Foundational Tips to Produce Engaging Content

9/28/2016

- Chuck Forbes, Client Strategist

Knowing that you want to incorporate content into your digital marketing strategy is the easy part. Marketers and Content Specialists have driven home the point that in order to stand out from competitors in your industry, unique content is key. On the surface, it may sound easy - write engaging content for your blog or website that no one else has. However, putting that plan into action can quickly become daunting. Internal resources can fade as they prioritize projects before content creation and after a few months you realize your content channel is not where you envisioned it would be when you started. That is why I wanted to share a few content points that I have learned and observed from industry leaders, clients and media outlets that produce content I consume. 

Find Synergy Between Knowledge & Skill 

One of the first questions I hear asked when a company begins to strategize on new content is, “How do we make our content engaging?” It’s important to keep in mind that your current company, no matter the industry, is successful because of expertise knowledge or a skillset. Now, you just have to take the other and combine it into your writing. Let’s use a simple pop culture example - the Dog Whisperer. The Dog Whisperer, or Cesar Millan, already had a vast knowledge of dogs. Cesar could tell you all about each breed, their qualities and what type of dog you should get depending on your needs. What Cesar did was infuse his skillset of rehabilitation techniques that helped owners control dogs that were constantly misbehaving - thus the Dog Whisperer was born. Do the same with your business - if you make and sell furniture as your skillset, use your knowledge of multi-purpose furniture made from reclaimed material to instill a new perspective and give your customers a new selling point. Over time, you will have tons of unique content that isn't just about furniture - but furniture that can serve several purposes in your home built by green-wise materials. Once you find your content’s synergy between knowledge and skill, you will always have a foundation for your content strategy. 

Pick the Right Content Channel 

Choosing how to get your content out to the world actually has nothing to do with knowing the different channels you can use, but everything to do with knowing how your customers or audience consumes content. Yes, the people who you are trying to target could consume multiple channels of content - that is not a problem if you know their diversity habits when it comes to content channels. Video has become a dominant content channel, however not all brands make a splash by producing videos. A website that displays healthy recipes could make videos showcasing how to cook different cuisines, however when the CMO did market research on the company’s audience, it became evident that most of the content consumers preferred was a blog post with recipe instructions and steps that they could easily open up on their phone and keep to refer to while they cook. If the CMO didn't take time to understand how their audience consumed content, marketing dollars could have been wasted creating new videos instead of updating the blog to be mobile friendly and enhancing the experience the consumers already had. Will your message resonate better through a blog, videos, podcast, images, newsletters, or social media? Perhaps the answer is all of the above - but knowing will allow you to get your engaging content distributed exactly how your audience will prefer to consume it. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Grow 

Your content should always be scalable and flexible enough to adopt or try new ideas. First, scalable content is a product of sticking to your knowledge and skill synergy. If you do that, your content should stay unique and engaging to a particular audience, thus allowing your message to grow across different outlets. Secondly, trying out new ideas can be a great way to test your audience and see if new content channels can be adopted. ESPN started out totally focused on a cable channel that would produce sports news all day. Eventually ESPN grew into radio, blogs, social media, apps and more cable channels. ESPN realized that it wasn’t all about the TV, sure they started there – but people also wanted to hear and read the latest sports news throughout their day – that required ESPN to grow. As the marketing industry changes, so will the ways your audience consumes content. Stay up-to-date with what your audience likes, needs and new platforms that could appeal to them.

These three content tips are great pillars to always keep in mind for your business. Are there factors within these tips that you will need to develop? Absolutely – content calendars, data acquisition and a content creation team that knows your mission all come to mind – but sticking with your knowledge and skill synergy will always allow your content to be appreciated and spread across many channels. Don’t produce content just to have something posted, produce content because you genuinely care about giving your audience something fresh and useful with your own perspective. 

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