So you’ve heard your company “has to provide content,” and now it’s time to get started. I hear this from clients a lot and wanted to provide four broad tips that could help push things forward.
Through my work with clients over the years I’ve found that one of the hardest things for a business person to realize is that they have to put on their artists/creative hat sometimes. For some reason, they believe it’s harder calling up creativity than it is to solve business problems.
So these tips are for the business person who needs to think a little more like an artist in order to get their content machine going.
Creators know they have an obligation to deliver on their promise to their audience. What promise is of course up to them, not their audience, just like your promise is up to you, not your customers, but your content needs to have a focus on this promise. Here are some examples of promises from some of the more creative companies in the world.
WIRED magazine’s promise is to be the “first word on how ideas and innovation are changing the world.” The Redbulls Bulletin, Redbulls print magazine, promises to “Bring the world of Red Bull and all of its ‘playgrounds’ to our readers”. Your promise can be stated or unstated but should always be delivered upon. Decide what your promise will be to your audience each time you produce a piece of content so that there’s a focus for each piece produced.
Without substance or focus even the largest businesses turned creators have failed to gain traction. Your mission and promise are what will help you deliver.
Don’t be self-centered or talk about your company too much. Reference creators other than you or your company, or bookmark them as muses for creation. While having links to a competitor might not be the best idea, linking to leaders, influencers, businesses, and other creators are necessary to supplement your original work and build credibility on and offline. Show your audience that your worldview stretches beyond your own business because theirs already does.
Content lives beyond the screen. Once you have a great blog, column, or video series that is taking off and has a regular audience, consider expanding on it with meet-ups, t-shirts or even a podcast. Are people in love with your “how to’s?” Host a “Do It Yourself” class, bringing the words, and ultimately the brand, to life. Content should not only be read, heard or viewed – it should be experienced.
Your creative and content should match your time commitment. If you have more time, produce more often. If your time is scarce, create less frequently, but on a regular schedule (once every Tuesday or just once a month). Your first piece shouldn’t be an eBook or white paper, and seriously, the fewer eBooks and white papers brought into the world the better.
Keep it simple and post the top 3 pictures or infographics in your industry after a Google search. Make a list of products or services your customers might need (beyond your own). Share videos, podcasts, or other works that show you’re engaged in your industry.
Having trouble getting started on a topic? Here’s a tool that might help.
The most important thing is to get into the habit of delivering content that has entertainment or educational value to those whom will read it and be consistent about delivering it.