMETHING OR BRAND FOR NOTHING

“It is not enough to be industrious, so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”
— Henry David Thoreau

Great brands are driven by an underlying purpose that is greater than just making a profit. They stand for something more meaningful. A strong brand mission evokes an emotional response that connects with customers in deeper and more personal ways.  

Let's take a look at two hotels with quality brand-centric content.

 

1. These brands use a clearly defined aesthetic/look and voice to create a first impression that enables the audience to quickly identify whether or not they relate to the brand. By taking a stand for who they are, these hotels end up attracting a more focused and dedicated customer base that will be loyal to the brand and not the price of the hotel. 

2. They sell the experience, not the service. Instead of the typical post you would expect to see from a hotel (i.e. great deals, free in room wifi etc.), Freehand and Ace both highlight the culture and people, not the hotel itself. By doing so, they not only create deeper connections with current and prospective customers, but they also further highlight what people can expect to experience if they visit one of their hotels.

When creating content, ask yourself:

  • Is this content relevant and true to my brand?

  • Does the content highlight who we are and what we stand for?

  • Is the content focused on people and their experiences or is it focused on the hotel and its services?

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3. TELL A STORY

“You are competing with every piece of content ever made for every person’s attention. You need to be entertaining. Don’t outsmart. Out entertain.”
— Dolf van den Brink (President and CEO of Heineken USA)

When creating content, always start with the story. Don't limit creative concepts by bucketing them into how they can fit into a specific channel/medium. Rather than crafting a marketing message, think of your content as a compelling story that makes your customer persona the hero.

Imagine that you're the director of a movie and need the following elements to begin shooting:

  • A distinct beginning, middle, and end of your story

  • A main character who will play the hero in the story. This role should always be played by your customers

  • Secondary characters who will play the mentor and villain in the story. The mentor role is played by your brand whose purpose is to help and guide the hero. The villain represents something that our hero is fighting against (i.e. boredom, bad weather at home, stressful week at work etc.)

  • By thinking about stories and the characters in them, you can alter your mindset to develop content that is truly interesting, engaging and unobstructed by channel limitations.

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4. WHERE TO SHARE

“Content is fire, social media is gasoline.”
— Jay Baer (President of Convince & Convert)

Determine platforms to promote your content - Owned blogs and YouTube represent good primary channels because videos (or a combination of video and editorial) are suited for handling larger amounts of content. Email and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are great for communicating shorter, bite-sized content. 

Rather than repurposing the exact same content on each channel, it’s crucial to craft your content to fit all platforms you plan to utilize. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Make content that will be interesting/ useful to your core audiences

  • Make content that is true to your brand

  • Tell stories where your customers are the heroes.

  • Focus on quality, not quantity

  • Choose the most appropriate platforms to highlight and promote your story