We’ve been witnessing an evolution in the kind of content that creates impact. Brands are becoming equally competent and tactful with paid and owned media, leaving only earned media to truly create differentiation. And that is where great content and the ability to create it become invaluable assets.
This is also the reason that the media and communications professionals of tomorrow (who may be students of public relations, advertising, journalism or any marketing communications discipline) but be mentored to create powerful content by media institutes.
The purpose of content is to attract and retain consumers by constantly curating relevant and valuable information. It is the art of communicating with your audience without selling anything; making them more informed instead. Content that adds such value creates clearer, stronger and longer lasting associations and advocacy between brands and audiences.
Communicators are increasingly realising this value. The amount of content being developed and deployed is reaching mindboggling proportions. ACI Information Group estimates that every minute Facebook users share nearly 2.5 Million pieces of content, Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times, and nearly 72 hours of video content is uploaded on YouTube. Even a start-up as young as ours, creates 3 blogs, over 20 Facebook posts and nearly 80 tweets each week. Amidst this race to capture the much sought and decreasingly low attention span of consumers, it is important for communicators to develop crisp content strategies. Below are a five tips to follow to create great content:
- Relevance: Capture topics that concern your audiences in the consumption ecosystem of your offering, and that are in the present context. CEAT Tyres, a brand that has stood for ensuring safety through its grip, created great content on road safety tips. Several liquor brands create music albums – a good example of content that isn’t selling the product but is relevant to their consumers’ association with that product.
- Quick consumption: A 4 part, 3000 word blog? Nobody has time for that. The ease and speed of your content’s consumption will define its stickability. So lay it out for them in 2 minutes or less. Some of the most popular YouTube Channels broadcast great content that shrinks large sets of information into the “fast food” section of the information superhighway. One of my personal favourites, CrashCourse by John Green, has covered hundreds of subjects from world history to chemistry, literature to astronomy, broken down into 10-15 minute videos.
- Utility: Creating content that is informative and/or entertaining. Lists, Compilations, Hacks that save audiences the trouble of proactively looking for information/entertainment, have great utility. HUL’s Kan Khajura Tesan, a mobile radio channel for rural (media dark) sectors Bihar, UP & Jharkhand won 3 Golds at Cannes 2014. The idea was simple; give a missed call and receive calls/smses back with the entertaining content of your choice. It claimed 8 Million subscribers in the first 6 months.
- Engageable: The kind of content that is engaging as well as easily sharable. It must be laid out in formats which are engagement friendly; such as videos, motion graphics and infographics rather than static blogs (irony). It serves another purpose, to either keep audiences engaged onto the page by showing them the next attractive thing, or give them a reason to come back.
- Sell it right: Finally, it needs to create the right pull immediately. The ‘A’ in the AIDA model (Attention-Interest-Decision-Action) is the most important of all elements, and therefore the emphasis here is on headlines and titles of your content, its positioning and placement.
Over and above these five guidelines, it is imperative for communicators to keep their ears close to the ground and ensure that they’re able to understand how their audiences’ tastes for great content are evolving.