The Content Side of an Organization

Little was known about the content writing industry a decade or two back when people merely thought of it as or rather confused it with book-writing or news-publishing. With time a market for “content” came into light and gradually the term came to be understood more clearly. Today the content market has spread so vastly that no entity can do without the powerful content. Be it a marketing firm, a PR agency, a communication agency, a technology giant or a local kirana store, content is vital ingredient to their existence.

Content not only empowers an entity to sell or market itself but also to communicate its purpose of existence. The ideas that it sends out in form brochures, taglines and slogans is not a sales strategy but the first step towards creating a niche for oneself. A step ahead is the electronic presence of an entity, comprising of the corporate website as well as an e-commerce portal if any. Many organizations, for the purpose of cost-cutting, do not have a content development so to speak but outsource content writing/business communication services of agencies providing quality copy writing and content development services.

A content writing company is on the other hand well-equipped to meet a client’s content requirements. A company that is hired by a client for providing content services also acts as a consultant to the client guiding it in every possible way in improvising the way in which it reaches out to the larger audience. An important segment of content writing services is SEO content services. Standing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the service is all about increasing online presence. Simply put, SEO process functions on optimum keyword usage.

Another sophisticated way of looking at the content industry is to view it as a knowledge industry. With information being ubiquitous everybody seeks relevancy, transparency and originality of information that is being presented. Many organizations are now steering towards creating knowledge repositories and using it to their competitive advantage positioning themselves as intelligent entities. With increasing demand for open and clear communication, content requirements of organizations are sure to witness growth. The World Wide Web has played an important role in the success of content market. Without the existence of the virtual world it would not have been possible for organizations to overlook geographical barriers and make their presence felt world -wide. Owning to digitalization the content industry is witnessing much needed modernization.

Are The Contents of Your Home Covered? Maybe Not If You Have An HO-3 Homeowners Policy

Okay, so here’s the breakdown on homeowners insurance policies. HO-3 is the industry standard that most companies are writing right now. HO-5 is a premium policy that has better protection and, generally, a better reputation for having the proper coverage in place.

Obviously, everyone wants to have the best coverage available when it comes to their biggest investment so most homes will have an HO-5, right? Not quite. 87% percent of homes are covered under an HO-3. This is not necessarily because that is the best coverage for them or that they opted for the lesser coverage. Most of the time it is because the agent never presented it or, in some cases, their company does not even offer HO-5s.

Let’s look at the basics. First of all, when it comes to insurance coverage there are “named perils” and “open perils”. Named perils are just what they sound like. They are the perils against which you are covered, specifically named in your policy. Open perils will cover anything that happens to your home that is not specifically excluded in your contract (typically floods, earthquakes and war are excluded).

Both policies will cover the structure of your home on an open perils basis, however, the contents will only be on a named perils basis in the HO-3 policy. This means that in the event of a loss, although the physical house may be covered, everything you own inside the house may not be. Most insurance companies do not explain that when they are signing you up for an HO-3 policy.

Beyond covering your contents from a broader range of perils, HO-5s will also raise your individual limits on your contents. For example, jewelry is typically covered at a total of $1000 under an HO-3, but an HO-5 will replace up to $2500 worth of jewelry. I know, a lot of you out there are thinking that’s still pretty low, but your agent can add a jewelry rider that will not cost you very much more.

Lastly, HO-5s use replacement costs instead of actual cash value. This is all explained in my article on replacement cost versus actual cash value, but for the sake of brevity I will just say that you do not ever want to see actual cash value on any insurance policy.

So those are the basic differences in the two most common homeowner policies. Aside from the specifics in the policy, this is a great way to judge the quality of your agent and your insurance company. Do they offer you the most protection or do they offer the cheapest product to get you in the door? Some of the big insurance companies actually stopped offering HO-5s after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 because they are too expensive to back since they pay out so generously in the event of a loss. That is not who I want to be looking out for me.

Ask your agent which policy is best for you and why.

Taming the Content Beast

We’ve all done it. Whipped out some copy for a website, brochure, ad, or direct marketing piece on the fly and then edited it in the layout to make it more appropriate for the vehicle. Sometimes this is necessary due to time and other resource constraints, but ultimately it can be a killer to the effectiveness of your marketing communications vehicles, a lot more expensive, and take even more time.

