(Helping your brand be a more interesting person in this new digital world.)

Ever sat next to someone at a dinner party who was super interesting? You find yourself hanging on their every word. More commonly you get lumbered with a person radiating all the charisma of a funeral director on sedatives. Suddenly nothing matters more than finding somewhere else to be,“do you need help with the dishes?”.

If your brand produces and posts digital content then you’re effectively inviting yourself to someone else’s dinner party. You’re pulling up a chair, sitting yourself down, and interrupting proceedings. Not being thrown out the front door wholly depends on what you say next. So, what do you say? Would you talk about yourself constantly? Would you say things that other people have said already? I’m betting you’d do neither, yet that’s exactly what many brands do.

Today we’re living in a world where people can filter out boring conversations instantly, or simply change channels (youtube, netflix, VOD). So it’s hardly surprising the vast majority of digital content just bounces off our eyeballs. But there’s some good news. Most brands are lousy conversationalists, so lifting your chat game can be done simply by applying a couple of these basics.

Talk about more than just yourself (or your product)

Great conversations rarely focus on a single topic or person. Figure out what other things your brand has a right to talk about, and talk about them too. Alcohol brands often talk about social occasions. Food-related FMCG clients typically offer recipes. You get the idea. Find the interesting stuff that surrounds your product/category and talk about it.

Ask questions, encourage engagement, respond to people

Most of us find conversations more interesting when someone invites us to contribute. So do that. Ask questions, use polls and quizzes, and encourage people to comment. And when they do, promptly reply. The other benefit of this is you’ll get to know your customers better so that you can have even better conversations.

Don’t run your TV ad ‘as is’ in digi/social

This one can be tricky for two reasons. Firstly, TV ads are usually very costly to make, so using them everywhere seems to make economic sense. And secondly, many people will tell you that everything needs to be ‘matching luggage’. Thing is, no data anywhere supports the notion that people watch TV ads in digi/social like they do on TV. They don’t, end of story. So any spend is a waste. There are plenty of clever and more effective ways to leverage ad campaigns through digi/social (but you’ll need to talk to an actual digital agency to hear about them).

Don’t use stock photography

Again, this one can be troublesome as it’s usually driven by budget. Invariably what’s requested is to use stock photography but make it look like it’s not. And that’s what everyone requests (of all their agencies), so what collectively happens is all digi/social content ends up looking the same. Being distinctive in digi/social has value. Uniqueness is engaging and it’s worth investing both time and money to achieve it. Of course, stock photography is unavoidable at times, but work hard to make it the exception rather than the rule (ie. less is more).

Explore other ways to communicate

Headline plus static image with a few lines of copy. If speed to market is your imperative then that’s a good way to go. But digi/social offers brands an incredible variety of ways to create engaging content. Video online (being distinct from just running your TV ad) has long been king. But to that you can add techniques like GIFs, cinemagraphs, AR, MR, panorama, 360 video…the list goes on. And each of the social platforms offers its own ad units including Stories, Carousels, and Canvases. Executing richer content is definitely worth doing if you want people to listen to what you have to say.

Be useful

Brands that make people’s lives easier are typically regarded more favourably. Instead of just ‘making ads’ think about ways your brand can be helpful or solve people’s problems (without requiring purchase). Being helpful in the short term pays big dividends in the long run. And when consumers know your brand is one that looks to make people’s lives easier, they might start looking for you in their feeds. Imagine that; instead of crashing the dinner party you actually get invited!

Like know more about anything you’ve read (including how to do all this cost effectively and under one agency roof)? We’d love to chat. You can also check out examples of how we’re already doing quality content marketing for our clients right now.

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