You took a close look at your site and decided that it would be nice to show visitors interesting and useful content (which we talked about in the previous article ). Where can I get it? Not every company can afford a staff of marketers and PR-specialists who would be engaged in this, not all marketers and PR-specialists will be able to create such content. But these are, rather, questions of business processes and recruiting …
Therefore, let’s figure out where to get ideas for content, how to choose types of content for a business, and who can create the materials you need. Even if you have already decided that you will outsource this task, it is necessary to know how this process takes place in order to build effective work with the contractor.
Where can I get ideas?
Every business has a story to tell, whether it’s a solid marble factory with a 30-year history and a staff of 500 or a one-year solo startup producing foil caps. But how to determine what is worth telling about yourself, and what is better to leave behind the scenes?
This is not about trade secrets, privacy policies, and other information that future customers are better off not knowing. We are talking about stories and information about your work, which will interest site visitors and make them buyers of goods and services. For this, as they say, you need to “fall in love” with the buyer. Or easier: to give him such useful and interesting information for free so that he is interested in what he will get for the money.
So where do you get good ideas? Create a notebook or file in which you will write down ideas, even the most delusional and boring ones. Some of them will then drop out, others can be developed.
What would you like to read about your company if you didn’t know anything about it? Just answer honestly. Agree, this is not the year of foundation and the number of employees.
They also have an opinion on this, rest assured. And they even discuss these topics at lunches or during breaks. And they don’t tell you because you don’t ask.
Find the bearer of “sacred knowledge”
The colleague who is “in the know”, he has been working in the company for a long time, knows a lot of tales, the history of the “formation and development” of your product. Typically, these peers are sought out among technicians and senior management.
Monitor your competitors
Most likely, they have already done similar work and published something. Even if in the end, in your opinion, it turned out “not very”, then it is better to fix for yourself what specifically you did not like, what is the mistake. Monitoring the “failures” of competitors is often more useful and effective than the successes. Do not forget to see how your foreign competitors are doing.
Monitor related businesses
Or not related, but with good marketing. The idea for promoting waffle makers may come up after reading articles on the website of a private kindergarten or a company that sells tracking systems.
Yes, these are the best providers of business ideas. Moreover, it does not always make sense to openly ask in mailings or social networks, sometimes it is enough to closely follow the process and analyze, communicate with customers. Ask the manager to record “interesting things” from conversations with clients after meetings, record telemarketers (even if they communicate with clients exclusively by script, there is a person on the other “end of the line” who is not limited to the prescribed phrases).
A list of ideas has been compiled. What’s next?
The next step is to take the best ideas from a large list and make them even better. Don’t drop your list, work with it: distribute topics, write down how to open them, move ready-made materials to a separate “folder”, supplement the list in any incomprehensible situation. It is convenient to organize this workflow using a scheduler or task manager (task book).
But there is still work that needs to be done before writing and publishing texts, taking photos, and shooting videos.
- Think about your brand image
Imagine that a business is a person. What is he? What does it look like, what it loves, and does not like, as it says? The answers to these questions will help determine the style of communication with customers online.
- Select the “face of the brand”
The chief export, and not necessarily the CEO. Many people immediately come up with a mascot (a character representing a company or brand). In the case of Mr. Proper (who is the “face” of only one P&G brand), Ronald McDonald, who appeared back in the 60s, and other popular characters now, it worked. But making a memorable mascot in 2016 and promoting it will take a lot more money than choosing one employee to fill that role.
- Distribute content ideas by type and kind
To understand what content is missing, evaluate the resources required for publications and draw up a content plan.
- Business illustrations
- Official documents, etc.
- Selling / branded
- Make a content plan
You don’t have to start with a short-term, detailed content plan for the coming week. For a start – a plan “in a large cage.” Do not forget to synchronize it with offline marketing, season, goals for the selected period, target audience, which is currently focused on. And most importantly, not only display in it a list of articles for the next month or six months but also write down the goals of these materials, your expectations from them, indicate the emotions that the content should evoke in the site visitor. It will also help you not to miss anything, build your content policy in more detail, and then analyze the work done.
Who makes the content?
If you decide to outsource this work (as well as the preparation and publication of content) or part of it, then before choosing a contractor, you need to decide which of the above you can do yourself. Is there an employee in your company who can write well and competently, will you be looking for a photographer yourself, or just want to approve the finished materials before publication.
All companies are different, and in some situations, hiring an external contractor can produce more tangible results than expanding the job responsibilities of one of your own specialists. For example, when money is paid for a job, some executives may find time for interviews faster.
On the content creation services market, you will come across a variety of offers: someone will change the printed kilo-characters for rubles, someone will offer a full cycle, which will include writing texts and creating media – photos, videos, infographics, someone selling SEO- texts with which the site will be loved by search engines. As in any other area, quality and cost will differ enormously. Let’s assume what can in principle be expected from contractors of “different order”.
Creative agency, digital agency
“Full cycle” and “all-inclusive”. Usually, such agencies do everything: analysis of competitors, drawing up portraits of the target audience, developing a content plan, preparing materials, publishing, and analytics. They can also show cool cameras that will take photos and videos, delight with the service, and boast cases for large customers. Naturally, this is expensive. And not every business needs it.
Web studio, internet marketing agency
It is convenient when you can order the creation of content for the site in the same place where you ordered the site itself. In this case, you will receive texts that perfectly fit into the design of the site, they will use keywords in the required amount (if the studio also provides SEO promotion services). They will help you draw up a technical assignment for a photographer or draw/select suitable images. Be prepared for the fact that you will be asked many questions that you will need to answer in order to get a pleasing result.
- Freelance copywriter or journalist
“100 rubles for 1000 characters” – a familiar estimate? Any editor will tell you that only bad text can be evaluated with thousands of characters. A good text is rated in terms of meaning. And the meaning conveyed to the reader. Most likely, using the services of such a copywriter, you will receive a rewrite of the boring text found on the competitors’ website from the “About Us” section, supplemented with pieces from the texts of another competitor from another region. It seems to be written competently and in terms of volume “fits”, but admit it: is it interesting for you to read? And the site visitor is even less. In addition, you will be responsible for supervising the creation of photos, illustrations, and other content.
- You yourself
You (the owner or employee of the company) have one advantage over all contractors: you know everything about your company: interesting cases, unusual orders, difficulties that you had to face. All these are real living stories that are interesting to potential customers, current customers, competitors, and even people who accidentally got on the site. Perhaps you would love to share it, but you do not know how (or are afraid) to write something on your own.
Or the opposite situation: you can get carried away and tell too much. Not everyone is interested in reading a long read about the types of marble. But such an article is the perfect “raw” material for creating an entire section on your site or an interactive article if you add, for example, photographs of the city’s landmarks made of marble, and small stories about each. You can go further and find out from what this marble was formed – limestone with an admixture of shells or interspersed with iron.
Remember that you (the client company and its key employees) are extremely important for creating content on your own website. Even if you completely trust the contractor, you need to make sure that the understanding of the task is correct, and the plan of action and your expectations are clear. And one more thing: if you do not have the time and money to create good content, then it is better not to do it at all, invest, for example, in optimization.
In the next article, we’ll take a look at the tools that will make your content better.