Communicating effectively during uncertain times

Utilise content marketing to create a steady pulse online with connection, empathy and customer care.

During the pandemic we’ve noticed something: that whether you’re running an online store (e-commerce), utilising your website for online bookings or showcasing portfolio projects, the idea of value creation comes in many forms. 

When in the discovery stages of a project with a new client we often encounter one or more of the following mistakes being made: 

  1. Unwillingness to adapt to a changing landscape

  2. Failing to set concrete goals from the beginning

  3. Adopting a false narrative around instant gratification

  4. Overlooking the need for strategic planning

  5. Chasing quick wins

Thanks to COVID-19, we can now all agree that communication has changed, and will need to continue to change, for the foreseeable future. 

"With the right customer-centric attitude and an awareness of what people need right now, companies can emerge from this crisis having strengthened their relationships with customers."

Source: Harvard Business Review

Creating a modern website for your digital brand identity is one essential. Modern website design and development incorporates mobile friendly features like responsive web or responsive design, which means it can adapt to any screen size or browser window (mobile, tablet, iOS and Android). It also must have UX/UI design considerations, both of which are crucial and work closely together for shaping a quality customer journey.  

The value you get from a modern website redesign is immense. However, that’s only one piece of the online puzzle. If you’d like to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales online,  it’s website content that will keep a user on your website once they arrive. Only when all of these digital initiatives are combined, do we consider it a dream result. 

Consistent, high quality content is the one piece that’s too often overlooked. It’s normally an afterthought and usually remains stagnant after a site goes live. It also comes in many forms. Chances are you’re already implementing some form of a content marketing strategy currently. 

What Is Content Marketing? 

Content marketing is when you create, publish, and distribute any form of content for your target audience on a consistent basis. It helps develop an ongoing relationship with customers by adding value in a non-promotional way. Blogs are an obvious example, however, only one aspect of a content marketing mix. 

Over the years content marketing has become far more holistic, taking into account all aspects of a digital strategy including SEO, email, social media, and paid advertising. 

video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy

Source: Hubspot

COVID-19 has highlighted a newfound importance of staying relevant and regularly keeping customers up-to-date. Here at Dream Config, we strongly believe that the brands that continue to embrace this idea will forge stronger relationships with their customers for the long term. 

"Content marketing tactics will help keep you create an on-going relationship during, and even after, the coronavirus pandemic."

source: newscred

Furthermore, Google reviews will reward your website or online shop if it is continuously updating content, which is why regularly updating your online content is key to improving your performance in search ranking algorithms. 

“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do.”

Source: Steps to a Google-friendly site 

For the average business owner/operator let's be real, not only does it require more energy to carefully craft messages and develop a relevant content strategy that is useful to its audience, but it can also be difficult to measure. However, now more than ever is the time to revisit how you utilise content within your business. 

So how do you do create value for your customers with your content?

Be consistent with your efforts
It’s no good putting out 3 good pieces of content and then petering off when you get too busy or run out of ideas. Step 1 is creating a content calendar – plan out each piece of content for a six-month run, and do your best to stick to it, even if it means you’re only putting out one piece a month. And when you get near the end of that block, update the calendar with your plan for the next one.

Keep your content to a high quality
It can be tempting to write shorter, less engaging articles as time goes on, or outsourcing them on the cheap to maintain a high volume. But readers will notice and click off the page the second they realise it’s not giving them any value. One well-written and researched piece of content is worth far more than 5 slapdash articles.

Don’t be afraid to stand out 
If you’re always seeing the same piece of advice popping up that you don’t agree with, tell your readers why. Write original content from your unique perspective, and you’ll attract a bigger, more engaged audience. 

Write what people want to read 
Do research into what people are searching for and reading about that’s relevant to your expertise and add your voice to the discussion. Google Trends is a great research for targeted, topical research.

Keep track of great ideas
Make a new section in your content calendar just for keeping track of article ideas. Then, if your planned article can’t be posted, you don’t have to waste time trying to come up with a topic – you can get straight into writing. This is also a great place to keep track of other companies’ articles you were inspired by or want to respond to.

Keep it simple
A good blog post is concise, and sticks to one key topic. If you find you’re wanting to pull lots of information into an article and it’s losing focus, split it up into multiple articles. This will keep your content easy to read and give you a bonus piece of content to slot into your calendar! On that same note, don’t try and stretch out an article just to hit a word count if the extra words don’t add more value.

Write ahead 
The opportunity to reread what you’ve written with a different mindset is invaluable. Plan to have your content ready to post at least two days in advance, and you’ll have time to smash out a draft at the last minute without needing to post it in its rough state. You can come back with a fresh perspective and easily spot the areas in need of a tidy up, to ensure everything you post is something you can be proud of.

Create punchy headlines
A headline may be the last thing you write, but it’s the first thing everyone reads. You don’t need to go full clickbait to get a reader’s attention. A good headline sells the article in just a few words and makes a reader eager to know more.

Answer your reader’s question
These days, more and more people are typing full questions into Google, not just keywords. Think about what questions people will be asking to find your article, then answer those questions. Offer actionable insights into the problems they have, and you’ll be offering an immense amount of value to your reader.

Optimise your articles for search
Take the time to do keyword research for your articles before you even write them, and you’ll be able to work keywords in as you go. Great content is no use to you if no one’s reading it.

Your content marketing strategy is as important as any other digital marketing strategy or campaign, yet far less attractive than chasing quick wins with the likes of Google ads or other forms of paid advertising. Quick wins may initially look good, but having a longer term vision should never be sacrificed. 

Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.

These tips will help you create and maintain a content strategy that will consistently create value for brand as well as your followers. If you'd rather spend your limited time doing what you do best and leverage our expertise to help you do the rest, give us a shout.

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