We live in the age of content. Most of us are exposed to hundreds of pieces of data per day, absorb information almost exclusively from our screens, and never stop scrolling for more. Every company that respects itself knows that in order to continue trading, it needs to produce engaging and valuable Content Strategy for their audience.
This is true whether the aim is ranking high on Google or building a community on social media. “The constant innovation at the intersection of digital and mobile is revolutionizing society’s appetite for content,” explain the experts at leading management consultancy firm Egon Zehnder. “To take advantage of this opportunity, content-centric enterprises must reorganize themselves around the user experience.” So, how can your company do this itself? We’ve collected four tips that will bring your content to the next level.
Understand each channel and how it is adapted
Picture this scenario. You walk one-on-one with your boss. Then, you proceed into a serious client meeting. You clock out of work and nervously head to a bustling bar to go on a date. The evening ends by going back to your best friend’s place to let off some steam. Are you the same person in all of these rooms? Yes, but also no. Your essence, what makes you you, remains. However, you change your mannerisms, the topics of conversation, and what you bring out in your personality depending on who you’re with and what the setting is. The same is true for different content channels.
Although it is tempting to prepare one piece of content and just send it into the world regardless of the channel, it would be as much of a faux pas as telling your client about your romantic escapades. You want to tailor your content to the rules — unspoken and written — of the platform and its particular audience.
For example, TikTok will only allow you to post videos of up to three minutes in length, whereas Facebook encourages you to upload anything and everything as long as you align with its algorithm. The language on LinkedIn should be professional and respectful, while on Instagram you can get a little cheeky, especially with its Stories feature. This doesn’t mean you should make completely unique content for every platform, just that the presentation should vary. Before you pick the channels you want to focus on, research where your audience is and then delve into adapting your content to each of these channels.
Make the most of emerging channels
Speaking of channels, some are completely over-saturated. To conquer them, you’ll need a special mix of clever and innovative content, immaculate branding, and a good bit of luck. It can be done, but it’s difficult. Another approach is to tap into emerging channels, where only few brands exist and the audience is not yet frustrated and sick of commercial posts. TikTok is a perfect example for this: in November 2018, the social platform reported it had 680 million monthly active users. In February 2021, it was estimated that they reached over one billion. Getting in early increases your chances to gain masses of organic followers, nurture a community, and become a name in the long term.
To do this, try to stay ahead of the curve by constantly keeping up with new apps and their trends. However, you shouldn’t force yourself into a platform that doesn’t naturally work for you or your market. Clubhouse, for instance, is rising fast. It’s an audio-only social network, and can best be described as an interactive podcast. This app is a really innovative way to convey information and create engaging content for your audience, but if you’re, say, a shoe store, you may want to steer clear of it and look for a more visual platform.
Repurpose pillar content
Understanding your channels and audience is incredibly important, however, producing content can remain difficult when there are so many other things you need to be doing every day. That’s why efficiency is key when it comes to content creation. The most effective method is to focus on what entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk refers to as ‘pillar content’ — long-form pieces that can then be cut, reshaped, and utilised in many ways.
Take your podcast, for instance. You record a 30-minute weekly episode, put it up on your website, share it on social media and then pretty much forget about it. That’s just a waste of time, resources and great opportunity. Instead, take this episode and turn it into a dozen other pieces of content that feed from the large pillar. Take one powerful sentence and design it into an inspirational graphic for Instagram. Transcribe a few of the topics discussed into blog posts for your website. Snap a 60-second clip and upload it as a sound on TikTok. There’s so much you can do with that one piece that you’re missing out on, so start thinking about your content strategically before you produce it.
Focus on creating value first
Modern consumers are savvy. They have a keen nose for when they’re being sold to, and they often don’t like it. This means that once a consumer recognises you’re advertising something to them, they’re likely to shut down, leave the page and probably never return, unless they already know they need your product or service.
Content and the language you use in it should be separated from the materials you employ to directly sell, such as sales pitches or brochures, because they’re trying to reach two different audiences. Sales content should be targeted at people who are ready to buy now, while value-based content tries to reach people who may not be interested in your product at this moment in time, but benefit from what you have to say. That’s how you build a community.
Even if this particular visitor will not purchase from you, their traffic might bring about 30 who would in due course, perhaps from sharing your content on social media themselves, for example. It’s the building blocks of credibility and trust that are so crucial for brands nowadays. As such, ensure that your content is 100% consumer-centric. It needs to fill a gap, answer a question, or provide value they cannot get somewhere else. Then, once they trust you, you can start selling to them. Not a second before.