6 Pieces of content you are already making (but aren’t in your content strategy)
Making content is an important part of most any marketing strategy. But what is content?
Short answer, EVERYTHING!
Every day I have clients tell me about their content. What they are making, why they are making it, and where they are putting it. One thing always stands out: they think content is more or less fixed thing. Their content strategy revolves around their blogs, or their EDMs, and their social channels.
And they aren’t wrong, those are all great vehicles for content. However content is so much more than this, and we are always trying to get clients to broaden their definition of content. I have a general rule that if a customer or potential customer will see it, then it is content. These are the 10 most commonly overlooked pieces of content.
“But my photos are great, we hired 6 different professionals!”.
Photos are important. But what is just as important as having photos that look great are photos that have a consistent look.
If you are an e-commerce site, your product shots should have uniformity. The photos on your website, whether they be they stock or custom, should match. They don’t have to be the exact same, but they should look related.
And don’t get me started on team photos. Too many times I’ve seen a page of photos that look they have been sourced from each person’s FB page. It’s a tragedy.
If one is in colour they should all be in colour. It’s your team photos, show that team cohesiveness in a visual way.
Pro Tip: Use a simple background that will always be available. If your background is too complicated or hard to access, the only way to add a new face will be to reshoot the whole team.
2. Hostile Design
Often times as marketers we think about how things should function in terms of the outcome that we want.
Instead of giving our customers what they want, we try pushing them to do what we want. Think of that moment you load up another person’s webpage, and boom, a form pops up trying to get you to create an account, give your email, or any other host of things.
You didn’t ask for it, but now you have it in front of you, this is made even worse on mobile platforms where the [x] can be hard to find and at times impossible to access.
Also included in hostile design is purposefully burying phone numbers, or making contacting a person difficult. You might as well tell your customers, we really don’t want to talk to you. Satisfaction guarantees and return policies can be similarly hostile. Often time these are written by legal who aren’t thinking about how it might read to a customer.
Think about your brand identity and look at your policies and try to identify and correct any discrepancies.
3. The unrequested correspondence
You have an email list. Congratulations, that’s great! But how did you get those emails? Were they provided by someone interested in your offerings? Or more commonly did they email your company for any number of reasons and now are a member of your list?
No one wants to get spammed and companies should be considerate of how they treat email addresses they receive.
The growth of SMS based comms has made this practice further frustrating. My phone dings in my pocket and every few months I find it’s a message from a gym.
I did a 2-day trial 2 years ago and they keep texting me to come back. They didn’t ask if they could text me, but here we are.
Communicating via email and texts are great ways to keep in contact with clients and potential clients when they want and consent to it. Like an ex who still texts you late at night, you don’t want your comms to remind someone of why they don’t want to be with you.
Every single email that reaches your customer is important. Each one should build confidence and credibility in your company. However, we often dare I say ‘mail it in’ when it comes to writing emails.
Tone and word choice are important. If a brand has positioned itself as a friendly, helpful, and casual brand then emails from that brand probably shouldn’t start with ‘Dear Sir’. Similarly, with a bank, who have positioned themselves as straightlaced professionals, shouldn’t email with the salutation of ‘Hey Mate!’
Another important topic to mention is templated emails and auto responses. There have been dozens of times I’ve reached out for help via email only to get a canned reply (or even an actual reply) without any useful knowledge.
A company may receive hundreds or thousands of help requests every day, but the customer has only sent one. Respect your customers time by taking the time to read and fully answer emails. Your reply will either tell them they are important and valued, or exactly the opposite. It’s too easy to not get right.
Add email to your content strategy for a more cohesive marketing experience.
5. General business documents
I hate to include this because it seems obvious and almost silly to add.
Yet there are those among us who use file templates that have been passed down through the ages. While it may seem that things like invoice templates don’t need to be updated, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Content is not the place for if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. While a major website update is planned every few years (or at least should be) there are other places that are often never updated. When you are going through a rebrand or major web update, take a look at some of your highly used and rarely updated business files and show them some love. It will not only improve your content across the board, it just may increase the effectiveness of those particular documents.
6. Content Curation
It may seem like a cop out but understanding sharing outside content can be a highly advantageous action. It’s cheap and it can supplement your content offerings when scheduled posts fall behind or get axed. The key is the curation process, don’t just share some garbage that seems mildly relevant to your audience.
It would be a good time to note that the people creating the content should also be devouring content and not just their own. Keeping an eye out for great content produced by others can help bolster your content offerings and as an added bonus the more content you consume the better the content you produce.