Not another lecture extoling the virtues of useful, interesting, shareable content, you scream! Nope. Take it easy. I’m only trying to help here. Call it good or call it evil, thanks to the composition of search engines’ algorithms and hitherto-overused questionable marketing techniques, content creation is now an inseparable part of your digital marketing strategy.
How can marketers quickly create a piece of content in a form that they want? Do they need to learn about writing, pictures and videos, or do they only concentrate on promotion? That is the big question that necessitates answering.
Are You a Marketer or a Writer?
There was a time when division of labor ruled the roost, and to this date, large marketing companies have separate teams of freelance copywriters, graphic designers, multimedia professionals, and outreach specialists to create their content, and content strategists and social media consultants to coordinate these folks’ work, decide what kind of write-up, infographic, video, comment or blog post is apt for a site, and tweak a JIT schedule for the content that their factories churn out.
Are you doomed then, as an individual marketing consultant or a small business with someone taking up digital marketing duties in addition to others? What if you’re at an event and want to write a quick summary of the goings-on? What if you want to put together some quick images that just formed in your mind and explain their connections and consequences? Yes, without a budget for content creation or in-house writing skills, you are in fact, condemned to languish in the lower annals of the SERPs and fade away into oblivion.
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
In this age of content is king, queen, knight, and soldier, if you’re bad at writing, God help you! Do you deserve to be a marketer? I will only ask the question; it is yours to answer! Go attend ad school, read books, immerse yourself in poetry, or scour the swathes of blogs that every now and then remind you of blogging best practices.
Writing is not very difficult for today’s digital marketers. The majority have learnt and mastered the art of tweeting, blogging, and creating python-like “ultimate” and “advanced” guides. The rest are simply writers and journos turned marketers.
Crayons are Tougher than the Pen
That was about copywriting. But where we stumble is when it comes to a combination of text, pictures, shapes and colors. Looking at the larger picture, content creation is only valuable if it is scalable. It has become imperative to create even more creative, even more interesting content with each passing day. Why? That’s the only way to stay afloat in the deluge of humdrum disguised as insightful that is hitting an average web surfer like a gust of wind as soon as she opens her window!
The essence of this post comes to the fore now. As we wondered earlier, is there a way for a marketer to quickly produce, in a graphical and get-this-in-30-seconds format, a concept out of existing, unused, forgotten or uninteresting ideas or information, without the help of a designer? Turns out there is.
Content scientists weren’t slow in realizing that infographics, those much loved and much despised amalgamations of text and images, are an ideal medium for selling their old wines in new bottles. The old faithful Microsoft PowerPoint was long-forgotten and lay in the corners of boardrooms until the SEO industry re-discovered the power of imagery. Knowing a few cool PowerPoint tricks will stand you in good stead while creating infographics.
However, why rely on the desktop when you have the web? Google will cough up a million tools for designing infographics online—Infogr.am, Easel.ly and Piktochart are all good in their own ways and between these, you can create infographics on the go for just about any uncomplicated purpose. What if you want to create a video? There are some inexpensive tools online for that too – WeVideo and Animoto are a couple of good ones.
The End in Mind
When you’re creating content, don’t just think about one purpose. Promotion is not all—you can in fact use the same images, slides and videos for training and support. Product support and customer service is an inseparable part of your overall marketing strategy.
While most companies include manuals, FAQs and even videos to boost adoption and use of their products, one of the more interesting trends, especially for web based services, is the emergence of interactive online walkthrough platforms such as Whatfix. These guide the user in a GPS-like manner through online tasks with interactive pop-up balloons on screen, telling them exactly what to do next or explaining the significance of the step.
Content that provokes users to act, react and interact will survive the test of time and Google. Content that packs a double-punch by showing off your creativity while not requiring the same of the reader will market itself.
There is no option for the Beast (marketer) but to seduce the Beauty (content). Do you agree?
Featured Image Credit: Disney Studios