Recipe To Creating Content In A Content Hungry World
Content reigns supreme in the epoch of new media
Did you know that the average Malaysian spends an average of five hours and forty-seven minutes a day consuming social media content?
In this digital age, the sheer amount of content we’re surrounded by can sometimes be overwhelming, but this just proves how much of an influence it can have in our lives. In fact, Soyacincau reported that a 2016 survey by Facebook showed that 94% of Malaysians discover new products and brands on Facebook, where 62% of them make a purchase after the discovery.
It’s indisputable, then, that content and content creation is crucial for any business. But how is it important and how can we create good content?
Mike Pitt, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Marketing Fundamentals Limited, a content marketing agency based in London, United Kingdom (UK), whom we had the golden opportunity to interview, shares with us his insights on the matter:
Mike Pitt specializes in helping business-to-business (B2B) business leaders with content strategy, content creation and social media management. Image via Mike Pitt
The Importance of Content Creation
What exactly is content creation? According to Hubspot, content creation is the process of developing subject ideas that appeal to your buyer personas, then executing them into written or visual information and making it available to your audience.
With the widespread usage of social media, it’s a no brainer that content creation is essential to all businesses, especially startups and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
The content that you put out for the eyes of the world inherently is part of your brand identity; it is, after all, what people see and how they determine how valuable you are. In essence, creating and putting out good content is what helps you to establish a reputation and online presence.
Mike’s appearance on Kent Business Radio: The Business Bunker with Rachel Elcombe. Image via Mike Pitt
“This helps elevate a business,” says Mike. According to him, content creation can propel businesses to leadership positions within their industry, which can in turn boost sales and conversion rates, turning people who are interested in your business into customers.
It also serves as an important way for businesses to communicate with their customers. The content you create should not be all about your achievements as a person or company, but to answer queries and questions that your target audience has. This builds a strong sense of having your customers’ best interests at heart, thus strengthening customer relationships and loyalty.
Storytelling: The Essence of Content Creation
Writing is perhaps one of the simplest forms of content creation, which is still very much relevant today. It can be as simple as a tweet about wanting cake, a cake recipe on a blog, or a whole article critiquing the best cakes in the city — they’re still all written content nonetheless.
“I’ve always loved writing from an early age,” Mike told us. He shares how Shakespeare was an amazing content creator back in the 17th century. Shakespeare is claimed to have written at least 37 plays and 154 sonnets during his lifetime, and is to this very day widely-regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.
Mike and his son Maxwell at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England to celebrate 400 Years of Shakespeare. Image via Mike Pitt
The times have evolved, and content creation may now take on very different forms, but the basis remains: storytelling.
That’s because storytelling helps readers understand and empathise better with the message being sent out. Mike puts it this way:
“If I write a blog post and I tell you, you need to do seven things for your business to be successful. You may read it. You may be engaged with it. You may think it was a good post and start to act on it. But if I tell you a story, during which the protagonist has six or seven different obstacles they have to overcome and they do that by taking the action steps that could have been just bullet points, you engage more with the story. You remember the story and you remember the points. You remember the challenges that the character had.”
Content Creation Strategies
A screencap from one of Mike’s videos on YouTube, where he talks all about content marketing and social media for businesses. Image via Mike Pitt
3Cs: Consistency, Creativity & Collaboration
When it comes to content creation, Mike believes that there are 3Cs to keep in mind in order to churn out good content:
Image via Unsplash
“How often should I post?” is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions a content marketer gets.
The number of times you post depends on the type of medium you’re releasing content on: for example, you should aim to post at least once a week on your company blog and YouTube channel. Ultimately though, the consistency of when you post is most important. You want your audience to have something to regularly tune it in to (say for example, every Tuesday). Besides keeping them engaged, it also builds credibility as an active, reliable source of content.
Image via Unsplash
There are so many content creators out there, it’s important to stand out. Who wants to read or watch the same content twice?
“That’s why we need to have original thoughts and ideas when creating content,” says Mike. Take different approaches and develop your own voice and opinions to communicate that with others, start conversations that others have not, or have a different take on an old one in order to attract and engage your audience.
Image via Unsplash
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Working with others to create content is always a great way to engage and give something new to your audience. It is beneficial to both parties as partnered content leverages on each other’s followers. Besides, your audience will also be able to gain fresh insights from someone other than yourself.
Choosing the Right Platform
Image via AdWeek
When it comes to knowing the right platform to use for your business, it’s all about really understanding the needs and nature of your business as well as your target audience. Additionally, there’s no set rules, but Mike believes that it all depends on the sector. For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is a definite must have, whereas it varies for B2C businesses. For example, if you’re running a health and beauty business, Instagram could be the most important social media platform.
Hit a Roadblock? Fret Not!
Image via Unsplash
If you ever feel a mental block on your mind, Mike suggests trying to change activities to stimulate your brain and get new ideas. Getting away from your workspace to do something relaxing will trigger your subconsciousness to help you come up with new ideas.
Professionals, however, won’t have the time and luxury of getting a block. The need to constantly produce fresh content means they are always planning 10, 15 steps ahead. Having a content calendar and knowing how to position yourself to have a lot of topics to write/talk about is key to staying in the game.
Hard Selling is NOT Content
Image via Freepik
Mike reminds us that a sales pitch is not content! After all, your customers aren’t foolish — you’ll just be putting them off.
According to Mike, content is all about delivering value to your audience. If you know how to position your product in a relevant context, consumers will be able to draw the lines and make the link from your content to your product/services. Remember, it’s a marketing strategy, not a sales strategy. Hard selling will not work.
Image via ContentSolutions
It’s clear to see that content creation is crucial to any business, and there are many strategies we need to follow in order to create good content and enhance our business. With so much competition, however, it’s not as easy as it seems either — Mike suggests outsourcing your content marketing and social media activities to experts if you have the budget.
Whichever path you choose, once you engage in content creation and have the fundamentals down, you’ll be able to reap what you sow with positive business growth.
Connect with Mike through his LinkedIn or subscribe to his YouTube channel to get more content marketing strategies! Feel free to drop us an email too at email@example.com for digital PR & branding advice. We’re here to help!
Cover image via Mike Pitt