Content is the cornerstone of modern digital marketing. This is a good thing. It means marketing campaigns carry substance and value; they’re able to benefit their respective audiences indiscriminately and open warm engagement with them and your brand before ever having made contact. For this to work optimally, you must consistently produce high value content. This has the potential to command a ridiculous amount of time and research before adding legitimate and relevant value to your business.
We held a Twitter poll in which 42% of respondents said content creation is the scariest thing about social media marketing, and so, your digital guardian angel, Round Creative, are here to tuck you in, sing you a lullaby and chase away those marketing monsters!
— Round Creative (@RoundCreative) October 31, 2017
To begin to address content creation in the interest of marketing for new business, we must first understand how exactly it helps us and the effect it has on those who consume it. There are two principle intentions in adding content to your site:
Content is stuffed with keywords. Like, absolutely rammed. This allows search engines to crawl our websites, pick up these key terms and match then with user search behaviour. This process is incredibly complex, and is driven by the fabled ‘Google’s Algorithm’. This mysterious and infamous algorithm is the result of nearly 20 years of constant evolution, progress and adaptation. We tend to, as a rule, execute SEO with only Google in mind; at the time of writing this, Google Search holds a market share of 91.47% according to StatCounter Global Stats, and so it is completely logical to cater our SEO efforts to Google.
Due to this huge majority, Google tend to be followed to-the-letter as industry leaders by their competitors who may only be defined by code nuances and differing search functionality. This affords us confidence in a specific, but ever-evolving, logical and formulaic approach.
The second function served by the ‘content’ in digital content marketing is trust. The human brain thrives off repetition and coincidence. We’re designed to notice trends and repeating behaviour patterns; it what helps us learn before we can communicate, and our ability to observe tendencies and inclinations is one of the primary contributing factors to our success as a species. So it makes sense that your customers will base their diligence and opinions on consistent demonstrations of mastery and understanding. In digital content marketing, these are referred to as ‘touch points’, a concept applicable to many contexts which are all based upon human psychology, such as teaching, retail, traditional marketing forms and even dating! When you think about it, a business deal can be easily likened to dating: Meeting multiple times to build trust and identify potential for profound mutual benefit before deciding to commit, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Brand trust encompasses, or is also referred to as brand identity, brand awareness, trusted expert status or thought leadership. Achieving this trust must be done though relevant content and discussion and shouldn’t compromise your brand’s tone-of-voice. Check out our article on how to confidently generate trust whilst preserving brand identity, ‘Social Media and Digital Content Marketing’.
Now we’ve identified how content serves us as marketeers, we know what bases to hit in order for it to create value for our businesses. It some cases you may find it very difficult to sufficiently address both SEO and establishing brand trust. In these cases, choosing the most relevant/desired intention and committing to it provides more value to us as businesses than half satisfying criteria on two fronts; you know what they say, ‘a Jack of all trades is a master of none’, and we need to demonstrate mastery to build trust with out prospects and create conversions. Though this value will be negated and result in little or no return-on-investment should the content have poor reach and engagement. To ensure this doesn’t happen we’ll need our content to carry legitimate value for its intended audience.
If we approach this using the widely proven concept of PIE, which defines the three categories of purpose in any piece of writing, we can determine where the value of our particular piece of content will lie and therefore in which way to optimise it so it best fulfils its purpose.
Fight the burning desire to ‘sell’ in your blogs! By all means, write a feature on your past work, discuss your achievements and strengths in designated blogs, blog about offers! But in general, content trying to persuade its reader doesn’t provide them with value, and seeing as they’re likely already reading from your site it won’t carry much benefit in the way of brand trust. If anything, singing your own virtues in a domain where it’s unexpected can have the opposite effect. It seems counter-intuitive, but often the best content doesn’t directly discuss the business who authored it.
To quote MTV Cribs, ‘this is where the magic happens’. If the intention of your content is to generate trust and confidence in your business’s knowledge of its industry, how better to do this than an expertly-worded piece of site content discussing the nuances of the function/industry you’re operating in? If you’re seen to be at the forefront of your industry with unquestionable knowledge and cutting-edge ideas, then your brand is strong. And when your brand is strong, so too are your prospects. Writing to inform also presents the best opportunity to satisfy SEO; you have free reign to cram with keywords, and cram, you should!
Here is where you can really exercise your brand’s tone-of-voice and generate legitimate interest from your audience; You can cover what’s going on in the business, or your personal lives. You could post evidence of your team living and breathing their profession to contribute to industry-expert status, (eg, we may want to post a link to a site one of our developers has built in their spare time), or you could write a satyrical article on a relevant controversial topic tog enerate loads of relevant engagement. It really is only limited by brand criteria to hit and your imagination! Try to have a little fun with this one, and inject a degree of passion and sense of humour.
You may feel it’s over-facing task to satisfy all criteria listed above, and it can be. A simple mantra to keep in mind, one which really helps keep us focused on ensuring we’re producing high value content, is as follows:
‘How is what you’re doing:
a) Valuable to your audience
b) Related to your offering’
Now you should have a better idea of how to approach content creation and derive genuine value from it. Use this knowledge to plan a campaign. Start with a month’s worth of cohesive topics, which can all link back and forth to each other. Reference old articles in new, go back and edit old ones to discuss new ones! Create a journey of useful content on your site for consumers to click through. If you’re a regular YouTube watcher you’ll probably relate heavily to this journey. searching for something along the lines of say, a video on how to implement a cross-sheet formula in Excel and ending up three and half hours later on a video which may document all the hottest trout-fishing spots in the Yorkshire Dales. If we can get our content to replicate this effect, we’re doing something right!
We could discuss content creation all day but we’ll leave it there for now, and cover more depth in another blog, along with covering curation. Here are some final tips to help you get creative with your content!
Ahead of the release of Part 2 of this blog, covering high-value content curation and a deeper look into high-value content creation, check out some of the following resources to give you a little head-start!
A curation tool allowing for quick quoting of and referencing to existing web pages. This enables the creation of totally unique articles in very little time in response to existing pieces of content! Efficient, and a great way to network with others for mutual benefit and audience sharing!
A plugin to help with managing posting plans and distribution of created content. This is a pocket based content manager which prevents you from needing to make a hire in order to get your high value content live and distributed!
Similar in concept to Passle, with the benefit of being more cost-effective and of sending content directly to the blog section of your WordPress website! Cons: Less robust in design and build than Passle, only compatible with WordPress sites and completely bespoke sites.