We chat to Michelle Palmer & Erin Sing from Melbourne communications agency, Modern Currency about how to create engaging content in 2020.
SDT. For brands to have an impact online, they need killer content, but so many don’t have the knowledge or skills to create it. What are the benefits of having a creative agency on board?
MC. Having a team like Modern Currency on board to create content for you and with you (key word being WITH) helps in so many ways. We can look at things in a more removed way; sometimes when it's your ‘baby’ you become enveloped in stories that are not interesting to others – having us as your support crew ensures content that will appeal to your audience.
Additionally, having an agency – not just one or two staff - working outside of your business provides you with an entire team of brains; a collective of thoughts, ideas, views and input. You can also work with us on various items only. So, you can come to us for the strategy and creative direction only, or you can also have us support you with the photography (yes we can take all the pics!), or we can generate great video, sound, lighting – the entire gamut.
We can be your sounding board and simply guide you along the way. There’s not much we can't do, so the question is really: how much do you need? Where can we add the best value? A great agency should immerse themselves into your brand to ensure what you’re left with, is in line with your brand and business’ ethos!
SDT. Can you talk us through what we need to consider when putting together a content plan?
MC. Do your research first – ask yourself who you're benchmarking against, what kind of visuals excite you as a consumer firstly (making sure you really are objective here) and then what grabs your attention? Is what grabs your attention, the same as what grabs others? Think about the market for your particular product. Don’t just start shooting photos and taking flat lays without thinking about this first.
Another good thing to consider is your point of difference - what will make you unlike from others? As much as you can, try to have a style guide for your content plan so that you can really show individuality whether through colour ways, photo angles, inclusion of particular props or through the framing of images.
Finding the right tone of voice that remains consistent is also important. When social media first started there was discussion around how many words should go with a post – shorter is better, now – longer is ok! It really doesn’t matter so much anymore as long as what you are writing is engaging, suits the imagery and fits your brand.
SDT. How consistently should brands be posting to social media? What mix of static images, videos and stories should they be aiming for?
MC. This question has so many answers! Firstly, what is your objective for being on social media? Different industries should consider different approaches. For example, retail – say a clothing brand - may consider posting more than once per day because the algorithm which dictates when content is seen and by whom, can make it harder for a brand to reach the audience that was reached once upon a time. To provide for this, it's a good plan to post daily as a minimum but more if your resources allow for it so you can reach more people, more often. However, if your brand doesn’t have that much to say – don’t post for the sake of it! Post relevant content only.
In terms of the type of content – stories, videos, static posts – again, this can be decided based on your industry. If you're an artist who wants to share your latest works and using social media as a gallery, then post when you like with a mix of all of these types, because people will come looking for you rather than waiting for content to show in their feed.
However, if you’re a business using social media as information sharing and educational purposes, then you could focus more on videos and static images, with stories being a ‘lead generator’. We know that many people are going on stories as the main content they engage with, so stories is a good thing to consider as a lead-generation option.
SDT. For those that capture content on their phone, what apps are your must haves?
MC. We love a mix of photo editing, video editing and typography tools. We went out to our wider team to answer this one for you, as we have such a creative bunch of people in our team and they are all so great at creating content via their phones.
Here’s some of our favourites:
- To do general image touch-ups like smoothing; lightening and brightening, colour editing, sharpening, we love Lightroom, VSCO, Airbrush and FaceTune (and we don’t mean this one for selfies – it’s actually got great colouring filters, smoothing and sharpening for general outfit tidy-ups!)
- Canva is great for ready-to-use, easily editable templates for just about every kind of social media platform – a definite go-to for those who don’t feel super creative but want to have good content.
Beware though of how much you can use this app for free (and fair enough too as so much work has gone into providing users with excellent content starters!)
- Colour Story gets the thumbs up for filters.
SDT. What trends do you see for 2020 in terms of content that stands out from the crowd?
MC. Content that is ephemeral will continue to gain traction. People do not have the concentration spans they once had, so anything that can be viewed and engaged with quickly, allowing people to move onto the next piece of content quickly, will be ever-present.
Investing resources therefore into your transient content and having a strategy around this – such as to help create a sense of urgency - will help you stand out from the crowd.
Video is also not going to go anywhere anytime soon – it will continue to dominate.
Think about creating video content that fits with your brand essence; that can help connect with your customer – make sure it has purpose whether that be fun, educational, helpful, inspirational, special offers, or all of this combined!
Increased use of augmented reality (AR) is going to become more present too in 2020. AR is already being utilised by platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat via way of filters to enhance visual content and increase usability – who doesn’t love a funny added mask, or a background environment to enrich the content we share? Facebook provides AR too but we expect to see this even more so across other platforms too.
One thing to keep in mind for content that will stand out, is that sometimes less is more. So keep focused on strong, engaging content which fits with your brand story. Generally nine times out of 10, posting less often but with fabulous and well thought-through content will get you the better engagement than hurried content with no strategy or meaning.