Content is now the centrepiece of many companies’ digital marketing strategies. From blogs to videos to slideshows, content has become one of the primary ways companies vie for customers’ attention. But this also means that more content is competing for a limited amount of attention.
How can your content stand out and set itself apart from competitors? Boost your chances of getting noticed with these five tips.
Grab your audience’s attention by putting their needs first. Start by identifying who your target audience is. What are their profiles? What are their backgrounds? What are they looking for? Then put yourself in their shoes and ask: “Why would I want to read or view this?”. People are more likely to consume content if it solves their problem, improves their lives, or simply answers their questions.
For this reason, avoid excessive self-promotion unless you’re preparing an advertisement or a pitch. Cut back on language that overpromises or conveys bias (“We’re the best in the industry” or “Double your sales in just a week”) — it turns people off, comes across as inauthentic, and erodes customers’ trust (more on that in Point 3). Promoting your service or product is fine, as long as it’s done tactfully and in moderation. Address your audience’s needs first.
Offer a unique perspective
Identify what makes your content different from the thousands of other options out there. Offer your audience a point of view that’s unexpected, unheard of, interesting, new, or contrarian. To paraphrase a saying in journalism: “‘Dog bites man’ is a cliche; ‘man bites dog’ is news.”
How many times have you seen or heard the following?
- “COVID-19 has changed the way we do business” (Thanks, I didn’t notice)
- “Our society is becoming increasingly digital” (Wow, really?)
- “People are now spending more time on their smartphones” (You don’t say?)
- “Brick-and-mortar stores are dead” (Are they?)
As an alternative to the above, maybe you can pull back the curtain and show your customers how the magic happens behind the scenes. Disclose unexpected findings, or display an optimistic approach towards something the rest of your peers are less enthusiastic about. Whatever it is, avoid cliches and find unexplored angles to talk about.
Credibility boosts trust
Credible content conveys the message, “My brand is trustworthy.” You boost your credibility when your material is backed up by data, facts, examples, and quotes from industry experts. You must be able to substantiate your claims, when disputed.
Likewise, unfounded claims and misleading information hurt your brand’s reputation. Avoid publishing claims not supported by facts, examples, or data. Be mindful of deriving wrong conclusions based on false information, incomplete data, or cognitive biases. Familiarise yourself with biases and fallacies so you can avoid this scenario.
If you don’t have enough information to assess your claims, come up with a plan to do so. It can be as simple as citing an existing study that’s published online. Sometimes, it involves commissioning (and paying) a research company to obtain data for you by surveying thousands of people across countries. It can also mean consulting with experts, and obtaining permission to quote them in your work. More recent data is better than older ones, so make sure your sources are up to date.
Engage through entertainment
Not everyone is looking to be informed. Some just want to pass the time or brighten up their day. If appropriate, captivate your audience with content that delights, amuses, or uplifts. Maybe it’s a snap poll asking which product users prefer, a clip of your employees and customers enjoying themselves, or a catchy music video in tune with the holiday season. Whatever it is, try to find ways to make your content fun and exciting.
One of the most common ways to keep your audience engaged is to tell a story. Humans have been telling each other stories for most of our history, passing traditions orally through song or poetry before writing was invented. It’s a time-tested tradition.
Stories come in all shapes and formats, not just in novels or films. When you give a three-minute interview describing how your company was founded, that’s a story. When you produce a written case study showing how you helped a client solve a problem, that’s a story. When you produce a report detailing how the industry is changing and what your brand can do about it, that’s a story. It can be as short as an anecdote in your blog post, or as long as a 30-page whitepaper that outlines a solution to a recurring problem.
Stories roughly consist of an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. If you’re not sure what the story is, ask yourself, “What is the conflict or problem?” (Example: People wanted a good co-working space in my city, but the existing ones were of poor quality). And how was that conflict or problem resolved?” (Example: I founded a chain of high-quality co-working spaces.)
So, make your content exciting. Entertain your audience with a good story.
Look the part
Put effort into making your content presentable. Whether it’s a video, an infographic, a newsletter, a website, or a blog post, content that appears professionally designed and edited helps enhance your brand’s credibility.
Typos make your brand look sloppy, so always take the extra time needed to clean out those errors. Beyond typos, remember to use language appropriate to your content. If your audience consists of teenagers, keep it conversational. If you’re trying to reach out to bank executives or corporate CEOs, use formal language.
Avoid terms your audience won’t understand, and spell out or define any acronyms that are likely to send your audience Googling. If language is not your strong suit, ask a friend or a colleague to review your work or seek help from a content professional.
Want to create solid, high-quality content that inspires and drives leads? Chat with us at [email protected]