Content is everything these days. It’s what goes into websites, email marketing, social media, brochures – even old-fashioned media releases. No surprise, then, that it’s become a big talking point in the marketing sector.
In reality, content is what I – and countless other PR professionals – have been producing for clients over many years. Our challenge is to keep abreast of the latest content opportunities and to adapt our output appropriately.
But it’s not that simple. There’s so much content around that we have to be even more creative in our word-crafting if our clients’ messages are to stand out amid the swelling mass of communication clutter.
It’s refreshing to see some of the profession’s thought leaders suggesting that the key is not to pump out clients’ sales messages – basically what they want to say – and instead to produce what their customers might want to hear.
As one of the experts I follow suggested recently, content creators need to stop selling and start listening. After all, communication is a two-way process: a one-to-one conversation is nothing but series of balanced responses. Why should content be any different?
So, to promote a product in today’s market, the content copywriter should be focusing on the benefits rather than the features. The sales messages can still be woven into the text, but subtly.
If we give the reader a captivating story, with which he or she can easily identify, we are surely on the way to converting prospect into customer.
I believe many companies are losing out because their messages are clouded by outdated construction and blind obedience to what pleases the managing director. This may be because neither they or their communication advisers have embraced change.
I have spent many hours writing about ‘boring’ products including bricks, plasterboard and various systems that go into modern buildings. I’ve also addressed more glamorous subjects. Whatever the subject matter, I always try to develop a human angle to help readers associate more effectively with the products my words are promoting.
My clients are happy.
As a profession, though, we need to put greater effort into educating more clients on what it takes to communicate effectively.
Then we can all be happy.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 16 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.