Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Create Great Marketing Content Today (That Won't Embarrass Your Brand Tomorrow)

I'm something of a connoisseur where really bad movies are concerned. Everything from cheap drive-in fodder and Z-grade science-fiction films to those bizarre educational shorts we used to watch in school holds a strange interest for me. Apart from the unintentional entertainment that occurs when sheer awfulness propels a film into a realm of its own, there's also the fascination of the what-were-they-thinking factor. Usually, of course, they were thinking to make a couple of bucks in a kind of artistic hit and run. A producer would scrape a few reels of something resembling a story together and throw it into some theaters for a couple of weeks, with the idea that it would make its money and then disappear forever.

Except that in many cases, that didn't happen. Mystery Science Theater 3000 and home video restorations have brought tons of this odd old material to light again over the years, giving it a second life and giving its creators (or their heirs) something to cringe over for decades to come. Here in the Information Age, nothing is truly temporary -- and if you're generating marketing and branding content for your company, you need to keep that in mind.

No matter how beautifully you upgrade your corporate brochure from its humble, quick-and-dirty "just something to show" beginnings, those horrible old originals are still out there, waiting to be uncovered the next time a client unloads an old storage box or cleans behind a counter. As for web content -- a quick trip through the Wayback Machine and similar archive databases will reveal all the previous version of your online presence in all their awful glory.

If you can't hide from your past, content-wise, then what can you do? That's easy -- get it right the first time. Instead of just cobbling something some text together now with the idea of improving on it later, spend the extra time and effort making the best possible creating decisions in the here and now. For instance, ask yourself:

"Is this how I want to present my brand to my target audience?" It's such an elementary question, one that anyone should always ask when creating marketing content -- but if you're in a hurry to get your brand up and running, you could be skipping over important facets of your messaging or not aiming at your target audience as precisely as you should. Why rush to release content that won't do your business any good?

"How does this content stack up against my hottest competitor's?" I've sad before that if your marketing content is as good as everyone else's, then it's better than no one else's. That may be true, but at least it's not laughable by comparison either. Make sure your print and Internet marketing efforts don't place you at a critical disadvantage from the very beginning, no matter how quickly you plan to upgrade it. You don't want to give yourself the extra burden of overcoming a bad first impression.

"Is it trendy, or is it timeless?" How evergreen are your copywriting (and design) choices? How gracefully are they likely to age? Is your text brimming over with today's slang, buzzwords and business-speak? If so, you're dramatically shortening the potential lifespan of that content's usefulness to you.

Your marketing content doesn't have to be perfect right out of the gate, and over time you will inevitably need to modify it. But get whatever professional copywriting help you may need to start out strong. You'll be less embarrassed if and when your first attempts bob up into view again -- and you'll have marketing that actually works, both now and in the future!