We love good design. It’s what gets us out of bed; it’s our craft and we are lucky enough to share that passion and expertise with our clients every day. But good design is only the beginning. In this article, we take a look at content marketing and how the art of storytelling can be one of the most effective ways to grow your business.

Go beyond the message

Design for us is all about storytelling; whether it’s a single image, a video or a website. It all comes back to taking the viewer on a journey. Each day we hope to create content that inspires and engages the people seeing it.

Melbourne’s Metro Trains created a three-minute song and video called ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ that combined shocking and dark humour with cute cartoon characters. They went beyond the message of a simple public service announcement and people were actively searching and sharing this content because it was entertaining. It also allowed them to digest the message because they enjoyed watching it.

Content marketing example - 'Dumb Ways to Die', Melbourne Metro Trains

‘Dumb Ways to Die’ by Metro Trains, Melbourne

Tell a story

One of the basic principles of advertising is that if you tell amazing stories, people are going to like and connect with your brand. Then, when they get to the supermarket, drive past the petrol station or search on the internet, if it comes down to you and the competitor, they are going to choose you.

The combination of good design and amazing storytelling is at the heart of content marketing. You’ve probably heard about it but not really thought it was something you could implement in your own business. If you think you need to be a large scale organisation to play in the content marketing space, think again.

Don’t sell

Let’s be clear: content marketing is something that audiences will want to read, watch and engage with. It’s not an advertorial that talks about your product. Sometimes the word “marketing” outshines the “content” part in content marketing. While it is a tool to engage your customers, it should never be sales focused.  If you focus on using content to drive revenue, consumers will be turned off.

Content marketing example - QANTAS on Instagram

QANTAS on Instagram

Brands like Qantas and Nike use their Instagram sites to share inspirational photos and content from customers which helps to both humanise the brand and create stunning visuals that people want to share.

Content marketing example - Nike on Instagram

Nike on Instagram

Content marketing goes beyond traditional advertising. When was the last time you shared a banner ad? They grab our attention and they obviously serve a purpose but that is one person, responding to one ad. With content marketing you have the potential to grow your audience organically.

Golf brand Callaway creates content for their YouTube channel that involves tips and interviews without pushing a sales message.

Content marketing example - Callaway Youtube

Callaway on Youtube

When someone shares a piece of content you’ve created, that person essentially becomes a brand ambassador and reaches a deeper level of connection with your business. For the person receiving the shared content, they are getting it from a trusted source so they are in turn more inclined to engage with your brand after watching or reading the content.

Everything in moderation

Obviously, content marketing is never going to be your total focus but it should be part of a healthy marketing strategy, whatever size business you’re in.

Creating great content is a choice. It’s an ongoing commitment to give your audience something of value. Consumers don’t care who creates the content they consume, as long as it’s good. Because of this, it’s important to look at it from an audience-first perspective not from a marketing or branding position. This is about them, not you. Poor content or content thrown up because you think you need to, will only result in a waste of time, energy and resources.

Takeaways

Here are some key things to get you started:

  • Creating great content is about finding that place between your passion and your audience’s interests so that you can confidently create something of value.
  • It’s not about “going viral”. I know that’s what you want because you want the greatest impact in the shortest time possible. If you change your focus from “going viral” to “creating good work,” you begin to do things differently and are then more likely to get the shares you’re after.
  • The most-shared content causes a strong connection in the reader, igniting one of six key emotions: surprise, fear, joy, sadness, anger, or disgust. That doesn’t mean you have to try and get a reaction from all of your content. A key piece thrown into the mix will boost your audience and get them interested in your other content.
  • If you’re updating your blog for the sake of keeping it updated then you need to change your perspective. This is supposed to be something of value. Something that you’d want to read, watch or engage in yourself. This doesn’t mean you should be a perfectionist, but your post should satisfy your readers’ needs. It’s a place where you provide a quality product no matter the size or scope.
  • Use more visuals! Whether you use pictures, videos, or diagrams, they can help illustrate your point. Let’s be honest: People like pretty pictures, the top performing social media posts come from images. Instagram and Pinterest users spend more time on the site, are more likely to scroll to the end and share more than other users. These are both visual mediums, so learn from that.
  • Eliminate the fluff. It’s challenging and it definitely takes work, but it makes for better content. Don’t focus on your word count. A longer blog post does not mean a better blog post. And often, keeping a blog post short is more digestible for the mobile user (which is everyone now).

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