It’s already Q2, and we’re working our way into the year. If one of your 2018 resolutions was better customer engagement but you’ve put off dealing with it, don’t worry—it’s not too late to work on those customer connections.
Refreshing your approach to content creation can help you get started. Where do you begin? Regardless of how developed your content program is, it’s always helpful to return to a core set of best practices to guide your efforts.
Whether for an individual project or your overall company message, the following areas deserve consideration year-round.
Pin Down Your Audience
All content should be written and designed with the audience in mind. Otherwise, how can you hope to communicate your message in a way that will resonate with them?
One primary way to be sure you’re always on target with your audience is to develop a messaging framework that you can refer to for all future projects. This framework involves an analysis of your desired audience, and the creation of primary personas that help you visualize the needs and desires of your audience so that you are better positioned to reach them.
Find Your Voice
Can you clearly state how you stand out, what you offer customers, and what matters to you? Can customers easily identify your company’s “personality?”
Many factors contribute to your organization’s voice: formal vs. informal, humorous vs. serious, authoritative vs. empathetic. Think of Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike—these companies have established who their audience is and what they want, and they talk to those people like, well, people, not just customers.
Remember that not just words, but the images and stories you embrace support your voice. And social media makes it easier—and more important—than ever to establish a consistent voice for all your content.
Know Your Limits
Do you have the internal support to complete revisions and deliver projects, or do you need external help?
Many companies have great intentions to reach out through nurturing campaigns, social media, or other content…yet these projects never seem to come to fruition. Whether from lack of staff, lack of time, or lack of confidence, such content is often moved to the bottom of the list.
A better option is to find a marketing or content company that can commit to understanding your brand, voice, and messaging priorities—or better still, help you develop those assets. Delegating in this way can enable your employees to focus on their areas of expertise, while you invest only in what you need rather than in a full-time internal content team.
Establish Your Priorities
What are your biggest areas of need when it comes to content? Which projects offer the biggest impact or can give you the most bang for your buck?
Don’t just follow trends—make sure they meet the needs and wants of your audience. For example, a Snapchat presence might make sense if your target audience consists of 20-year-olds, you run frequent contests or promotions, you have a variety of products that you can demonstrate or that turn over frequently (e.g., makeup or clothing lines), and your marketing efforts involve social media influencers.
But if your audience is primarily 40-something manufacturing executives and your flagship product is expensive infrastructure equipment that customers replace once every five years, then it doesn’t matter how popular a platform Snapchat is—the people you need to reach aren’t using it.
Give Customers a Reason to Care
Another reason to create a messaging framework up front: We live in a world that overwhelms us with information. If your content doesn’t entertain, educate, or connect with your audience, it’s likely to be ignored.
If you can’t give your customers a reason why your content should move to the front of the long list of items vying for their attention—it likely won’t. Considering an email campaign? Make sure each message offers real value, not just fluff and sales jargon. Social media presence? If you can’t devote the resources to maintain a feed with regular posts and response to customers, either delegate the task to an outside source that can or reconsider the strategy altogether.
Along the same lines, make sure your website is designed with customers in mind, helping to direct customers to the info they want and need and to make connecting with your company as easy and intuitive as possible. Otherwise you risk turning business away.
If this list of resolutions seems overwhelming, consider whether a targeted marketing company like Refactored can help. Delegating content-creation, audience-engagement, and demand-generation tasks to marketing strategy experts can help you focus your internal resources or other vital tasks.