Nine strategies for creating winning content
One of the theoretical cornerstones of marketing used to be to create as much content as possible. However, even the more traditional marketers are now recognising the need to work smarter not harder when it comes to generating and reusing engaging content – and not add to the clutter of irrelevant messages.
The Honner infographic: Turning Content Marketing into Conversations details the key steps to executing a winning content marketing program and how to nurture a conversation with your customers. In this week’s blog we focus on the fourth stage of the process – Create. Curate. Multiply. Here are our top tips.
1. Images and visual story telling are starting to dominate the content landscape: One of the key takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2019 report – which provides insight into what is going on in digital channels – is consumers are increasingly embracing visual content, primarily on mobile devices. The report highlights the importance of financial services firms using images and stories to engage consumers. Traditional text-based platforms like Twitter are now dominated by story-telling via images. Instagram has up to 1 billion monthly active users and Meeker’s report estimated that over 50% of Twitter impressions come from tweets that include images, video or other visual media. The report also highlights that for the first time, more than half of the global population were identified as internet users.
Visually interesting photographs of executives speaking at industry events, team building activities or images of your team undertaking community engagement programs can all make powerful content pieces to support your brand – particularly on social media. Among finance companies, American Express is seen as a leader by many in its Instagram outreach. Rather than focusing on product, its content is an assortment of high-quality food and travel photos, which has amassed a following of over 350,000.
2. User Generated Content (UGC) can be a real winner. There is a wealth of authentic content sitting at your fingertips – and it is largely free. UGC is any type of content created by your audience. In a recent interview the CMO of Salesforce proclaimed that The age of the marketing campaign is over and they believe more content will be co-created together with customers, “In the future, the content won’t come from the brands, it will come from the communities”. Another great example of generating content from your communities is the #mymintmoment Instagram campaign that asked customers to share ‘special moments when your life and finances aligned’.
3. Write a killer headline. Your headline is the most important piece of any writing as it grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them to read on. Don’t put your reader off with a waffly, vague headline. Keep it short, relevant and exciting. You can get some inspiration from free headline generator tools from Portent and SEO Pressor.
4. Use data and research as the foundation of your content. Adding some numbers to your copy adds weight to your argument, particularly if it is something new and sheds light on consumer sentiment around a particular issue. Consider commissioning a piece of research on a hot topic, surveying a customer segment, analysing your own customer data to uncover some new content angles or crunching data such as returns of the major asset classes. Russell Investments does a good job of using asset class data to create their annual Russell Investments/ASX Long Term Investing Report.
5. Infographics experience high engagement rates. Love them or hate them, infographics are much more likely to be read than text articles and are one of the most shared forms of content. Creating an infographic doesn’t need to be complicated. See our tips below for some great tools from around the web that can help. Canva now have a dedicated area to help you easily build infographics. We think The Honner infographic: Turning Content Marketing into Conversations is a good example of an engaging infographic.
6. Leverage influencers. Consider joining forces with a third-party influencer to co-author or co-brand a content piece. This could be an industry body or industry institution like the ASX. This is highly effective with research-style content and is likely to both extend the reach of your piece and add credibility.
7. Look outside of your organisation. Content curation – the process of gathering information from outside sources – is currently huge. Curating content is not only more cost-effective but allows you to offer a broader selection of content to your customers and position your business as a thought leader. Once you have determined topics of interest to your audience, identify relevant and trusted sources of content as candidates for your curation. Sources can include research firms, industry bodies, news sites, trade publications, social media and influencers. As a rule of thumb Honner recommends 80% of your content should be original, and 20% of content should be curated.
8. Build out content on topics of importance to your customers: Brands need to act more like a news agency when producing content. Boston-based Santander Bank, for instance, has a hub for millennials who may be a couple of years away from applying for loans. Bupa’s Health Link is another good example as it provides broad tips on topics like family, pregnancy and mind and body. These content hubs engage customers with quality content on financial tips but also extend the conversation to lifestyle pieces on health, travel destinations, fashion and pet ownership.
9. Multiply. If you have put in the effort to creating (or curating) a great piece of content, don’t fall into the trap of simply pushing it out in a blog or newsletter. You can use a core idea in many different ways. Videos, podcasts, case studies using real people, checklists, webinars and testimonials. Lots of work goes into producing quality content – so look for every opportunity to reproduce it.
Tips from Honner:
- Knock up your own bespoke images with ease using canva, one of the most design tools on the market.
- piktochart is a good entry-level tool to create infographics, with easy to use, customisable templates and visme allows you to create an infographic in minutes using its 100 free fonts, quality images and thousands of icons. If you are more interested in video, biteable gives users the opportunity to create video infographics for free.
- For content curation, take a look at platforms such as feedly and netvibes, which alert you to breaking news in your industry and region that you can share with your audience.
Next week we’ll publish the fifth in the eight-part content marketing series, Publish. Organise.
If you’d like help creating a well-researched content marketing strategy, or more information on Honner’s 8-Step Content Marketing Model, contact Honner’ Head of Marketing Solutions Craig Morris.