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Content is King

6 April 2014

Bill Gates coined the term “content is king” as far back as 1996, adding: “anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.” With so many people and organisations competing for their share of attention how can you stand out?

Following these 10 tips will stand you in good stead:

1. Think like your audience

This is the number one principle in both journalism and marketing. Identify what your audience wants and then make it more interesting and relevant than anything else out there. It’s quite easy to slip into producing content that’s from your own perspective only.

2. Be bold

Give people something to talk about. Avoid blandness at all costs and don’t expect much attention from sitting on the fence or recycling facts. This doesn’t necessarily mean being controversial, but you should be bold and opinionated. If too many people would say, “So what?” after consuming your content then bin it.

3. Keep it simple stupid (KISS)

The first thing they teach you at journalism school: be concise. Convey important information upfront and don’t expect your audience to work too hard. These 3 short films produced by the MS Society made it simple for non-sufferers to start to imagine the daily fight faced by people with the disease.

4. Help people share and distribute your content

Make the most of social media to enable others to spread your content to their networks. Offering up bite size nuggets of information works well considering most people are overloaded with information and time poor. The disability charity, Scope, did this for its Keep us close  campaign by producing infographics and other shareable social media content.

5. User generated content works well

Gathering and sharing views from a range of people interested in your specialist area can be compelling if it’s well curated. The Children’s Society did this with its Children’s Commission on Poverty.

Competitions for ideas, photos and videos can be a great way for you to “own” an idea or theme but it’s how you organise that information and what conclusions you draw from it that will set you apart. You’ll need to tread a delicate line between sharing content that contains a variety of viewpoints and material that is completely off-brand.

6. Create emotionally engaging and visual content

There are basic human emotions that can overcome even the most hard-nosed reader or viewer. Pride. Love. Humour. Use them. There are numerous stats out there proving that people’s recall of visual information is much higher than the written or spoken word. Consider capturing attention with graphics, photography and video content.

7. Harness third party credibility

Incorporate thoughts from other external experts, industry commentators or partner organisations. This will lend greater impartiality and credibility to your content.

8. Issues jump

No organisation can set the news agenda day in, day out. But that needn’t stop you offering a timely and interesting point of view on topical issues such as the actions of competitors or Government. It will consolidate your association with your specialist area.

9. Be authentic

Don’t overclaim or wade in on a subject matter you’re not confident on. Your rhetoric has to match the reality. In a similar vein, have a brand personality and be consistent with it. You shouldn’t be dignified and reverential one week and then “getting down with kids” and slangy the next. It will confuse people, and look inauthentic.

10. Always on

There’s no such thing as out of hours. Set up a system like Hootsuite to post announcements when you’re not online so you don’t need to be a slave to the project.

Julie Kangisser

director, Think Communications

Julie is a director at Think Communications which specialises in making expertise and opinions engaging. Her career has seen her deliver issues-based campaigns and thought leadership for non-profits such as Barrow Cadbury Trust and Jobcentre Plus as well as major businesses including BT, Aviva and Shell. She started out as a journalist at BBC News.