“Give customers more content.” “Hire a content creator.” “Make sure your content does this!” “Grow your business with content marketing!”
It can seem like everywhere you turn, some expert or another is talking about content.
But what does content mean exactly?
If you think about Netflix, you intuitively understand when someone says that Netflix needs new content. They are talking about movies and shows. For Netflix, content is the entertainment that brings people to their application.
However, it is a little less clear what content means in the context of your own business, especially if you don’t sell entertainment. What if you’re a veterinarian, an engineering firm, or a business-to-business technology company?
For you, content is simply the text, images, and videos you create to convey information to your intended audience. It is any piece of information you provide to your employees or customers.
Content can come in the form of articles, blogs, step-by-step guides, videos, brochures, websites, or even training programs.
How Can Adding Content Help Grow My Business?
Marketing: Build Trust and Get More Leads
Content marketing is a little different than traditional marketing campaigns or advertising. Instead of explicitly trying to sell a product or service, you provide information that your potential customers would find helpful or interesting.
For example, content marketing for a veterinary practice might include a blog about innovations in veterinary surgery even if the veterinarian doesn’t offer those services yet.
The goal of content marketing is to build trust with potential customers and position you as an expert in your field.
When you provide the public with accurate, useful information, you create a reason for customers to come to your site. You can then offer these customers products and services that are directly connected to the content you offered.
Training: Get Employees Up to Speed Faster with Less of Your Time
Most of the advice you’ll find about content will focus specifically on content marketing. However, there’s another major aspect to your business that can benefit from more, and better, content: Employee training.
Many companies rely solely on informal, face-to-face training or mentoring for all their training. (Or even worse, they throw new-hires right into the job with no support — the old “sink or swim” approach.)
Of course, it’s easy to understand why this happens: training isn’t directly a revenue-generating activity and you’re already short on time. However, it’s exactly for this reason that training materials full of content can come in handy.
By creating on-demand training courses, step-by-step guides, or interactive e-learning, you can provide everything the new hire needs to know without losing days of work going over the basics one-on-one.
Having training content also makes your onboarding repeatable, something that is extremely important if you want to provide a consistent experience for your clients. Of course, on-demand training won’t replace mentoring or ongoing support and feedback, but it will help ensure that training will be less disruptive to your normal operations.
What Should I Do Before Creating Content?
Identify Your Audience
When you plan to add content to your marketing or training strategy, you need to have a goal in mind. If your goal is to attract the attention of potential customers, you’ll want to tailor your content to the information your customers want to know.
Likewise, the content you provide to new hires will be more robust than content for seasoned employees.
Think You Know Whom You’re Writing For? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions
Find Out What Your Audience Wants to Know
The world of going down to your local hardware store and getting advice from the local experts is over for the most of us. If someone wants to know how to fix an appliance, do their own taxes, or register a business, they just search online.
And what are they looking for? Content.
People want answers to their questions, right now. Your content should do just that.
Gather Your FAQs
When figuring out what content you need, start with a list of the most common questions your customers ask you and your competitors.
Look at your most popular product or service and make a list of the questions your clients ask before they buy. Then make sure your content answers each of these questions. One of the easiest places to start with content creation is to provide information that answers frequently asked questions.
Bridging the Gap Between What They Want to Know & What You Need to Tell Them
Should I Create Content Myself or Hire Someone?
The Do-It-Yourself Approach
Once you know what your customer wants to know, it’s time to make content. For that, you can do a lot of it yourself. Software and video/audio equipment are easier to use and cheaper than ever before.
If you’re like most business owners or managers, time is short and time is money. This is where content creators come in.
Finding a Content Creator
Many individuals and agencies market themselves explicitly as content creators. This almost always means they focus on content marketing. However, there are other avenues to consider.
Writers and video production companies create a variety of content but do not market explicitly as content creators. Some web developers will help fill out your website with content as well as run the back-end technical side. Instructional designers take your subject-matter expertise and turn it into training materials.
When working with any of these creative professionals, expect a collaborative experience. After all, no one will know your business and your goals as well as you do. Quality content creators should take the time to understand your experience, expertise, and goals and tailor what they produce to fit your needs.
For example, here at Dream Write Creative, we specialize in content creation for complex information across a variety of media such as videos, eLearning, and websites. We do this via an extensive interview process before we start to write and a similarly collaborative review and revision process.
The Bottom Line: Whether you do it yourself, hire a creative professional, or a mix of both, always ensure you're producing information that your target audience wants and needs.