Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Creating content that performs, engages, educates and inspires isn't easy. You may have a gift for great design, or have worked exceptionally hard to understand the finer details of content marketing entirely, but there's always something that can go wrong.
Here are 5 of the biggest problems you can fix that will give you better content.
Problem: You're creating content that you/your stakeholder wants you to create.
You have an excellent idea for a new carousel on Instagram. Or, your boss has read that it's 'UK Sausage Week' and it's already Thursday. Either way, you have this need or worse, a desire to post something that means nothing to your audience and adds no value in any way. It's an easy trap to fall in.
Get over it by having a content calendar. Plan it out a year in advance with all the big rocks that affect your industry. For example, a restaurant might want to focus on themes, like Valentines, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas. But a pub might want to focus on sporting events. Get them in your calendar – you don't have to write all the copy and design the creative, it just has to be relative to the audience you're targeting.
Then add in the more niche opportunities to engage in between the big rocks. Local events, national campaigns that link to your business – for example, if you're a barber, focussing on UK Sausage Week is, well, silly! But Movember, on the other hand – the winner!
By spreading the year out, it gives you more time to be agile, so when things go wrong, or you spot a trend, you can move quickly on it without it impacting your core message.
Problem: You haven't humanised your brand.
People deliver the service your business offers. People like the people who are buying your product. When a customer sees the employees or the owner getting involved in social media, especially in stories, they begin to trust you. Always creating corporate content messages, all you're doing is signalling to customers to keep scrolling.
As a content creator, think about the customer first and how they use your product or interact with your service. Get those colleagues and involve them in content creation. Film them with the product but having a human conversation, having fun at work; think about side the box!
Problem: Your printed materials don't match your digital creative (or TOV)!
Time and again, I see brands sending their letters and marketing material, and it doesn't match their social media design. You're creating a disconnect, and the customer can become confused.
Content creators today seem to be treated as a digital service. Still, it's your responsibility to get the message to those who are in charge of the printed communications to include you in the overall communications campaign. Plus, it keeps the costs down!
Problem: You're simply not a Subject Matter Expert (SME).
You have pushed content out for a campaign and haven't seen much of an increase of traffic, conversions or engagement. The design was spot on, the times you delivered were, in theory, the best engagement times, but still, it just didn't work.
As content creators, our job isn't to create the right shape image for the feed or to make sure the brand guidelines are adhered to. It's our responsibility to guide the copy, the message the end-user will receive. And to do that well, you need to understand the customers' needs for the service or product and also know the finer workings of that product intimately so you can fully understand the message. You need to take time and research, but once you know it, you can sell it!
Problem: TOV and branding – you have none!
I've already discussed the importance of humanising your brand briefly, and with that comes a TOV – a tone of voice. If your tone of voice doesn't match from one post or transaction to the next, then you're creating a disconnect again, confusing your customer.
I was recently part of a focus group where we were asked to help design the tone of voice. The exercise we used was straightforward. Ask yourself the question, which TV celebrity would you like to speak on your behalf. Does that person match your brand values? Think about how they talk, how they engage with fans, their audience. Then, once you have all agreed on one, incorporate that TOV in your design and copy.
What problems have you found, and how have you fixed them?