‘Content is king’ has become such a cliché that the internet is bloated with blog posts on every topic imaginable. However, ‘turn-and-churn’ content with clickbait headlines won’t do your business any favours.
While many people claim to be able to produce content for social media, poor quality content littered with typos and factual inaccuracies will damage your brand, rather than enhance it. Boring or overly promotional posts will be ignored – so you’ll waste valuable time and miss out on sales opportunities while damaging your reputation.
Conversely, well-researched and carefully crafted stories, strategically placed and scheduled, can help position you as a thought leader, showcasing your expertise and highlighting what makes you unique – and a company to engage with. Creating a solid content and social media strategy, adds value, building loyalty with customers until they trust you enough to want to spend their money with you.
And if you create and develop content in the right way, you can use it again and again, tailoring it to suit every stage of the buyer’s journey to help you grow your business.
Creating Your Content Strategy
Your content should include a mix of videos, photographs and links to interesting articles on both your own website and other people’s. The exact proportions are up to you, and hotly debated by marketers, but you should avoid being too self-promotional: make sure you’re sharing useful insight, rather than just bragging about yourself constantly.
That said, don’t be afraid to use your success stories to shine. In addition to blog posts sharing your insight and expertise, case studies can be popular, along with testimonials from customers. Endorsements can be a surprisingly effective tool in the Customer Age: people are inclined towards businesses that others recommend. If you look like you’re popular with other consumers, or working with profile companies, others are more likely to flock your way. (A similar tactic is used in retail: label something as a ‘best seller’ and it’s likely to become one – though obviously, this should only be used for genuinely popular products, and not just as a way to clear old stock!)
When creating content, WAIT is a useful acronym to remember: Why Am I Talking? Is what you’re saying useful or entertaining? What benefit is there in sharing it? If you’re sharing content because you’ve heard that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s not a good enough reason. This goes doubly for blogs: if you wouldn’t read it, don’t write it!
When planning content, don’t see each piece in isolation. Consider how it can fit together with existing content you have, to form something new and engaging. Blog posts can be turned into books or white papers. Interviews in the press can be turned into quotes on social media, and research can be turned into visuals galore. Spend time creating content that reflects your business values and showcases your skills so you can share it with pride. ‘Show, don’t tell,’ that you’re a company worth working with.
Short and Sweet?
While the idea that blog posts should be 500 words or less has become commonplace, in reality, long-form content can offer better long-term value, by enhancing SEO and developing your reputation as an influencer. Trends analyses and sector overviews can help you reach influencers in your areas of expertise – and showcase your company’s insight.
Research and advice are popular on social media, so share yours and it’s more likely to be shared widely! Infographics and charts make it easier for people to share the most engaging parts of your research; and you can use long form posts as the basis for white papers too.
Always remember, genuinely useful posts are more likely to be shared: and some things can’t be properly explained in 500 words. Treat your readers with respect and credit them with intellect to earn their loyalty.
Integrity is Essential
Shoddy stats are tainting the internet with false data, and it’s increasingly being called out. If you write something, make sure all the statistics can be verified (and ideally, link to the original research) so that readers can verify the facts for themselves. And don’t write puff pieces about things you don’t really care about. Focus on your genuine passions and it will shine through in your content, driving engagement.
Once you’ve created genuinely useful content, it needs to be shared at the right time – and you need to be responsive. Monitoring social media 24/7 isn’t feasible for most brands, but combining scheduling tools and AI with data analysis can help you optimize posts to reach the right people at the right time. Creative insight is essential too – you may spot commonalities in popular posts that are missed by standard analytics. The right content needs to be carefully considered and crafted for the right time.
If you want to focus on running your business and leave the content to someone else, the Onyx team has written for The Financial Times, The Guardian, Penguin Random House, The Lancet, Cosmopolitan, Marketing Week and too many other titles and publishers to list. Whether you want an insightful white paper, an inspirational book or a series of blog posts to build your profile, Onyx can help you create content you’re proud of. Get in touch!