Content Creation in the Winter of the Unknown
Now, more than ever, the perception of your brand is crucial. So many companies have been affected by the Coronavirus that those who have battled through the tough times, and even grown, are working on strategies that they may never have previously considered in order to reach out to new prospects and deliver the very best services they can for their clients and customers.
You don’t want to be seen to be all doom and gloom during the toughest of tough times, but at the same time you don’t want to be looking to capitalise on the misfortunes of others in the most public of ways. It’s hard to get away from the the topic of the coronavirus, but people have heard enough about it and are now looking to adapt and move forward or at least get on with their lives in the ‘new normal’ everyone is talking about, and the show must go on.
The fact of the matter right now is that , ultimately, if you’re not being seen to be proactive you’re not being seen. It’s as simple as that. Throughout the pandemic companies have changed their whole business models to deliver what is needed at that exact moment rather than persisting with tried and tested methods that – while undoubtedly successful and still important – just aren’t right for the audience at that moment in time. There may still be demand for your traditional offering, but there may be greater demand for an adaptation of the service or a new product which means there is a chance to remodel your business or change the way you’re viewed from the outside.
One way in which you can do this is to work on the type of content you’re putting out to your audience. In the past you may have written blog content relating to a particular arm of the business or your sector as a whole in an attempt to keep people abreast of what you’re doing as a company; but now it’s more important than ever to become a genuine authority and a reliable source of information across the industry.
Whether you’re creating highly valuable, downloadable PDF guides for other companies to use or you’re developing a new blog strategy that helps to increase your organic visibility for core search terms and maximum engagement to increase prospects and conversions, your content is one of the most powerful business tools you have right now and represents a way of putting your brand before an audience that can no longer visit you at exhibitions or hear you speaking on stage.
So how do you go about creating great, influential, engaging content in the winter of the unknown? Well that’s what we’re here to discuss. Over recent months we’ve adapted our own content strategy to deliver a variety of different types of content and increased our activity on social media to enable us to speak to more people who may be interested in our services or even becoming a Meet Hugo Partner.
Here we will arm you with a few content considerations that you can take away, adapt and incorporate into your own content strategies in the coming months that will help you to promote your brand in the best light and increase not only traffic and engagement, but customers and conversions, too.
Produce relevant, high quality content – grow your audience
In order to grow your audience you need to be producing the kind of content that instantly hooks your audience, regardless of whether they’re your main target market or not. If people are searching for specific types of content or themes then you need to ensure that what you are putting out resonates with them and that they understand what it is you’re saying even if they’re not completely at ease with the topic itself.
One great way of expanding your audience is to create quality content that portrays your brand – and the author in many ways – as experts in the industry.
If you were to try and sell a product or service to a customer you want to do so because they see you as the best in the business, offering the best product or service around. Well, the same is true with your content. Whether it’s an email marketing campaign, a social media post, a blog or a new landing page for a promotion; make sure that what you’re writing hooks your audience and lets them know that you know your stuff and they should keep coming back to you to learn more. It may be that they’re not in the market for what you’re offering right now, but a few months or years later – when they are – they’ll remember your name because of the great content they read.
Evergreen content is still vital
Evergreen content remains every bit as critical to your content strategy today as it was before anyone had even heard of Coronavirus. Create great content that resonates all year round, with every single member of your audience and that targets all areas of your business and you’ll survive the harshest of winters and, best of all, come out the other side fighting.
As we’ve said already, the show must go on and – hopefully – the coronavirus will only be talked about in school history lessons and referred to in medical journals in a few years. This means that we need to get back to living our lives as best we can and producing great, relevant content for people who are attempting to do the same.
Evergreen content was a term coined in the last decade or so and relates to the type of content that can be referred to all year round, and years down the line. It doesn’t have a seasonal theme and it isn’t time sensitive, instead it is a great piece of content that resonates with different people at different times of year and across different industries.
