Tag Archives: content creation

Remember when marketers were wringing their hands over weak IoT sales? In the years since, Americans have become the leading adopters of smart home devices.

What happened? Content creators caught on. News outlets chased the “next big thing” in tech. Brands put out smart-home setup guides. Security experts wrote how-to after how-to article about securing smart devices.

Not all of the content painted the IoT in a perfect light — but it didn’t need to. What those articles, videos, and podcasts did is normalize smart devices: The more consumers read, the more informed they felt. After a few years and a few hundred pieces of content, most people became comfortable enough with IoT products to spend money on them. In fact, it even changed the game those early marketers were playing.

Content Creates Familiarity

The IoT market’s experience shows just how powerful content can be for emerging industries. Consumers don’t grab unfamiliar products off the shelves “just because.” To warm them up to new types of products:

1. Know what your audience doesn’t.

All great content is educational. Baking brands post recipes because they know a smart way to sell more cake mix is to give consumers new ideas on how to use it. The reason those recipes gloss over instructions on how to operate the mixer, for instance, is because it’s common knowledge.

Companies in emerging industries don’t have that luxury. Marketing agency Hawke Media suggests that brands selling CBD — the non-psychoactive component of cannabis — assume consumers are starting at ground zero: What’s the best way to ingest the product? What effects can they expect? Some brands even appoint a chief education officer to ensure products are delivered with those details in tow. 

Although not every new product needs an instruction manual, err on the side of overcommunication. Survey consumers about what they find confusing about your product. Build blog posts around those topics. Brainstorm other questions that could come up, and add the answers to an FAQ page.

2. Tell a story that feels familiar.

When Google Glass hit the market, it seemed so new to consumers that they didn’t know what to do with it. If the same product were to debut today, The Venture Reality Fund’s co-founder predicts, it would succeed thanks to users’ familiarity with augmented and virtual reality devices.

Where Google went wrong was overplaying the futuristic aspects of Glass. Content can play up what’s new about a product, but it can also showcase similarities with existing ones. Although that isn’t a smart strategy in an established market, it works when users worry about understanding a new product. 

The secret is to start with pain points: Show that you understand the challenge consumers are facing. Explain how your product solves them in a way that isn’t completely foreign, but simply better than existing approaches. The auto industry did this smoothly with lane assistance: Instead of calling it “semi-autonomous vehicle technology,” automakers merely gave users another tool for keeping the car in its lane.

3. Get the word-of-mouth ball rolling.

Until recently, dating profiles looked like encyclopedia entries: Online daters were told they had to list their everything from their hobbies and pets to their favorite flavor of ice cream.

Tinder changed all of that — without placing a single ad on traditional channels, brand marketing experts at JAKK Media point out. Although Tinder is typically used for dating, it’s more of a location-specific personal evaluation and meetup tool. Smartly, it realized that branding wouldn’t sell well on television or radio.

What did Tinder do instead? It let users do the talking for it. By investing in social media content and hiring campus representatives, Tinder became the app every teen and young adult wanted to try. Videos and contests are also great content pairings for a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. 

4. Invest in art and design.

Few markets feel less accessible to consumers than artificial intelligence and healthcare. Put them together, and the result is a sector that needs some serious explanation. But because medical journal articles aren’t exactly mass marketing tools, the AI healthcare industry is leaning on art and design.

Complex, serious industries like AI healthcare call for simple, calming marketing. One writer associated with 99Designs notes that the industry’s visual content tends to be minimalistic and isometric. Its typography is minimalistic, with sans serif fonts and few words. 

Don’t try to diagram your product. Consider the emotions consumers feel when they think about your space. Use visual content to suggest your product can address or enhance them. AI healthcare content suggests simplicity and safety; cannabis illustrations might imply relaxation and wellness.

Emerging markets may be new, but the content strategies best used to support them aren’t. Know your audience members, understand their challenges, and prove your product can solve them. That’s all there is to it. 

We have self-service checkout lines; robots are making cars; hardware and software are replacing clerical positions. In fact, ten million jobs will be taken over by computers and robots in the next 20 years in the UK alone, according to recent employment forecasting. And it fares better than lots of other developed nations because it has comparatively less manufacturing. Even those who are currently employed in technology and robotics will see their jobs disappear if they do not continue to upgrade their skills. This is a scary notion until we realize that technology will also create new jobs, if we are able to trains and educate a populace quickly enough – and there lies the rub. For content creators, however, forecasters say, this risky transition will not be of impact. Why? Because as much as technology has altered how content is produced and distributed, the human element of creative brilliance cannot be replicated by a robot, even one with artificial intelligence.

