Creating meaningful content can be tricky and certainly requires a great deal of effort. While there is no perfect recipe for it, with the right ingredients and a dash of creativity, meaningful content will evoke something in the recipient that will compel them to action.
Imagine yourself standing in your kitchen, ready to bake your favourite cake. You went to the shop and now you have all the ingredients on your kitchen counter. To start, you add all the basic parts, such as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter to make the basis for the light and airy sponge. Then, you might want to add something to improve the flavour; like a pinch of salt, cocoa powder, or a teaspoon of almond extract. While all of this would already make a delicious cake, you would want yours to be outstanding. Therefore, you want to invest time to make a tasty chocolate-flavoured buttercream to spread on top and around your cake. And then, there it is – a chocolate cake that is worth sharing.
Creating content is a similar process.
The same way you would look at your ingredient list before you start baking your chocolate cake, you look at all the ideas and pieces of information you have gathered to then try and combine the different elements to create content that is worthwhile. Once you have the idea, a structure, and you have done the necessary research, all you will need is that little extra, which makes your piece of content stand out from everything else out there.
Words and pictures are powerful and should therefore be used wisely. Even better, they should be used to establish and build trust with your target audience. Once you do that, they will start paying attention and think of you, and the product or service you provide, when they need it. For this reason, not only does the content you put out into the world need to be educational but, more importantly, it should have an emotional appeal. Only then will your content be meaningful and thereby resonate with your target audience, which will ultimately help you achieve your goals. Here at ICS, we care very much about content that can help you.
Why and How to Create Meaningful Content?
- Establish and build trust with your target audience.
- Raise brand awareness.
- Boost search visibility.
- Cultivate creative and unique stories.
It is always good to start with an idea that you love, but, more importantly, one which your target audience might be interested in. This is where research and planning come into play.
Trying to figure out whether or not your idea is viable is a fundamental first step. This can be done by looking at existing content and researching what your competitors are doing. You are more than likely to share the same target audience as them, so it is worth checking the type of content they are producing and if it is working. Most importantly, how can you improve on what’s out there already and beat the competition by giving the reader that little bit extra?
There are many useful tools that can help you uncover topics your audience is interested in and engaging with. For example, SEMrush’s Topic Research Tool, Social Media platforms like Twitter, or even Google Search Console can help you discover topic ideas you might not have even considered before, as well as providing opportunities to optimise your content.
The Importance of Storytelling
Once you have a well-thought-out idea, you can start thinking about how to put it into practice and find ways to communicate your message. In order for your content to be acknowledged by your audience, you need to tell a story that is worth sharing. As mentioned before, this story needs to spark human interest, and, at this point, truly knowing your audience demographic and their values is vital.
The most straightforward way to create a story that appeals to the emotions of your audience is to start thinking about WHY you want to tell this story. So, WHAT you are trying to promote should not be the main focus right now – the WHY and HOW are the dominant factors.
In addition, making sure your story contains all the vital components that every good piece of content has to offer can prove critical:
- Characters and Setting: Does my audience recognise themselves in the characters? Is it a familiar setting? These two elements are crucial. A meaningful connection can only be made if your target demographic feels like they can relate and be the central figures in your content tale.
- Conflict and Resolution: What is the issue? How will the issue be resolved, and will my audience benefit from it? These are key elements, as the conflict will drive traffic and can hopefully motivate your audience to act – as long as it is relatable. Every good story ends at some point, but here it is important to remember to include a resolution. This can be in the form of further steps or even a call-to action (CTA).
- Theme: What takeaway do you wish your audience to retain from your story? This is something that should always be in the back of your mind, as you want to compel your audience to action.
Let us look at the following example: #JustImagine by The National Lottery. This campaign was created to show the public how exactly the National Lottery is using the money they generate by selling lottery tickets and games. In the short, animated video below, we have actor Ricky Tomlinson as our narrator. He tells us about people like Jessy who is an aspiring actress with cerebral palsy, and her sister Sierra, who became a gymnast after watching the 2012 London Olympic Games.
By sharing the stories of these ordinary, yet extraordinary, people, Tomlinson is informing us about The National Lottery’s WHY and HOW without paying too much attention to the WHAT. Using someone like him as a narrator is a clever marketing move, as he is someone that people are familiar with and, therefore, trust. On top of that, they are raising awareness for, and marketing, all the different projects that are mentioned in the video, whilst simultaneously evoking an emotional response in the people who are watching the video.
The story’s resolution and overall theme ties in together as Tomlinson, in the name of The National Lottery, is encouraging the viewer to play the lotto and thereby help fund all those aforementioned projects and people. So, they are making the viewer and potential customer feel like they are making a difference by being part of something bigger. This campaign was a huge success.
Experimenting with Different Types of Content
In this day and age, you need to think digitally if you want to engage with your existing audience, attract potential customers, and strengthen customer value. Therefore, immersive experiences are becoming more and more important. Tell a story by including:
- GIFs and Memes
- Social Media Posts
Adding a visual element to your content will help you hold your audience’s attention for longer and result in higher engagement rates.
Knowing your target audience inside out, conducting research, making use of relevant tools, telling stories, and creating immersive experiences all work towards creating meaningful content that will help you successfully communicate your brand message. In addition, and coming back to my example of mastering a chocolate cake, in order to succeed, keeping one’s hand in is part of the process that will help you get the results you were hoping for. They do say practice makes perfect for a reason!
At ICS-digital, we care about creating meaningful content that will captivate and engage your target audience across all languages and media platforms. If you are interested in working with us, please get in touch via our contact form.