Quality website content is vital to creating online awareness of your company, business, product or service, for search engine optimisation (SEO) and generating more site traffic. Having a well designed content creation strategy is a powerful marketing tool for any business, whether or not they engage in e-commerce or online sales.
Types of content
Text: The written word is arguably still the favourite method for expressing a direct message to your targeted market. Website copy and articles that incorporate the expressions, words and terminology of your industry or market, engage and set the tone and context of your message. In this type of content, a good grasp of semantics, grammar rules, sentence construction, and paragraph structure is essential in order to command attention and communicate your message.
Images: Pictures, photos and computer-generated graphics are attractive to the human eye and help drive the message across to an audience through visual representations of ideas or to display your business’ product or service offering. Colour, image clarity and quality are important features of image content.
Videos: Videos are popular with many online business niches, and are used for various purposes—to demonstrate a process or product feature, to associate a face with a business or product, to teach a large audience across the miles or to create a buzz in social networks.
Infographics: Pictures combined with limited text content also known as infographics are creating waves on the Internet and other media channels. Infographics are visual representations of your information, data and content. With creativity, infographics can be used to tell your company’s story in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner, but without an obvious sales pitch.
Goals of content creation
At the heart of content creation is information – what every business wants to share with its target customer or audience. By sharing information with others, your business can build brand awareness, grow its customer base, gain more customers and foster relationships with existing clients.
Organizations can also use content creation for other purposes, such as:
- Employee engagement through company blogs
- Recruitment, through company web pages which clearly describe the organisations vision and direction
- Business development, particularly when content is shared from business to business (B2B)
Tips for successful content creation
Determine audience: Each piece of information being shared has an audience which your business or organisation must identify clearly in order to send the appropriate message.
Style guide: Consistency is essential in creating content so that the same message appears across various channels, bolstering your company’s image, business offering or announcement. To create a consistent message, certain style elements must be established before the creation process. Style guidelines should cover the tone of voice, language choice and word selection.
Fresh content: Content, like market produce, must be fresh in order to attract your target audience, and encourage them to seek more. It must also be exceptional and unique – providing useful information that your audience wants to see. Content, in the age of information, is less about what the company wants to communicate and more of what the market needs or wants to hear. Content as a marketing tool, therefore, must be able to show the value of your business, product or service to your target consumer, in an informative manner. Once your audience is convinced of your business’ value, following a call to action will seem like the natural next step.
Continuous development: Consumer behaviour changes, new problems can arise, market conditions gradually develop and competition can worsen in time. Thus, there is a need to develop new content continuously, in order to educate the consumer. Content creators also undergo a continuous process of self-learning because quality content depends on data or information mined from authority sources and research. New angles to write about are discovered through self-education and as current information is built over previous knowledge, the content creator develops authority and credibility among your audience.
Reuse previous content: A little creativity and resourcefulness can turn your existing content into new content forms. Basic content types can be leveraged or repurposed into other content formats such as:
- White papers
- Slide presentations
- Webinars or webcasts
- Print magazines
- Traditional media
- Research reports
- Branded content tools
- Print newsletters
- Mobile content
- Digital magazines
Ideally, your content creation should be entrusted to people who either understand your business, or who have the ability to research and learn about it. A knowledge of your products or services unique selling points, strengths, and the current feel of the market will reveal itself in the way the content is written.
While some large organisations manage their content creation activities by developing an in-house team, it is worth remembering that as well as product/service knowledge and writing skills, these staff also need to have a good grasp of search engine optimization best practices. And, more importantly, they should have the time and initiative to stay up to date with content creation trends.
Increasingly, I am being contacted by businesses, who transact both offline and online, to create custom content for them – continuing the trend by companies to outsource functions that require particular expertise.
Whether engaging a content writing service or using your own team to provide written content for your business, its vital that your writers understand very particular strategies needed in the online business environment.