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Marketers will tell you ‘Content is king’. But how do you go about creating engaging content for your customers? And what separates good from great? Owned media specialist, Vermeulen Officer Media, has compiled five key considerations to help SMEs develop an effective content strategy.
With the onslaught of online channels and the ease of content creation these days, the sheer amount of branded or ‘owned’ content produced by companies has become quite astounding. In 2020, 70% of marketers invested in content development for their company and 25% of all marketers are increasing spend on content looking forward (Source: Hubspot, 2020).
While a mix of blogs, stories on social media platforms, LinkedIn posts, video, white papers, and webinars will benefit some brands and organisations, it’s a costly exercise to resource and keep on top of, especially for a busy SME. Ultimately, by focusing on quality with a high degree of relevancy to your target market, even small companies can produce great content with the same, or even better, commercial results.
Below are five considerations for SMEs looking to establish more engagement with their customers through bespoke content.
As often as possible, make your content relevant to your audience. Remember your clients don’t really want to hear about your corporate endeavours unless it somehow benefits them. Certainly, celebrate wins and community initiatives, but don’t bore with every minor change to your business.
Instead, identify a common thread your clients may share and develop narratives that support that. If you’re a local building company for instance, advise clients on changes to resource consent rules that might be helpful to them. Or perhaps provide tips on basic DIY and landscaping projects that will benefit them as background information. You may not necessarily pursue smaller DIY jobs, but your clients will appreciate you providing a ready supply of quick advice and they may keep you in mind for bigger jobs and recommend you to their network.
Social media has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and it makes it easy to reach a large audience. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for every company as a way of engaging with customers. Facebook’s algorithm has made it incredibly hard to achieve cut through (even for followers of your account) unless you apply budget to reach and serve your content to your audience.
Attention spans on social channels are notoriously short, so consider social media as a powerful distribution channel that raises awareness of the content you’ve created outside of those channels. We would recommend migrating your audience from social into a channel under your control, be this your company website, email database, webinar content, podcast series, or your own customer magazine. This enables richer, more in depth conversations to occur how and when you want them to.
Written copy is critical in today’s marketing mix as it helps your website’s visibility with search engines. Google’s algorithm weights articles for the depth of information provided. Gone are the days of keeping web articles brief and bite sized. Articles that are greater than 3,000 words get three times more traffic and four times more shares than shorter articles do. But remember, quality and relevancy to your target market is also key. Three-thousand words of irrelevant information is still irrelevant information.
Video content is consumed at much higher rates and with similar attention span considerations as social media. But using a small local building company analogy again, creating a good-quality DIY or landscaping advice video can be achieved for little or no budget. If the information imparted is of high relevance, video is a highly effective component of any content plan. Accompanied by an article or written instructions and the combined impact with your audience can be significant.
When re-reading your content for errors your brain will almost inevitably scan over a typo, a missed word or grammatical error, because it knows what you’re trying to say. It’s important to have someone else proofread your work. Spellcheck programmes aren’t fool proof but use them as a backup. Or, if you’re a PC user, employ the ‘read aloud’ function on Microsoft Word. This will help you best identify any errors in the copy. But a second pair of eyes will always be beneficial.
You don’t need to go overboard with social posts every day, or blog posts every week. But you should build and maintain a regular and realistic content schedule that works for your business. This forces you to make time for the content rather than tackling it sporadically, which will impede the overall success of your content strategy.
Adopting consistent delivery over a regular timeframe will also ascertain your audience’s expectations about what kind of content they will receive from you and when.
Published November 2021