Monday, 11 April 2022 16:25

The Social Place: The c-word

Written by  Sharon Hill from The Intrepid
Sharon Hill Sharon Hill

It’s safe to say certain words starting with ‘c’ haven’t always had a good reputation. The latest c-word – Covid – is a modern-day, less controversial, yet equally hard-hitting example.

On the positive side, C is certainly the letter of choice in the world of marketing and business catchphrases: ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’ are both vital to thriving businesses, as well as ‘care’, ‘compassion’ and ‘consideration’ for wellbeing, and ‘community’ and ‘connectedness’ to link us all up globally.

But the ultimate c-word that glues all of these terms together, that tells our story, that communicates the messages, that sells the dreams, and ultimately products and services, is ‘content’.

C is for content

Over the past several decades, content as a business workstream has been slowly but surely growing in power and in importance in marketing and communications disciplines – and across general business to a lesser extent. You  only have to look through the job  vacancies to know its current popularity – every second marketing job contains the word.

When I got my first private sector job with a well-known ‘start-up’ of 200 staff as their very first content manager, many people asked if I was in human resources, helping people feel at one with themselves and ‘content’ with their job.  

‘Nope’, I said, ‘I’m telling the company’s story’. End of. And start of, and everything in between.

Why your story is key

Without a story, your business is just a name, and a product or service just fills a need or want. When a customer experiences the story behind what they're 'purchasing' it creates a relationship, fosters an emotional reaction and helps the consumer connect with the brand.

Your story justifies your customers' investment. It puts a face to the name. It makes the experience richer, and it makes that organisation, product or service stand out from the rest, making it that much more attractive and desirable.

What is content?

'Content' used to simply refer simply to words - on your website, in your annual report, in presentations and on printed material. Over time the words have been joined by images, videos, podcasts, reels, stories and so much more, often combining a variety of sensory touch points.

Channels where content is absorbed by consumers hungry for more have multiplied to include many more (mostly digital) platforms including social media, YouTube and LinkedIn, right down to your wine label.

Rich content is best

Never has content been so valuable, so in demand, so vital to everyday business and life. And never has the demand for authentic, rich content been so high as companies seek to better communicate their brand story.

Our audiences are disturbingly critical. They know if you copy and pasted from another post, they know if you spent
two minutes at 4.48pm pulling it together. Take the time, put in the mahi, do it well, and your audiences will know and appreciate it.

If you want authentic content your customers will love, don’t give the job to your admin person, your accountant or lawyer, or your teen (unless they’re truly a whizz) as something they fit in around their day job. Give it to someone who has content skills, knows your business and the essence of your brand (or has the skills to get to know it), who can do it properly and give it the attention it deserves.

Well worth the investment

If there’s one thing you invest time and money in for 2022 and beyond, it’s content. Rich, authentic content.

  • Create a content plan that fits your goals and desired outcomes – not just on social but across all channels and touch points.
  • Get dedicated resource (a person/people) to implement the plan.
  • Evaluate what works and do more of it.

Most importantly, don’t stop – lock it in and carry on.

If you don’t have the capacity or skills to do it in-house, then talk to someone who does.

It’s simple in theory but takes dedication in practice. Start small, stay consistent, be true to your brand, and build up from there. Your customers will thank you for it

Sharon Hill is a Director and Content Specialist for The Intrepid

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