Guest blog: Sharon Flaherty on addressing your audience

22 December 2015, Blog

The ‘quick-click’: why it should be avoided at all costs

The choice is simple: understand your audience and know how to engage them or understand that you will fail. Letting down your audience with poor content is worse than having no content at all. In this piece, Managing Director of content marketing and communications agency BrandContent explains why it’s so important to captivate your audience if you are to drive a measureable action and explains why ‘27 ways your bank account is like a cross dressing frat boy’ is not the content answer you are looking for.

The content marketing industry is worth more than £4bn in the UK. Most businesses – small, medium and large – have started on the content journey one way or another, whether that’s through blog content, video, infographics (yawn), or social assets. But not every IT manager, retail marketer and operations manager has the skills of a content creator or journalist and the nose to sniff out what is and isn’t a good story – let alone writing one or creating it over multiple platforms.

There’s a lot of half-baked, rushed and irrelevant content out there, with SEO agencies in part to blame, shouting the message that successful SEO relies on frequent and fabulous great content, meaning brands have scrambled to get involved. But more doesn’t mean better, and content for the purpose of SEO is never a good idea.

You don’t have to look far to find lots of click-bait; in a fraction of a second what can seem quick, fun and click-worthy, is often a misleading, irrelevant let-down for the reader, viewer and the brand.

If you’re a financial services firm, it’s not likely that ‘27 ways your bank account is like a cross dressing frat boy’ – complete with picture of said unfortunate chap with pound signs in his eyes – will gain you customer respect or conversion. So why are so many doing it? One quick click today, does not mean a return visit tomorrow and bad content almost certainly means no sale at all and only serves to erode the trust of the visitor and impact their opinion of your brand.

Thank you, clickbait

But as much as I criticise poor content, it’s also done us a favour. Eagle-eyed readers, scanners and searchers have been so bombarded with useless material they are now learning to distinguish between good and bad content, paving the way for better content with a bit of substance to prevail. Halleluiah!

So as 2015 draws to a close and we have a little more time to reflect, ask yourself one question: “What am I giving to my audience that they will really like and care about?” If you don’t know the answer or have never considered the question, there is a real risk you are one of those people adding to the bad, irrelevant and time-wasting content out there. So make a promise to yourself for 2016, be the brand, business and person that delivers content that has a real impact on your business objectives and leaves a positive lasting impression on your audience.

Sharon Flaherty is the Managing Director of boutique content marketing and communications agency BrandContent.

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