Guest Post- Content creation: clarifying and dispelling the myths
Many executives have a thick skin and a well-rehearsed eye-roll ready for when new buzzwords emerge in their meetings. Some of those we know have hailed ‘content creation’ as today’s chief offender. Although it might sound straightforward – after all, there’s alliteration involved here – we’re always happy to explain exactly what this means.
Put simply, ‘content,’ in a general marketing context, could be anything. Words, pictures, videos, emoticons, mp3’s, haikus, shelf assembly instructions, anything. And it’s to that end that, as ‘content creation’ continues to rise to the fore in business, the phrase could use some tweaking.
It doesn’t really include – or even infer – what this ‘content’ should do. It’s objective is far more important than the process. It’s a means to an end.
‘Content’ in any guise has to have a purpose, whether it’s to prompt an emotional response, convey information, deliver a call to action etc. To that end, it might even be worth considering ‘marketing message adaptation’ or ‘message translation.’
Having said that though, anyone working at a creative agency has to think beyond simply what the client wants to achieve, when creating content.
I work across all aspects of marketing, but internal communications is especially close to my heart and I have two golden rules for content creation in this area:
- Keep your staff informed
- Keep your staff engaged
I’ve collaborated with so many HR divisions on revamping company intranets or internal newsletters and, before I start a project, I like to make a point of approaching the workforce for feedback on what they like or dislike about things as they stand; I regularly come across the same thing.
There’s a genuine appreciation of the information, but – as a busy team often have to skim through a company newsletter, for example, in their free time – there’s usually a request for more variety and a truly accessible style & format. Simple things like a less corporate tone and the introduction of complementary, general interest features greatly increases the likelihood that a newsletter will be read in full.
In short, the audience should always be the first consideration. Obviously, the subject matter has to be relevant to them, but it’s about being sensitive to the average concentration span or wise to their vernacular and the social media platforms they use. Savvy marketers, who work across a series of disciplines, base their proposals on a balance between the aims of the company and the preferences of their stakeholders, way before creating that all-important content and deciding which channels to use.
Guest Post from Sam Rainey, McGrath O’Toole: Internal comms specialist Sam Rainey was invited to join Leeds-based McGrath O’Toole as managing director last April, to develop the client services function that drew upon his 16 years’ experience in the creative and experiential event sectors.