Almost every conversation I have had over the past few weeks has been about content. Engaging and well-produced content can play a huge part in helping advisers generate high quality enquiries.
So, after years of producing content, and making a fair few mistakes along the way, here are my six top tips to help you get it right.
1. Know your audience
This is the crucial first step, which so many advisers miss out. Unless you understand your target audience, how do you know:
- What to say to them?
- How to say it?
- Their preferred method of consuming content?
We recommend building detailed client personas, so you truly get to know your target audience.
2. Inform, engage, entertain
Whether you are writing (blogs), recording (podcasts) or filming (video), your content should inform and engage. Do not be frightened of showing your personality; the longer you hold the audience’s attention, the more time you will have to make your points.
It also helps if you can entertain. I am not asking for Bafta-winning comedy but if you can put a smile on the reader, listener, or viewer’s face, then so much the better.
There is no point taking time and spending money to produce quality content if nobody engages with it. That takes us back to the importance of personas. Once you understand your target audience, you will be able to promote your content far more effectively. An adviser I recently spoke to is a case in point:
Her: “We need a Twitter account.”
Her: “I don’t know but it seems like everyone has one.”
If that adviser genuinely knew her audience, she would be approaching this from a different angle, asking: “What’s the best way of promoting my content?” The answer might be Twitter, it might not. But to find out, you need to understand how your clients use social media.
Conceiving and producing content takes time and resources. Therefore, making each piece work as hard as it can is crucial. For example:
- Turn blogs into podcasts or video scripts
- Add transcripts of videos or podcasts to your website (Google will lap up the unique content, which is likely to bring more visitors to your website)
- Upgrade a blog into a guide
- Turn a guide into an infographic.
5. Use dead time
We all have dead time; the commute being a prime example. Put it to good use. It is a great time to build a list of content ideas you can go back to in the future. It is also ideal writing time. Dead time can be used for consuming content too. We send our weekly blog out at 7.30am to catch those people heading into the office. I also suspect a large proportion of podcasts are listened to on the commute.
6. Understand what works
Reviewing how your content performs will allow you to refine your strategy. If something is working, do more of it. If it is not, make small, incremental changes to try and improve the results. Eventually, you will get to a point where it works or you become convinced it will not.
Follow the evidence, though, rather than dismissing something based on gut feel. Facebook is a prime example. It seems to divide advisers. Instinctively, you might feel it will not work for your target audience. You may be right, you may be wrong. But until you test it, you will never know for sure.
Our final word: embrace content. Understand your target audience, be relevant, engaging, interesting and consistent, and we promise you it will work.
Phil Bray is director of The Yardstick Agency