Why digital content skills are essential for entrepreneurs

By Adam Waters

Over Christmas I found myself browsing Linkedin during a break between snacks. It must have been a pretty boring break. At the top of my feed was a post from a CEO about his career and the hard work he put in to grow his business. It has over 2,500 likes and hundreds of comments.

Social media is a powerful platform that lets entrepreneurs promote their work. It allows you to reach huge numbers of people with no cost. So this CEO must have struck digital gold with this post?

Sadly not. The comments were almost all negative. People felt he was bragging about his success by giving himself a huge pat on the back. In a quickly posted follow-up he explained he was trying to show that ridiculous hours and neglecting your family are mistakes rather than badges of honour.

So what went wrong?

While the post made sense to him, it was completely tone-deaf for his target audience. He failed to get across the main point he wanted and ended up creating a backlash rather than buzz.

It’s a safe bet you have a smartphone. With it and social media you have the ability to produce content like images or videos and broadcast them to the world for free. It’s quite remarkable when you think about it. When I started out in the media you needed expensive, complicated camera kit, an edit studio, and a TV station to broadcast video out to the world. Now, anyone can. For SMEs being able to reach the audiences you want in a free and measurable way is a huge advantage.

So now everyone is a broadcaster. It’s an exciting thought that you can reach so many people – but also should give you pause for thought. What are you going to say? How do you make the photos and videos you produce look as good as possible? And how to you measure whether you’re being successful or not?

It’s a noisy world online. Look through your own social media feeds and see what a huge range of content that’s being shown to you. If you want to use social media properly you’ve got to learn the fundamentals of how to make great content. Too many businesses  pump out stuff on social media channels and think ‘job done.’ But it’s unlikely your potential customers are paying much attention to you. Why would they care about this?

Good digital content is engaging, useful, and clear to your audience. It’s worth some thought about what this may be. Rather than tweeting about a new product, why not ask your followers what they want to hear about?

By telling a great story and producing content that people love you can reach huge numbers of people.

If you want to avoid a social media backlash like our Linkedin example you should always check the following points before you post:

Be human – stop saying things like ‘Going forward our initiative greatly enhances our customer journey capabilities.’ No one enjoys reading corporatese.

Be interesting – give people a glimpse into what you and your company does. Think – what do the people you want to reach want to hear from you rather than what do you want to tell them

Be honest – be candid about your mistakes, where you’re taking your business, and what you need to improve. Digital content that’s heartfelt and authentic will always be more popular than marketing speak.

The bottom line – digital content gives all entrepreneurs a powerful opportunity to show the world what they are doing. But without understanding how to produce effective digital content you’re just wasting your time.

To find out more about this topic, pick up a copy of Confident Digital Content, by Adam Waters (Published by Kogan Page, © 2018).