The days of hard sell advertising are dead. Those TV commercials? We’re fast forwarding. Print campaigns? Flicking straight through. Wise audiences have become immune to the advertising virus and instead they’re craving top-notch, genuinely interesting content.
It’s been one of hottest buzzwords dancing around the marketing world for the last few years, but right now content marketing is definitely flavour of the month.
And with good reason: this fresh approach is transforming the way in which audiences engage with brands; generating new leads, spreading awareness and improving brand perception, on a truly large scale.
But there is one secret ingredient to creating outstanding content. You guessed it; quality.
Quality content demands personality. Cram it chock-full of infectious character that makes an audience just burst to share it with the world. If you’re producing content, make it merge with your DNA like one of the great pairings of all time: salt and pepper, Barbie and Ken, or, of course, a good brew with biscuits.
How to be a content king – or a count, at the very least
Pumping out internal-facing, dull-as-dishwater copy simply isn’t going to cut the mustard any more. Nobody gives a sausage about what a company has to say about itself; so reproducing press releases is a big no-no – and it will leave you with nothing to say in no time.
At its core, content marketing is about creating articles, graphics, videos and more that your audience will want to wallow in.
So always run your content past the quality triumvirate. Is it:
If the answer’s no, stop churning out rubbish. Lacklustre content is a right old turn off and it could turn out to be worse than doing nothing.
Keyword padding will get you punished
Remember, content is for humans, not robots. Almighty Google does not like it one bit when you stuff your content full of keywords that make absolutely no sense in the content you have created and if you do it, these days, you’ll get your hands slapped.
Companies have been heavily penalized for naughty tactics like this – involving yourself in illicit SEO practices can leave you blacklisted and dropping down the ranks quicker than you can say help.
These changes from Google have opened up a new door for monitoring content quality, forcing an increase in journalistic editorial, expertly tailored to segmented audiences. Which is brilliant for both audiences and content creators.
Fuel content with emotion
As Upworthy co-founder Peter Koechley, said: ‘People share content they see online because they’re passionate about the topic and want to spread ideas about it.’
Emotional engagement is a powerful tool. Content that makes us shake with anger, sparks tears, inspires us or makes us laugh out loud is likely to be shared. An emotional hook has the ability to generate discussion in a natural way, adding a great pop of the shareability factor.
When you are creating an emotional piece of content, read it back to see how it feels to you. Does it evoke the reaction you’d hoped for?
You may find it easier to create content by categorizing it by emotion;
- LOL: Humorous content that makes you pee your pants
- OMG: Controversial or shocking content
- CUTE: Animal based content, predominantly pugs and kittens
- FAIL: Shared society frustrations
- WTF: Strange, bizarre, curiosity triggering content
Content hall of fame
Just take a look at Air New Zealand. The airline has built a reputation for producing the creme de la creme of online video content and dropping it successfully into the social hemisphere – their videos have surpassed 23 million online views.
And it all came from an observation made back in 2009. Someone was discussing the fact that although safety doesn’t make for the most exciting video content, it is important information that can save lives.
The airline decided to create a piece of content that would make people play closer attention to safety information. The solution? They recorded a handful of staff demonstrating procedures in the nude, with nothing but artfully applied body paint to conceal their body parts. And so their storytelling stardom began.
Air New Zealand’s portfolio of video content is renowned for its entertainment factor, providing plenty of LOL moments. By creating a personality for their brand, they have managed to keep their communications human, replacing vanilla inflight demonstrations with entertaining creations – not everyone can boast hobbits practicing putting their seatbelt on correctly. The company’s video strategy is the epitome of getting out of your comfort zone and thinking outside of the box when creating quality content.