Taking a look at the 5 most important considerations behind generating quality content, as well as the strategy and ideation involved in the creation phases. Toast also comes up, so if you are in the bread business, today is your lucky day two times over.
5 minutes required reading time
By Tim Cooke /Growth Marketing Manager
It starts with a blank page.
All good things begin in the brain as a single thought, before bursting out onto the page as something physical (or digital if you want to get technical).
When people ask about what makes good content, they rightly assume that what is created is the most important element. The words on a page.
The content is good because of the quality. But getting into the philosophy of it, what do we mean by quality?
Is it well written?
Is it far-reaching?
Is it relevant?
Does it convert into sales?
Does it use too many rhetoric devices?
While all the above questions have merit, the answer differs drastically from business to business. And while all of these questions require strategy to solve each mystery, before we discuss strategy we must instil one clear point…
1. What is the point?
The quality of content is not what content is, but what content does. To measure the quality of your content, you must assess its purpose.
Here’s an example…
You sell toasters. And through your marketing content, you promote the quality of perfectly toasted bread. How it smells, tastes and how the butter melts as it is spread across the crisp dough surface. Your content is both poignant and well crafted. But you’re not selling any toasters. The baker, on the other hand, is having a field day.
To be content with your…er…content, you must identify the purpose.
Three things to remember:
i) Understand the difference between quality and experience. While you might feel the need to promote the quality of a product or service, customers are more interested in the value and -more often than not- they engage that value from an emotional or experiential perspective.
ii) Set expectations. Good content tells an audience what something is. Great content shows an audience what something is capable of.
Setting the boundaries early on of what a product or service can actually provide is essential. It moderates the customer’s expectations to expect a lovely day spa experience, as opposed to giving them the idea that they may somehow reach an existentialist nirvana instead. Again, the customer interaction is subjective, so it is just as important to be clear as it is to be clever.
iii) Understand your audience. This one can be a double-edged sword. Because chances are if you run a business, you know your audience like the back of your hand. But take a moment to think from a digital perspective how you would engage them. Are you B2B? B2C? Does that mean your audience are interested in social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn? Are you utilising YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram? Knowing your target demographic is of the utmost importance. Yet if you’re unable to engage with your target audience in their own arena, you will remain a stranger to them.
2. Sharing is Caring
Having defined the intent of content, it’s now important to see what makes content successful.
In our opinion the success of content is based on the concept of shared meaning.
What is shared meaning you ask?
There’s a strong chance you have a friend that just gets you. They’ll tell you a story you completely understand it and you can do the same. Somehow through your very separate and distinctive lives you have developed similar interpretations of certain things. Finding this oasis between customer and company is the aim of all marketing. And it is central to quality content.
And with that, Marketers created Strategy and saw that it was good…
Good content requires good strategy. But before strategy comes research.
3. Buyer Personas
As an exercise draw yourself a target with three rings. In the very bullseye, I want you to answer the most important question. What does your customer experience from your product or service? Not what it does. Not what it is. What is gives. What it provides.
What does your customer experience from the product or service?
If you sell toasters don’t say burnt bread.
Nor should the answer be some deep soul-searching anthology about the tactile feeling of depressing wholegrain bread between a fast-heating spring loaded mechanism.
No, if you sell toasters, a good answer could be:
“breakfast in a hurry for the busy working woman”
Here you’ve identified a demographic, a subjective experience and a core value for your customer.
Now to the middle ring. Conceptualise your audience. Not in broad strokes. Conceptualise a person. Female. The early thirties. Single. Time poor. Strong work ethic. Keep defining the character and personality traits until you feel you know them. You’re meeting them: your buyer persona. You should probably give her a name. For the sake of this example, our buyer persona is named Sally.
With all of the information, you have put into the inner and middle circles come to the outer ring. What does Sally engage with? She’s time poor, so she probably doesn’t engage with written media on a computer. A smartphone seems more likely. Think about her Social Media habits. And what articles she would read and where she would find them. If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty and consider her job, hobbies and income, you may even deduce the times in which she is online, her needs and hesitations. Get to know her, walk a little in her shoes.
Just kidding there’s a small bit left to do first.
4. Competitor Research
Some people like to do the competitor research before the buyer personas, which is fine. But it can lead to imitation over innovation. Whichever way you go about your process, the key is to do comprehensive competitor research. Look at the types of content being created and see how it is presented.
Look at advertising, SEO and website content and determine who bring a strong game, and who brings a weak one. It is good to use programs like Moz, Screaming Frog and Buzzsumo in this stage to find out the strategies of your competitors.
To be clear the intention here is to develop strategy, not to plagiarise. As the saying goes, to steal from one source is plagiarism, to steal from multiple, research! Look at how your competitors target their demographics. Is it through native or programmatic advertising? Do they wield a heavy social media presence? Or bring with them some clever Keywords initiatives.
Now start to integrate this into your buyer persona. If you’re going to write website content, always come back to the core of your buyer persona. That burning answer. “Breakfast in a hurry for the busy working woman”. Build a website for that person and you’re chances of striking shared meaning have increased. Utilise what you like of competitor strategy and you’ve increased those chances again.
One last consideration before Content Creation…
5. Content Continually
Many people see the mere creation of content as successful content and that is understandable. Content is hard to create. It takes time to make, and even more, time to make well.
But once it’s created it should never be forgotten about. Content doesn’t end when it is uploaded to a website. Nor does it end when it is created for a blog. Content is continuous. It must be made to accommodate change. It must have the ability to evolve. But what does this mean?
Ok. Say you build a website (for your successful toaster company) and you write content with keywords to assist with Google’s organic rankings. Understand that your company will grow and build and change, and your keywords will be refined and changed and built upon. Good content requires assessment and reassessment.
Similarly, the promotion of content is more important than the creation. If you wrote the next War and Peace, would it still be a masterpiece if no one read it? For blogs, it is important to promote on Social Media and provide clever backlinking and interlinking strategies. The promotion of content cannot be understated.
So, when building your strategy make sure you also build for the future. Save templates that you can reuse and develop pages for exponential growth. At worst you will be an optimist. At best you are prepared for successful business growth.
ALRIGHT! YOU HAVE:
- Discovered the purpose and intent of your content
- An understanding of the shared meaning between your company and your customers.
- Developed a Buyer Persona
- Undertaken competitor research
- Developed a long-term strategy
Now you just need to create the content. Because you understand your customer, your competitors and your company.
Here are a few pro tips:
- Develop a direct customer strategy and a nurture customer strategy. One will appeal to your hot leads and the other will nurture the cold ones until they are in a position to be hot. The great thing about nurturing leads is you are also nurturing brand awareness.
- Timely content is very powerful. Try to prepare in advance for events, conferences and situations where you can promote your business. Don’t be reactive, be proactive.
- Always embrace your Unique Selling Point. Many companies attempt to emulate others but being able to provide something else, something alternative is often what maintains customer loyalty. Always try to bring that across in content.
So go on, what are you waiting for? Get writing!
If the above sounds like a lot of work to you, you’re absolutely right. It’s true, you could absolutely do all of the above yourself, just the same as it is true you could cut your own hair, but even most hair-dressers need a hand with this themselves! If you truly understand the power of great content and want to speak with an expert, get in touch, we may know a few experts who could help you out. They may also make a mean piece of toast!
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