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Creating Great Content, Some Expert Tips
by Startacus Admin
Content marketing is one of the hottest topics on the business and entrepreneurial scene at the moment. That’s why the team at Startacus HQ have just launched The Key Tappers, a digital content agency for the UK startup and business community.
Lead copywriter Eoin O’Hara shares some expertise on the intricacies of content marketing, and how best to approach the challenge so that the content you create delivers positive outcomes for your business.
Over to Eoin!
Hi Eoin first off can you explain exactly why your team has created The Key Tappers?
Like so many things in business, it was a really natural progression for us to launch a digital content agency. Since we are specifically working within the startup, technology, and employment sectors we identified that there was a real gap in the market for a copywriting service which focused entirely upon these key areas. There is certainly no shortage of digital content agencies out there, but I wonder how many of them have a team with extensive and direct experience of building businesses within the industries they write about. Not very many I would imagine, but what was the most instrumental factor in our decision was the fact that content and content marketing are already at the heart of the other businesses that we run; indeed they have been built almost entirely on the strength of the content that we publish. We realised that we could combine our expertise in technology, enterprise, and employment issues with our vast experience in the field of content marketing to provide other businesses with industry specific content that was engaging, analytical, persuasive, and insightful.
Thus we created The Key Tappers!
When it comes to creating content, what are some of the most important lessons that businesses can learn to make sure they achieve their goals?
The main thing that business need to do is make sure that they are approaching their content with the right intentions. When done right it can deliver some amazing benefits for your business, but when done wrong, it is a complete waste of time. I think that many people have the wrong notion of what content marketing is all about; they assume it is all ‘sell sell sell’ but that really isn’t the case. Someone wiser than me once said ‘Traditional marketing talks at people, content marketing talks with them’ - this really sums it up! It’s about creating a dialogue, something which sparks conversation, and debate and engages interested parties in exchanges which place you at the centre of proceedings within your industry. Content marketing should never feel like marketing… that much is certain, it’s about adding value to your readers' day, giving them something worth reading and thus ensuring that when the time comes to buy, you are the first name on their list because you have proven yourself to be a leading light in the industry.
Equally important to the effectiveness of your content is promotion. Fail to spread your content amongst relevant quarters and you may as well not have bothered in the first place. This is a mistake that we see time and time again; people spend hour upon hour creating content without any thought as to how they will promote it. When the time comes they send out a few tweets or post it on LinkedIn, and then are completely amazed when very little happens. But they think to themselves ‘maybe next time?’ and begin the process all over again, expecting a different outcome and of course nothing changes. It’s what I call the viscous content circle, and once you are caught in it, it can be very difficult to get yourself out again. Fresh eyes can make all the difference to your efforts not just in terms of the content that you create but also in how you go about promoting it.
In such a crowded online space people often struggle to find things to write about. Can you offer any tips that you guys use to come up with original and engaging content?
In my opinion the most important thing to do when coming up with ideas of great content is to read. Read, read, read, read, and then read some more. How can you possibly hope to make a worthwhile contribution to your industry dialogue unless you are completely submerged within it? Find out what other people think, what they are passionate about and what conversations are happening that impact on your industry. Now consider your own position in relation to them; challenge them, put forward your own ideas, discuss what you’re passionate about and if you are genuine in your intentions this will come across in the work you produce.
If you are working with a digital content agency make sure that you engage with them, and make sure that they are delivering content which is not only interesting, but that reflects the style and ethos of your business. A quality agency will be only too happy to consult with you on this, because it is in their best interest as well as yours that the content they provide delivers positive outcomes for your business. Expect high standards and never accept anything which doesn’t live up to your expectations. Your content is too important to leave to chance; it is your business’ calling card, and unless it is ‘on point’ you could be missing out on an enormous amount of opportunities!
What do you think is the perfect level of content for a business to create and promote on a regular basis?
I get asked this question all the time and my answer never changes. Even though it’s a cliché, quality is so much more important than quantity; better to create one piece of outstanding content a week and promote it well than create 5 substandard pieces and barely promote them at all. If you are going to create your own content then you must resign yourself to the fact that it takes a good deal of time to do correctly. It is rarely the case that you can simply write a few hundred words every time you have a spare ten minutes… that would be to do your business a great disservice. Creating artful, interesting and engaging content should not be an afterthought, it should be fundamental to your business. It takes time, research, and a lot of deep thought to create a piece of content that is actually worthwhile reading. Speaking from my own experience, I never write a piece of content without mulling it over for at least a day before hand; you’d be amazed by the surprising places in which you can find inspiration, or the unlikely moments when the whole thing can just click into place.
So how many pieces should you be creating per week? Impossible to say, so long as you feel confident that any content you do create (or have created for you) reflects your business well and of a quality you would be proud to share with the world, then you are doing a pretty good job.
Writing isn’t for everyone, in fact some people absolutely loathe it. But you obviously feel differently to have created The Key Tappers… what keeps you guys interested and engaged with your work?
Well I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but for me it’s the fact that I love to get my teeth into a topic, to pull out the intricacies, dissect them and glue them back together in a way that makes the reader consider something from a different angle than they might otherwise have. I guess it’s also helpful that I get to write about things that I am passionate about. I am aware that it makes me sound like a complete dork but I love writing about enterprise and technology. Take right now for instance. It’s 4:15 on a Monday afternoon and I couldn’t be more content than I am right now sitting here, writing about content marketing… I wear my geek badge with pride!
One thing I am certain of is this; if you are not truly engaged with what you are writing about, you will never create anything that is worthy of note.
I think it also helps to have a love of language, and particularly the written word… it has a power to move and influence us in a way that little else can. I enjoy taking on the challenge to make that happen… it might not be Shakespeare, but it’s a whole lot of fun! Thanks for the chat and insights Eoin! If you would like to know more about The Key Tappers and the work that they are doing, pop yourself over to their website or follow them on Twitter.