January 7, 2016

The key to staying relevant in the content revolution

The faster you realize that your business is a media company, the greater the odds you will succeed

A majority of the content that businesses are posting on social media is as entertaining as an advertisement in the local classifieds. When scrolling through your news feed you will often have to sift through a lot of garbage to find something that is worth consuming.

Businesses want to appear relevant, authentic and engaged, but when the content they are posting is unimaginative and mundane, they end up being that uncool uncle that tries a little too hard. Posts in the form of promos and gimmicky “call now’s” often fall on deaf ears, purely taking up space while being ignored.

With the majority of platforms being saturated with content, only truly remarkable content has the ability to standout. Generally, this truly great content is identifiable as it has certain characteristics.

Native content

Each individual platform is unique; sure, most have functions that overlap but for the most part, each contains its own style, language and has developed its own culture. Some are designed for more text heavy content, others suited towards vivid imagery and video. In some cases the differences between them can be quite significant. Ensuring your content matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears can make or break your marketing efforts.

In a world where content reigns supreme, context is everything. You can put out some of the world’s best content, but if you don’t pay attention to the context of the platform you’re posting to, your message will go unheard. This is something many businesses struggle to grasp and I believe it’s because they are using social media to sell. Consumers on the other hand, are not using social media to buy.

Native content seamlessly blends into a particular platform’s offering, telling a story and providing an emotional connection for the consumer. This form of content won’t feel as though the consumer is being sold to, even though they are.

the-key-2_01

Creating truly outstanding native content has very little to do with the sell, instead it is all about the art of story telling. Carefully and skillfully created native content can give a brand the opportunity to be seen as human. Though a company like Nike’s Facebook page will look significantly different to the everyday persons, the page should still look and feel as though the content is something a real person has created.

Delivered skillfully, native content is consumed with the same interest and intrigue as anybody else’s. Unlike marketing tactics of the past, intelligent, native social media aims to enhance consumer interaction, not distract them.

Content that doesn’t interrupt

In today’s digital age, we no longer have to interrupt our consumers; in fact it’s vital that we don’t. Consumers these days have very little patience and this became evident by the rate at which we all jumped at the opportunity to wipe out television advertising with the introduction of streaming services such as Netflix. People don’t even listen to commercial radio anymore, why would you when you can simply stream the same songs, without having to put up with a guy with a whining voice selling vacuum cleaners.

It’s clear that the days of interrupting consumers to deliver a message are over. If you want to be part of the conversation that revolves around entertainment, you must now become the entertainment.

To do this we must first understand who our market is and what appeals to them. We should aim to seamlessly integrate content into the feeds of our consumer, replicating the experience they are after. We should aim to speak to them in their language, on their platforms and in the format that they are used to.

Not being interruptive or intrusive, our content should mirror what our target market consumes on a regular basis. If your market loves videos of cats, give them videos of cats. Creating and posting skillfully thought out content will lead to it being shared. And when it’s being shared, it will greatly increase the chances of your audience remembering your brand when the time comes to make the purchase.

Content that doesn’t sell hard

Ever been scrolling through a website and all of a sudden bam!, there’s a massive pop-up taking up half your screen? You find yourself frantically flicking your mouse around trying to find the tiny little x in the corner to get rid if it? Would you ever purchase anything that comes up in that pop-up? Probably not.

Nobody likes to be sold to, just like nobody likes to be interrupted. Your story needs to resonate with the consumer, play on their emotion, and build up their goodwill. When they are ready to buy, you’re going to have provided them with such value that it would almost be remiss of them to decline.

When delivering quality native content, you aren’t asking your consumer for anything, not a single dollar. You’re simply sharing a moment. This could be funny, clever, informative or ridiculous; it could even be heartwarming. One thing that it’s not is a sales pitch.

Content which is consistent and remains true to the brand

It’s important to consider how each post, share, comment or like solidifies your business’s online identity. Your content will no doubt vary, day in and day out, but it’s important that your message is consistent.

When creating new material, we must consistently answer the questions “who are we?”; “what is the position we want within the market?” and “how do we want to be perceived?” We should look to master the concept of content and context across as many platforms as possible, but we must ensure our story and message remains constant throughout.

By creating truly outstanding content that is native to the context of the platform, we are able to add a personal touch and a human quality. If we create can provoke a feeling, chances are our audience will share it, amplifying word of mouth and generating results at a fraction of the price of other forms of media. At the end of the day, you now own the content and own the relationship with your consumer.

This concept of owning content and creating meaningful relationships with consumers is something that has gained momentum for intelligent businesses across the globe.

Why every business is now becoming a media company

Take a look at a brand like Red Bull, once known for producing super sugary, over caffeinated drinks; they became an energy drink company that had a knack for producing good content. Now they have transformed into a fully-fledged media company that just so happens to sell energy drinks.

Red Bull knows their audience and they know what appeals to them – extreme and action sports. They have taken this knowledge and are still running with it, producing amazing native content which speaks to their audience in the language and format that they are comfortable with. That format is entirely digital; it is video and it is mobile. Red Bull has become the conversation, they have become the entertainment.

Launched in 2007, Red Bull Media House has quickly become one of the world’s largest media companies. Red Bull Media House is a multi-platform media company focusing on sports, culture and lifestyle. Offering a vast array of compelling content across a range of media channels including TV, mobile, digital and audio, they are also offering value to their consumer. They’re not pushing a sale, but simply creating a memory, an emotion, just like all good content should.

Red Bull is one of a number of companies, who are really trying to own the conversation with their consumers and effectively monetising branded content. With the introduction of the Red Bull TV app for Apple TV, they became the world’s first branded content channel, using events, film and video to generate revenue. There’s no reason all companies shouldn’t be doing the same.  I’m not saying you have to go out and buy an Apple TV channel, but you do need to be creating great content.

the key 3

In a market saturated with content, companies simply need to pay greater attention to the content they’re creating. Cutting through, grabbing attention and telling a story that your consumers can engage with, is the only way to stay relevant.

It’s inevitable that we will continue to see companies continue to work towards creating media platforms. Finding ways to relate to their audience and their lifestyle in efforts to keep them engaged. It may seem a little crazy, but gone are the days of a tire salesman simply selling tires. If he’s not full of ideas about great road trips or places you must visit, then he’s not connecting with his consumer. The faster your business realizes that it is a media company, the greater the chance you will succeed.

Creating truly amazing content which cuts through and engages your consumer isn’t easy; in fact it’s incredibly difficult. Whilst there is thousands of articles out there on the web that claim to help you create amazing content, there is no comprehensive guide to help you get started. This is where Surf Pacific can help. We specialize in helping companies and brands tell their story and create content which engages their consumers.