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What skills are needed to create valuable content for your brand?

Social content.jpg

It’ll come as no surprise to learn that content has been consistently ranked amongst the top marketing terms of the last three years. The question is, what exactly is content marketing and what skills are needed to create, deliver and measure valuable content via social media?

So, what is content marketing? This is a tricky question to answer because it’s description takes on many forms. For me, the thing that makes content marketing special is its dedication to refining what constitutes ‘good content’ and striving to only create exceptional work that resonates with the end user. Content that can be cut ten different ways and still be useful and interesting. The kind of content that people actually seek out, rather than block from their social news feed.

Sounds amazing, right? It is, if it’s done well and delivered by the right people. Choosing the people to take on a content role is a difficult task. To help with this process, I’ve outlined some key principles and related skills that are needed to create valuable social content. There will likely be many industry-specific considerations that you’ll need to take into account, but I hope this provides a good starting point when considering the resource requirements.

Social strategy: Social media is a complex business. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest are just a few channels and each has a variety of different content options available. There’s a tendency to jump in feet first and take on every social platform going. Unless you have infinite resources, this will likely spread your content too thin and increase the chances of failure, not success. That’s why any social media project should always include strategy, led by someone with a head for numbers, a good knowledge of the social landscape, target audience and objectives.

Knowledge of formats: You’ve nailed down your social strategy. Great! Now you need to determine what formats are right for the job. Canvas, carousel, 360 video, stories and lenses are just a few examples of social formats. Your content will be ineffectively delivered if you don’t have someone who understands the subtle nuances of the different formats available.

Art direction and creative editing: There’s no avoiding it – content is expensive, especially when it’s done right. Therefore, the best content can often be recut and edited to suit a variety of social platforms. Of course, creative development takes time and the content should be created within brand guidelines and be of real value to the end user. As such, art direction and creative editing skills are essential.

Media support: If a piece of content is created, but no one is there to see it, does it really exist? In today’s world, media support is an essential part of any social media content play. Long gone are the days of organic reach and getting stuff for ‘free’. Not only will paid social help to increase the visibility of your content, but effective targeting can also significantly improve the likelihood of it reaching the right people. Most paid solutions also come with enhanced insights for more detailed measurement and analysis (more on that later). Despite what some people may think, paid social is quite accessible and the tools are fairly easy to use if you’re looking to run a small campaign, but can quickly become overwhelming if the volume of content and complexity of formats increases.

Measurement: As mentioned, not only is valuable content expensive to create, but it can also be expensive to promote. As such, it’s crucial that effective measurement is conducted to regularly review its performance. Doing so will allow for optimisations to be made to existing creative and for learnings to be applied to any future content creation.

Customer service and response: Fellow member of the Social Media Council, Hannah Bland, has already covered social media and customer service in detail, so I suggest you check out her blog post to explore this topic. In summary, the way in which customer service and the response is handled on social media can drastically impact how successful (or otherwise) a piece of content is. Poor management of issues can escalate quickly and opportunities to extend the reach of your content can easily be missed if positive feedback isn’t acknowledged.

I hope this post has been useful and helped you decide the people that are needed to create valuable content on social media. Finally, I believe that there’s one attitudinal approach that all social-content folk should share – a desire for, and acceptance of, change. We are all at the behest and whim of the social platforms, their algorithms, and their bottom-line driven financial agendas. No two days are the same on social media and change must be embraced if your content is to stay relevant and engaging. As the saying goes “if you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less”.

Written by Sam Beament, Prophecy Unlimited 

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