Thursday, 18 August 2016

Ten tips to make your digital content work hard for you

10 top tips to make your digital content work harder
Stories, news, features, opinion pieces, blogs and social media posts: there's so much new material going online every day, is it still possible to create content that reaches and influences your target audience?

We believe it is, and here are our top 10 tips to make sure that the content you create works as hard as possible for you and your business.

1. Know exactly WHO you want to reach and influence. Before putting a finger on your keyboard make sure you have thought deeply about your audience. Create some 'customer personas' for the people you want to connect with and have conversations with: think about their age range, gender, profession, lifestyle and location.

2. First impressions matter. Everyone makes mistakes, but do everything in your power to make sure your content is free of 'typos', spelling and grammar mistakes. If you can, employ a proofreader to look through your content, or ask a friend or relative who's hot on accuracy and attention to detail to give it the once-over before you post it. If you spot an error later, edit it if you can.

3. Images are important. People take more notice of digital content that includes an image. It can add impact and is part of the story you are telling. If every blog post you upload includes an image then you, and your fans, can post it to other sites such as the visual-bookmarking site Pinterest and drive more traffic to it. Remember to use alt tags on images when you're creating content for your website, blog or an email newsletter.

video marketing makes you memorable online
4. Videos make you memorable. The importance of online video keeps growing all the time. If you're not yet using video as part of your content creation strategy you need to think about it - seriously. You can take short video clips on your smartphone that are ideal for platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, but you may want to work with a video company to create longer, professional videos for YouTube and your website.

5. Stir up an emotion. It might sound odd suggesting that you want to make your audience cry or get angry, but if you're working for a charity then perhaps you do want to create content that moves people to take a desired action. Content that makes people smile and laugh will make you memorable and may even go viral. It's important to stay true to your brand identity and create and share content that's appropriate for your business - but always think about how your content will make people feel.

6. What problems can you solve for people? Once you know clearly who your audience is you need to think about how the products and services you provide can make their life easier or better. Compelling content that engages your audience has to be based on what people want to see and hear from you. Listening and watching what people are saying about your sector on the internet will give you valuable insights about the frustrations and difficulties your customers experience - and then you can tell them how you can help. Don't forget to include clear calls to action so that your audience knows what to do next.

7. It's not all about you. You'll quickly turn people off and lose followers and readers if you're not giving them content they value. This means toning down the 'me, me, me' and thinking about 'them, them, them'. Don't just broadcast sales messages and news about you and your business; be generous in sharing and talking about third party content that your audience will find interesting and useful.

8. What's trending and topical? A key way to raise your profile online is to become  a 'go-to' expert in your business sector - so keep an eye on the news and be quick to give your opinion and angle on relevant breaking news. 'Trending' topics on social media can be part of your story, but don't 'hi-jack' hashtags that are irrelevant. It's as unattractive and ineffective as Cinderella's stepsisters trying to cram their ugly feet into the glorious glass slipper.

9. Have measurable objectives: review, re-do and repeat. You need to get a return on the valuable time (and sometimes money) you spend planning, creating or commissioning digital content. So create goals that you can measure such as click-throughs to your website; newsletter sign-ups; online enquiry forms completed. Diary time to review them. See what's working and what's not and adapt your strategy and your content. It's a never-ending cycle of tweaking your plan, measuring and reviewing to get the business results you want.

10. Keep your brand image consistent. Make sure your business is instantly recognisable wherever you are creating and sharing content by using colours and logos consistently. If you have help from one or more people to create and share content, and to engage with followers, on your digital channels ensure that everyone is 'talking' with the same voice so that people learn what to expect from you.