How to have content contribute to your business objectives
'Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Keep it simple and focus on what matters' [Confucius, 551BC]. This also applies to content.
To think like a publisher means to produce the ‘best content possible’. For once and for all, cut the subpar non-effective content and please focus on these open doors:
- Put your customers first
- Add value to touch hearts, minds, and souls, inspire or educate
- Show and tell why you do what you do
- Show and tell how your product solves their problems
- Fix your basics and set up fundamentals before your start
- Use research and data
- Implement KPIs in line with business objectives
- Align media buying with creative production for effectivity and efficiency
- Create a central Content Department with Editorial Board
- Create a digital brand persona
- Realize integrated production, with one Editorial Calendar and digital eco-system
- Be prepared for crisis management for when the sh*t hits the fan
Sense of urgency
What is the sense of urgency to ‘think like a publisher’? Good question, easy answer.
A new era, new times, new ways of communicating with your audiences. It still is not about you, it is about the customer, to connect and to add value. If you do this, you become more likable, with the result people are more eager to buy your products. Simple as that.
You can choose to continue as you go by producing inside-out content with a focus on brand activation, stick to broadcasting your sales messages and with a reactive ad-hoc PR approach. Nothing wrong with that.
Realize it is your customer and their expectations that are changing, due to innovations, technology developments, and sociological trends. You keep up with them and play on, or you stand still, and lose in the end.
Let’s be honest, if you are not already convinced of the sense of urgency of content by now, deep dive in Google, go to marketing blogs and do your homework before reading these pages.
Don’t be old school
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as digital and non-digital, your audience really doesn’t differentiate between the online and offline channels. All communication efforts from a brand should be seamless and not based on one channel. Digital is just another channel in the mix, like TV, print, OOH or radio. Nothing more nothing less. Don’t overcomplicate. Combine, integrate all channels.
Don’t be old school. Content first, channels second.
Less is more
Common sense is that is all about producing ‘more’ content. Quantity over quality with an inside out message. Social media timelines are getting more and more cluttered, websites become patches with superficial non-findable content and overflowing mailboxes with meaningless newsletters.
As a result, we, even more, hate the ads, developing stricter filters with ignoring faster and faster the non-relevant no-value-adding content. Our attention span on Facebook or Instagram is just 1.7 seconds for mobile, 2.5 seconds for desktop. (Source: Facebook BluePrint 2019, https://www.facebook.com/business)
Not even to mention those Millennials and Gen-Z’s. They are different. With their love for authenticity, their values are shifting from the common values ‘class, status and luxury’ into ‘identity, purpose, and energy’ with fun and engagement. As non-millennial, I am shifting my values as well.
The solution is with the brands. Let's vow to produce less content and focus on what the consumer actually wants to view and read. Quality over quantity. Content that adds value based on your audience's needs.
Yes, this takes time, it is pretty difficult and expensive to produce. However, this resonates more, the content assets can be reused, it saves on media budget and can actually attribute to the long term business objectives. More effectivity and efficiency in the long term.
It sounds like such a no-brainer to use data. Data is quite a bubble and everybody talks about it and wants it. Few brands really know how to read and use big data in favor of the customer. A lot of brands struggle and do not know where to start. True. It is complicated and I do not have an answer as data is an industry by itself.
What I do can suggest, is to do a deep-diving in Google and YouTube and to do a search query to discover the needs of their audiences. What are your, potential, customers fans and or followers actually looking for in relation to your brand and industry? What are the keywords they use?
Do a deep-dive into the analytics of the brand website. What are the top 10 best and worst pages to discover how the website is used and what content gets consumed and what not?
Use the data from your customer care department? They are the department with the first line of contact with your customers and an amazing source of information. Find out why are people contacting the brand, what is the top 10 asked questions in the webcare, email, and phone.
This data is more or less for free and already available. All you need is an analyst to do the research.
Keep in mind, we as consumers want a solution to our problems, fulfillment of our needs and wishes. Your product is their solution. Sometimes they are aware of their problems, sometimes it is triggered by your advertising.
So tell them how your product and brand solves their problem instead of listing solely the product features. And if possible, please explain why I should like and prefer your brand over the competitors.
Nowadays there are hardly any bad products. The really crappy and shitty ones phased themselves out. The main reason why consumers buy your product is that they like your brand. Even with a big price difference, that can be the reason why they like you more than your competitor. That is why the ‘why you do what you do’ is so important in your content strategy.
This works the same in the offline world with bricks and mortar shops. If the shop has great products but the staff sucks, is lazy or even rude, you do not even hesitate to buy anything. No way you gonna spend your hard-earned money with someone you do not like. Especially if you can get more or less the same thing next door for a comparable price. The other way around, if the staff is really nice and likable, you probably buy even more than intended and perhaps you make a return visit.
Same for brands. Why buy a BMW or an Audi? Both are great cars, fantastic functionalities, shinny, amazing power, electrical, solid loud sound system, cozy leather seats, all got four wheels plus a steering wheel, both crazy expensive and super fun to drive. Why one or the other? Because of your ‘driving pleasure’ or your preference for ’technological advanced’.
It is about being likable. That people can relate to your brand, share your values and they like you why you do what you do. And that you provide a solution for their problem.
'People like doing business with people they like'
'People like doing business with people they like'. It is about being likable. That people can relate to your brand, share your values and they like your 'why you do what you do'. And that you provide them with a solution to their problem.
Content excellence rules
Some rules for content excellence
- Show your passion and pride for why you do what you do: is irresistible
- Learn to walk before you start to run: fix the basics and set up the fundamentals before you even think about starting
- Content is a like a marathon, if you sprint at the start you will not make it to the finish line
- Nothing wrong with being real and authentic: sometimes it just shows the passionate people behind the brand and nothing wrong with that
- A little unpolished raw and human touch with an edge is fundamental for the connection, perfection in every content item and social post is pretty boring and lacks character
- Manage beforehand that you can make mistakes along the way, fail fast learn faster
- Put your audience first and put your ego aside, it is not about you, it is all about them
Last, not least,
- Have fun :)