Content drives your business. All great businesses constantly create valuable content, whether they know it or not.
It’s through the content you create that your voice is most often heard. Content is what you use to sell to your customers, to differentiate your brand, and to help guide and educate employees. In the online world, your content also becomes your legacy — a digital history that traces the growth and evolution of your brand.
In my last column, I talked about the importance of getting content marketing buy-in and touched on how a content strategy can benefit all teams within an organization. As a business that is likely already creating content, you should now be considering the best ways to leverage the content you create for other uses throughout your organization.
If you’re willing to get creative, your content can be used in a wide variety of ways. By thinking critically about the content creation process and seeing content as integral to all aspects of your business, you’ll find innumerable ways to leverage your content which are highly beneficial to many important business functions.
Creating A Company-Wide Content Culture
During the planning phase of any content creation initiative, there’s an opportunity to evaluate content ideas not only on their merit for engaging an audience, but also for their potential to be used in a variety of ways across your organization.
I’m not suggesting that every piece of content needs to operate like a Swiss army knife, but by keeping the various potential uses in mind as you create content for your brand, you’re more likely to be able to leverage the work you’ve already done.
Using my own company as an example, I’ll illustrate the ways content marketing can benefit a business far beyond the achievement of immediate marketing goals…
Business Development Team
For many businesses, creating content that conveys the value of a service offering or clearly states a value proposition risks coming across as too sales-y.
However, there is often an opportunity to create content that can simultaneously convey the value the business can provide, while also serving as a valuable educational resource that audiences will want to consume and share.
Some of the most impactful types of content are educational in nature. Infographics and infoguides often have the ability to illuminate or explain complex ideas in a fun and interesting way.
When we formally announced our acquisition of Voltier Digital in February of this year, we used it as an opportunity to be more explicit about our shift toward content-focused services.
We created this infographic to convey an important message that clearly demonstrates the value of a core service we offer, while simultaneously informing and educating the public about a marketing tool that is powerful and important.
In a similar way that content initiatives can serve a dual purpose of educating customers with information that will make them more likely to understand or value your unique business offering, content can often be repurposed as a sales tool.
One of the primary ways our team creates sales collateral is throughthe repurposing and reuse of content that we created for marketing purposes. Resource and educational -type content often has the best crossover potential, as great selling is more about educating the client about value than anything else.
As an example, we have taken some of our infographics and spliced them into slide decks to present to potential clients. This is an unconventional way of presenting a deck, while also featuring one of our main service offerings.
Learning and self-education are core components of the content creation process. Consistently building a variety of compelling and interesting content absolutely requires a high level of commitment to knowledge building and continuing education.
The best content, and the type of content Google is looking to rank and reward, is the content that contributes something new to the conversation — something remarkable. This is only possible if you fully understand your vertical and the contributions being made by your competitors.
It’s through this self-education and clear vision that the inspiration for creating great content for your own brand can arise.
Because of this dedication to continuous education, the content you create can then often be used to further educate other members of your team in addition to the audience you are targeting.
The content we create for more general audiences often has a more detailed, in-depth counterpart created simultaneously to help better educate and inform our team members about information that matters to our industry, their jobs, or anything else of pertinence.
Our blog is another example of how we enhance employee education through content. By having all of our blog content written by our employees, we not only get to showcase our team’s knowledge and insights, but also further educate others in our company about each team member’s area of expertise.
A single blog post can serve not only to educate, but may also spark discussions among our team members that may lead to new ideas.
Recruiting And New Employee Training
Just like your business has a target audience for sales, you should have a target audience for recruiting. Using content, you can attract the right employees to your company.
Creating content that captures your company culture can increase your appeal to the people who are a good match for your organization, push potential recruits to apply for your openings, and familiarize new employees with what it means to be part of your organization.
