If you want to tell a story, you’ll need a storyteller
Social media has opened opportunities for people to express themselves. Every day, we use social media to share our life’s moments (even if that means photos of pasta). As a brand starting on social media sites presents a challenge: you need content.
You can overcome the initial hurdles of becoming a content creating company by following these guidelines:
1. Look for In-House Social Media Enthusiasts
Every company has one or two social-savvy employees who are always online using Facebook or Twitter. Instead of rebuking them, look at them as an opportunity. They can help you kick off the content creation machine because they’ll be the ones who will know what kind of posts get the most likes and comments. These passionate volunteers will have one skill that is essential to your content strategy: the love of social media. Jay Baer said, “If you don’t love social media, you’ll suck at it.”
This is truer than you think. A job of being online posting on multiple platforms can become a burden for anyone who thinks social media is a nuisance. Give the same task to someone who thoroughly enjoys it, and you’ll have a winner.
2. Hire Young People
Putting the entire content creating load on one marketing person will decrease the quality of content. To solve this problem, look for younger people (even if you hire them for short term work) to help. You don’t need to give them complete autonomy, but they can help lessen the workload. Hiring young people ensures that you’re hiring from a generation of millennials who have grown up with tweeting their daily routines and posting moods on Google+.
Start off by training these hires so they understand your brand as if it was another person in the workplace. You can then task them with editing content, gathering guest bloggers, monitoring feedback on blogs, and generally keeping your content strategy on track.
3. Dig Up the Gold
Companies are usually sitting on mines of content without realizing it. Consider what you talk about to your friends or colleagues through out the work day. Can it be shared with the world? If it is an insightful conversation, list down the bullet points and convert it into a blog post. If you’ve had a good laugh over the water cooler, share the joke as a tweet. Throughout the day, you will find that there are a lot of events that are relevant to your marketing strategy.
Use all your resources, even if it means posting a photo on Instagram of the remarkable view outside your office window on a sunny day. Here are some other ideas for content generation:
-Speeches from Community Leaders or Your Own Executives
-Case studies of your Work
-Photos & Videos of Guests
-Notice Board Doodles (like we do on Instagram)
4. Create the Bandwagon Effect
Once your passionate volunteers have kicked off your content marketing department, reward their efforts and praise them for their work. This will attract other employees to join the content creation process. Motivation builds up when there is a good reward. Make it easy for your employees to contribute content and appreciate them for it.
For example: Your developers can share insights about coding, your IT department can give ideas for secure networks, your design department can share sketches from their design process, and so on.
5. Invite Influencers to Connect
Connect with influencers of your field on social media and invite them to contribute stories for your marketing efforts. They can be in the form of articles, blog posts, video interviews, etc. This will not only save you time, but also lend you a lot of credibility. Moreover, you’ll be able to generate more interest in your content and attract fans of different authors to your site.
6. CEOs need to Curate the Brand Story
Usually the CMO is in charge of the brand story. This can be a mistake. Marketing is a part of the brand’s efforts to promote their story, but the real narration should come from the CEO. Take Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, for example. He oversees the brand’s story which drives everything that Amazon does – from product development to advertising to public relations. Red Bull, Jet Blue, and TOMS follow suit.
Why is this necessary? Because the company’s CEOs are usually the most quoted and the most recognizable faces of the company. More than the marketing department, they’re the ones that interact personally with the public and promote the brand among executive circles. If they’re telling the story, it is more authentic and reaching.
Why Create Original Content and Tell a Story?
So we started off by telling you why there is a need for creating content if you’re marketing yourself online with social media. We’ll conclude by telling you what difference it makes when brands tell convincing stories through marketing and how this same content creation can help your business… directly. Consider this quote from research at the Harvard Business School
“A Good Story Can Help You Raise Prices”.
Back in 2006, Rob Walker, a columnist for The New York Times Magazine, put this question to the test. He bought all sorts of cheap items for under $4 – a wooden mallet, for example – asked a bunch of writers to insert the objects into short stories, and then put the items, along with the stories, up for sale on eBay. On average, the value of the object increases by 2,700%. Crazy. The project should serve as an important reminder to all companies: a meaningful story, above all else, can go a long way in increasing the value i.e., the prices, of your products.
So if you’re not already taking content creation seriously, maybe you should look into it now. How have you converted to a content creating company? If you’re in the process, where are you facing the most trouble? Let us know in the comments below!