When AOL decided to pay $315m for Huffington Post in February, it seemed it might signal the start of a new era where editorial content was finally worth big money.
The practical lesson that the deal delivered for the rest of us is that good content is a real asset – we can all create it, but the problem for many is, where do you start?
Everyone has a good story to tell
Everyone has a good story to tell, but the problem is that many people struggle to articulate their ideas.
Senior management are always likely to have useful opinions – they are the logical “go-to” people for business content, but certainly don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.
The people within your business who are dealing with customers full time will have great insight into the most current issues in your market. Talk to them – what matters right now in your industry? What are the developing trends?
If you can reflect the current interests and concerns of your readership, you’re delivering interesting content.
Expertise is invaluable
It’s a lot easier than you might imagine to get an independent expert to participate in your content creation efforts.
You can pay freelance journalists or recognised experts to produce copy for you, and there’s enormous credibility to be gained by employing someone with great credentials to write on your behalf. Specialist industry publications and expert websites are also a great place to source contributors.
The point is: go for quality wherever you can, even if it’s a single expert piece to build your content around.
Don’t be afraid to innovate
It can be tempting just to focus on the written word, but given that there is so much content around, you need to make every effort to stand out.
Insurance company Hiscox is a good example, having employed the QR code concept not just to deliver part of their message, but also as a point of interest.
By embedding an invisible QR code behind the cover image of their print publication, Hiscox News, that idea became one of the reasons to pick up the magazine, as well as the video clip which is launched by using the code.
Tailor and personalise
The more you focus on tailored content for specific groups of readers, the more effective you’ll be.
Personalised content is not purely the domain of online channels, either – digital print technology enables affordable personalisation for offline work.
Advantage Travel are one example of an organisation where print is key to their content delivery. To meet the specific needs of their readers, they produce 10 bespoke versions of each edition of their magazine.
It might sound like a lot of trouble to go to, but if you carefully measure the response it’s not difficult to see the value.
Distribution, distribution, distribution
How can you ensure your tailored, creative and eye-catching content reaches the right audiences?
We all have our preferences on how and when we like to grab our favourite content, so if you want to give yourself a strong chance of reaching the people who matter to you, identify their ideal media by working back from the various print and digital options you have and research which are most relevant for content delivery.
Lack of effort here can derail everything else you’ve worked on – so talk to your readers and understand their preferences.
Martin MacConnol is CEO of Wardour.
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