Create Interesting Communications, Iterate Constantly
People are too busy to read your content
Iterate constantly to keep your content current and relevant. We are all continually connected to the digital world. Our phones alert us with their dings and rings. They take up parts of our day and we don’t even realise how much time we lose responding to these distractions.
The average amount of time spent on social media worldwide is set to hit two hours and 27 minutes a day in 2022. But I believe for some of us this time is much longer. It’s becoming a worldwide addiction.
We take our phones and digital devices with us everywhere, even in the bathroom. We are all busy every day doing busy work. But not really productive work. Our day is simply full of distractions from start to finish.
Consumers don’t have the time to focus on your communications. If you disrupt their day you better say something interesting, you better say something valuable. Above all, you better not waste their time. So how do we do this? Below are some tips. I’ll interchange the words communication and article to refer to marketing communications. This includes all communication you have with your customers.
Think of your company as an entertainer. You’re on a stage and only have seconds to make a good impression or get booed off. When we translate this to the digital world this manifests as being called out in front of your loyal customers. An embarrassment no business can withstand for long.
Being interesting is a constant challenge
To say something worthwhile you need to put the work in. It doesn’t happen overnight, even if you are naturally talented. It requires constant research and constant interation on your part. Digging deep to uncover the nuggets of interest that others will have missed. Finding obscure but relevant information about your market. If you can’t find any obscure or rare information, focus on telling the average information you have uncovered in an engaging way, making sure (to paraphrase Robbie Williams) you entertain us.
Don’t waste your customer’s time
Make sure your marketing communications are concise and attention-grabbing. Respect your customer’s time, don’t waste it on irrelevant drivel. Your communications should be one of these things: helpful, valuable, entertaining or informative. If the communication you are planning isn’t, don’t send it. Life is too short for trivialities.
Consider different types of content for different times of the day. Your customer may be busy if you it send first thing in the morning. Therefore, make your article quick and entertaining to set them up for what’s ahead. During the evening, when customers have more leisure time, make your article more in-depth and valuable. Using different forms of communication to do different jobs is fine. Iterate constantly to keep your content fresh, and unexpected. Character types may vary so some experimentation may be required here. Some people may prefer a crossword puzzle in the morning and leave the more in-depth newspaper articles for the eveninge, while others may prefer the reverse. So get to know your customers and what drives them to respond.
Work deep to create excellent articles
Cal Newport in his book Deep Work explains that getting beneath the surface of a subject requires uninterrupted concentration. So during your research stage, switch off your digital media devices and any other distractions and concentrate on the topic of your article for an extended chunk of time. Give yourself the space to decide what to write about and how deep to make your article. If you can spend two to three hours doing deep work it’ll be worth someone else’s six to eight hours of interrupted work. Research shows that an interruption will set a person back around 20 minutes of thinking time.
The better your research, thinking and writing, the better your customer retention and engagement in what you have to say. Make it interesting and customers will pay attention to your communications, they may even thank you for them. Don’t and they’ll unsubscribe and unfollow in an instant.
Giving value to your customers creates trust and inspires the law of reciprocity. If someone goes a good deed for us we feel like doing a good deed for them in return. This means a customer you’ve given value to will be inspired to use your service or product. By value, I don’t mean money off or vouchers I mean something they have found useful or fun.
Your communications should put your brand at the front of your customers’ minds. Send them content regularly, but not too regular that you become a pest. Don’t always sell to them. Experiment to find the right balance. Create useful content 75% of the time and then sell the other 25%. When you are selling make your purpose known up front and don’t try to hide it. Customers will react against it if they feel you are baiting them and trying to be underhand.
Maintaining fresh and relevant content creation is a full-time research job. You and your marketing team should be constantly on the lookout for engaging, unusual content. Look in the places your competitor doesn’t, and don’t just read content that’s relevant to your industry. There’s plenty of content out there podcasts, blogs, video, art, photography and so on, soak it all up and use it as inspiration for your next communication. The more diverse your points of reference the more interesting your final content will be. Get as many people doing this with you as you can. A more diverse group of people with a wider range of interests will yield better results. This thirst for content should be a constant in your company’s life.
I know it’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway. Keep in mind that written communication is just as critical as visual communication. I mean the images and illustrations you use and also the layout and design of your communication. No detail is too small not to matter. Everything you do and communicate creates an impression in your customer’s minds about what kind of business you are. If you are sloppy about the details, your customers will ask themselves what else are you being sloppy about?
Iterate constantly and you’ll learn constantly
The rough process for iteration is as follows:
RESEARCH – CREATE – FEEDBACK – LEARN – ADJUST – REPEAT.
It is a constant process which should be combined with experimentation. Always try out new things, but keep your brand style constant. Follows/subscriptions and unfollows/unsubscribes will tell you how successful you have been or how annoying your communications have become. Every communication and interaction is a chance to learn something new about your customer, which can then be feedback into your iteration loop. This perpetual iteration is what will keep your brand fresh and relevant in your customers’ minds.
It’s digital, not carved in stone
Laura Busche in her book Lean Branding subscribes to this form of constant brand iteration. When markets or social tastes change, brand and communication should change to reflect this. If this were not the case we would all still be doing what we were doing 10 or 20 years ago. Times change, make sure your brand changes with them. Responding to market developments and evolving customer tastes has become far easier, cheaper and quicker than ever before. Digital has massive flexibility for marketers. Use it wisely.
Having said all this I hope you have found this article of interest. I do appreciate you reading to the end. Thanks.