As we move into 2015, the overwhelming message is that if you don’t have a strong online presence, you’ll quickly be left behind by your competitors. It’s not only a great means of connecting with your audience, but a way in which to build a suitable brand image from your company.
The accessibility of the Internet means that everyone has the freedom to share his or her thoughts, experiences and expertise online. It is no longer professionals who have the influence over mass consumer opinion. Instead you find the powerful individuals are those with a passion for what they’re talking about and identify with the consumer. But does this mean that you have to pay-up to the bloggers to get your brand on the map?
Engaging with your audience is all about creating compelling customer-orientated content, which you are able to consistently deliver. Social Media should be more than a communication channel, try and make it a way to form personal, authentic relationships with your customers. You will need to understand the person you are trying to convey – not the brand. Consumers relate to personal communications. If they feel insignificant in comparison to the robotic, computer voice you are using, than it is unlikely they will engage.
I understand one unifying theme for all businesses struggling with the concept of content strategy: you must know about something, so write about that. If you are a technical company, you have a niche audience that would relish hearing your opinion about the new thingy-majig. Let’s say you’re an events venue, it’s likely your audience are inexperienced consumers who would delight in finding advice on catering, decorating or scheduling all in one place. The point of this is to bring genuinely interested parties together, build trust and provide that unexpected extra for your brand to satisfy.
Writing original content doesn’t have to take hours. A short piece that is delivered on time is more valuable to your business than a really detailed article, a week late, which will now compete with hundreds of top professionals who have found the time to write. Also, content without imagery will struggle to gain attention on your audience’s newsfeed. Try gathering useful images as you search the web, or on promotional outings. Having an ‘image bank’ will not only ensure you have the support for your writing, but it might also provide the inspiration.
In the rush to publish timely content don’t forget that your audience will engage with a story, not a sales pitch. Build a life around your brand, where interesting things happen everyday. Now share everything that will interest your audience in a creative way. Be aware that transparency is a key feature of content creation. You are working towards a relationship with your following; don’t build this based on lies or exaggerations. By motivating yourself to write valuable content, your working environment will become more dynamic with a constant need for more, more, more.
The final step in understanding content creation comes in the form of planning. A content strategy should be thought of as ‘how you will market yourself online’. A complete audit of your social media communications and current content will shape the strategy. Also setting objectives should align your social strategy to the whole of your business. Understanding your audience is part of this process, who they are, what they like and where they look for information are some elements.
If you think you are ready to build a comprehensive Content strategy then check out FurtherMore’s online guide for Optimising your business for the Web.