In an omnichannel retail world, customer experience and engagement are paramount. Content that can engage customers at various touchpoints in their buyer’s journey is essential to an organization’s digital strategy. Learning how to create digital content that is both engaging and effective can be a challenge, but it’s a crucial part of increasing brand awareness and attracting potential customers. The creation of these digital assets can be resource-intensive, and there is a lot of competition vying for consumer attention. Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve your existing content, below are some vital tips to help you create quality content that’s laser-focused and resonates with your target audience.
1. Develop a Digital Content Strategy
Setting out what you want to achieve is a great start – your profitability depends on it. To create exceptional digital content, you need a solid strategy that outlines your goals, target audience, and the types of content you need to make to reach them. Different kinds of content serve different purposes. A case study might build a brand’s credibility, while a shoppable social media post exists to drive lead generation through the sales funnel.
Your strategy should include a content calendar that outlines when and where you will publish content and the topics and formats you will use. You should also conduct keyword research to identify search volume and target keywords that align with your content goals.
2. Define the Target Audience of Your Digital Content
Your target audience is the people you are trying to reach with your content. To create content that resonates with them, you must understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors. You can use buyer personas to create a detailed profile of your target audience, including their demographics, interests, and pain points. What motivates them? What do they need or want? How can your organization’s content fulfill that need (or, at the very least, pique their interest to start)?
Once you know your audience along with their interests, needs, and challenges, you can show them content that is valuable to them in that context. If they like it enough, they might even share it. Know where and when they congregate so you can map their personas to the channels they prefer and the content or stories they will likely engage with. Moreover, creating content that can evolve with its intended audience is critical.
3. Conduct a Content Audit
Before creating new content, evaluating your existing content is essential to identify what is working and what isn’t. Conducting a content audit can help you identify gaps in your content strategy and areas for improvement.
Start by auditing your current content creation’s technology, workflows, processes, and resources. Look for patterns that indicate what types of content resonate with your audience. You can also use analytics tools to measure the performance of your content and pinpoint potential enhancements. Compare these performance findings with your keyword research to see which content pieces could be optimized to better align with your customers’ search patterns.
4. Learn How to Make a Digital Content Plan
How does one come up with digital content ideas?
Create a relevant and valuable pipeline of content.
An SEO Strategy involves using Google and other tools to come up with popular and valuable keywords and keyword phrases. Collect, curate, and schedule topics that interest your audience and group them in clusters. When conducting keyword research, look for long-tail keywords with high search volume and low competition. These keywords will be easier to rank for and attract targeted website traffic.
Ideally, the content should be evergreen so that it doesn’t need to be updated often. Metadata needs to be included in the backend. Non-search methods include published articles about research analyses or survey results related to your industry. Text or video can introduce new products, technology, or brands. Good storytelling is a crucial and relevant part of digital content creation.
Develop content templates and outlines.
Content templates and outlines are important to keep up-to-date with the trends in content creation and align with the overall marketing strategy.
Set up a content calendar.
As mentioned above, your strategy should include a content calendar that outlines when and where you will publish content. Curate, refine, and publish at different times of the day or on a pre-set schedule.
Once you have a list of topics, let’s look at the forms the content can take.
5. Use a Variety of Digital Content Formats
To keep your audience engaged and interested, it’s important to use a variety of content formats, including digital macro and micro-content. Each format has its benefits and can be used to convey different types of information, depending on the platform used and where the customer is in their buyer’s journey.
Types of Digital Macro and Micro Content
- Written content: Regularly updated blogs are the most common form of written digital content. They can be interspersed with long-form text-based content such as guides, white papers, press releases, case studies, and eBooks.
- eNewsletters and eMagazines: Besides blogs, scheduled newsletters sent by email are one of the most effective forms of digital content.
- Infographics: A well-placed infographic can tell a story better than a thousand words.
- Animation & videos: Animation and videos are visually compelling elements that can be embedded in or used alongside both social media and written content. Short-form video has the highest ROI of all content marketing trends2.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are used in B2C and B2B environments to tell stories.
- SMS: eCommerce transactions are done primarily using mobile devices and apps3. 81% of visits on Shopify sites are from a user’s mobile device. SMS marketing has become increasingly important.
- Games: Gamification tools such as polls and quizzes expand the repertoire of ways to engage with your audience and help gain insights into what they are thinking.
- Website/Microsite/Intranet: Corporate or eCommerce sites are not the only ways to present a company to the world. Large companies have Intranets, and brands have their own sites too, even if just for a short while.
- Social media posts: Depending on where your audience is, you could post sponsored stories, shoppable posts, and other content across any or all of the top social media apps or pages – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, et al. They could take many of the forms above.
- User-generated content: Last but not least, user-generated content (UGC), such as reviews or posts published by satisfied customers, has a far more significant impact than out-bound only content created by brands. Consumers rank authentic UGC as the most trustworthy content4. Any brand on social media channels should also have a UGC strategy to showcase that content on its other platforms.
6. Convert with Visually Appealing Landing Pages
The whole point of digital content is to gain more conversions, either in terms of engagement or sales. Calls-to-action, such as links to relevant landing pages or social media buttons, are important in creating content.
Landing pages are critical to any digital content strategy. They are designed to convert visitors into leads or customers by providing valuable information and encouraging them to take specific action.
Smart content can personalize pages to groups of customers. Optimize layouts, chunk text, use color contrasts and introduce microcontent elements such as images, graphics, animation, and video where appropriate for visually stimulating and easy-to-digest content. Above all, the content should still reflect the brand values.
7. Promote Your Digital Content
Learning how to promote digital content is just as important as learning how to create digital content. Digital content marketing includes techniques such as search engine marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), optimization for search engines (SEO), and social media marketing. It is a way to reach out to your target audience – or let them find you. It also can build brand awareness and a deeper relationship with your customer– ultimately encompassing advocacy and brand loyalty.
8. Track and Analyze
Engagement statistics for digital content provide multiple data points that can be analyzed. Currently, analytics can extend to evaluating the online behaviors of individuals viewing specific pieces of content. Page views and likes and using the right keywords in the right places and building backlinks could get you a higher ranking in search engine results. However, search engine algorithms change, so constant re-evaluation and fine-tuning of topics, statistics, and search intent are necessary to maintain or improve rankings.
9. Learn How To Create Digital Content in the Future
While currently popular forms of digital content will persist for a while, the future is already here in terms of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). These cutting-edge technologies already enable content creation where the viewer has an active role and is not just the spectator.
1. Content Really is King: Content Consumption in the B2B Buyer’s Journey, FocusVision, https://cloud.kapostcontent.net/pub/ed24339d-0b16-4341-8fef-c4d921903f8c/whitepaper-marketing-content-consumption-study?kui=lrDgMQf8fFSSJ0tc_I4n7w
2. State of Content Marketing Infographic 2023, HubSpot, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/state-of-content-marketing-infographic
3. Shopify Announces Third-Quarter 2019 Financial Results, Shopify, https://news.shopify.com/shopify-announces-third-quarter-2019-financial-results
4. The State of Social & User Generated Content 2023, Tint, https://www.tintup.com/state-of-social-user-generated-content/