In the world of online marketing, there are countless businesses selling the same thing, and countless blogs sharing the same information. In short, everyone is pulling from the same well of information.
What will make your business stand out is how you share that information.
More and more, businesses are hiring creative writers to create content for them. Technical writing is good for instruction manuals, but if you want people to be interested and engaged in your brand, you have to pull them in. You have to stand out.
Imagination and creativity are two key resources when creating content for your website, blog, social accounts, or marketing campaigns. These days, it’s not enough to just show how your product is cheaper than the competition or offers some features that are slightly better. Instead, you need a convincing case for why someone should care. You need to either make a product that’s significantly better than the competition, with features that your audience actually cares about, or you need to get people interested in your brand.
In a sea of auto-play ads and scroll-down news feeds, the average online shopper’s attention span is down to about four seconds. Any longer than that and they’ll most likely click away. That’s not a lot of time to grab someone’s attention. That’s why businesses everywhere are trying new and unique ways of creating content that hooks shoppers in and keeps them interested.
This is the new age of online content. Video, blogs, product comparisons, social media influencers, podcasts, infographics, slideshows, listicles –there is no end to the possibilities. Your content design and messaging are the critical interfaces between you and your commercial audiences, and they require continuous attention and innovation. Bringing focus to your business through content creation is the most effective way to draw in new customers.
Getting Started: Before You Start Creating Content
When it comes to online content for your business, every word, every second of video, every square inch of your ad—it all matters.
Think even of just the language you use. Is your terminology industry-standard? Is it current and contemporary? Is it language people might use in normal conversation? You obviously want to appear current in your own industry, but you should also strive to be current among popular culture. Don’t be that company that misuses a meme, only to then seem out of touch, and even cringe-worthy.
Additionally, seek out opportunities to stand out in a positive way to your target audience. Following trends is a solid and encouraged strategy. But you still need a unique factor that separates you from the thousands of other brands that had the same idea as you. This is why it’s so important to identify your target audience, and then put yourself in their shoes –identifying what they’re interested in. You can then look to create content that’ll resonate with them.
Time is the basic currency of the internet. People read your words as if they’re an investment. When they lose interest, it becomes a bad investment. Your readers will cut their losses and bail. The time people spend online is valuable to them. Time spent searching makes a difference in their lives, whether successful or not. People want a reward for their investment, and an immediate pay off.
Before thinking too outside the box, there are some basic ways to create your content to make sure you’re appealing to your target market.
Know Your Target Audience
Regardless of your product, you almost certainly have a specific demographic that views your content. With knowledge of the age, gender, and lifestyle of the people buying your product, you can create content that appeals to them. For instance, if you sell video game products, make sure you’re using language and terminology that the average gamer is familiar with. Maybe hire a content writer with a gaming background. Certain communities can be especially critical of brands that seem out of touch with the very community they’re catering to. It’s often enough to turn away potential customers right from the get-go.
Call and Response
For each message you craft, you’ll also want to design an audience response. Responses are not always initiated by famous sales words such as ‘NOW!’ ‘NEW!’ or ‘FREE!’ Good audience response is about making connections on a journey leading to an obvious conclusion, then offering a basic solution or ending in the form of a good CTA. The reader needs to hear your message. This is where your business story matters. A well-told story can evoke a desired response. The easiest way to do this is by responding to your own questions. Ask the question and then you offer the response. Or you may identify potential problems and offer solutions. Your story needs telling by using clear, well-formulated steps that tell your story, but give the reader their response.
Deliver a Surprise
Everyone loves surprises—nice ones, anyway. Great creative content hides a surprise. This could be something simple like mentioning a flash sale within your blog or a discount when someone mentions they read that article. Perhaps a personalized offer tailored to the customer with the help of your site analytics. Use your imagination. Surprise and preferably delight your audiences with small or significant changes to your offer. Show them why you are the best fit for their needs, because you respond (sometimes before they even know what they want).
When crafting content for your brand, your first draft depends on imagination and creativity. Get the idea out there. Your second draft should focus on telling your brand’s story. One the third draft, edit, edit, edit. Make sure your content is polished and perfect. Remember: Every. Word. Counts.
Creative Ways to Make Your Content Stand Out
Powerful engagement tools drive marketing as long as they’re purposefully designed to tell your story. Better communication with your audience depends on matching content with media that follows the logic of your content.
