|Establishing your brand as a valuable resource is a must in today’s new media world. “Sell the sizzle not the steak” no longer works. Today, selling steak (or any other product or service) requires sharing grilling tips, recipe ideas and pairing guides with your target audiences.
The problem is, most of us aren’t in the content creation business—we sell widgets, provide services, and communicate our brand’s values and offerings. So how can we provide the kinds of relationship-building content that our audiences truly want (and new sales, marketing and PR channels require)?
First, keep in mind that regardless of who you’re targeting—journalists, customers, prospects, consumers, staff, etc.—your audiences likely span a broad spectrum ranging from those traditionalists among us who still love to hold paper, to the early adapters who stood in line for the first iPad. Your content should be accessible across the spectrum, designed for old fashioned snail-mail and shiny new touch-screen devices alike.
But the fact is, digital is the future. Moreover, the users on the digital side of the spectrum can function like your brand’s virtual salespeople if they like your content, sharing and rebroadcasting it by forwarding emails, sharing on social media platforms, and republishing on blogs.
If you're just getting started at creating content, here are some quick tips for you:
1. Keep a content folder so you’re constantly collecting ideas (signing up for loads of E-newsletters and RSS feeds, including your competitors', can help with this).
2. Keep a few pre-created items in reserve for when you really need to get something out but are too bogged down with other projects and priorities.
3. Valuable tips and new information is always a hit so think about how-to’s, problem/solution articles, future predictions, case studies, interviews with key experts, book or site reviews, resource links, surveys and feedback requests, or, statistical information your readers would genuinely find of interest.
4. Avoid sales messaging and offer real value – you are the expert at what you do so share that knowledge generously and it will come back to you in spades!
Sharing valuable digital collateral – such as E-newsletters, New Media Releases, website Resource pages and Newsrooms – is essential. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or add staff just to produce good content.
One of the easiest ways to create content, and speak across the spectrum, is to repackage and reuse content you already have. We work with clients everyday who have loads of good information on hand but don’t realize how valuable it is, how easy it is to adapt to various purposes, and how beneficial sharing it can be. If you send a quarterly print magazine for example, repackage articles from it for monthly E-tips. Use your E-Newsletter articles in your website’s Resource page so visitors can view your content (and subscribe!). Or, like our highlighted example this month, give your Board and major donors what they all want by creating digital and print versions of your Annual Report.
For digital content especially, you need to think about the myriad ways people might experience, and use, your content. On one hand, this means thinking three dimensionally, tapping the many web-based and multi-media platforms so you can recreate content using video, audio, slideshows, interactive surveys, and more. If your E-Newsletter, New Media Release, E-tip or Evite functions just like a print piece, there’s real room for improvement. And remember, if you want your content to be more viral, select easily transferable platforms—YouTube videos’ can be easily grabbed and embedded on sites and blogs via the embed code for example. Making your content interactive and transferable can be easy and advantageous.
On the other hand, thinking about how different people experience your content also means considering the various ways people will receive it. So, for example, you might try using plain text links in your email so that the majority of recipients (viewing through preview pane with blocked content) can see your message. Marry those links with images which will make viewing easier for touch-screen viewers, and include a mobile friendly link for those using mobile devices that aren’t touch-screens. With the bevy of devices used every day by your audiences, giving some thought to making the most of the most common devices can pay off. And remember to include print-friendly versions of your digital assets: a PDF version of your E-newsletter or New Media Release can make those paper-fans amongst us very happy.
Make sure to cross-pollinate your efforts. Use your best blog posts to create easy newsletter articles and sidebar items. Share your Evite on your Facebook page, invite your New Media Release recipients to subscribe to your Newsroom RSS feed, and ask your Twitter followers to join your email subscribe list to get the benefit all your valuable resources.
Different people consume information differently. So, in order to make the most of today’s relationship-focused communications channels, you need to give people across the spectrum what they want. But you don’t need to create different content for your various audiences and recipients. You can get more bang for your buck by simply repackaging and rebranding the content you already have, making the most of web-based platforms to add variety to your digital content, tweaking content with an eye to the diversity of reception devices, and cross-pollinating your efforts.
Get in touch anytime to discuss how to adjust your content so it’s better adapted to the communications spectrum.
Original spectrum image credit: http://thegoldguys.blogspot.com/