We continued our marketing and communications masterclass series with this week's session on 'Knowing your audience – key messaging and content marketing to boost engagement'.
The session was chaired by Alice Weightman, CEO of Hanson Search and The Work Crowd, featuring panellists Rupert Bradshaw and Tim Gibbon.
Rupert Bradshaw is a creative copywriter, founder, and director of the CopyShop. With a love of telling stories, Rupert practices the art of using words to spark emotional connections, and to instill trust, loyalty and advocacy for brands. He has in-house and agency experience working with challenger brands across financial services, food & drink, real estate, media and more.
Tim Gibbon is an experienced head of content and marketing, with over 20 years of international experience both agency and brand-side, working with brands like Adidas, Disney, Google, HP and more through his consultancy Elemental. He has experience across B2B, B2C, SME, and youth marketing, delivering engaging content as well as creative and social strategy.
Listen and measure – the foundations of strong research
''I start with research from the get-go. I use the available tools, such as web analytics, social intelligence and listening, so I understand the audience’s hot and cold spots, what the customer is saying and why’''.- Tim
Tim uses tools such as Google Trends, the global web index, web analytics, analytics on the platforms themselves – Facebook, Twitter, etc. - as well as first-hand from the customer.
''When developing a campaign, be agile and flexible in your approach, so that you can learn, tweak and develop it further with feedback as you go''.- Tim
Tim advises to measure from the outset and get your metrics and KPI’s in place.
''If you are doing the right listening, you should never run out of ideas''.- Rupert
Rupert argues that your brand is not what you say it is, it's what they say it is. If your brand is going to resonate, you have to identify any gap between those two perspectives. This is why listening is really important.
''Measure everything; your email, open rates, Google Analytics, unique page views, and comments, likes and engagement on social media. See where there are spikes and don’t ignore trends. Look at people’s search terms; what are their long tail searches? These are the things your audience wants to hear about and will help you produce rich content ideas.''- Rupert
Use language your audience understands and master the right tone of voice
''When you are writing content, write like your audience speaks; to do this you need to listen.''- Rupert
''Stop guessing and start listening. Read what people say about you, particularly the bad stuff on social media and angry emails if you have messed up. Read what people are leaving on Trust Pilot reviews - it’s the richest well to tap into for the sorts of language that you’re wanting to use.''- Rupert
''I suppose in a way your brand is no different to your personality. If you are the sort of person who doesn’t listen, who's always talking about yourself and using language that the people you are speaking to don’t understand, you aren’t going to ‘click’ with the people you are communicating to. It’s the same with brands.''- Rupert
''In the light of coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement, what brands are saying is being scrutinised like never before.''- Rupert '
'Authenticity is so important for brands today. People are not idiots, so don’t treat consumers like they are. They will read up on you and if what you are saying is inauthentic.''- Rupert
Don’t be silent, take your customers on your journey
Both speakers agreed that given the pandemic, now more than ever brands need to communicate to their customers.
''The worse thing is being silent; people assume the worst.''- Rupert
Tim stresses the importance of keeping the momentum of a campaign.
''Brands need to show you what’s going on behind the scenes, how we create content and what happened to the people we are communicating with. They need to show us the journey.''- Tim
Communication post lockdown
In light of COVID- 19, brands have had to be especially sensitive in their communications with customers. As we come out of lockdown, we ask the panel how brands should respond now:
''Brands still need to keep their finger on the pulse and be connected to popular culture, media and trends so they can adapt their content accordingly. You need to be agile and flexible with the right tonality.''- Tim
''Be transparent and open, communicate in a way that brings about the right type of emotional response.''- Tim
Be brave not crazy to help boost engagement
Tim talked about using outside expertise to get a new and fresh perspective and to create brave, forward-thinking campaigns.
''Work with people outside of your brand. People inside your brand may just tell you want you want to hear when you need people to be brutally honest – freelancers can bring this.''- Tim
''Be brave but remember there is a fine line between being brave and crazy.''- Tim
Check your content, but don’t check it to death
Tim advises on having the right governance process in place.
Rupert flags that it can also produce a negative result, diluting an idea, so it's about establishing a balance.
Who are you writing for?
''Write copy for the person, not the whole demographic.''- Rupert
Create a customer persona to empathise with. This will guarantee engaging, empathetic and real content that lands better.
Establish clarity around knowing and understanding your audience.
With so many mediums to generate content, what type of content should people be producing today?
Find out what your audience is engaging with and write specific copy for each social platform.
''Video has the currency today. Smartphones allow us to capture content a lot easier and to publish it from there.''- Tim
''Your content creation doesn’t need to be high production. As an SME you don’t have to create a television style commercial for the web, as the web doesn’t work like that.''- Tim
''If you have a great idea, speak to the right people who are able to position and fashion your message for you, even with a small budget.''- Tim
Key takeaways and top tips:
· Be prepared - from the outset, have your KPIs and metrics in place
· Listen to your audience
· Create a persona and write for that customer, rather than an entire demographic
· Measure key data and insights
· Authenticity is key for brand survival
· Initially establish the aim and audience for content and refer to this at the end – is it fit for purpose?
· If you don’t have a huge budget, you can still be creative.
How can we help you?
Thanks for reading! If you are looking for expert freelance talent to help you drive your business forward during these uncertain times, please do get in touch with our team at The Work Crowd. We are a community of marketing and communications experts and we’d be happy to discuss your needs and connect you to the right professionals in our network.