Tag Archives: content production

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Content Crash Course: 25 Ways to Create Content Your Customers Want

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Please hire a proofreader

I just made this comment on a Mashable article  (sure, it was clickbait, but Mashable is a more reputable source than some, and I expect more from them):

Please hire a proofreader.

I find myself saying this in my head a lot lately. I don’t usually post any comments about it (posting comments online is perhaps one of the biggest wastes of time and energy one could indulge in), but this morning I had a weak moment. But Mashable isn’t alone. Companies and organizations that present themselves as professional no longer seem to have editorial oversight or any sort of quality assurance.

Here are a couple of local examples: Boston.com and Bostonology. Boston.com has turned into an editor’s nightmare. The writing is poor and the site is rife with typos. (The layout and overall user experience are not a picnic either.) I used to read the site regularly, but now I cringe whenever I look at it. I had recently subscribed to Bostonology‘s emails and eventually unsubscribed because every single email I read had multiple typos and the content was often poorly written and structured. As a Bostonian, I love the concept of this email subscription, but I was so distracted by the lack of quality that I couldn’t read it anymore.

The Mashable article I read today had at least two typos in the introduction (one in the first sentence) and a duplicate screenshot in the body copy. People will say I am a stickler (and I am), but there are three main reasons (other than having pride in your work product) why typos, missing words, and poorly structured content matter:

  1. They are distracting. Readers who notice these issues (and there are many of us) are thrown off from the point of the article and may stop reading and go elsewhere. So you might get our click-throughs, but you won’t get return visits and you won’t get conversions (“likes” or subscriptions, etc.) We certainly won’t continue clicking around your website to read more content.
  2. They make you look unprofessional. Clients, customers, readers, and would-be partners could decide not to do business with you or buy your product because it looks like you do not care about quality.
  3. They make you look untrustworthy. If your content is sloppy, readers won’t trust you. They’ll assume you did not do your research since you didn’t bother to review the information you’ve presented.

Please hire a proofreader. Readers and customers everywhere will thank you.

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Social Media Tip #5: Post When The Time Is Right

redclock

This post features more excerpts from our ebook The Little Book of Social Media: 60 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience.  The Amazon version is on sale this week! You can also download the PDF from our site.

Having great content is promote is only half the battle. How and when you deliver that content is just as critical. But how do you know the best times to post, tweet, or pin? It depends on the audience and the platform you’re using.

If your goal is to get the most customer engagement (measured by views, likes, shares, etc.), here are the ideal times (based on studies from Argyle Social, KISSMetrics, TrackMaven, and HubSpot) for some of the most prominent platforms:

  • Facebook: Sundays or weekdays before 9am and after 5pm
  • Twitter: Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 7pm
  • Pinterest: Saturday mornings
  • LinkedIn: Early mornings (before 9am) and immediately after work (6pm)
  • Instagram: No one day dominates, although Mondays-Saturdays perform slightly better than Sundays.

Remember to also utilize each social site’s metrics to further refine the best times for you to promote content. For example, on YouTube, you can look at your views by day and determine what your specific audience’s viewing patterns are.

Remember time zones
If your company is based in the Mountain or West time zone, remember that 80% of the U.S. population lives in the East and Central time zones. Adjust the timing of your posts accordingly, whether your customers are mostly US-based or global. If you have a dedicated cadre of European, Australian, or Asian customers, make sure some of your content is arriving during their respective peak viewing times as well.

Schedule content according to your audience’s priorities
Too often, businesses schedule and release their content based solely on their own priorities–quarter-end revenue goals, capital campaigns, or product launches, for example. Obviously you must do that sometimes to achieve your business goals, but you will be most successful if you think about how you can maximize your timing to best help your customers. For example, if you’re a tax advisor, plan to provide additional content from January through April, when people are more focused on taxes. If you run a blog devoted to fans of a TV show, you post content right before, during, and/or after each new episode airs (or live blog the entire episode). Use your customers’ priorities as a guide to help you provide the content when they are most likely to benefit from it.

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Social Media Tip #4: Build a Content Pipeline

Photo by Brian Cantoni

Photo by Brian Cantoni

Here’s another excerpt from our ebook The Little Book of Social Media: 60 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience. Download the book now or get the Kindle version.

