Tell me someone who has not heard of the word ‘content’ this week, and I’ll tell you someone who never blinked his eyes all his life. Ok, the latter maybe was too much (and totally a weird analogy) but content, as we all know, is everywhere! Everybody wants a piece of it, everybody wants to create the best for their brand!
I bet I am not the only who wakes up, looks at their mobile phone and starts browsing for whatever is out there. And for sure, I am not the only who’s fascinated with how people come up with the most captivating, thrilling and just straight dumbfounding information. But not all content is created equal. Great content has the power to sweep you off your feet, give you just a sense of tranquility, inspire you or motivate you to get out of the house ready to face the day.
How do we make effective content? How do we make the compelling content, something unexpected, and something that is made to stick?
Content creation and development is such an exciting and important process for any business. If done right, it appears effortless. But it’s no small feat to produce great content, you can’t just produce anything and put it out there and expect great results. After years of creating content, including days and nights crying over it, I understand that it isn’t as effortless as it looks! However, there are a few easy tips that help me create great content.
Here are my top three things to consider when creating and developing content:
The process of learning
What you want your audience to LEARN, not just know, is essential to creating and developing content. In knowing, your audience receives the information and quite possibly forgets about it soon. However, in learning, your audience gets to retain that knowledge and keep it with them as they continue browsing for more.
Learnt content has staying power. Content is more compelling when ‘learning’ starts to kick in. In a second or two, the information someone learns will either be shared or applied. It speaks to the effectivity of the content and that’s how you want your content to work for you. The act of learning from content itself can serve as a funnel to reach a wider audience. Once a learnt audience starts taking the next step, then it will just go on and on.
A good indicator of content that is LEARNED is your audience will want talk about it. Imagine office lunches or catch-up dinners where your content becomes part of the conversation. You can do that by empowering your audience through creating content that gives them the opportunity to think and then learn.
1. Attract attention by luring them in with the unexpected.
2. Strike and engage them where it is familiar. Something that hurts them is not a bad idea either.
3. And always, always leave an impression – good or bad.
When you experience an unfortunate incident, it lingers, doesn’t it? You go back and assess how it turned out and eventually, everything starts to make sense. The experience goes deeper in your senses. And then the message becomes clearer. It sticks. And then you take action. It is the kind of learning experience you should want your content to create for your audience.
Audience Thought Process
You can find “identify who your audience is” in, almost every, if not all, marketing books. Yes, we get it, we already know about it. Done. But is that all we need to do? It’s not enough to just know who your audience is. Audiences today are everywhere and while they appear to be easily accessible, they have all apps to gather and absorb every bit of content but don’t be fooled; you have to dig deeper. Apart from identifying who your audience, you need to understand what they want, and what they want but don’t know that they want until it’s served in front of them.
We need to engage our audience so how do we do it? We need to recognize their sentiments – HOW do they FEEL about what’s around them. It is no longer enough to see them share an article, for instance. We ALSO have to comprehend how they respond to what made them take the action. And more importantly, do something about it!
A key consideration in delving into an audiences thought process is TIME. Knowing the amount of time they spend checking and understanding content, and how much it takes them to take in this information will give you a greater insight into who they are and what kind of the content they find engaging.
Understanding your audiences thought-process and circling around how their minds work will help you create and develop effective content that is made to stick with your audience.
Appropriate Avenue and Format
From traditional to digital, various platforms have been and are still being created to serve every type of content. It gives the impression of accessibility to a multitude of avenues to convey a message. That may in fact be true, however, not all content is suited made for all formats and platforms.
In content creation, it is not a mistake to jump to the tenth step and start from there. No one said we always have to begin at #1 and it’s never a guarantee of producing a quality content when you begin at numero uno. So diving right into the kind of format or platform you want to use is a good first step to creating a content.
Evaluate where you want your content to be seen. Traditional media, social media or somewhere else? From there it’ll be easier for you to eliminate unnecessary steps and allow you to focus on conceptualizing the content you want to create. Forget about irrelevant steps. You will only waste your precious time. Drilling down to the right avenue will help you determine the most fitting format to showcase your content, thus, allowing you to produce the quality content that works for your strategy as a whole.
Another best practice in creating and developing content is looking ahead and seeing the bigger picture… will they notice me if I put myself here? Will they take the time to check me out if they see me everywhere? Maybe they will, maybe not.
See how people respond to content based on the kind of platform and format being used.
The tone, the treatment and execution of ONE piece of content can vary based on its format alone, and will certainly be unique in every platform. By selecting the platform and format you want to use first then setting up these variations won’t be hard.
Remember to always, always take the time to determine the most fitting avenue for your content or else, it might get lost in the wilderness and you will never convince anyone to join you in your journey.
Content creation and development is a vital process in executing your business strategy. There is no definitive formula on how to effectively create perfect piece of content. Even with the perfect piece of content, going viral requires a ton of luck. But remember, good content is always content worth sharing. Make sure it is about you and/or your brand that people are sharing!