Technology can produce a lot of content noise, but quality is often trumped by efficiency. And in the world of content, efficiency does not equal unique. Craftsmanship does.

Organizations that focus on the technology of promotion and distribution rather than the content itself will be launching duds into cyberspace. And when those duds get no results, the solution is often sought in more technology rather than in people. As the noise gets louder, it is only people who can craft the missile that will actually fly through all of the debris.

Automation vs. Craft

We have amazing content technology today. And both process and good technology can assist content writers to scale and to automate what they create. We have tools for physical help – Canva and other apps for design; phenomenal video creation through Animoto, Directr, and more; a vast number of sources for photography; writing tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway; and even apps like Read.able, so that we have the correct reading levels for our audiences.

These are all methods by which we gain eye candy and some shortcuts. They do not impact the quality or the uniqueness of the topic ideas behind the content. That comes from the human creator. And the human creator has 4 things a program or robot does not.

1. Skills

This may be the most replicable part of the content writer’s job. Good grammar, ability to produce good video from a technical standpoint, etc. But skills go beyond that.

  • Finding other content that can be the take-off point for new ideas
  • Finding content that can be inspirational to the writer

Top content creators do not just conduct research as the need arises for a new piece of writing. Technology and robots can do that. Content creators are consistently and constantly looking for whatever is out there that may relate now or in the future. They don’t stop reading and learning; they look for content that “speaks” to them. It’s hard to launch a missile that flies without inspiration that will inspire others as well. Technology and robots can’t get inspired – how, then, do they inspire others?

2. Excitement/Enthusiasm

Excitement is contagious. It can be seen in the classroom, when a teacher is excited about the skills or content s/he will be introducing on a given day. Content writers can experience this same excitement. And that bubbles over into their writing. Ask any one of them. There is content that they produce because it is necessary, and there is content that is produced because it is both necessary and personally exciting.

Technology cannot get excited about something. And so, if organizations rely on technology, the content will be produced. But with the excitement and enthusiasm lacking, there will be no personal connection on the part of the reader.

3. Risk-Taking

Technology does not take risks or think outside the box. A content creator does.

Think of all of the boring products and services out there that still must be sold to consumers. Insurance is such a product. Technology is perfectly capable of creating content that speaks to the types of policies and plans a consumer may want to consider and of delivering that content to the consumer. It is objective, well-organized, and thorough. It is also completely dull and boring.

Enter the creatives. They decide to take risks with presentation of content – risks that will capture, amuse, and engage the viewers/readers. Thus, the Geico gecko and Flo from Progressive are born. And they don’t just appear on TV ads. Both of them have Facebook pages with thousands upon thousands of followers who love to read their stories and engage in conversations with them.

Almost 285,000 people follow the Gecko on Facebook. Content creators come up with each post (and it’s daily). These are missiles that fly and they can only come from humans.

4. Personalization

We humans have a lot of common experiences in our memories and our stories. Part of compelling and engaging content comes from speaking to those common experiences and appealing to the emotions that come with them. Content writers can put the emotional “draws” into their content because they have actually experienced what the reader/viewer may be experiencing. Robots and technology have no such experiences to draw upon.

Headbands of Hope is a for-profit company, founded by Jessica Eckstrom while she was still in college, completing an internship with the “Make a Wish” Foundation. Her company was founded on the idea of selling headbands with the additional caveat that with a purchase, a headband would also be donated to a child with cancer and $1 would be donated to children’s cancer research. Jennifer creates much of her own content for her blog and her social media platforms? Why? Because her experience is personal and she can draw upon those experiences to engage others. It works. Were she to rely solely on technology and robotic content, all of the personal connections with and among her customers and recipients would be lost.

Many content writers rely on personal connections – check out Jack Daniels, ModCloth and Toms Shoes. Today’s consumers want to know who is behind the organization and they want to know them as human not as robots who spit out impersonal and objective information and data.

You Are Safe

So content creators, take heart. So long as you continue to use those creative juices, have enthusiasm for what you write, and make those connections to your organization’s target audience, you will always have work in this noisy Internet world.

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