Here I Am, Constantly Content(ed)
A few months ago, I stumbled upon a post uploaded onto Indonesian Freelancer’s Facebook group, searching for a content writer who could write 6 pieces of 500-word articles for IDR100,000. I was not proud of how reactive I got at that time, as I inquired the individual about it, and he admitted that he was not looking for quality but quantity. It silenced me instantaneously. On the same evening, I was brushing my teeth in front of my bathroom mirror, and was thinking;
“What kind of atmosphere was this person trying to build for his platform?
Most importantly, is this one of the catalysts resulting in information overabundance, hence people are unable to differentiate hoaxes?”
The latter would be TBD another day because sociological questions lead to hours-long conversations, so now, let’s focus on the first question;
“What kind of atmosphere was this person trying to build for his platform?”
As I was brushing my teeth, I came to a conclusion that this person was trying to trick the system, yet he was sacrificing the integrity of his own brand (and human intelligence for that matter). With $ 1 for each article, he was not thinking of long-term consequences on his own brand.
Unequivocally, building brands takes time. Shortcuts do not exist when it comes to building an environment within someone’s psyche, which will eventually influence their purchasing decisions. If one is patient enough, this, altogether with patience, will even build loyalty and retention.
In my perspective, content should essentially have these three characteristics:
- 360-degree, wholesome experience: Users see the brand in various mediums, and see it as a means to (1) entertainment, (2) shopping, (3) attention diversion, (4) relationship builder, and (5) relevance to personal identities and values.
- Prioritizes user-centrism highly: Most businesses have often “forgotten” this, leading them to insist on hard-selling, without sufficient human relationships, and finally drive out their loyal customers.
- Two-way, open-ended communication: Both the brand and its users should be able to converse freely; the brand’s message is communicated clearly, and users contribute to shaping it.
Let me get a little technical, but I promise, it will be brief.
This commences in an activity as simple as conversing with the founder’s aspirations and inspirations in building their business. From then on, apply all of those to the development of content pillars. Based on my 9-year of content experience, most content pillars normally consist of the following.
Here’s a little overview.
Education has the biggest portion, as it is the only pillar where users can get something from a brand without purchasing. This develops initial brand recognition.
Now into the fun bits and bobs.
After using the four pillars to shape a concrete foundation, a brand’s personification comes next. It is imperative to display a smiling brand persona, that transfers positive energy and disseminates the intended messaging to users. It is a communication with users.
Adapting content based on distribution channels is also imperative, in other words, to write differently for each social media platform. LinkedIn, for instance, is a platform where brands talk about their company’s culture and uses professional tonality. Meanwhile, TikTok is a platform for lighthearted, bite-sized videos, whose selling method is more soft-selling than direct.
Remember, the fundamental of content creation completely relies on the users and their preferences. For instance, the internet culture has triggered this love for memes amongst users, and when the brand talks in the meme language, it heavily relates to the users and builds another atmosphere that is much friendlier to the users.
Let me insert a Malay meme that still makes me chuckled up to this point.
Using these — and others alike, as templates, salable content can be placed and disseminated. For the meme above, of course, it is fashion, accessories, and hairstyling even.
Additionally, people also love emotional content. I believe the first time I heard about this was from Simon Cowell on 2009’s American Idol.
Testimonials are doubtlessly relevant and appeal to users’ emotions. More than 50% of users in a survey admit the improvement in trust and positive purchasing decisions, after reading testimonials and reviews from other users — whom they see as peers.
Good content automatically elevates a brand’s presence when the creators have successfully put users and the brand’s aspiration is clearly in their content. No, it does not have to be expensive, but it has to be user-centric.
Yeah, so here I am, constantly content(ed) for my users. :)
The Effects of a Brand’s Online Presence on Brand Awareness and Brand Loyalty: A Study of UAE Millennials. Link.
The Truth Behind Why Smiles Sell And What This Means For Your Ads. Link.