In the last few weeks a new client has come on board at THE HARD WORD, one we’re very excited to be working with.
This major Australian organisation is in financial services, an industry that on face value has little to do with content. But, like every great organisation, this business has realised the vital importance of content in terms of thought leadership, customer relationships, SEO, market relevance and so much more.
As a result, the company’s content team has made enormous efforts in the areas of editorial and podcasts, video and social. But they feel as if they can be doing better, as if they’re not quite hitting the mark. And they’re correct.
I spent a small while reading through their content, aimed at senior managers in client firms, and three issues immediately became clear.
1) The blogs were all very short - perhaps 300 words maximum. This is fine for news or gossip sites, but people reading a corporate blog are likely doing so to add to their knowledge on a particular topic. They’re investing time by clicking onto a page, but this brand is not investing in them in return. Years ago, online publishers felt they should only provide short pieces of editorial because the concentration span of their online audience was believed to be short and fleeting. Then they discovered, through surveys and website analytics, that readers are actually more than happy to spend time reading a piece of content that gives them what they need.
2) Many of the editorial pieces showed signs of having been written by people who had not conducted as much research as they should have. In other words, real thought leaders would quite easily spot the fact that it is content for content’s sake, rather than well researched, accurate and deeply authentic information.
3) The blogs offered no practical advice, and this is perhaps the company’s greatest sin. As readers, we no longer have time to read purely for the enjoyment of reading. This is a terribly sad truth (particularly for writers … trust me!). It is also the reason once-great weekend magazines, such as Good Weekend and The Australian Magazine, are now sickly shadows of their past selves - we simply don’t have time to sit down for half a day on the weekend to read beautifully written, 5000-word descriptive features. Instead, we expect practical and immediately useful information. If we’re reading a business story tonight, we want to be able to use the information from that story tomorrow morning, as soon as we get to work.
And so we’re looking forward to taking this client to the next level and beyond by removing their fear of longer, more complex pieces, ensuring a powerful depth of knowledge, and filling each piece of content with immediately relevant and practical advice.
It’s simply a matter of creating content with the audience as a focus, rather than doing it because it’s good for the business.
That way we’ll help shift our client’s content from good to great, and everyone wins.