We recently attended a lunch presentation by John Hall, of Influence & Co, hosted by Business Marketers Association of Kansas City on Building Content that Amplifies Expertise. Content creation is a critical piece of a digital strategy. How do you create good content? How do you keep the conversation fresh? How do you keep customers engaged with the content you are sharing? While this may sound daunting for a single person, content creation isn’t a one-person job. Your organization is full of experts that can help you drive a successful content strategy. Creating content can happen without recreating the wheel. Hall noted a few key things to keep in mind:
- You Set the Bar – Digital communication may be a new part of your strategy but the concept behind it isn’t; digital marketing is simply another avenue to show customers who you are and how you operate. You should spend time outlining your digital standards, just as you would develop standards for how your store is set and maintained. Share it with your employees and encourage them to contribute while maintaining those standards. Cara’s blog post explores how to create a social media voice guide.
- Share Your Knowledge – Your store is full of subject matter experts. Their wide knowledge base, rich with shareable content, can position you, and them, as an expert in your community. The operations in your store are routine to you, but not to your customers. Sharing “everyday” events like decorating a cake, breaking down steaks, or arranging flowers are simple ways to show an ‘exclusive peek behind the curtain’, but also position your store as an expert. Local, independent retailers have an unparalleled opportunity to win customers on service and knowledge, the more you share the more your customers will trust you.
- Don’t Lead with Promotion – Consumers use social media to have a conversation with brands they enjoy, not to see an endless stream of price points and self-promotion. Prices aren’t content, they don’t educate your audience or create a connection. When developing a content strategy look beyond the dollars and cents to other ‘values’ you can share with your audience. Jason shared why you have to earn the right to self-promote in an earlier blog post.
- Work Through Barriers to Garner Authentic Content – Crafting and implementing a digital strategy can represent a significant shift in the mindset of your team. While working through logistical barriers (posting calendars, approval process, time/money spent on digital) can be difficult; working through the mental barriers i.e. training yourself, and your staff, to recognize content opportunities can be more difficult. If you’ve taken time to develop a voice guide, shared it with your employees, and empowered them to help you create content what you share will be authentic.
- Simple Can be Quality – Don’t overthink content, simple can be powerful. Melanie shared an excellent example of a retailer that had tremendous success in digital without too much complexity. Remember, what is routine to you isn’t to your customer. Creating custom corsages for Prom, a customer favorite dinner, or even the arrival of new products are easy, shareable moments that create connections to your customers.
- Redefine the Metrics for Success – Digital marketing requires a shift in mindset both in planning and results; success can’t be measured by traditional methods. When planning a digital strategy think about what success in this venue looks like and make achieving these goals 1) realistic and 2) meaningful. A good example of this is email campaigns, while number of subscribers is the easiest bar to set it doesn’t become meaningful if they aren’t clicking. Take time to develop meaningful metrics to measure and understand that it isn’t necessarily a hard ROI.
Keeping these tips in mind it will make creating rich content a breeze. Your store has a story to tell; decide what you want that story to be and share it.