A 3-Part Recipe for Good Content
If you think back to all the social events you’ve ever been to, you’ll realize that the people who kept everyone engaged were those with the most stories. Everyone loves a good conversation – it’s not only a great opportunity to learn something new but a chance to express your thoughts and ideas. It’s important for every good conversation to be a two way street, after all that’s the whole point of conversing right?
Ever wanted to leave a room when you encountered someone who just kept going on and on about themselves without giving anyone else a chance to speak? Well, guess what? That’s exactly how your consumers feel when you start those cringe worthy one-way conversations on the web. The interesting thing is that most of the bad content published online is as a result of this ‘brand narcissism’ as I like to call it.
In one of my previous articles where I simplified the meaning of content, I promised to fully delve deeper into what good content is and what it isn’t. So here is a 3-part recipe to ensure that the content you make is good and NOT garbage.
1. Start with your objectives: When it comes to branded content, objectives are a good starting point. Anyone can write a funny piece or a few lines of witty copy but none of that determines how successful your brand or business will be online.
Clearly stating your objectives as you build your content strategy will help guide your content creation process. What would you like your audience to take away when they consume your content? What do you want them to feel?
Before you put out any piece of content, it helps to think about why you’re creating it in the first place. It’s upsetting to see brands jump into conversations that aren’t relevant to their brand.
Good content should meet your brand objectives, so the first step will be to determine what those objectives are before you start aligning them with the interest of your consumers.
2. You need a story: Brands who fail with their content marketing usually do as a result of poor storytelling. Good content must have all the elements of a great story in order to capture the heart of the audience. There are several brands that have recognized the importance of good storytelling and how it enhances their message.
Take Dove for example, they have mastered the art of telling stories of beauty, self-confidence and womanhood with every piece of written or video content they release. One might assume that a skin/hair care brand has no business talking about anything other than their products, but it is through these stories that consumers are able to not only discover the brand but eventually become lifelong followers and advocates.
Just recently, the brand announced that they will be teaming up with Shonda Rhimes, (producer of the hit TV show Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder & Grey’s Anatomy) to produce films on women and beauty. These films will give real women and Dove consumers a chance to tell their stories. It is this kind of commitment to creating good content that enables smart brands to win the consumer’s trust for life.
3. Make it useful: Marketers and brands sometimes forget that the end goal is always to please the consumer. It is only when you please the consumer that you can ensure increased usage of your product or service.
As with any good story, the most important element is always the audience. You need to leave your audience with an emotion or a little more knowledge. Whatever the case, they have to benefit something otherwise your content creation effort will pretty much be wasted.
GE (General Electric) is a perfect example of a brand creating content that leaves their readers with more knowledge and resources than they could have ever dreamed of. Through their GE Reports blog, they share stories related to aviation, science, health care, energy, transportation etc.
Instead of explicitly selling what GE has to offer, they have invested in providing stories of interest to a knowledge-loving audience. Without knowing it, consumers will look to GE as an authority on innovation and this will automatically make them the top choice for the products they offer.
Good content is never rushed or created just for the fun of it. When it comes to branded content, discovering the interests of your audience and marrying that with your objectives/brand message is definitely a winning recipe. Know what works for the audience you’re trying to reach and invest a considerable amount of time and effort into getting it right.