Lessons on… Getting Content Right
The way we interact with content has changed infinitely from the start of this decade to the end. In 2010, 39% of the UK population were consuming news and information via content they’d found online. In 2018, that number sits at 69%.
But what is content? Why should businesses care about creating it? And how can they overcome the noise to make their brand’s content stand out?
In a recent talk Untapped Digital held as part of Second Home’s ‘Breakthrough’ series, we explored the answers to the above questions and more. Breakthrough is Second Home’s year-round educational programme, designed to give you the tools and support you need to make your dent in the universe.
“To me, Breakthrough refers to those lightbulb moments — where you’ve been working and working to solve a problem for so long, and suddenly something clicks.
Usually those lightbulb moments come from asking questions of people further along in a journey than you or hearing knowledge you didn’t know before — which is exactly why these ‘Breakthrough’ talks are so important”
Corrie Jones — Founder Untapped
What is content?
At its core, content is information that your brand publishes in order to market the business and build a relationship with customers.
Put simply? Content = words + creative.
Words and creative (visual assets) that are put together in a way that conveys to potential and existing customers who your brand is, what you stand for, why they should care and how you can help them.
Content isn’t the same as selling, it’s a strategic approach to offering valuable, relevant and consistent information for your audience over a continued period of time. But that’s not to say that — if done right — content doesn’t contribute to your sales funnel quite successfully in fact.
Why should your business care about content?
Content is often the first touchpoint a consumer has with your business. 47% of buyers view at least 3–5 pieces of content before deciding to speak to a company’s sales team. Content is what sets you apart from your competition: it’s your opportunity to say;
“Hey, we’re here! And we can solve your problems! Here’s a bunch of free value for you before you’ve ever had to spend a penny with us. You’re welcome.”
In the age of content clutter, how can you get it right?
There are 3 stages to the content creation process:
- What you’re saying (MESSAGING)
- How you’re saying it (FORMAT)
- When you’re saying it (DISTRIBUTION)
For instance, say you’re a skincare brand thinking about the kind of content to post in December. You’ve identified that your target audience wants to know how to stop their skin from being dry in the cold weather (pro tip: always think audience-first; it’s not about what your brand wants to tell people, it’s about what your audience wants to hear). Your message could be ‘5 quick and easy ways to keep your skin silky-smooth this winter’. Your format could be a blog post; it could be an Instagram caption; it could be a video listicle. You’re likely going to want to post the content as the weather turns colder, when your audience is most interested in the topic. Ta-dah, content sorted!
Once you’ve got ideas for content flowing, consider what your brand can do to stand out and keep your audience’s attention:
- Create ‘surprise and delight’ content: do what people aren’t expecting. Example: Will Smith’s promotion for his Gemini Man movie.
- Don’t be afraid of ‘polarising’ content: you can’t please everyone and nor should you want to. Niche down and create content with your specific audience in mind. Example: Jasmine Star’s puppy PJs.
- Always take advantage of content on a ‘trending topic’: ride a wave whilst people are talking about it. Example: Peanut’s open letter to Meghan Markle.
- Design ‘community-first’ content: listen to your audience’s content needs and give them what they’re asking for. Example: Paws’ infographic on Christmas foods to avoid.
If you see a piece of content that works — aka it gets way more engagement than any other piece of content ever has — create more of it. Think about how you could turn it into a content series, where you offer episodic content on a regular basis, to make your brand a destination people come back to as they’re excited to consume the next thing you have to say.
Must-have tools for creating content
Creating stand-out content requires some effort with the visuals. Gone are the days where posting a stock photo is enough to get someone’s attention and stop their scroll on social. These are just some of the tools we use day-in-day-out as an agency, to help our clients’ content get noticed:
- Kapwing — their tagline says it all (“where content creation happens”). A place to create videos, memes, animations and more, from easy-to-use templates.
- Canva — a design game-changer. The best way to create visuals for your brand, no PhotoShop skills required.
- Pixaloop — a very cool way to make your pictures move, known officially as ‘cinemagraphs’ but amongst our team as ‘Harry Potter images’.
- Headliner — particularly useful if you’re looking to repurpose audio content into some visuals.