How to make content that sells

In this blog from BIG’s Content Director Stephen Noble, he’ll look at the best ways to produce content that really makes an impact for your brand or business.

Minding Your Own Business

When it comes to creating content, there are millions of different types of things you could create, including infographics, videos, podcasts, collaborations, installations and so on. But if this content is not authentic or fresh (a little surprise and delight) to your brand or company then it’s really going to struggle to stand out in a world that already has an abundance of content.

What I mean when I say “mind your own business” is that you should not look to copy what your competitors are doing – look to the past or to the future but not now. Concentrate on one thing that you do better than anyone else and show the world. Matt Calderwood is my example here – this is a guy that says, “not everything unbalanced is unbeautiful.” He has become an artist – with his work exhibited in galleries around the world – and to put it simply, all he does is balance things. But he is the best in the world at doing it.

Matt Calderwood artist. Balancing piece.

Matt Calderwood, Found Objects, www.mattcalderwood.com

Flow

After a certain time spent creating content you will get into a flow. You will be relaxed in the knowledge that what you are going to produce will be of a standard that will mean people will happily pay for your stuff. However, this can be a trap because if you’re not challenging what you’re producing then you can’t fail. And if you can’t fail, then you can’t smash it out the park. It becomes too easy to just stay in our comfort zone. The drive to create something new should never be relaxed.

Conversion

Ok, so you have read all about how content marketing can improve your conversion with lead magnets and the like – but how do you go about creating it? Well, this is how I would do approach it….

First off, I would not look at it as content, but as a product. This may be because I am a product designer in my core but it’s a process that works for me. So, if every bit of content we create must feel like a product – what does that mean? Well, in creating a visual product the only thing you need to consider is, what are people going to feel when they view it?

“Art is how we decorate space and music is how we decorate time.”

To simplify things, follow this rule – whatever you are producing, it should always generate awareness, consideration or conversion. Whether it is a video, book, podcast, or interactive piece, it needs to result in one of these three outcomes:

1.      Awareness.

Get people to know who you are. Find out where your customers are and the best way to show them your product.

2.      Consideration.

Get people to buy into who you are and what you stand for – people need to believe in what you’re doing. For example, if you’re selling a cool t-shirt you need to surround your brand in the coolest music, locations, attitude, etc.

3.      Conversion.

They like or love your brand and they buy your stuff.

Making Content

Over my years of pitching products (content) to clients, big and small, there have always been buzzwords that I have used; viral, disruptive, brave, fresh and so on. Now, these words work, but the one I think that works the best (and you can use this in your next pitch) is unexpected. Your clients will get it and there are no negative connotations. We are trying to sell but we also must entertain, and your customers love to be surprised.

Here are some things your product (content) also needs to give it a fighting chance:

  • Stories sell. Don’t underestimate them, even bad ones are better than none.
  • Start strong. People are lazy and have terrible attention spans so, for example, if it’s a video then make your first 2 secs count. Same with blog headlines.
  • Make it interesting – just do that.
  • Optimise that product (content) for search – MAKE IT VISIBLE. An old rule from the world of television says spend 10% of the budget on creating and 90% on make it visible (or marketing). In the online world, I would say this might translate to 25%/75%.

Risk

Sadly, there is no rule book on what works and what doesn’t. Try to keep in mind that the extraordinary has become ordinary. If it doesn’t feel UNEXPECTED then there’s a good chance that it’s not going to work.

P.S. – Even if it is UNEXPECTED it might not work either! Whoops, fun times!? Embrace the adventure. The truth is the more you try the better you will get, and your audience will grow.

I am ready to help you find the UNEXPECTED.

Stephen Noble – Content Director