According to Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, content rules. The pair literally wrote the book on the subject – Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Recently revised to keep up with the constantly changing world of social media, it’s one of the best books to help you get started in your content development efforts or remind you of options when faced with information overload. Whether you consider the title as directive or cheer, you’re right!
Conversation? Community? Add them to content and you have a solid base for your business in a world where social media captures an ever-increasing share of the way we communicate with each other.
Content Kicks Off Social Brand Forum
Exploring this triple-pronged approach and delivering practical information was the focus of the first Social Brand Forum 2012, a two-day event with the theme “Content – Conversations – Community” that wrapped on October 18th. Content kicked it off with the keynote presentation from Ann Handley. In addition to her role as a book author, she’s the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and founder of ClickZ, an early social media Web presence. Her conference message? Be a daring brand and create content worth sharing. Although “storytelling” is the latest buzzword that’s supposed to help grow businesses, Handley says it’s really about “telling true stories well. It’s about your audience.”
Six Rules for Creating Sharable Content
While that approach may be the most significant shift of mindset you have to make to be successful, you can get started by following the six “content rules” Handley delivered at Social Brand Forum 2012:
- Your story isn’t about you. It’s about what your service or product does for your customers or others. Make your customer the hero of your story.
- Take a stand. Know who you are as a company/brand; know who your customers are – and who your customers aren’t. When you make a good match, everyone benefits from better results.
- Just keep swimming. Good communication isn’t a sprint; it’s a long-term commitment. Don’t go for “viral.” Your consistent messaging presence is most important. Be in it for the long haul.
- See content moments everywhere. Social media tools like Instagram, Pinterest, smartphones and computer tablets give you the opportunity to create content and share it instantly. Go for it! As designer Michael Wolf says, “What already exists is an inspiration.”
- Take risks. A tendency toward caution may be the biggest challenge you face, but Julia Cameron said it best: “Leap and the net will be there.” True that. Handley encourages educated risk-taking based on solid data (Google Analytics, anyone?) and a willingness to be “flawsome.” Embrace the fact that you may not hit it out of the park with every initiative. Even so, “You’re awesome because of your flaws.”
- Create the unexpected. The most daring – and memorable – brands do. But “daring” may be easier than you think if you “speak human” and show who you are. We’ll love you for it!