Shake Things Up: Making Compelling Content
Content can come from the most surprising places. Take Michelin for instance, the French tire company, turned food critic. These two unlikely topics were molded together in 1900 after Michelin decided to create a guide for rest-stops and notable food establishments around France. Over the past 119 years, Michelin’s star rankings have become world renowned and coveted by chefs to position their work on an elite level. And to think it all started with a tire company!
As an advertiser, you will not always land clients whose markets you’re already familiar with. It could be in an industry you have little interaction with outside of work. But you’ve been hired by this company to promote their brand. How do you do it?
The simple answer, of course, is research. But even that can be a daunting task. A great place to start is “your client”. Look at this industry from your client’s point of view. This is their livelihood. They know it best, so use them as a resource. Ask them for a list of services or products they provide and gather some details. Understanding how your client operates on a day-to-day basis helps fill in gaps of information and enables you to locate content accordingly. These topics will open a ton of doors to where you should be looking for information.
Next, discuss their competition. Depending on the market your client is in, they could have multiple competitors. It is crucial to identify the major ones. Gain a greater understanding of who is in the same market and what they promote. Work on what sets your client apart and what similarities they might have. A great tool for this is social media. If you are fortunate to have a client whose industry is online, utilize it to analyze competitors and their content. Consistency of messaging, engagement with followers and overall representation are great indicators of how your client compares to others in their shared markets.
Keep in mind that content should be diverse and original. Don’t be afraid of using multiple resources as a jumping off point. Constant Content writes about how Twitter is an excellent source for finding new points of view that offer insight to various topics. The more research you look into the more versed you will become, lending confidence in making content yourself. An important thing to remember in creating content, however, is that it’s more than okay to reach out to the client for additional information. Always keep a positive relationship with your client and let them provide insight when appropriate.
Another article mentions how important it is to always stay in “research mode” as you never know when creativity may strike. By constantly being on the lookout for new and interesting information, content is easier to formulate. Of course, continuously looking for sources and research isn’t realistic. Help yourself with tools like Google Alerts, a quick way to ask Google to keep tabs on specific topics of interest in your client’s industry. Then, carve out time in the day or week to look things over and make notes.
It’s very important to keep your topics categorized. Industries often have seasonal highs and lows. Not all content is universal and can be used year-long. When you categorize topics to appropriate months and seasons, you will have a better reaction from consumers. Take IHOP for instance. Many remember the fateful day the International House of Pancakes, announced they were changing their name to “IHOB” and switching the menu to burgers in June of 2018. People were confused, angry, but most importantly, taking notice in the brand. After its month of fun, they announced they were still in fact IHOP and kicked it off with a pancake special to celebrate their 60th birthday in July. Coincidence? Probably not.
Remember, tips and tricks only get you so far. Creating content ultimately relies on you, the advertiser, and the effort you put into it. No, not every campaign can be as revolutionary as sliced bread, but every client expands your knowledge and tests your comfort zone. Remain consistent in your planning and follow the research!