In this episode of Web Profits TV, Alex talks about how to produce exceptional content that converts, engages and builds your brand.
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Alex: What is good content? Such a big question, right? I think the biggest thing is that people talk about high quality content all the time, and they talk about “just ensure that you have the very best content available because it’s really, really important”, but it’s often hard for business owners to actually know what that means.
I think an easy way to understand content and actually how to produce high quality content is that it’s content that is so good that people who read it are compelled to share it. They would be prepared to pay for it. It’s content that is so good that your competitors who see it say, “I can’t believe that they’re giving this information away for free.”
What kind of content is available to produce? You can do videos, you can do articles, you can do podcasts, you can do white papers, you can do interviews, you can do anything that people like to consume, in the format that they like to consume it in.
The most popular stuff in social media at the moment is video because it’s so engaging, I can just scroll, I don’t have to think. It just comes into my subconscious, and if it’s good enough I go, “Ha, I quite like this company.” If I do it, and I get it enough times, I start to like the brand. I could do articles, I could do images, I could do infographics, I could do anything which talks to that specific audience. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that everybody consumes content a bit differently. There is a person who prefers to see content, to watch a video. There’s another person who likes to read an article and there’s another person who likes to listen to a podcast. Sometimes that could be the same person, so it’s important to present your content across a number of different mediums because then, that way, you appeal to everybody and how they like to consume it.
There’s a difference between concise content, and long content, and short content. I was just having this conversation earlier today where someone was saying, “Well, I was trying to take out content to make the page to be more short, to be shorter,” and I said, “There’s a big difference between concise and long. There can be a page that is… 16 A4 pages long, that’s concise and there can be a page that is two A4 pages long that is long.
You need to be super concise in the content that is produced. It has to be punchy and it has to deliver exceptional content.” What’s exceptional content? It’s content that adds value, that makes a difference, that answers questions, that actually helps the person in their life to solve the same issue as the service that you sell. If you can do that well, they start to trust you, they start to like you, and they start to look at your company as the trusted advisor, and that’s the best positioning a company can have, especially in trying to convert that prospect into a customer.
How do you make content engaging, because I guess that is the biggest challenge that most companies are going to have. I guess in the example of an article, you want to have a lot of sub-headlines, the paragraphs have to be short, it has to be easily scanable, there should be images, and screenshots if that can be applied to that piece of content. It should be engaging, it should be easy to read, I should be able to scan that article and get all the message in sub-headlines, and if I’m interested I can go into that specific section and expand that sub-headline. It should be super, super engaging, because if it is, or because if it does appeal to both the content, in terms of the information, and it has supporting imagery that kind of helps me understand the message… it will become engaging.
In terms of video, you want the first twenty seconds to be as engaging as possible, and especially the first, say, five seconds. That’s something I’m continually trying to work on, so watch this space, but especially because of the skip ad functionality on YouTube. If you can get past that skip ad part, you have to start to pay money, but you’ve also … have gone past the ultimate filter, the thing where I am just looking for that, I’m like, “Come on, five, four, three, two, one.” I’m looking to hit that skip ad. If you can make your content enough that people go, “I’m not going to hit this skip ad button, I’ll give you another five seconds,” that’s how you do it. Every five seconds should try to hold them there. It’s a hard thing to do, it’s possible. What I would say is that you constantly want to try to improve your content and look to find ways of kind of improving how engaging it is and making it as easy to consume as possible.
I guess the question is … the question I want to answer right now is how do you differentiate between advertising content and informational content? See, the best part about the internet, today, is that there is that crossover. The best way to advertise is with content that is educational or that is entertaining. Why? You can get past that skip ad functionality that’s on YouTube. You can actually start to hold people’s attention. I think a lot of consumers and people are sick and tired of advertising. I have Netflix, I hate actually looking at TV anymore because I can’t skip the ads. I don’t want to be forced to consume an ad, but if that ad is in the guise of educational information, then you’re talking about something powerful, now it actually adds value.
The thing which you need to understand is that if you focus on giving away information that people will pay for, and that is your advertising, that is one of the most powerful types of advertising available because it’s unheard of. Now, it’s becoming a standard, but it’s still hard to do and there’s a lot of companies who are so closed in terms of their content that they don’t want to share. Companies who do share are the companies who win. You still have to amplify that content, so you want to run specific ads on Facebook, specific ads on the YouTube platform, and so on. You do need that amazing content, and if you have that, and you amplify it, that’s when you start to cut through.
Biggest takeaways from this episode are number one, put everything you can into the content that you give away for free. Number two, promote the hell out of that content, I hope I can say the word hell, I’m not quite sure, and number three, you need to keep pushing the boundaries in terms of how much value that you can provide.
About the show
Web Profits is a full service online marketing agency with over 80 data-driven specialists. Built on a culture of innovative, strategic and intuitive thinking, Web Profits focuses on achieving successful, performance-based results online.
Web Profits TV is our way of helping business owners, C-level executives and marketing professionals grow a business using online marketing with a particular focus on social media, online advertising, content marketing and conversion rate optimization. You can use this information to implement the strategies yourself or know what to expect from anyone you hire to do it for you.