Content Creation – Are you doing it right?
By Megan Edwards, Membership and Communications Manager, Austmine
Content marketing is finally being taken up in earnest in the METS sector, with forward thinking companies understanding how to really capitalise on its potential for lead generation, improved client satisfaction and communication, plus heightened brand awareness. However, with so many new to the game, there are lots of mistakes still being made, or opportunities missed. Having worked for five years at a company where we very successfully used content marketing time and time again to sell to mining companies, I thought I’d share some of my key learning points and suggestions with you, so you can avoid falling into certain traps! This piece just focuses on the creation of content – watch out later this month for a piece that examines marketing that content.
- Content marketing is not a direct sales pitch – the biggest mistake I see in content creation is where a company opens with a 1000 word spiel about what their company does. Guess what? Your client/prospect has already stopped reading. If your content is going out to an audience who doesn’t know you at all, no more than one or two sentences explicitly about what your company does should exist anywhere in the document.
- Your content should always be case study led. Whether it’s one case study, or a cross section where you don’t mention specifics, but rather compare trends gleaned from work across numerous projects or sites, this is critical. Content might be free, but you’re asking people to give up their time to read/listen to/look at/watch it, so you always need to keep the old sales mantra in mind – What’s in it for me? Ensure you’re clear on what your prospect or client will get out of reading your piece. If you can get a client to agree to you revealing information about a project you’ve done for them, this will always work best.
- Think about your audience when deciding upon the medium. Content can come in many different forms: whitepapers, articles, presentations, case studies, podcasts, video, infographics, reports, webinars, ebooks. Depending on your target audience, you may go with a different format. For example geologists will typically want more detail, more numbers, and facts. Evidence based detailed reports often worked well with this audience. If you’re not sure – ask them! If you have any in-house geologists, ask what would engage them, or alternatively ask your friendly clients. We often learned by putting out the same piece in several different formats (e.g., video interview a top client, then market that interview in video form, audio only and written transcript. Written transcripts tended to get more downloads most quickly, but videos perform better over time. Audio was usually the lowest performing medium in the mining sector).
- Also think about your audience when considering your communication style. I’m assuming most people reading this work in communications, marketing or sales. I am therefore writing this in a far more informal, conversational tone than I would do if I knew this piece would be mostly for the eyes of VPs, CEOs and MDs.
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose content. One of the biggest things that puts companies off creating content is the time consumption. However, if you’re smart about it, this doesn’t have to be a full time job (in fact, for most METS companies I would recommend strongly against having a full time content creator, this should be combined in with communications). For example, PwC produce brilliant, in-depth reports on the state of the mining sector. These will of course take a long time to produce. However, once the big report is created, you can then produce an entire series of short articles, interviews, or mini-reports on specific topics included within the report. Few people will pick up a 50+ page report and read the whole thing. You stand to attract a whole new audience with this shorter, focus pieces. You can also apply the repurpose rule in reverse. If you’ve had 6 months of really great interviews, articles, whitepapers, case studies etc, then combine them all into one industry ebook. If you’ve run an online event, or webinar, create an audio recording of the presenters. Or write a short summary of each presentation and pull them into a much shorter document.
The points above cover what I believe to be the key issues I’ve seen come up over the years, but are not necessarily exhaustive. Austmine members, don’t forget you have the opportunity to create one content piece with me per year, as part of your annual membership, so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss kicking this off!