Everyone is talking about the importance of content marketing and the fact that every business is becoming a publisher. These points have been well driven, but where does it go beyond this? Creating valuable content is hard work. What’s more, as many companies have stepped up their content efforts, the market has become much more competitive.
How can you create great content that everyone wants to read AND share?
Content creation cannot be broken down into a science. It’s an art that takes skill and experience. Often times, businesses will engage a freelance writer to help with content needs. While this can be beneficial, it is of utmost importance for the writer to work closely with someone who lives and breathes the business. The president of a company is really the one who is most equipped to write about a company. However, not all managers are skilled writers. This is why it is vitally important for these executives to work closely with people who can write to make sure the correct message is translated.
Find Your Story
To begin developing content, a business first needs to determine its story. Finding this story is, no doubt, challenging. Similar to a resume, telling your story is often harder than telling another story. But, every business no matter how big or small has a story to tell. Your business may have a rich family history, or maybe it was created to solve a particular problem. Whatever this story may be is your secret sauce. This is your opportunity to share some of your business’s culture and personality.
With content marketing, this is often where problems begin since many businesses attempt to mimic other businesses. However, individuality is key. What works for another brand may not work for you.
For instance, GoDaddy is known for being a risk taker. Have you seen their Super Bowl ads? Here’s one that you may remember from 2012:
Hardee’s is another brand that takes risks with its messaging. While your brand may want the same traction as these, this approach may not work for you, especially if your demographic is older or conservative.
Listen to Your Audience
The development of this story isn’t entirely up to you. In other words, the story that you may want to tell could be different from the story that your clients want. You could be struggling to determine what this story is, and it could actually be right in front of you. If you want to be heard, you must listen first.
Listening could help you determine if you should take a humorous approach, a historic angle, or if it is acceptable to take a risk.
Spread Your Message
At this point, you should have enough fuel to get your story going. This means it is time to test the waters. You can start distributing this message through your blog and across social media. These methods, especially social media, provide valuable insight into how your audience will react. This is where your audience is most comfortable, so they will let you know whether they like it or not.
Based on the feedback and engagement you receive, you will know if you need to make adjustments. You may find that your story is exactly what your audience wants. Or, you may find that you need to tell another chapter in your story or tell it in a different way.
As you distribute, you should also be mindful of how your message comes across. In most cases, the goal is to grow your audience through your story and create influencers and brand advocates. With this in mind, it is vitally important to develop a rich overall content strategy as you push out your own content. If your story sets you up as a long trusted leader in a particular industry, you should probably set yourself up as an expert and push out helpful information.
Rutgers University recently released a study highlighting the meaning behind message content across social media. In this, they identified two primary types of content distributors across social media: informers and meformers.
- Meformers — Users who post social media updates mostly relating to themselves
- Informers — Users who post updates that are mostly information-sharing
This research is very eye-opening when it comes to content creation. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and examine what your story looks like on the other side of the table. To get your story out, you must self-promote, but the key is to do this in a way that doesn’t seem like promotion. And if you’ve developed the right story, you’ll fall into the category of informer and grow your following.