How much content is generated every minute? According to Domo.com’s seventh edition of Data Never Sleeps it’s an absurd amount. Instagram alone generates 277,777 posts in a single minute, and that doesn’t compare to the 188 million emails sent every sixty seconds. That’s 11,280,000,000 emails sent every hour!
So how does your content stand out in a world where data never sleeps? According to Joe Pulizzi, Author of Get Content Get Customers: “The one with the more engaging content wins, because frequent and regular contact builds a relationship.”
Sounds simple: just write the most engaging content. Like many things in life, if it was that easy, we’d all be amazingly successful. Clearly, it’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are eight tips to help you create compelling content your audience can’t ignore.
1. Remember Thy Audience
Frank J. Peitrucha, author of Super Communicator, said “If there was a cardinal rule for communication, [remember thy audience] would be it.”
Audience is king. If you remember only one tip from this post, this is it: be customer centered always! No one cares about you or how cool the product is. They want to know what’s in it for them. Deliver that message up front, and you'll find people who want to listen. (Need help with your audience? Check out this post.)
2. Form a Narrative
“Good Content is not about storytelling; it’s about telling a true story well.” (Content Rules, 17)
Do you have testimonials or reviews? Put them in the form of a story. Better yet, imagine your audience using your product or service then create a story around that. Analogies, metaphors, smilies are all important tools when it comes to engaging content. Word to the wise, be genuine. The audience will sniff out false emotion like a bloodhound (see what we did there?). Honesty matters to your audience, so use narrative to forge a meaningful connection with your audience.
3. Make it Useful
You’re simply not going to be able to survive meaningfully in this communications era if you don’t learn how to get it [content] into a format that they [your audience] want it in.” Peter Reid, VP for strategic communications at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
How can you explain your product or service in a way that’s useful to your audience? Where should you post this glorious content? There are so many formats to deliver your message, ranging from social media to blogs. Find out what is most effective for your audience. Ann Handley, the content queen or better known as author of Content Rules, recommends quizzing your audience. Have a three question quiz pop up on your site or post a poll on Facebook or Instagram. Find out if your audience prefers videos, blog posts, ebooks, white papers, or whatever. Then deliver in those formats.
4. Add Value
“Good content doesn’t try and sell. Rather it creates value by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of vendor-agnostic information.” (Content Rules, 17)
Every word needs to create value for your audience. Remember, people are busy. They’re managing households, working eight plus hours a day, cooking meals, arguing about politics on Facebook, trying to recreate the latest TikTok video. They don’t have time to sift through your content to find out why it matters to them. Make sure your value is clear. Are you educating them? Entertaining them? Think about adding value to their life instead of trying to sell them something.
5. Keep It Simple
Unless your audience is a room full of NASA Scientists, keep it simple. Even then, keep it simple. Content should be written at an eighth-grade reading level. Before you scoff, this is the level in which the New York Times is written. It’s been working for them since 1857.
6. Be Unique
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”― Dr. Seuss
Identify how your product or service is different, then put it front and center for your audience.
7. Choose Your Words Wisely.
The best way to identify your unique voice is to describe your company with three phrases or words. For example: casual, witty, and educated OR friendly, kind, and helpful. Once you hone your description, you can refer to it whenever you create content and maintain a uniform tone.
8. Set Clear Goals
Finally, how do you measure your content to know if it's hit the mark? Do you want viewers to share your video? Visit your website? Purchase the product? What is the specific goal for your content? If you’re having trouble finding your content’s purpose, apply the SMART goal method.
Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. A goal like “I want the video to be viral” is a nice idea, but hits none of the SMART criteria. Whereas, “Hit 10,000 views in one month” meets them all. When making goals, remember to keep them SMART!
Creating compelling content is harder than it sounds, but by remembering these eight tips, you’ll have a head start on most of the competition. And if the thought of creating your own content overwhelms you, give us a call. It’s what we do every day. As an explainer video production company, we take complex, confusing, and even boring topics, and make them simple, concise and engaging.