Pop quiz. What is the goal of any content? To get it seen, read, loved and shared. Duh.
Now let’s agree on another thing from the get go, creating engaging content takes time, perseverance and loads of gusto. It’s a long, hard road, and to be honest, one that has no final destination. In order to reap the benefits of great content, you need to be creative, consistent and committed to the cause.
But why does content matter? How do I go about creating it? Will my business die a painful death if I don’t? And will I win a Nobel Prize if I nail it?
Well, no, we can’t all win Nobel Prizes every day, but what I can promise you is this.
Creating killer content will propel your brand forward, win you some serious street-cred amongst your following and give you a gold star as a bonafide expert in your field. In a nutshell, you’ll hit that sweet spot like Julia Stiles does in the paintball scene of 10 Things I Hate About You, where life is great, her smile is a 10, and she hasn’t yet found out that Heath has been lying to her this whole time.
With the expanse of this thing we call the internet and the many many new businesses popping up, there are mountains upon mountains of mediocre content landfill out there, unless your content is creative, relevant and unique, it’s just added pollution.
The good news is, in this crazy clicking-tweeting-poking world of ours, relevant and engaging content travels faster than my mother to an episode of Grand Designs. Hence why smart companies the world over, are tapping into this epidemic and spoon-feeding their audience killer content to heighten awareness, foster brand loyalty and drive their bottom line. If you simply know and practice the things that create quality content every time, you can’t help but please your audience and win new friends left, right and centre.
I read the other day that between 60-70% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers original content and are more likely to buy from that company than others. So, if you were still questioning whether or not to create your own stuff, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
I’ve seen first-hand how creating original content can transform both a business and its bottom line. Ever since focusing my energy on content creation and curation for Smack Bang many moons ago, I’ve noticed the impact it has had on our brand awareness, customer loyalty, and even our bottom line. It still surprises me that each time we put out a new piece of content, whether it’s a blog, a newsletter, an Instagram post, or a jet plane message in the sky (we’ve never done that, but we will), we see a spike in our interaction and more often than not, our new business enquiries. It’s this ability to weave our brand culture into every single facet of our business that gives our audience, (and potential customers), a look into our world, a spark of connection and a genuine reason to get in touch with us.
A quick disclaimer; I don’t just write and publish content for this reason. I do it because I hand-on-heart genuinely love it. I love writing, I love sharing and I love using it as a platform to connect with loads of like-minded people. And connect I do.
Creating content has become one of my main focuses of my role. I pour countless hours and drink countless coffees to produce everything you see the Smack Bang Gang deliver. I write, I post, I publish and I track our stats like a kid counting their eggs from an Easter hunt.
So, how do you go about creating your own killer content? Well, let’s first begin with what actually makes a piece of content. You my friend, are about to get schooled in the bizniz of telling stories. And quick tip up front: whatever story you’re writing, make it original and compelling, the cross section of this is where the magic is made.
- PIN DOWN THE PURPOSE
The precise moment between drinking the strongest coffee you can find and putting fingers to keyboard, have a think about the purpose of this piece of content you’re creating. Is it to provide a new perspective? Solve a customer’s problem? Show off a certain aspect of your business? Or are you just blasting out an improvised cat meme hoping that if your Aunt Sue reposts it, it will go Bieber viral?
Pinning down your purpose means jumping in your customer’s shoes for a second – listening to their problems and responding with timely, targeted and relevant content.
- HARNESS THE HUMANITY
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (not that any of us know what that sounds like anymore), people don’t like to do business with brands, they like to do business with people. Killer content harnesses your humanity. Each piece of content you create should have a fair whack of you injected into it. Don’t just skim the surface of a topic and regurgitate info that Wikipedia could have said better. Dig deep and provide a personal perspective, written from your heart. By doing this, you’ll lift your reader out of their ordinary world and invite them in to see yours.
- SELL THE STORY, NOT THE THING
With every man and his MacBook Pro jumping on the content bandwagon, it’s important, now more than ever, to spin a good yarn. We are living in an age where customers crave more than just flashy features, a jazzed-up catchphrase and will no longer respond to a toothy grinned salesman in a suit. Being ‘sold to’ is so 1990. Today’s customer wants to buy into a lifestyle, a perception, and a philosophy. Sell them the story, and in return, they will want the thing.
- OFFER THEM VALUE THEY CAN’T REFUSE
When I first started creating content I would sit down, consult my magical crystal ball and tap out a compilation of words that I thought sounded ‘chic-nerd’, hit publish and call it a blog post. Here I was thinking I was a ‘blogger’ but in actual fact, I was just a hot mess with a thesaurus and a WordPress login. I was adding absolutely no value to anyone’s life. Not even my Mum’s, and that’s saying something. Take the time to think about how your content will add value to your customer’s lives in a meaningful way. The end goal is for them to walk away with newfound knowledge, a thirst for more and an appreciation for you and your brand.
- KEEP OT CONSISTENTLY CONSISTENT
Consistently produced content is the difference between a one night stand and a long-term relationship. It is the great divider and the ultimate checkmate of killer content. Consistency breeds connection and inspires loyalty. Avoid being the Eiffel65 one-hit wonder (Blue Da Ba De, much?), and instead become the reliable friend and familiar voice, the one they grow to love and trust. Believe me, this ongoing recognition is a powerful thing.
- FIND YOUR OWN ‘YOU’
And last but certainly not least, write your own g-damn story. Being authentic means writing from the heart and telling your own story, not a story that you found, loved and ripped from a web page. A few years ago, I came across an article online that was a word for word rip off of one of my recent posts. At first, I was gobsmacked, not only because of the next-level plagiarism but also at how freaking unlucky this girl was for me to find it? I mean, in the huge labyrinth of online content and the miles of blogs I could have stumbled across, I came across hers! Unlucky for her, but fury-inducing for me. She had quite literally ripped my entire blog post that was littered with personal references about my journey as a business owner – even the one about selling belly button dusters at the age of 5! C’mon girlfriend, you, me and the rest of the world know only one kid was weird enough to do that.
Image credit: Felix Schöppner