5-Point Plan For killer Content Creation.
It’s good practice to regularly revisit your content strategy and ask yourself where you are adding value for the end user. If you’ve haven’t done this recently or are just starting out on your content planning journey, use our 5-point checklist to see how your content measures up.
1. Know who you are
Nail your personality and establish a tone of voice that fits your brand.
Treat your vocabulary and syntax like your font choices and colour palettes. These nuances are part of your style guide and brand blueprint. Combined, they communicate who you are and give some reassurance as to what you represent and what you will deliver.
Is humour part of your mix? Are you all about the facts and research and therefore need a more authoritative tone? Do you surprise and shock or are you a stalwart of predictability?
Define your repertoire of words, descriptors, phrases and jargon and, if necessary, list these out in a document for your team to see.
2. Define your key pillars
Deciding on the content you’ll create and distribute is a key consideration, but all too often brand owners give little thought to it and embark on a haphazard, hand-to-mouth strategy of winging it as they go along.
Think about your audience and revisit your user personas, segmentation and audience profiles. What are their wider interests and how can you serve them a nutritious menu of content that sates their appetite?
We help businesses and brands to define their key pillars, establishing a balanced mix of original and curated content that matches the needs and interests of their target audiences.
For example, we recently worked with a client who majors in nursery art, selling framed and unframed prints online.
Their audience is coming to them first and foremost for prints for their nurseries and kids’ bedrooms but they’re looking for tips and inspiration too. They have licence to have as much as 60% of their content product-focused but they are perfectly positioned to deliver general interior advice and inspiration, ‘how-to-achieve-the-look’ content and suggestions for complementary soft furnishings and accessories. Their audience is seeking out bespoke illustrations, so a shop small ethos could add strength to the campaign. And similarly, as the founder is female, we suggested that some content could be about her own story and women empowering women.
3. Move your audience to action
It usually starts with one or all of the following Inform, Educate, Entertain. Make certain you are giving your audience something they seek, something valuable that they can see a tangible benefit in. Material that enriches their life, evokes an emotion or makes things easier and, ultimately, makes them do something.
Make sure your content has purpose and encourages action. It can be quiet behind-the-scenes action or it can be public, vociferous, movement-making action. Whether it’s a share or shout, a like or follow or a buy, subscribe or campaign – you need to move your audience to activity. We help brands to build campaigns that deliver measurable results. Not every piece of content should ask something of your audience. In fact, at least two out of every three pieces of content should give something with little or no expectation. We’re simply saying that make sure your content isn’t without meaning or purpose.
Maybe it’s a small tip or idea, like those we used in the incredibly successful ‘Eat this, not that’ franchise at Men’s Health magazine (now owned by Galvanized Media). What started out as an editorial feature on substitute recipes and products for your favourite ‘vice foods’, turned into a website, book and content entity in its own right with more than 578k followers on Instagram.
It could be a home hack à la Mrs Hinch or perhaps it’s as simple as an encouraging pick-me-up motivational meme. Whatever it is, make sure your content has a purpose and always ask yourself what you expect someone to do as a result of it.
4. Make Your Content Distinct
Content can be served up by almost anyone and it’s unlikely that there aren’t others operating in the same space as you. Determine what it is that makes your content irresistible versus that of your competitors. This could be down to the way and the personality with which you serve it, or maybe you are viewed as the oracle or opinion leader in your field. Is your ‘reason to believe’ down to the quality or quantity of your following? How instrumental is your tone of voice and personality?
Don’t rely too heavily on curated content. You can really only own something if you create it or put a unique spin on it so go back to point 1 above and make sure you build in some of your USP’s and create franchises within your content that feel distinct to your product or brand. By all means, take inspiration from others but never, ever shamelessly replicate someone else’s content. Share it and credit the creator by all means.
One of the most obvious ways to make your content distinct is in its visual delivery. This is why we work hard with brands to create a suite of their own imagery. While we accept that budget can be a limiting factor there is no substitute for original imagery that perfectly sums up your product or service and puts your brand front and centre for the end consumer. Online design platforms like Canva, PicMonkey and Stencil have their merits but there is nothing worse than seeing the same stock templates turn up on your competitor’s feeds. There is no better way to create distinct content than to create it from scratch. It’s unique, ownable and infinitely more difficult to copy.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency can go some way in helping you to achieve loyalty, and this goes for the frequency of your content as much as the content itself. Infrequent posting on social platforms, not adding regular blog content and neglecting to refresh web copy are sure-fire ways to signal an out-of-touch brand. Sporadic content doesn’t reward your customer and doesn’t keep them tuned in.
Regular communication and content (so long as it’s valuable) will only go to deepen your relationship and the deeper the relationship the greater the trust. Trust leads to authority and then you have licence to ask of your audience. -whether that’s a purchase, a review or email sign-up. That’s the permission you’re striving for.
The same goes for your own engagement. Don’t sit and indiscriminately like a ton of stuff just for the sake of it. This sort of engagement is transparent and won’t yield results. Take the time to genuinely connect with others and provide meaningful comment and opinion. You will be recognised for coming to the party and your commitment will be rewarded.
Plan ahead to keep your content fresh and don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they value and would like to see more of.