Marketing Tips: The Magic of Content for Your Business
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What is content and why are you reading about it everywhere? Here’s what it can do for your brand–established or startup.
Content is not just what you have on your website. What the startup tips mean when they advise you to invest in content is not something newfangled that someone cooked up and everyone else snapped up.
Website content is new. Social media content is new. But content itself is old. Look back on your childhood, name a favorite cereal or softdrink, and you can probably also hum a tune and recite a jingle.
THAT is content. It’s only a bit different these days.
Radio and television advertisements were catchy and witty. But they did little more than declare the product, what it is and what it does (especially if it does it better than its competitors). Today, with everyone glued to their touchscreens and tapping away with their fingers, content for businesses has evolved beyond audio and visuals into something interactive.
Social media and the internet has completely redefined marketing. People are not just spoon-fed content now–they can actually turn away and dismiss the spoon!
So if you want to be heard and read, your website content and social media content should give your target market something attractive they can play with. That’s what you want them to do: Like it, Share it, Retweet it.
But they only Like, Share and Retweet great content. If you want your brand to rise, you want great content.
Many brands have indeed risen fast and instantly. This is why content has been named ‘king’. It’s magic.
Content and micro-content
Both content (website content: blogs, videos, articles, press releases) and micro-content (social media content: images, quotes, GIFs, infographs, slogans) establish your online presence. Online presence leads to more sales and a patina of authority for your brand. Authority leads to invitations for guest articles and maybe even ebooks, which leads to online presence… It’s a gorgeous cycle.
Content: blog posts, articles, product descriptions, buying guides, press releases, etc. Website content usually, or things you submit to other websites, preferably ones with established reputations.
Micro-content: very short copy (social media content), short videos or infographs, that accomplishes in 20 words or fewer, in one square or rectangle, or perhaps 10 seconds, what a whole piece of content hopes to accomplish: online presence and brand establishment.
As we’ve said above, it’s not new. Historically and to this day, products and services needed to become household names through word of mouth–hence the jingles and tunes. Today, what used to be called “household name” is “viral” instead.
What’s new is that you no longer have to pay bucketloads of money to become this age’s equivalent of “household name.” The easiness and importance of content and micro-content is astonishing: make a page, post something, and if what you posted is good (or bad!), people will spread it everywhere for you.
How? What is good content?
Good content builds a reputation for your business and creates relationships with your customers and peers, and, ultimately, builds your business through the reputation and relationship you’ve established.
Creative. Witty. It goes where not many others have gone before. Visual and language puns. Classic jokes reworked and used to your advantage.
While audience’s attention spans continue to shrink, this tiny attention span demands stories. This is why clickbait titles had a foot-, hand- and full on choke-hold on people, even the ones who hate clickbait titles can’t help but click because the title tells an unfinished story.
People want to know the story!
Engaging. Your audience is one swipe or flick away from passing through your social media content without reading it.
But good content has the power of figurative brakes by asking a question, making your audience pause, think and react. All it takes is a second–not even that! This reaction can be an answer (“YES! Me too!”), something sombre (“Remember the long reach of demeaning words”) or even indignant, or simply a braying HAHAHAHAHAHA! on their status when they share your post.
Intelligent and relevant. Beyond advice and expertise in your website content where you provide information and value to your audience, the focus is no longer on the product but on your customers. Think of your target market. What would appeal to them and make them market your brand for you? What things in the abstract and in the here and now would they get behind on?
Look at the big brands:
Dove made the Real Beauty social media campaign and got women all over the world tweeting and sharing about natural, healthy skin and #nomakeup. And United Colors of Benetton rocked social media with its UNHate campaign. It was controversial, with religious and political leaders depicted kissing each other.
Recently, there was Knorr’s Flavour of Home video and its universal appeal to everyone who’s a long way from home, for the day or for a bit of a long haul.
Entertain and/or inspire rather than advertise
Do the former, and your audience doesn’t realize you’re also doing the latter.
Some product/business pages even gain followers just because of their content. At Seniorpreneur, social media expert Rea uses a combination of images and powerful quotes to inspire and charm (and of course, promote Seniorpreneur).
Go beyond your niche–you can’t always write about pet care or bespoke furniture or debt service!–and entertain your audience through your website content and social media content.
If you’re too close to the business to see the whole landscape around it, this is where your skilled virtual assistants come in. They can see it all better: including those seemingly far-fetched but still charmingly related that would tickle your target market.
People like an image of intelligence and charisma (sympathetic, sarcastic, sassy, zany) for themselves. So give them intelligent and charismatic content they can use.
It’s like giving them free coffee, tea and cookies.