At HMC, we see it every day: a business has plenty of knowledge and stories to share, but their website text (bar product information for e-commerce/catalogue sites) could fit on one piece of A4 paper. They might have explained who they are, what they do and how customers can get in touch, but it stops there.
If there’s one communications action you focus on in 2021, jump on the digital content train. And don’t package up your thoughts and knowledge into an e-book, then hide it behind a $10 download fee; it’s unlikely you’ll get many readers. Give it away for free, and watch the sales roll in as your customers are more well-informed and engaged.
So how to get started?
We always start with a plan – there’s no point launching into writing blogs and recording a podcast, if the end product doesn’t fit with your communications and overall business goals.
In setting your goals for the digital content strategy, consider that marketing content and PR content vary in their purposes, so it’s important to be clear on what you want customers to know and striking the right mix.
On one hand, marketing content is all about getting contacts into the sales funnel to nurture them towards a purchase. On the other, PR content takes a more long-term approach, building your reputation, establishing thought leadership and client trust both pre and post the sales funnel.
PR content can help:
- Attract attention and engage those who matter to your business
- Encourage word of mouth and start conversations
- Build and deepen familiarity with your brand and people
- Place your brand on the radar of media and influencers
Need an example of PR content? You’re reading it!
Your website is the first and most important place to house digital content. We advise that clients create a ‘content hub’, where news, blog articles and other content like videos and infographics can be regularly uploaded to one singular place (usually a tab on your main menu).
What forms can content take?
With digital content in particular, a range of tools and channels are increasingly available to simply and easily create the items listed above and more.
- Video – in the digital world, this is a big one. Whether you work with a professional videographer to create a two minute brand video housed on your website and Youtube channel, or film regular 30 second snippets with your smartphone for social media, video has been shown to be one of the most effective communication tools. According to a report from HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content. Now there’s a reason to get filming! If you need some help, try Slide.ly and Biteable.com.
- Blog/article – whether you design kitchens, sell shoes or breed kittens, there’s topics there to be written about. Customers can read through your blogs to learn alternative product uses or why your services would work for them (hello testimonials and case studies!), with the ultimate aim of convincing them to work with or purchase from you rather than your competitors.
- Infographics – sometimes, your customers don’t have time to read a whole blog, or maybe a topic would be better explained visually rather than in 1,000 words. This is where infographics come in, and Canva is your best friend when it comes to this, as well as Lemonly.com.
- Depending on your business, could you create a template your customers could use? Or perhaps a checklist e.g. ‘easy steps to getting your home ready for sale’.
- Podcasts – capture your customers with the spoken word, creating something engaging and useful for them to listen to on a regular basis. Check out our podcast service page to find out how we can help.
We recommend creating a ‘culture of content’ – make it one of your key business values to share your news, knowledge and expertise with your audiences.
Making content creation part of your organisational culture will make it easier to commit to regularly populating your content hub. Commitment is crucial; if there’s one blog every six months, customers will start to wonder why (even if it’s simply that you’ve been too busy!).
Here’s three easy steps to committing to content: plan, set reminders and involve others.
If you need help to get that spark to start creating, our team can run a brainstorm with you. Alternatively, once you have some ideas, you can always ‘download’ them to HMC and we’ll craft your thoughts into a winning content piece.