In this opinion piece, Jason Dent (pictured below), director of integrated marketing at Campaign Monitor, explains how to craft authentic, credible content.
For many digital media companies and publishers, content is the cornerstone of their business and its value cannot be understated. In an increasingly diluted market, are our priorities straight when it comes to content creation?
We know that a snappy headline and engaging narrative are high up on the list of important criteria for great content, but where do authenticity and credibility lie? According to the recent Reuters Digital News Report 2016, only 39 per cent of Australians say they “think you can trust most of the news, most of the time”.
In a world only recently introduced to the concept of ‘alternate facts’, digital media companies and publishers must keep authentic, credible, content at the core of their business, or risk losing their audience.
WHY AUTHENTICITY MATTERS
The media market has been flooded with companies looking to drive business through subscriptions services. Authenticity will make your content stand out from the rest. Readers are bombarded with information from all angles – social media, TV, advertisements – all saying iterations of the same thing. Provide a clear and honest point of view that is a worthy reflection of your brand and readers will come flocking.
In the modern market, a media company’s best chance to thrive comes from carving out a niche and generating content that appeals to one specific audience. Mass appeal demands a more generic and staid approach to content, so it’s important to be unique, honest and talk to a smaller, more loyal market share.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CREDIBILITY
Credible content is core to building a trustworthy brand as a media business. Publishing content with fact-checked articles, vetted information, and quotes from experienced experts is what builds a solid reputation. It’s that reputation that attracts and retains a loyal audience.
On the other side of the coin, a media company must be accountable for their content. If something is incorrect or inaccurate, a credible media outlets must admit to a fault and accept responsibility for the information they are publishing. Readers expect credible content, and when that promise is broken it can erode trust.
THE KEY TO CRAFTING AUTHENTIC CONTENT
Relinquish some control of your content – want to speak directly to a segment of the market? Ask them what they want to hear. Setting up processes, like a preference centre or feedback landing page where readers can let you know what they want to read more of is a great way to ensure that your content is relevant to your readers.
Media agencies should aim to develop their own apps. Research shows 90 per cent of a user’s time is spent using apps compared rather than browsing the web. Part of creating credible, authentic content is delivering it to subscribers in an easy-to-use format. Apps create a controllable and measurable centre for your readers to look for the latest great content.
Lastly, it’s important to speak to your customers one-on-one. There’s no use generating fresh content if no one knows it’s there. Use channels like emailing marketing to directly reach your subscribers. Add value to this process by giving your most loyal subscribers the freshest scoop, or upcoming news that no one else will have access to yet.
So, now take a minute to sit and reflect – is the content you are distributing a reflection of your business, and the interests of the readers you want to attract? If your content expresses a clear cut set of values, an honest and compelling narrative and an openness to feedback, then the readers will arrive in droves.