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to figure out what content you will promote on social media to support those goals. Brainstorm topics, themes, and formats. What will you talk about? Will you produce news, interviews, or customer stories? How about ebooks, contests, or polls? What existing content can you leverage in new ways through social media? For example, do you currently have an email newsletter that contains useful tips or short articles you could also promote on your Facebook page or Twitter feed? Think about categories and keywords that describe the content you’ll create to help you envision what that content could be. The goal is to plan enough great content to fill up a 3- to 6-month social media calendar. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Interview people. Whether your subject is an employee or a famous person in your industry, interviews are popular because people are naturally curious about other people.
  • Create polls. Readers love polls, and polls can help give you additional insight into what your customers like. For example, if you run a home design shop, you could poll your customers on designs they prefer. (Always give your fans the option to view results without making them vote.)
  • Use statistics and quotes. Readers often respond to quick, easily digestible facts or statistics. Inspirational or famous quotes are also popular. Choose quotes that are a reflection of your company’s brand and culture.
  • Invite customers, fans, or industry experts to contribute. Have one of your industry stars or a faithful fan take over one of your social media accounts for the day. Give them a theme to work with, or ask them to propose their own theme. People like to see what their fellow fans are interested in.
  • Provide an introduction to your field. Create some content that helps people who are new to your industry get a basic grounding in it. (Interviewing someone who is new to your field will help you create useful content.)
  • Ask your readers and followers what they want! You should always check in with your audience on a regular basis to find out what they’d like to see more of or what new content they want you to provide.
  • Review a new product, TV show, movie, or book about your industry. For example, if you are a car salesman and a TV show about a car salesman just premiered, review the show while giving your fans unique insights into the subject at hand.
  • Talk about charities or causes you support. How did you find out about them? Why do you support them? This helps to humanize you and your company and shows your contributions to the greater social good.
  • Ask your customers to share their stories. Provide a theme or pose a question that relates to a certain time of year or historic event, or something about your cause if you work for a non-profit. Ask your fans to contribute their thoughts and stories around the theme you’ve identified. Putting the spotlight on your customers’ stories (e.g., tales about overcoming adversity, special moments in their lives, or people who inspire them) can often result in great human interest stories.
  • Help your customers help each other. Ask fans or followers to share advice on topics that other customers are asking about. This will help build a community among your customers.
  • Profile pioneers in your industry or company history. If someone in your company’s past had an interesting or unusual life, profile that person. For example, Converse might highlight the history of Chuck Taylor, who is more than just the name behind their iconic basketball shoes.
  • Turn a case study into a story. Great content is all about telling a story. Take a case study and turn it into a compelling story of how a certain customer benefited from your product or service. (Make the story about the customer, not about the product!) Short or long, a story or narrative can engage your customers if it’s well-written and provides something they can relate to.
  • Share a failure or a success. Talk about a time that your company tried something that didn’t work, or a moment when you made an embarrassing mistake, and what you learned from the experience. Being humble and honest about your imperfections will help build audience trust.
  • Encourage conversation between fans. What content will get your fans talking with each other? For example, if you run a tourism bureau for a particular area, you might encourage fans to share fond memories of that place or talk about their recommendations on the best spots to visit.
  • Create quick hits. Content can and should be short and sweet much of the time. Provide quick, short snippets of information that is useful or entertaining to your customers. Examples include top five or top ten lists, quick tips on topics your customers are familiar with, or infographics (while they might take time to produce, they should be easy and quick for customers to read and understand).
  • Provide evergreen and cyclical content. What are some basic, predictable topics that you know your customers will need? For example, if you sell pet products, create some go-to articles to help customers learn about pet care and health. If you are a florist, take photos of some of the different bouquets you sell for Valentine’s Day and have them ready to go in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.
  • Mix up the length, format, and types of content you provide. Remember that consistency can be boring. Don’t always post the same type of content; try new formats. Use a range of content types (photos, graphics, blog posts, tweets, interactive media, etc.) to keep things interesting and keep your customers engaged.

Regardless of the subject matter, your content must provide value. Don’t constantly pitch your products or talk about how great your company is. Instead, create content that adds value to your customers’ lives by giving them information that’s useful and interesting to them. If you can do that, you’ll be on your way to creating a great customer experience.

Get 59 more social media tips: Download The Little Book of Social Media now!

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