By continuing to create this invaluable form of content, whether written or visual, you stand every chance of putting your content and brand in front of the most valuable of eyes when they need it. Do your research into engaging topics and themes in your industry, or that are relevant to your audience, and use key tools such as Google Trends to identify whether or not it’s a seasonal or evergreen opportunity. If it’s evergreen, get to work on creating that show-stopping piece of content that can drive traffic to your site all year round and your brand will feel the benefit down the line.
Priorities have changed, and you need to adapt
What a customer may have wanted this time last year is a thing of the past. Move on, it’s done. The times of adopting the same strategy as you did at this point a year ago, and for years before that, have gone and people’s methods and needs have changed.
When they may once have been searching for winter outfits ready to go out and party over the festive season, they’re now looking for DIY essentials to get their homes ready for the best festive season they can create.
That doesn’t mean that you have to bin every single one of your great ideas, however. A solid content strategy is built on experience, expertise and information, and you can use all of this to adapt the strategy to suit the infamous “new normal.” Instead of creating a great piece of content around festive clothing you might adapt it to focus on leisurewear or even activewear to encourage them to exercise at home. It’s all about focussing on changing trends and evolving methods rather than copying and pasting your strategy from years gone by.
Create unique, data-driven content that resonates
One thing that will never go out of style is unique, data-driven content. Information is your friend, especially if you use it the right way, (like you would with your sales intelligence!) It can open doors, it can shock, it can engage and it can inspire you to create an incredible piece of unique content that doesn’t just have a short-term wow factor, it becomes an evergreen or viral piece of content that generates significant income or engagement.
The insights that you can take from your own data can be quite astonishing sometimes. By sitting down and analysing months, even years worth of your own data, you can uncover the kind of data that can be interpreted in various ways to create a piece of engaging, unique content that resonates with your entire audience. A great content strategy – whether it’s an internal blog and landing page strategy or a content marketing strategy that helps you increase your brand profile – always comes back to data, forming the foundations of the whole plan because you’re building on solid, reliable facts and information.
You can analyse everything from organic traffic visiting your site at certain times of year to social media engagement, even the number of people who open and click your email marketing campaigns, and turn this information into a valuable, high-performing strategy that targets the right people with the right content at the right time, and engages them across paid, owned and earned channels.
As we referred to earlier, trends and customer needs have changed beyond all recognition and it remains to be seen how effective big shopping periods like Black Friday will be, but your own data can help form a new strategy that helps negotiate the trickiest of tricky winter periods, Covid-19 or no Covid-19.
Marketing content is essential – but it needs to evolve
Finally, your marketing content is a valuable weapon in your fight through this unknown winter and into the unknown spring. While things may be starting to improve, like the first shoots bursting through the snow, you need to use a different style of marketing content in order to hook your prospects and convince them to invest.
People have had their emotions tested since the outbreak of the coronavirus and are more open to being hooked by something that truly resonates with them and hits home. Instead of sending out blanket, impersonal emails to your mailing lists or pushing out the same old thing on your social channels; look to use an emotional hook instead and show your own personal side.
Many see businesses as faceless with ‘bots’ pushing out content, when in actual fact you have a team of quality content creators at your disposal with a wealth of great ideas and emotions of their own. Utilise their skills to adapt and evolve your marketing content and you’ll soon see what an incredible impact something as simple as using a person’s name can have. Starting an email with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ might be great for a formal proposal, but when you’re trying to build a relationship with a prospect or speak directly to a customer or potential investor, showing that you’ve taken the time to learn their name could prove invaluable and help to resolve a potentially explosive situation or even push that prospect through the funnel more efficiently than you may have done before.
People’s priorities, tastes and feelings have changed since the outbreak of the pandemic and today it’s vital that we treat each other as we’d wish to be treated ourselves. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true! People crave hugs and the warmth of others like they never have before, and if you’re trying to build relationships through marketing content it’s crucial that you’re willing to reach out your arms in order to welcome them in.
We now know that there is light on the horizon in the battle against this horrific virus that has affected millions around the world. However, we are getting through this by adapting and looking for ways to return to a ‘new normal.’ If we as businesses and professionals are to do the same then the best place to start moving forward through this harsh winter of the unknown is to create the best and most creative content that we can.