content marketing, content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, research, storytelling, writing tips

Before you begin – top ten questions to ask yourself before you start creating content

We work with some of the most interesting professionals around Australia. Some are avid communicators, enthusiastic marketers and lovely storytellers. Some are clinical experts, with an awe-inspiring level of knowledge of their industry, who have no idea how to impart that knowledge. No matter who you are or what your piece of content is meant to achieve, we always, always, always implore you to prepare! Get to know your content before you create it. Below are the top ten questions we ask our clients at the beginning of every project. They’re a great way for you to get your head around your audience and your overall purpose – two things you need to create great content.

What is your service/product and what has changed?

We know you know who you are, but forcing yourself to put it into words will help guide you to be clear on your overall purpose.

How does this piece of content fit into your overall story?

Do you have a content strategy? Is this content to stand alone? Where and when will you publish or share this content? This can help to identify where you may have strategic gaps and inspire you to bed things down.

What is your purpose? Inform? Compel? Change views?

Know and understand from the outset what you want from your content. If it’s just to inform, why have you chosen the platform you have. If it’s to compel action, what is that action and how will the platform you’ve chosen help this along?

Who is your audience/potential audience?

Get to know your audience as well as you can. Who are they? What drives them? How will your content add value to them?

Does your audience have an intimate understanding of who you are and your offering?

For those in a business or technical environment, this question is key. How much does your audience know about your offering? What is their technical knowledge and capability? Knowing this will help you pitch your language at the right level.

What does your audience currently think of your business and what do you want them to think?

Knowing where your audience stands and comparing it to where you want them to stand is a great way to give your purpose context.

What are three things you want your audience to take away? Call to action

Summarising your content down to three points will help you define and refine your purpose and get clarity on your call to action.

What is the tone of your content? Friendly? Casual? Technical? Formal?

Does your brand have a style guide? If not, do you know the kind of tone you want? It’s important to find that tone before you begin because it will inform how you communicate your message.

If you could describe your offering in three words what would they be?

This is another great way to help you refine your message.

What has been successful/a disaster in the past and how does this content reflect that?

It’s incredibly valuable to understand your past successes and failures in communication. What content has resonated with your audience and why? How are you adapting your current content to continue this relationship?

Answering these questions can help give your content structure, shape and purpose. When you combine this with great storytelling, you can develop compelling content.

 

Decorated pumpkins in a garden
content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, research, storytelling, writing tips

Give your customers a treat this Halloween, not a trick

We’ve all been there. Happily surfing the web and up pops a fantastic looking article. Off we go, trusting and naïve, and there at the end of our click is a nasty, boring, uninteresting monster, completely unrelated to the original bait. We feel violated. How can we slay the evil click bait monster? For starters, don’t contribute to it. Positive, reciprocal and useful relationships are based on mutual respect and exchange of useful products, services and information.

You can make a point of creating engaging, relevant content, and treat your customers to a great service. Below are five tips for keeping your content interesting and still engaging for your audience.

Don’t be a vampire: substance over seduction

No one is denying that sex sells. The sexy and captivating vampire sucks you in with his charm and good looks. Instead of giving you the best night of your night, you are left with a very sore neck and a rather impressive iron deficiency. Don’t do this to your potential customers.

By all means, spend time to create great headlines and sexy invitations. Don’t leave it at that. Make sure that whatever you promise, you can deliver. Create entertaining content that is both helpful and engaging.

You can’t slay the beast if you don’t know what it is

Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have had super strength and mad kung fu skills, but she would never have defeated the big bad without the knowledge. She relied heavily on the researching skills of her team to determine just exactly what she was fighting and how she could win.

Always hit the books, or rather net, and research, research, research!

Who is talking in your industry?

What are they talking about?

Who is your audience?

What do they want?

How can you provide it?

Without answering these questions, you’ll never be able to create or even curate the best and most enticing content.

Identify your weapon and use only that

If you have discovered that a silver bullet is the only thing that will defeat a werewolf, you grab a gun with silver bullets. You don’t overload yourself with a crossbow, a sword, a light saber and a wooden stake. All you’d be doing is weighing yourself down with excess crap, and it will likely just get in the way.

Strip down your intent to the cleanest content you can. Simplify what you’re able to and get rid of the fluff you don’t need. It’s wasteful and boring and you will likely just lose your audience before you even begin.

Be forever vigilant

If you are going to make yourself known to the big bad, you’d better be prepared. It could come at you at any time, and you need to be armed and ready.

Ensure that your digital content is accurate, useful and up to date at all times. You don’t know what or when a customer is going to take interest in your content, so it’s important to make sure that your content is relevant.

If you’re outgunned, call for backup

You wouldn’t run into car park full of crazed zombies alone and unarmed.

Don’t create and curate just for the sake of it. Make sure you are able to provide great and practical content. If you find yourself overwhelmed, time poor or simply unable to get started, ask for help.

There are some incredible resources online that offer tips, advice or industry relevant information. Follow engaging blogs, industry leaders and inspiring content providers for inspiration.

If you are not sure where to start, many content consultants can work with you from the beginning. They can help guide you out of the darkness and into the content haven.

Don’t throw eggs at your customers this Halloween; give them some delicious candy that lasts.

content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing

5 awesome benefits of creating your own content

The web is awash with articles, blogs and links from the newest expert on any given topic. It can be wildly overwhelming as both a consumer of content and a content marketer to actually decipher what is useful.

This can often scare people from getting out there and creating their own original content. Don’t let it scare you and your business. Invest in unique content.

Here are just 5 great reasons why.

  1. Credibility

You are the expert in your field. You know your business and you know your product better than anyone. Creating original and unique content illustrates your authority.

When clients, partners and potential clients can see that you know your stuff, they will more likely have more confidence and trust in you and your service.

Heighten your brand authority by authoring useful information.

  1. Time and Proximity

Events, legislative changes, news or even simply the weather could affect your industry or service. Show the world you know exactly what is changing and how your service or product can accommodate that change.

Your response to real world changes shows your audience or client base that your business is mindful of the world around us. It is also the only way that you can show them how your service or product is useful as a result.

  1. Push people back to your website

If you want to drive traffic back to your website, this is a really great and genuine way to do that. Instead of trying every trick to manipulate people back, why not create engaging content that people actually genuinely need or want? The more engaging content you create, the more people will willingly subscribe to your channels.

As your audience gets to know you as a producer of great content, they will start to both recognise your brand and website as valuable.

  1. Increase your search rankings

This is another important benefit. There are many ways to pay your way to the top of the search rank. If you want those pesky search spiders to crawl all over your page, give them something to find. Creating smart and sensible content on a regular basis will remind the spider that you are here. By updating your content and using useful and relevant copy, your rankings will increase by default.

  1. Remind people who you are

Producing content that exemplifies your service or product is a really great exemplar of what you can provide. Give people a taste of the kind of work you can do for them by producing unique content about you and your industry.

Instead of just claiming you know your stuff, show people. Show people where your brand fits into the industry and why they should remember you.

Don’t forget that there is already some fantastic content out there. Read and follow groups you respect and even compete with. Get a feel for who is creating great content and by all means curate existing content, join the conversation and engage with your industry.

By creating interesting and unique content and connecting with other great content producers, you’d ensure you and your brand remain ahead of the game.