I’ve said it before, but it is important enough to say it again-in marketing messaging you must live by the rant “repetition, repetition, repetition.” If you say the same thing, the same way, over and over again, eventually your audience will be able to repeat your message in the exact way you want it told. And then they tell two friends, and so on. Now, among many other positive results (like efficiency), your brand not only gains awareness, but relevance.

So, how can you tame the content beast?

Writing effective marketing copy for websites, brochures, and other marketing communication pieces efficiently not only takes copywriting talent, but also the ability to create a structure that can be repurposed across all vehicles consistently. Over the years, I have helped many clients refresh their marketing materials to reflect a clear, compelling, and consistent message, ending with the one tool necessary to repurpose their content into new materials consistently and efficiently-the Content Specification. The truth is, taming the content beast does take a little elbow grease at first, but it can be easier when you use the following steps:

  • Audit Your Materials. First look at all of your company’s marketing materials-direct mail, brochures, website, press releases, media kit, etc-and perform an audit. Make note of what content is used, the inconsistencies you find, and the gaps of content that may simply be missing or inaccurate in each piece.
  • Identify “Repurposeable Content.” Once you have completed your audit, you should now be able to identify or create the content that will be repurposed across all vehicles into a Content Specification. I recommend you document your specification in Word, as it is easy to copy and paste from it into all types of design applications. At a minimum, your Content Specification should include your company and product positioning (in 25, 50, and 100 word versions), brand story (your background of how you came to be), brand identity (logo, taglines, etc.), and contact information. These elements should be present in every marketing communication piece. Be sure to store the Content Specification somewhere where anyone tasked with content creation can locate and use it.
  • Roll In Your Content. The final step is to take the content from your Content Specification and roll it into each of your existing marketing pieces, taking great care to make sure that any edits you make in the process get reflected in the master specification.

Now that you have a structure for your marketing content, you can quickly pull copy together for new pieces and ensure that your marketing pieces work more powerfully together as a system.

During this process, you may discover that your company’s messaging is no longer relevant and needs to be refreshed before moving forward. If this is the case, you many want to hire an outside resource to help you develop the consistency you need. A third party brings an outside perspective and an objectivity that is essential to creating clear and compelling messaging for all types of audiences.

With a comprehensive approach to content creation and execution, you can put the power of repetition to work for your company. Creating a Content Specification allows you to cost-effectively create consistent marketing messaging and ensures your team can efficiently use it-every time.

Three Questions To Hit The Content Jackpot

Content development and inbound marketing have taken the lead in business development strategies – your following and your thoughts are what put you ahead. But when it comes to figuring out the best way to reel people in, where does one start? Many companies are beginning to lean towards blogs or other forms of content marketing in order to showcase their expertise, ideas, and experiences.

Developing a content strategy can seem like a daunting task; content isn’t as easy as simply writing a post and pushing it live. How do you know what content your potential customers or clients want to hear? How much should you write? How do you cure writer’s block? Here are some things that you should ask yourself when trying to take the first step:

What opportunities do people want?
When it comes to developing content, I’ve always found this question to be the best place to start: what do people want? If you can create content that shows people how they can get from where they are now to where they want to be, you’re a million miles ahead.

Maybe they want to be lying on a beach in the Bahamas, maybe they want to be building their dream house, maybe they want to be designing a website for their own new company. As the content creator, you need to learn how to show your potential clients and customers all the possibilities that lie ahead of them.

What challenges do my customers face?
People don’t realize how many obstacles they overcome everyday. We defeat cold weather with warm clothing, we defeat long commutes with good music or novels, and we defeat exhaustion with coffee and energy drinks. We’ve faced and defeated these challenges so often that we forget to see them as problems.

Content that show how to get rid of our challenges, whether it means a service or a product, are going to help you show off your expertise and build a more loyal and trusted following.

How did I get to where I am now?
At the end of the day, your content is about what you know and what you’ve experienced. By sharing your milestones, whether it’s actively or through flashbacks, you are helping your readers learn a little bit about you; putting a person at the head of your ideas instead of a company logo. You can choose to create content on anything from quick things you learned in a course, or maybe some motivational quotes that have helped you through the hard days. When you find something that shows people that your company is built up of people who are human and have daily tasks and struggles and motivations, you will build stronger customer relationships.

Building a blog is the same as building a community. Your content needs to show people how you can solve their problems, help them reach their goals, and connect with them. Those three questions will help your content serve you as a tool for customer acquisition, engagement and retention.