The effectiveness of traditional advertising is fading, and content marketing has begun to take its place. Modern consumers have no interest in antiquated marketing strategies anymore; what they crave is substance. The reason content is king is because it not only promotes the brand, but it tells –and sells- a story. Outsourcing content needs is the route many businesses turn to, but that option is not available for everyone. In-house content creation is by far the cheaper direction to go in, and it awards the opportunity for your business to be as genuine as possible. If your business handles all your content creation internally, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Modern consumers expect their brands to be transparent about their ideals. Authenticity is at a premium in today’s market as customers increasingly desire something real. The heart and personality of a company is an asset, and it should be treated as such. Don’t simply use content to sell products or services, use it to sell the ideals of your brand. Fortunately, while genuine brand-centric content is not the easiest to create, it is among the most accessible. After all, who knows the heart of a company better than their own employees? Gather your in-house team together and brainstorm ideas that showcase what your company wants to represent about itself. According to Little Jack Marketing, 211 million pieces of content are published every minute, which means if you want your content to stand out, it needs to be exceptional. Though outsourced content guarantees a high minimum level of quality, it is not capable of reaching the elite level of authenticity self-created content can reach. Your content is designed to tell a story, so allow those who star in the story to be involved in telling it.
Produce a Variety of Content Types
Some people are visual learners, and others prefer plain text, but whatever the case, each individual digests information differently. To ensure that your messaging resonates with as large an audience as possible, it is crucial that your in-house team creates a wide range of content media. Write blogs, craft white papers, and, if you have the ability, design infographics and produce video segments. According to a study by Brain Rules, when people hear piece of information, they remember 10% of it three days later, but if the information is accompanied by a relevant image, that number spikes to 65%. Diversifying your messaging works!
Listen to your Audience
Take the time to research and understand the interests, questions, and concerns of your consumers, and focus your content around those topics. If you gather that your customers are having trouble understanding a certain aspect of your business, figure out why that is. Perhaps your existing content has not done a good job explaining it, or perhaps it’s done too good of a job and overloaded on dense technical speak that readers tune out. A useful example of this type of evergreen content you can easily create in-house is an FAQ page. A consumer who is curious about your business should be able to have their questions answered by your business itself, for if you don’t provide answers to your customers’ questions, someone else will. Develop an FAQ page, write up a piece defining industry terminology, or put together a quick tutorial video; each of these pieces of content are relatively painless to create and can go a long way in engaging your customers.
Know How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Contrary to popular belief, writer’s block is not when a writer loses the ability to write. It is when a writer loses the ability to write anything good. Struggling to create great content from the ether is a natural phenomenon, and writing is not for everyone, but the strongest content creators recognize when they are at an impasse and find ways to push forward anyway. Much in the way basketball players are told to keep shooting even when they miss, content creators need to keep writing even if they don’t think what they are creating is any good. The best way to get around something is to go straight through it, and content creation is no different. If your in-house team is having a hard time thinking of what to produce, encourage them to do some research, or to bring in the opinions of coworkers. Often times all a piece of content needs is a fresh set of eyes.
Write Excellent Headlines
The headline of your content will be the first thing your audience sees. It better be eye-catching and intriguing, or else nobody will give it any attention. A high quality headline should introduce a concept of interest while also informing readers about why they should care about it. For instance, “Binning Makes for Better Displays” is a weak headline compared to, “Diode Differentiation: The Importance of Binning and Why It Can Make or Break Digital Signage.” Though you want your headlines to grab attention, you do not want them to come across as click-bait. If the subject of your content is great, your headline should be able to convey that message without resorting to cheap click-bait tricks.
Creating great content in-house is a challenge. Bringing on a group of outside pros will give you reliable content of a high quality, but that regularly comes at a steep price point. Most businesses have the capability to produce good content in-house, but lack the know-how and the organization. Keep these tips in mind and your business will be well on its way to creating great content without breaking the bank for outside help, and to further inform your in-house content efforts, take a look at some of this year’s most poignant statistics.
~ JOE’ LLOYD
Vice President of Global Marketing