The 10hs of Sticky Digital Content [opinion]
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Content makes the internet worthwhile. Recently, popular document sharing social network, Slideshare announced that its tenth million document had been uploaded. Sadly, this report revealed that the continent of Africa accounted for about 1% of uploads (roughly 100,000 documents).
People and organisations do struggle to create the right content for their target audience. With so much competition for content online, it is a real struggle to create compelling content especially when the products and services you offer are not news, lifestyle or entertainment related.
For one, most organisations simply reproduce the content of their brochures on their websites and social media platforms. There is also a dearth of competent content strategists. Furthermore, content writers that understand brands and know how to represent their content needs are few and far between in this environment.
People are sometimes lax about following the rules of business writing when they are online. The challenge is to find the right resources that can write within the context of the brand they are supposed to represent. For instance while an insurance firm's online presence may focus on its various products and services, visitors to its website and fans of its social media community need to trust the brand more.
A good content strategy might focus on trying to build trust by providing content that helps people understand the nuances of insurance. Such content might also include how claims have been handled, tips on how to get the best of their insurance coverage, free online advisory services, etc. People love freebies and might just keep coming until they are hooked. Content marketing remains one of the most under optimized forms of digital marketing - an opportunity begging to be exploited.
No matter what business you are involved in, you can use this acronym - "10H" - to guide how you create and curate great and "sticky" content online.
Make your content fit and safe for your audience
Your content should be beneficial, caring, profitable, timely, useful and valuable.
There is a lighter side to every brand. Create and curate content that is amusing, entertaining and happy. Put a smile on the faces of your audience - even if sometimes the laugh is on you.
Content should include as much multimedia as possible. A photo is worth a thousand words so goes a Chinese saying. Appropriate short length videos from your customers (such as testimonials) or "how-to-videos" are priceless. How well do we capture the best moments experienced by our organisations? How well do we share these moments on our digital platforms? When you get up close and personal with some brands, you might be surprised to find out that some are a lot more interesting than they seem. If you don't put it out in photos and videos, how would we know?
Localize content on your digital channels as much as possible. People are constantly looking for content about the everyday things that they are familiar with. Search engines have mastered this technique very well. That is why you can search for services/products in particular locations and you would find same. This did not happen over night. It happened because these search engines understood that their users would come from different parts of the world and as such might be more interested in the laundry service nearby than one 500 kilometres away. At a time when there is so much agitation for an inclusive local content strategy, brands need to give the consumer a reason to adopt the brand as "our very own". Connecting via localized content is a sure path to creating a welcoming atmosphere for the brand online.
Social media is about people connecting with other people. Bring out the humanity in your brand. Sometimes a brand needs to showcase the individuals and teams within the brand who work to make things happen for its customers. Behind great technology, services and products are some great people - can we please meet them on your digital channels? It should not always be about top management.
Organisations need to demonstrate their kind and benevolent side. Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives are content goldmines. People love a good human story. People love to see other people move from zero to hero status. If your business makes life easier for people, such "feel good" content should be at the front burner of your online content strategy.
There is so much fun stuff online which you can curate and share.
Content on your digital channels need to be regularly updated to ensure that they are accurate, timely and relevant.
If you are experiencing service failure, be proactive and communicate the issues sincerely. Better still communicate well in advance if and when it is clear that service failure might occur. People are forgiving... but don't take communicating with them for granted. Communicate through all your traditional and digital channels - each reinforcing the message.
Recently a major financial services provider planned to migrate to a new banking software platform. The bank's branches would be shut for a few days although its alternate channels such as ATMs, internet banking, mobile banking and mobile money services would be available. About 10 days before the planned service outage, the bank's communication went into overdrive.
It created and shared several videos about what options customers should take. The videos received thousands of views. Notification emails and text messages were sent to its customers. There were announcements on traditional media channels as well as robust engagement about the upgrade on its social media channels. The bank's 24 hours customer service centre worked all through this period to alleviate the challenges faced by customers.
The bank was upfront and personal on this issue.
Notwithstanding it took some bashing from a number of frustrated customers who refused to be pacified.
Overall it was not surprising that it emerged stronger and more credible at the end of the exercise.
Great content is possible - just use the 10Hs!
My Mission "Using a combination of consulting, strategic implementation, teaching, training, research, publishing and mentoring, I am working towards improving the capacity of African focused individuals, organizations and nation states to develop, next level, innovative solutions that enhance their competitiveness and deliver sustainable value to all stakeholders."
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