Creating Content that Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum
Nowadays consumers are never more than a click and a swipe away from a seemingly-infinite amount of entertainment. With so much content to consume, their most valuable asset is their attention - and they are beginning to demand a lot more from those that want it.
Consumers are no longer engaged solely by traditional marketing strategies such as commercial breaks and advertisements that interrupt their experience. The table has turned. The consumer is in control as today’s marketers constantly vie for their attention. While some strategies have proven to be more successful than others, there is one that we consider to be the cornerstone of digital marketing: consistency.
Without a consistent engagement strategy, digital content can unintentionally “float” in a vacuum. The pieces turn into one-off videos or hashtags that get some engagement when they launch, but quickly get drowned out by competing messaging. In the quest for viewer attention, they become background noise: easily ignored and quickly forgotten.
If marketers want to keep their brands top of mind and break through the noise, they need to be loud and persistent. They need to have a clear understanding of their audience’s needs, and consistently engage that audience with content that adds value to their lives. Piece of cake, right?
While large, comprehensive content strategies might seem daunting, there are a number of simple ways marketers can ensure that they maximize the impact of their content.
Start With Your Audience’s Needs
Your audience will dictate everything from the type of content you produce, to the platform where it’s distributed. The goal should be to create content that has some inherent value to the consumer. When evaluating your audience, dig a little bit deeper than the usual demographics; it’s no longer about trying to pitch a product. Instead, the focus should be on solving relatable problems that consumers experience.
One of the best ways to solve consumer problems is through entertaining content that also educates. A recent study by Spotlight Conductor found that consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand after consuming educational content.
By understanding your audience’s pain points and creating content that addresses their needs, marketers can ensure that they have a meaningful reason to engage. Consistently address their problems, and they will consistently engage.
Have A Clear, Concise Message
Branded entertainment is about connecting with customers through shared values and purpose. But before you can develop any content, you must first define what those shared values are. It’s important to synthesize those values into a short, repeatable mandate, or in the case of social media, a hashtag. This one key message will bind all of your content pieces together, so it should be succinct, simple, and memorable.
A great example of this approach is CocaCola’s #ShareACoke social media campaign. The hashtag is simple and concise, invoking a message that consuming CocaCola brings people together. Consumers are encouraged to share the beverage in real life and online through social images and stories. This simple message acts as a strong jumping off point for content that can be created by both users and CocaCola.
Consistent content messaging allows marketers to create pieces that are unique in their own right, but also contribute to a larger brand narrative.
Where Will The Content Live?
Consider how you might be able to adapt each creative concept to meet the needs of different platforms. Do your best to avoid a “one size fits all” approach; each digital platform comes with its own set of rules and challenges. A strong content strategy understands the nuances of each platform and tailors each piece of content to fit its needs. If a piece of content fails to meet the conventions and requirements of the host platform, it results in a barrier of entry for consumers.
When deciding where your content will live, also consider the ways in which you can use each platform to engage your audience. Again, having a clear idea of what your audience wants to engage with will encourage their participation, and a clear message will create a distinct call-to-action. From there, marketers can keep the conversation going by responding to and reposting user-generated content.
Keep The Conversation Going
Consistency goes hand-in-hand with frequency. When developing a content strategy, consider how often your message will “meet” your audience. The less you engage with your audience, the more likely they are to find something else.
If a brand’s strategy involves the use of social media, new content should be shared multiple times throughout the week. To support the need for consistent, ongoing content, marketers should consider ways to generate supplemental content using the “main” content pieces. For example, a promotional video can be used to generate stills, trailers, cut-downs, gifs, custom graphics, pull quotes, etc. By utilizing creative supplemental content, marketers can best-leverage content to continually engage the audience with something new each time.
Understanding individual platforms is especially important when producing supplemental content. Marketers should take advantage of the platform’s key features in order to generate the most engagement. For example, if creating a series of videos for Instagram, consider ways to turn elements of those videos into stories, gifs, polls, reels, etc. Many platforms like Facebook and Instagram reward accounts that use all of their features by boosting their content in the platform’s algorithm. Planning out this supplemental content prior to executing a content strategy is essential, and will ensure a range of content is available to be rolled out over a longer period of time.
There’s no doubt that there is stiff competition when it comes to attracting audience attention. Sadly, most content gets lost in the noise. However, by prioritizing a strong content strategy that leverages consistent messaging, addresses consumer needs, and takes advantage of the robust features offered by digital platforms, marketers can keep brands top-of-mind in the digital age.