“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis
Great quote! Amply describes why content for business must be taken seriously – in fact at the same level of products and services. It is through well-articulated and structured content that a brand can come to be known as an authority not just in their business and brands, but across their own industry and perhaps across other industries too. When a company comes to be known as an ‘authority’, customers come to it as the go-to place for their product and service needs and also to gain value-added information and services. As the company’s repute enhances, they can choose their customers more selectively and also charge a premium for being an industry ‘specialist’. Companies usually think that public relations, marketing, events are the reasons for being known as ‘the’ company for a range of services. These are definitely important but what truly confirms one’s credibility and authority, is how you say what you say. That is the importance of content for business. So how do you treat content?
- Before sending out any communication it is vital for companies to ascertain and know their target audience well. What use is content for business if it is not directed to the customer base you wish to retain or attract? The content will be more effective when you understand your customer base well – it will relevant to their needs and your offerings will seem more appropriate and attractive to them.
- Well-written content for business will differentiate your offerings from the rest and customers will find it easier to determine why they should buy your products. They would be able to see the ‘value’ in buying from you and doing business with you. It is extremely crucial for any business to be able to show customers the value they can get from the business and how the business would be better for them than any other of their competitors.
- Ensure that your content for business amply defines your offerings as being unique – since no one else provides them. This is especially critical when a new product is being launched – the content must be compelling enough to attract customers to it. This is what is known as conveying the USP of the product.
- We have spoken previously about how vital email communication still is for customers and customer service. Ensure that whatever content goes into the emails is clear, concise and precise and has a pull to it. You first need to know what you hope to achieve through the email and what you expect your customers to do with it – only then will the content be impactful enough for them to read. As written previously, the subject line creates the first impression – based on how compelling and interesting this one line is will determine whether the customer opens your email or deletes it. It is the ‘content’ of the subject line that will either compel your readers to open the mail or be totally annoyed by it. The correct words and adequate length of the subject line will be the first step towards effective communication through great content.
- Content for business, actually all content, must be meticulously planned. Anything communicated in a hurry often backfires or at least does not have the required impact. Ensure that adequate time is given to the drafting of all communication. For example – if the subject line does not capture the essence of the email, the content will fall flat and not have the desired impact.
- Content for business must take into account that you probably have just one chance at getting the attention of your customer. Ensure that the words used are direct and make you sound convinced of the usefulness of your offerings to the customer. Avoid ‘wishy-washy’ language like perhaps, maybe, if – instead use words like surety, will, we can and such others that convey that you are sure that only your offering will be able to meet the needs of the customer.
- Keep the content current. It should make sense for the customer now. Using terms that convey something in the past will not make the impact as when it conveys something of use in the present. The customer is not concerned with what you have achieved or delivered in the past, they must be convinced of your efficacy for them now.
- Content for business is all about the customer. It would be great to include a customer testimonial for the product you are endorsing. This adds credibility and makes a higher impact on customers who may have apprehensions about the product. If you can get permission to use a picture and contact details of the customer that endorsed you previously, use these features too. This way the ‘new’ customer, can cross-check with the endorser in case they do have some questions.
- Steer clear of jargon and slang words. Content for business must be crisp, clear and as transparent as you expect your customers to view your dealings. Make the communication easy to read, smooth flowing and be presented in a way that is pleasing to the target audience. Ensure consistency and a courteous ‘tone’ and ‘flavour’ in the communication. What your content ‘speaks’ will determine whether customers would want to do business with you or will have them scurrying off to your competition. Content for business must be such that it creates – a relationship, trust and a sense of affinity – in the mind of the reader. Brands that are ‘friendly’ and able to build relationships are far more successful than brands that do not focus on these aspects. Consistent messages via the content also solidify the brand’s and company’s authority.
- Companies often err when they think that because it is content for business it must remain unemotional. From previous expositions and discussions on customer service, we know that customers more often connect with a company that can fulfil an emotional need. Content too must focus on the emotional aspects – when it appeals to the emotions of the readers, the conversion to buying rate is a lot higher. You would know from experience that if a piece of communication does not ‘move’ you, it is unlikely that you will want to buy from that company. For example – there is a large mobile phone service provider. Post some serious competition, they have switched the advertisement content to appear emotional. They have begun to portray family love, the value of helping someone, the impact of bringing a smile to someone’s face and other such emotionally charged content. They are already beginning to see the positive impact of this new approach.
- The best content is the one that speaks directly to the persons to whom it is sent. Content for business too needs to seem like a conversation between associates – amiable and yet focused. It must be devoid of abstractness and must be able to trigger emotions. Content that is able to tug at the heart of its readers will not only appeal to the target audience, but they will most surely share these contents with their friends and associates, thereby spreading your message to more people than you set out to reach. In fact, most smart companies include social media buttons in their messages – this ensures that the customers can instantly share their emotions with the people they want. This is the kind of reaction that great content for business elicits.
- Sometimes companies make the mistake of including too many key focus points in their communication. This is most likely to confuse the readers. Ensure that content for business is focused on one key point and the rest of the communication revolves around making that one key point clearer and more impactful.
- Ensure that the content in the communication makes your company appear professional, easy for customers to do business with and a company that goes all out to reduce customer effort and provide the highest level of customer service. The customer must not know – and is probably not even interested to know – how much effort has gone into creating even the current piece of content.
If your company does not have someone with strong writing skills, it is a highly fruitful idea to enlist the help of a professional who would be able to voice your company’s thoughts, beliefs and ideas in a strong and compelling manner. Content for business is required by everyone running a company and the investment made on a professional writer will help you reap a lot more benefits than the investment you make.