How to create content that connects

This is the golden age of content marketing and nowhere is this more evident than in digital. Content marketing allows brands to go beyond the product push to entertain, enlighten and seduce audiences with useful information aligned with the brand’s strategy and target market. But chances are if everyone in the room is singing, a large number will be off-key. So here are some important points to ensure your content marketing is on-point.

Know them
Understand your audience, beyond demographics. Know their likes and dislikes, their old habits and new favourites. If you don’t have the data, do an audit of the community, with specific focus on pages they follow, who they interact with and how. Then tailor your content to these interests. Content should be informed by the community, not the other way round.

Once you’ve established who your audience is, speak to them like a human being, not a robot. People respond well to conversation, not instruction. Be friendly, authentic and honest. Converse as if you’re having a one-on-one interaction – not as if you’re a brand ‘speaking down’ to your audience.

Forget about shares
Never create content with the main objective of getting organic reach via shares – it will come across as disingenuous and your audience will ultimately see through it. Users are the gatekeepers of their own social feed and you can’t fool them into sharing content – they’re too concerned about their online reputation (most sensible people are). Instead, craft content that resonates with your target audience and if they can relate, they’ll share it.

Take risks
The success of content marketing has lead to the proliferation of content marketing. Everyone wants a piece of the action and wants to be the loudest voice in the crowd. The only way to differentiate is to create content that’s completely unique – and the only way to do that is by taking risks. Don’t play it safe, or you’ll just be creating more noise littering the internet.

Identify the spaces where your brand should participate, and get involved. Determine the value your brand can add for that moment.

Identify influencers
If you’re looking for third-party endorsements for your brand, identify key influencers – but be discerning in your choices. Only team up with influencers who are already natural advocates of your brand, so the partnership is authentic and makes sense. Never work with influencers you have to actively persuade to come on board – they should want to work with your brand, too.

Embrace vulnerability
Experimentation means sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something – rather adapt and be agile. If something isn’t working, change it up. If it is working, create more content along those lines. It’s essential to be flexible – bend, rather than break. Take your brand out of its glass case. Understand that brands belong to consumers now, not their brand teams.

Agencies and brands can expect big changes in content marketing in the years to come – both in form and function – and that’s what makes it such a thrilling space to navigate. By harnessing the power of content in all its forms, brands can dominate the online and social space.

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