Don’t make someone wait until they come in for an interview to really get a feel for your company; use content to make your company culture apparent. We do this by showcasing our team whenever possible:
- Among other things, our team writes our blog posts, has their own custom made cartoon avatars (which many use on their social profiles), and frequently interacts with our brand account on social media platforms.
- We post many photos and videos of team outings and office events on our social media profiles.
- On our site, we feature testimonials from our employees about what it’s like to work for us.
We want a potential applicant to visit our site or social media profiles and get a good sense of what it’s like to work for us. This makes our business all the more appealing to the right job applicants, as well as prepares new hires for what they are walking into on their first day.
If you have a complex organization with many parts, it can take months before new employees fully understand how it all ties together. Some of the content you’ve created for the sales and business development team can be repurposed to familiarize employees with how your company functions.
You can also use your past content as training resources. For example, we direct our new hires to our past blog posts that are particularly relevant to their role.
Creating A Consistent Message
Having many teams involved in the content creation process necessitates a need to establish messaging and stylistic guidelines. Consider the following three things to ensure consistency, regardless of which team is creating your content…
1. Find your voice
When it comes to sales collateral, using appropriate language is often a primary goal, but a focus on brand messaging can often be overlooked by content marketers eager to create popular content. In doing content marketing, exposure and reach are major goals, but so is conveying the right message.
Whether you’re creating infographic content, working on videos or podcasts, contributing to social media, or simply writing articles like this one, it’s important to establish a tone and a clear voice. The content you create becomes the bridge that connects people for the first time with your brand.
Different pieces of content can have different voices, but it’s important to always consider how language choice and word selection plays into the way your brand is perceived.
Use the content creation process as an opportunity to refine and define your brand voice in a multitude of conditions for a multitude of audiences. By remembering the importance and value of good copywriting in all the types of content you create (even just tweets!), you’ll continue to refine your message and the impact it can have.
2. Create a style guide
We’ve found that creating a certain level of brand consistency and recognition across the visual content we create has been really powerful for reinforcing our brand in the minds of various audiences.
When creating a plan for the visual components of your content marketing strategy (infographics, videos, kinetic typography, etc), it’s important to have a solidified and well-defined style guide for your brand. This is not only for consistency, but will also make content creation more efficient. As you create new content, you have an opportunity to refine and improve how you define the aesthetic of your business.
Our style guide is a living document that we build upon and use as a reference point for our content creation process. More specifically, our style guide helps us maintain consistency with regard to the look and feel of our content. From font selection and typography, to icon use and image selection, we try to define the aesthetic that makes our brand recognizable.
Create a style guide for your brand, especially if you’re producing a lot of visual content. Each time you create a new infographic (or any visual piece of content), view it through the lens of your style guide, and examine the ways that it helps solidify a balanced and recognizable look and feel for your brand.
3. Reuse visual assets
One of the best parts about creating visual content as part of a content marketing strategy is the way various elements can be reused. More specifically, there are often innumerable opportunities to reuse pieces of artwork from visual content like infographics and infoguides.
As we create content for our brand, we often take the extra step to put potentially reusable elements in their own layers or vectorize them where possible (did you notice our mascot, Charlie the dog, has appeared in all of the images in this post?).
Not only does this allow us to reuse certain elements in other visual pieces where appropriate, but it also lets us use visual elements created for content marketing campaigns in other places, such as on our website or in sales collateral.
To truly be successful, exceptional content creation needs to become part of your company’s DNA. Content is the fuel that drives the growth of your website, builds your audience, and helps people understand your unique value in the marketplace.
You should not set out to create remarkable content for a singular purpose, but should instead view the content creation process as an opportunity to makes the most of your time, money and resources.
Go the extra mile to extract as much value as possible from the content you create. Be a standout both in terms of the quality of the content you produce, but also in the way you innovate.
Repurpose old content in new ways, mix media to bolster and amplify your message, and always remember to maintain a consistent and memorable brand.
What is the role of content throughout your company? Let me know in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.