The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Giving your brand a voice: Four lessons for creating meaningful content




Part 5: Four lessons for creating high-quality content for your brand

Successful digital transformation requires great content creation. Producing audiovisual material, writing articles, posting on social media, partnering with influencers… There are so many possibilities that it can be hard for brands to adopt a content strategy that responds to their business needs. So, how can you find a winning approach to content creation?

To answer this question, three experts from Sid Lee shared their experience during a roundtable discussion: Jean-François Légaré, Editorial Director; Nicolas Naulevade, Director of Content; and David Bélanger, Strategy Director.

The discussion was moderated by Mathieu Rolland, a copywriter at Sid Lee.

Lesson 1: Be realistic and take as much time as you need.

MR: What should you do to properly plan content creation?

NN: One of the biggest mistakes is creating content focused on your product’s features. Consumers won’t be fooled: They’ll lose interest as soon as they see you’re trying to sell them something. Instead, use the content to showcase your product as part of a broader story—one that speaks to your brand’s image and values.

J-FL: It’s smarter to start small and build it up gradually. Entrepreneurs often forget that you need to add new content regularly. Without consistency, it’s hard to build a loyal audience. If you don’t have the means to support six platforms, just have one. It’s not just that an inactive Facebook page or Instagram account doesn’t serve any purpose, it’s that it can actually hurt your brand image.

DB: The worst thing is when you approach content just by thinking about the platform: photos for Instagram, videos for YouTube, articles for a blog… You should start by asking yourself what your business needs are, who your consumers are and how you can add value to their everyday lives. When your product is similar to your competitors’, you have to stand out through how you express yourself. Content is ideal for this, as it allows you to communicate a brand’s personality. Dollar Shave Club, which sells razor blades, is a good example: Their product isn’t unique, but the brand was launched with a video that was really funny and people remembered it.   

Lesson 2: Content is much more than just pretty pictures on social media.

MR: What advice would you give to people who want to create content for a digital transformation?

J-FL: You have to not only think about what you want to say, but how you say it. The second-hand clothing store Deuxième édition, for example, creates short articles profiling its employees. It could be as simple as that. What’s important is taking the time to do things well, even if you don’t have a lot of resources at your disposal.

DB: Anyone can make content; it’s easy to take a photo or write some text. It’s hard to be interesting. Take the financial industry, for example, where the language used is often very complex and cold. The company Wealth Simple offers content with a tone that is relatable and easy to read. They’ve found a way to add a bit of humanity to a numbers-based world and they do it in a coherent way.

Lesson 3: Stop seeing content as advertising.

MR: How can you calculate content’s return on investment?

J-FL: Ask yourself the following question: Who is my main rival in terms of content? Is it another brand operating in the same industry as you? No! Your main rivals are family photos on Facebook, posts by Kylie Jenner on Instagram, and cat videos. Why should anyone pay attention to your content and, above all, to your brand? You need to be super interesting because the competition is fierce. A few years ago I started to follow Frank And Oak because, when it started, the brand would publish playlists created in collaboration with interesting people every month. So it wasn’t the product that attracted me, it was the content.

NN: Thinking about how much return you get on each dollar invested is not the best way of thinking about content. On platforms like Facebook and YouTube, certain amounts of media investment give you access to tools that measure brand perception, purchase intention, reputation and brand attribution. These tools also allow you to personalize the data and get an accurate idea of who your audience is. To achieve your business objectives, understanding and measuring the relationship between your brand and your customers is essential.

Lesson 4: Get expert help and think twice before you publish.

MR: What’s the best way to find seasoned experts for your content?

NN: First you have to determine whether you’ll need someone internally to lead the project. Then you have to find a provider: Infopresse (French only) offers a guide that details most of the companies in Quebec operating in this sector. There are also Facebook and LinkedIn groups that help you find the right people for smaller projects.

DB: Ask yourself why you want to create content. If your answer is because others are doing it, stop immediately, then find someone who will help you find a real answer to that question. Target your needs and build your strategy accordingly. There’s no recipe—every brand is unique. Apple, for example, is almost completely absent from social media. So, the moral of the story is that it’s better to be awesome on one platform than to be average on a bunch of them.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. As a result, the Chamber cannot be held responsible for published content.

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