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Making great content isn’t easy, whether it’s video content or any other format you care to mention. In the digital sphere the opportunity for anyone to create, publish and plug their own content online has upped the stakes for digital marketers. The ability to fall back on hackneyed formats has had its day, as audiences become more discerning and picky about the kind of content they consume online, especially from companies who are ultimately trying to sell them something.

Of course, I’ve said this once but I’ll say it again; creating great content is only half the battle if you don’t have a proper marketing activation strategy in place. That being said, the converse is true; if your content is lacklustre then it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, it just won’t interest people and they’ll switch off.

I want to explore the last half of this content marketing equation today by looking at five prerequisites to making magnificent content.

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  1. Establish your Objectives

It’s amazing how much content marketing still comes unstuck at the first hurdle. Establishing what it is you want your content to say is one thing but understanding what you want it to ultimately achieve is another. Obviously these two things are connected but it’s crucial you don’t assume you’ve ticked off the latter just by working out the former. Indeed, your marketing objectives should be intrinsic to and predeterminate of the creative phase itself.

  1. Know your Audience

Talking of the ‘how’, it’s also important to fully grasp the ‘who’ as well. Remember, entertainment value is a subjective quality and one that is completely contextual to a given audience (one man’s epic superhero adventure is another’s by-the-numbers clichéd Hollywood rubbish, in other words). Establishing your audience from the outset is usually considered more of a marketing consideration but it must, and should, play heavily into the creative process as well. Understanding intended audience may not change your objectives but it will definitely affect how you go about achieving them. Companies with an established audience will likely have also established a definitive brand archetype that defines them as a company, as well as the content they produce. If this isn’t something you’ve considered yet, then this could be a very good place to start.

  1. Collaborate and Communicate

They say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but when it comes to content ideation, the opposite often holds true (up to a point). Brainstorming with other people is a powerful way of bouncing around ideas and then refining those that have potential. This doesn’t just mean collaborating internally within the marketing department, but also establishing effective communication channels with other stakeholders and decision makers involved in the process. As a video agency we encourage client feedback at every stage of the creative process. Remember, no one knows the company you are trying to market more than the people who are running it.

  1. Get Emotional and Think like a Publisher

We’ve talked about the power of emotion to grab and hold audience attentions in a previous post but I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this, when it comes to creating powerful and memorable content. The notion that a brand must now think more like a publisher than a traditional business is something you may have read on more than one occasion, but it’s easier said than done. Storytelling on the silver screen doesn’t have to sell a product or service at the end of the day; just put enough bums on seats to justify its production values to the studio. Weaving a strong brand message into a compelling narrative arc is a subtle art form but get it right and it can help establish your brand in the minds of your potential customers for years or even decades to come.

  1. Be Consistent

It’s all too easy to get carried away with success but minds are fickle and quickly distracted in the content saturated online environment, so consistency isn’t just convenient, it’s essential if you are to realise your marketing potential. You may have just produced the viral marketing campaign to end all viral marketing campaigns, but if you cannot follow this up with more great content that continues to keep your company in the minds of your newly established audience, they might just get bored and wander off. Producing consistent content needn’t all be big budget ‘hero’ content that gets you maximum attention. Good content marketing is about creating a raft of value adding content that can be deployed at every stage of the purchasing funnel.

I hope this has helped highlight some of the things we all need to be thinking about as content creators. In my next post I want to explore this theme in a bit more detail by looking at what differentiates good content from great content.

Tom Carroll, Creative Director, 13th June 2016