If you create online content on a regular basis, chances are you’re often left feeling a little something like this:
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started out or have been at it for 10 years. It’s easy to caught up in the content production and posting frenzy, especially when marketing experts and online resources overload us with info like:
A) “Everyone is moving to video”
B) “You should be posting three times a day on Instagram”
C) “Blog posts should be more than 1000 words”
It’s no wonder we’re feeling overwhelmed!
While it’s important to stay top of mind and relevant when it comes to your audience, how often do you ask yourself, and I mean really ask yourself, why you are doing it all?
Why are you scheduling those specific posts three times a week on Facebook? Why do you need to tweet daily? Why that image? Why that link?
When we start ticking boxes simply because we think we need to be doing something, it becomes easy to overlook why we are doing it in the first place – and whether it is actually adding value to those we seek to serve.
Social media platforms are tools for innovation and creativity (when done right), and they’re a great way for us to connect with our audience. But we can get so tangled up in the process of trying to be in the spotlight that we forget about the living, breathing people on the other end of it all.
We forget to focus on their wants, dreams, values and ideas, but most importantly, we forget to ask them what those are. And before we know it, we’re back to where we started, churning content and hoping for the best.
Go on, get back in touch with your audience
As a marketing manager, an MD of a large corporate or even a small business owner, how often do you speak to your customers?
How often do you pick up the phone and talk to them simply to get to know who they are, what they want, and most importantly, what they love and don’t love about your brand or product?
I’ll take a guess that it’s not very often, or likely never. If so, you’re not alone, but the reason I mention this is because if we’re not constantly talking to our audience and figuring out what makes them tick, what use is ‘ticking boxes’ when it comes to creating and posting content online?
At Big Ambitions we believe that great content starts (and continues) with really getting to grips with what your customers want. We know from experience that when you involve them in the process, you’re going to feel even more committed to create and deliver outstanding content that inspires them enough to actually want what only you can offer.
To achieve this, the humans you seek to serve must become somewhat of an obsession.
Get obsessed with talking with them, listening to them, and understanding them. Get obsessed with caring for them on an emotional level. Get obsessed with knowing their fears, frustrations, hopes and dreams, their values and view of the world.
Until you stop ticking boxes and take on the role of a marketing detective, constantly speaking to your customers and understanding their wants and needs, you’re going to end up exactly in the same place – constantly overwhelmed and frustrated with your content.
Your customers are the best content creators you’ll ever know
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to content strategy. It takes a bit of digging and you have to be willing to find what works for you and your business. But did you know that some of the best content creators are your customers?
Not convinced? Just take a look at Tripadvisor.
In our experience writing for various travel companies at Big Ambitions, we tend to get some of the best insights from detailed reviews written by customers.
Here’s just one example you can click on and read:
See how detailed it is?
It reminds me of Tyrion Lannister who said it best: “There is nothing more powerful than a good story.”
And he’s right. We love listening to stories, but we also love telling our friends and family about our own stories, especially when it comes to our holidays.
This is why TripAdvisor reviews are typically so meaty. These guests and travellers are so excited and enthusiastic about their experiences that they want to shout out to the whole world about the special places they have discovered.
Linking back to the point made above about picking up the phone and chatting to your customers, these “town criers” are exactly the type of customers that you should be speaking to, and more importantly, collaborating with. They’re assets to your content creation process, and you’ll never truly tap into this resource unless you invite them to be a part of it.
Instead of going in circles trying to generate useful, detailed and persuasive content for our websites and social media platforms in isolation, we could be asking our customers to help, and at the same time, making them feel valued and cared for – and that their experiences (stories) matter.
As humans, we all want to feel seen and heard and some of the most intimate, vulnerable and real content comes straight from everyday people. Just take a look at some of those wonderful and detailed excerpts from #ImStaying.
Contiki as a Case Study
One of our previous clients that has effectively tapped into their customers as a source for content is Contiki.
They have an online platform, Six Two, where they encourage customers to login and upload their own travel articles, videos and images from their Contiki trips.
The company knows that their client base consists of young, tech-savvy travellers who love to share their travel stories online and so this concept works exceptionally well. They reward regular contributors with travel perks, who then continue to generate consistent content.
Everything posted on Six Two is genuine, heartfelt and meaningful, written for young travellers by young travellers. When you read it, you don’t feel like you’re getting sold to. Instead, you are drawn to the brand via real stories that you can relate to, and which showcase Contiki’s core values.
What is also important to note, is that Contiki has complete ownership of the content on their Six Two platform. It’s not on TripAdvisor or on any other online platform that could disappear into the ether at any given moment.
This is modern marketing. And when done right, modern marketing can bring out the best of your business. It requires honesty, compassion and truly serving others from a place of deep understanding and respect. It’s not about trying to get anyone to buy things that they don’t want or they don’t need.
Remember, we’re 20 years into social media now. People have become incredibly brand savvy and exceptionally selective in the companies they choose to engage with on social media. If they feel like they are being fed something inauthentic, or worse, like they are being sold to, they’re just one click away from severing ties.
If after reading this you’re still feeling a bit of fear and resistance to content creation, or if you think it’s holding you and your business back, don’t sweat the small stuff…
Take a moment to stop and think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Get back on track by watching this old goodie from one of our favourite thought leaders, Simon Sinek, or rather send us an email us here so we can help.