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Content is King…

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…Queen, and the Whole Royal House

As I write this I am prepping a website draft, writing blog articles, doing client work, and realize that most of the content on my social media channels, both business and personal, is sporadic at best, erratic at worst.

Based on my title, if I was an avid fan of the show ‘Game of Thrones’ I’m sure I’d be making a serious plotline reference right about now. Something like “winter is here.” That’s not the case. Don’t judge me. Thanks.

Having a wealth of relevant content is vital to keeping your audience engaged online. In our ‘always-on’ age, people want to engage with your thoughts and your knowledge base, they want to interact with you before they work with your business.

Relevant is the keyword though. Content should always relate in some way to your skill set, industry, and audience, communicating your perspective effectively and consistently.

For example, I am in design, communication, and marketing consultancy, writing a blog article on the importance of content. See what I mean? The two go hand in hand.

So what exactly is content? It varies by industry, purpose, and expected outcomes. Boiled down to its lowest common denominator, content is any media — visual, written, audio, or video — that has been produced by your brand or supports your brand’s ethos, core values, and marketing efforts. Kim Kardashian created a wealth of content to build her media empire starting with a leaked pornographic video. While it is neither my cup of tea nor is it an approach I would advocate, some would argue it was a carefully controlled release of content, and by the time it went viral, she was already planning her next steps. Now she has had a wildly successful TV show, digital apps, she has become a global fashion icon, started, and, and, and, and, and.

Her content included, for the most part, keeping people up to date with what she was going to do next. Her whole family has had spin-offs of this success and if her most zealous fans were to take a step back and evaluate, they’d have to solidly admit that they have no idea why she is so wildly popular, she just is.

The fact of the matter is, she has kept her content relevant; about her, her family, her life. Content that people can be envious of and aspire to.

She has become a status symbol and even her marriage to Kanye West has ensured that she can become even more relevant to a broader audience. It’s almost a move over Beyoncé move. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already hired a vocal coach.

And speaking of Beyoncé, her April 2016 release of the album ‘Lemonade’ dropped with no pre-marketing, no single releases, no warning at all and still was wildly popular because Beyoncé built her brand up to a point that once it bears her name, her fans will buy first and ask no questions later. The content is validated by the name it carries. And that is the partner to strong content; brand integrity. People must be able to trust your brand and know that it delivers before they become loyal. One major way this can happen is through your content.

And so the circle of life online is complete.

What level of conversation are you engaging in online and offline? Who do you follow on social media? Who follows you? What platforms do you communicate in and are they the right mix of media platforms for you?

Here are a few simple tips for keeping your content relevant:

1. Develop a pattern and style.

When your followers know when and how you are going to post, it makes it easier for them to keep track of your updates. This means knowing your audience and what your brand represents and finding the best delivery mechanisms and styles to make that connection.

2. While content is king, context is CRITICAL.

DiGiorno’s misstep with #WhyIStayed. They did, however, reach out to those offended in personal apologies.

While you should remain relevant, some brands go the route of distasteful, which results in a culture shock for their followers. A brand known for its poise and timelessly classy posts, shouldn’t overnight start flooding its timeline with emojis-filled filtered images. In 2014, DiGiorno Pizza jumped on the hashtag #WhyIStayed with the response, ‘You had Pizza.’ #WhyIStayed, however, was a hashtag developed to start conversation about why women stayed in abusive relationships. They didn’t understand or research the context of the hashtag and inadvertently made light of the struggle many women silently go through.

3. Monitor engagement and know when to adjust.

If you notice engagement on your social media channels is slipping, there’s usually good reason. Maybe the topics you’re sharing are no longer trending, or maybe they’ve gotten stale. In 2006, in an atmosphere of consumers falling trust in big brand promises in advertising, Doritos introduced the ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ campaign. In an age where consumers were getting tired of brands ‘marketing to them’ and shouting their promises about which product was better and why, they took a risk toward featuring user-generated content on the world’s biggest advertising stage — The Super Bowl. Doritos invited individuals to submit ad concepts for the big-game-day spots, which run into the millions for advertising spend. The results were phenomenal. It turns out that they pivoted toward a trend of co-creation with consumers, giving user-generated content the same platform as ad concepts developed by many of the world’s leading agencies. 11 years later, many brands have followed suit in an attempt to authenticate their advertising, ushering in the end of an era in advertising. Instead of talking ‘at’ consumers, the trend moved toward, real, unpolished conversations with consumers about what they want to see their brands doing.

In the world of content marketing, knowing what you have and how to promote it, to whom, and when, is critical. Building a solid base and strategy for content creation and dissemination is vital to developing a strong presence. Content that encourages consumers to lean in and find out more about you, inbound marketing, can have a far greater impact than a hard sell. It shows the market that you know your product, you know your offering, and you’re not threatened by everything else that is out there.

It is a long game, no doubt about it. Results are hardly immediate, but they pay off greatly in dividends. When brands and organizations take the time to have a solid content marketing strategy, they will find that the type of consumers, and the quality of engagements they have on and offline, will lead to more fruitful conversations and longer lasting, beneficial relationships for all parties involved.