Your audience needs to recognize your business proposition through the way you explain it and the way you send it out. Remember, you have only a few seconds to draw them in.
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Here’s a look at some ideas for making your content stand out.
Create Some Videos
There is a ton of research showing that the majority of online content is consumed through videos. This means that not only are videos a creative way to create content, but they’re basically a necessity. There are so many ways to use video for creative content. You could show demonstrations of your product, release super short films that represent your brand’s ideals, or even host a web series on a website like YouTube. Businesses like Dollar Shave Club even have their own YouTube channel.
Start a Podcast
Podcasting is huge right now. And what many people don’t realize is that literally anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a history buff or review movies to have a topic worthy of talking about. Like businesses such as Sephora or Blue Apron, your business could easily benefit from hosting a podcast that posts a short weekly episode. Maybe you could review other products in your niche, or respond to customer questions and feedback. A charming voice and personality behind your brand can do wonders to keep your customers engaged. And what’s more, podcasts offer a form of content that your audience can consume while driving or working, which can’t be said about blogs or videos.
The humble blog has long been a staple in online content. Because of this, there is a myriad of statistics that identify what makes a blog successful. But your typical blog is boring and likely to be skimmed over and abandoned. Luckily, there are countless ways to make your blog more creative and engaging. Try interviewing someone, hosting a Q&A then publishing the results, or share a customer’s story that relates to your product. Make sure your blog looks professional as well, after all it’s a direct reflection of your brand. Take for instance Etsy. Their blog is not only aesthetically pleasing, but they often highlight successful vendors that use their site.
Use Social Media
Social media is the cornerstone of online marketing. It’s how most people are going to hear about your brand in the first place, whether it be through sponsored ads or a recommendation from a friend. And there are many social media platforms to choose from. Use these, as they are invaluable tools for marketing your content. There are plenty of new and fun ways to engage your audience through social media.
A simple “caption this” post on Facebook can prompt countless responses, especially if there is a prize involved. A shareable Instagram story that people can add their own flair to will help spread the word about your brand. Some businesses even get Instagram or Snapchat filters made for them, so potential customers can have fun with your brand before even buying from you. Social media is constantly growing, and with it the possibilities for social media content for your business.
Create an Infographic
Who doesn’t love a good infographic? So much information can be presented in such an efficient and satisfying visual format. Websites like Piktochart are great for helping you spice up the information you want to share with your audience. This new wave of infographic platforms supports your content delivery by allowing you to design and embed infographics into your other content. These can easily be integrated into a blog, video, or shared on social media.
See also: Tips for Creating Infographics.
Do Some Games
Games and puzzles offer a serious source of amusement inside your content and can be used to generate everyday customer response. Although some businesses may not fit a ‘games and puzzles’ content strategy, for others it brings audiences towards you in an entertaining manner. A well-known case is printed newspapers that employ games like ‘spot-the-ball’ as an important hook to attract sales. People buy the newspaper to play the game and then read the news.
Make a Meme
(SMemes are taking over as the go-to way to share funny content, opinions, or obscure, niche humor. And there is no reason your business shouldn’t be able to benefit from this wildly popular form of content. But memes are dangerous. If you’re misusing a meme, or create something cringe-worthy it may do more harm than good. Still, with the right approach, these can be a great way to connect with your audience –especially when shared on platforms like Facebook.
While creating exciting content and eye-catching blog posts is a great strategy, sustaining imaginative content creation is like any part of your business. It requires an ongoing strategy.
If you’re a busy entrepreneur or business manager, time is usually in short supply. Still, that doesn’t mean you should rush your creative writing or content production efforts. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It takes time to find a voice and style for your content, to build an engaging story, to hook your audience again and again. If you’re running short on time, and ideas, then enlist the help of a marketing expert or content strategist who will be able to help.
In the digital world today, there are so many tools with which to build dynamic customer and audience interactions. Stand out from the crowd, and look to make your content truly enjoyable to your target audience. Take the time to research things that they’re interested in, and then look to add value to them in some way every step of the way. In return, you’ll be able to grow a following who are interested in your brand, and what you have to say. That’s something worth investing in.
Would you like help getting your content out in front of a wider audience? At Carrier Pigeon, we can help. Our team of content experts can get your message out to the world quickly and efficiently. Reach out today for your FREE 20-minute consultation.
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