Content that doesn’t connect with its intended audience might as well not have been made in the first place. Point this out to just about anyone in the digital marketing world and they’ll flatly agree. Yet, this somehow doesn’t stop countless brands from spooling out everything from blog posts to infographics, without ever stopping to notice that their target audiences don’t care.
The main culprit for this may actually be creative stubbornness. Those brands know that they need to create good content. they have strong intentions, but they aren’t tremendously flexible. Once they’ve decided where they’re going, they don’t want to change course. This is a big problem for them. Their content doesn’t resonate, and it returns very little value as a result.
And given the unprecedented pressures facing businesses in the crucible of 2021 (featuring all the fallout of 2020’s outbreak plus a general malaise stemming from so much time spent living under varied restrictions), it’s currently harder to establish a thriving brand than it’s been for a long time. If you’re going to succeed, you can’t afford to run with unoptimized content.
In this piece, we’re going to set out some tips for creating content, that can meaningfully connect with your target customers. This will help you shape your brand image and grow your operation even as the world struggles to move past COVID-19. Let’s get to them.
You’ve surely heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words. This isn’t propaganda from the art industry. It’s an accurate summation of the stark disparity in immediacy and elegance between images and text. Humans evolved long before they developed written language, and the things we see can cut past our sophisticated minds to hit our most primal instincts.
Reading about loss of life can bring you sorrow. Seeing a dead body can devastate someone to the extent that it renders them physically ill. And when the average internet user is scrolling through their Twitter feed, it isn’t a carefully-worded sonnet that will drag them out of their sopor: it’s a vibrant piece of imagery that grabs their attention in a vice-like grip.
But when we talk about strong visual impact here, we’re not just talking about the kind of boldness that can bring people to you. We’re also talking about the delivery of meaning. Modern digital content needs to be fundamentally rich. It must feature imagery to break up paragraphs and clarify essential points — and the strong images are those that do this most effectively.
Think about the extent to which stock imagery varies. It can go from great (which is what JumpStory delivers) through average (free stock image platforms) all the way to the sheer disaster of taking mostly-unrelated photos from Google Images and slapping them into a piece of content just to pad things out. If you can hit that point of greatness, your content will hit so much harder.
Things change quickly these days. Social media is obviously fast-paced, with the lifecycle of the average hashtag carrying it from birth to death in a matter of days (or even hours). And the news cycle ceaselessly floods homepages with shiny new soundbites to take in. This makes it keenly hard for content marketers to capture the zeitgeist. That lengthy piece you’ve been working on for the last couple of months? The appetite has dried up overnight. You missed your chance.
If you want to connect, you need to be quick on your feet, ready to be reactive and change plans on the fly. And that means having a production process that can accommodate agility. This is where productivity-centric business tools come in handy. The best of these (here is a good list of top productivity apps) can boost your overall efficiency. They will make it faster and easier for you to assign and track tasks, discuss key points, get approvals, schedule and publish content, and do the many other things that go into content production.
You’ll never have the speed of a top brand with a massive budget. But you can reach the stage of having an average ideation-to-completion time under two weeks. That alone will prove immensely useful, allowing you to spend more time looking at what your target audience wants to read now and delivering it when that appetite is still reasonably fresh.
When you want to connect with someone, you need to meet them halfway. We all communicate differently, leaning on particular constructions, tonal variations, and topics. And when you encounter someone who has a very different style, it makes it hard for you to understand their perspective and feel that they understand yours. And when prospective customers don’t feel that brands understand them, they struggle to imagine them having much to offer.
Due to this, you need to ensure that your content mirrors the language and topics used by your target audience. Do you need to be formal or informal? Serious or jovial? Should you focus on the small details or the big picture? You can take this too far, of course, and the brand graveyard is littered with companies that tried way too hard to mimic their customers. But a careful effort to show that you know how your target audience communicates will go a long way.
Note that this should be in service of your brand story and your brand voice, though. Whatever turns of phrase and vital matters you bring on board, you need to put them to work covering the things you want to cover. Simply regurgitating what your audience is telling you can only prove that you’re paying attention. If there’s nothing new about your brand, no one will care.
About the author
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business.