It’s time for the audience to be heard.

The digital landscape has become overcrowded. Brands continue to push out their messaging in as many different ways, on as many different platforms as they can. Consumers, meanwhile, are getting tired of seeing content they didn’t ask for, from brands they don’t care about.

If brands want to be successful and build long-lasting, trusting relationships with their consumers in this new age, then they need to realize that they are no longer the sole voice in this two-way relationship.

In other words, the tables have well and truly turned as, with so many options on the table, it is the consumer who now decides which brand they will spend their limited time with.

How can brands ensure that messages are created and communicated in a user-friendly way?

Here are some of the key points brands should consider:

  1. Add value. Ensure any content created is truly of value to your audience.
  2. Be genuine. Users will spot a hidden sales message a mile away.
  3. Have goals. Create clearly defined objectives for your content.
  4. Use video. As the best way to communicate a message and engage customers, video should remain at the heart of any content marketing initiative.
  5. Entertain or educate. If you amuse your audience or teach them something they are more likely to engage with your brand and share the message with others.
  6. Say it because you mean it. Create content that means something to you as a brand.
  7. Be timely and reactive. The right content, in the right place, in the right format, at the right time.
  8. Don’t interrupt. People are less likely to buy from you if they have a negative experience.
  9. Be regular. If you start and you’re successful then your audience will hunger for more.
  10. Encourage serendipity. If you manage to gain your audience’s attention then take them on a journey into your world.
  11. Get everyone on board. Ensure the whole organisation, from the top down, is committed to content marketing and the global organisational vision.
  12. Learn and evolve. Don’t give up! Keep going but ensure that the learnings from each piece of content inform subsequent releases.
  13. Reaching your audience. Practice distribution-led content, not content-led distribution. Know your audience and the ways you intend to reach them before creating content.
  14. Start a conversation. Be prepared to get a reaction and learn how (or if) to respond.

Who’s doing it right?

Telling stories, adding value and providing a real reason for the user to engage is already at the forefront of some brands’ content marketing initiatives. Here’s three of the best examples this year:

  • Rental Cars: The Gran Tour

  • ASICS: The #ASICSBlackout Track

  • Dove: #DearFutureDads

Originally published here.