Can we sit back and be happy if we believe that the content we produce is well written, on brand, engaging, and focused on the needs of the target audience?
I prefer to think not in terms of quality content but smart content. After all, people can randomly create quality content – the real challenge is making sure that quality content is part of a bigger picture. And that’s more of a challenge – but well worth it if you can get it right.
How does that one film, post, article, picture, tweet or infograph help your target audience begin and remain on their journey with your organization? Is that piece of content appearing in the right place at the right time, with the right message for those most likely to seek it or find it? Does it lead to the next piece of the puzzle?
Taking a holistic view of each piece of content – understanding how it fits into and complements the rest of your communications landscape – makes it easier to see the potential of each piece to support a relationship with your target audience.
Each piece of content should have a role in taking the audience member forward in the sales process, the essential stages of which are; discover, engage, evaluate, decide and affirm.
Smart content drives the customer journey, whether you are in the business of selling washing machines, changing opinions or positioning your brand, every company needs to get buy in.
In the graph below, the unkown/known indicator shows the point at which an organisation usually becomes aware of potential clients – when they choose to make contact. Until then, you are relying on your content, social or otherwise, to represent your company and drive potential customers to a point at which they feel ready to walk into your shop, buy online, make a donation or otherwise support you.
So, next time you’re planning content, ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are really using each stage in the most effective way throughout the entire customer journey:
◾How does your content help your potential clients discover an opportunity or a solution to a problem?
◾How does your content invite your audience to engage with you in their search for the next level of information they need?
◾How does your content make it easy for people to evaluate and compare what you have to offer?
◾How does your content – everything you say, do, show and write – help your audience decide if your organisation is worth their investment – in terms of time, money or opinion?
◾How do you use content to give affirmation to new and existing customers? Everybody wants to feel they made the right decision. And people usually want to share good decisions, good outcomes. How do you use content to encourage engagement and positive, user-generated content?
So, the conclusion; content needs to be planned and strategic to be effective. It should have a clear place and purpose in your content ecosystem. And remember, we don’t need more content, we need smarter content!
Marney White, Content Strategist and Head of Business Development,
JG Communication, Stockholm. JG Communication is part of the communication group Nordic Morning.
Marney is a content strategist with a passion for storytelling and visualisation. Ten years as a journalist at newspapers in Australia, Ireland and England, including The Sunday Times, gave Marney the perfect foundation for a career in content. Her mission for the past 13 years has been to help clients put content at the heart of their brands, which calls not only for creativity but a channel-agnostic approach and a clear strategy.
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