This video is the sixth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series. Here, Melissa Eggleston talks about why you need to create content that is original.
Hi everyone. I’m Melissa Eggleston. I do content strategy and user experience work from Durham, North Carolina in the United States and I’m talking to you about originality in your content.
So to me originality is a combination of creativity and your identity. So it’s about being unusual within this identity and vision you’ve already determined for your organisation. So identity is not just your logo. Sometimes the term is used interchangeable with brand or organisational identity, brand identity, that sort of thing, and it’s really about who you are and it’s constructed from your core values.
And so all organisations have this because it’s constructed from people who bring their values and they work together. And so you can be creative, but not necessarily within your identity. So then that’s not really good and appealing to your target audience. Mostly it would just surprise people in not necessarily a good way, kinda go huh, I wouldn’t have expected that from them.
So you want to be within your vision. So I have an example for you and that is from the World Wildlife Fund. They did this great campaign that you can look up online called the Endangered Emoji Campaign and it was really unique, the first one of its kind of a marketing campaign that uses emojis and it originated from ?? Kennedy in London and they were talking with the WWF people and realised that the endangered animals all had associated emojis.
And so they sort of put that together and emojis are cute and fun and appeal to at least a younger audience seems to really like them, and that was a target for World Wildlife Fund. And so they came together and they created these little emojis, they got some from artists who had already created them, had some other ones made and you could retweet this group of seventeen emoji little animals to start and then every time you used an animal for the next month you would be in a sense contributing to the World Wildlife Fund and they would give you a statement at the end of the month saying ‘hi, you’re going to contribute $4 because you sent the monkey emoji this many times.’ So that sort of thing.
And it really worked well and it got them a lot of media attention because it was really inline with their brand. World Wildlife Fund, when I think about them I do think about animals and many animals are very cute and it went along very well with emojis.
If my bank had tried that, it would not have worked, I would have thought huh, why am I getting that from my bank. Why is my bank doing that sort of thing. My bank tends to look like other banks and that’s the problem with not being original. Not everybody can be doing emoji campaigns but that’s one of the challenges with a more traditional sort of organisation like a bank, like insurance and that sort of thing. It’s to figure out how can you be creative and unique within this idea of who you want to be and how you want people to perceive you.
So that’s a challenge. And one of the things I’ve noticed with a lot of clients is at the beginning of a discovery process you spend time doing a competitive analysis. And it’s a competitor analysis, it’s not a copy analysis, but a lot of clients seem to forget that. Because what happens when I present them with the results , which might be me looking at 5 to 10 organisations that might be competing for their attention. I often hear the client say things like, ‘we should do that’, ‘ooh we need a video too’. That sort of thing. And really the idea of a competitor analysis is to figure out how do you stand out and how do you do things different.
It’s just getting a sense of the landscape. It’s not, I’m gonna take that from this group of people, I’m gonna take this from this organisation, and I’m gonna mash it all together. It’s about figuring out what makes you different from everybody else and otherwise you become indistinguishable and that’s why I think a lot of websites look the same. I think a lot of times, certainly I could say this for my bank, you probably couldn’t tell the difference from another bank if you looked at the website if the logos were gone. Because they don’t distinguish themselves very well. And when you don’t distinguish yourself very well what my co-author on my book and I say, is that you look like a zombie.
If I had all of you watching, stand up and act like a zombie, you’d likely all act the same. You would probably start slurring your words or mumbling and dragging your foot and lurching around and a lot of companies, different kinds of non-profits too, need to try to stand out more and be distinguishable.
So that starts by figuring out what is unique about the identity. What is unique? What makes you different from the person down the street, whether you’re a dentist looking at other dentists and how you stand out. Or whether you’re a non-profit who help people perhaps with disabilities, who do you stand out from other places that are also serving people with disabilities.
It’s about figuring out this sort of thing and then figuring out how do we tell our story of how we’re unique, in a creative way that might be meaningful to target audiences. And that is the hard part. And it’s often important to just try to figure out that stuff first. How do we figure out our unique story, our unique values, so we can attract the kind of people who we want to be a part of our organisation. Be it our movement, be it by our products, whatever it happens to be. And that’s the challenge that I encourage you to take on and figure out who really are you as an organisation and how do you communicate about that in an original way that feels true and unique to you.
So that’s all I got. Happy holidays everybody, thanks for watching.
Melissa Eggleston is a content strategist and user experience (UX) specialist with clients throughout the U.S. For businesses, non-profits and universities, she works as a consultant to eliminate zombie-like behavior one website at a time.
Her new book The Zombie Business Cure: How to Refocus Your Company’s Identity for More Authentic Communication will be published in February 2017
In 1996 Melissa wrote her first online articles about soccer and broke all the rules we now know about writing for the web. In 2009, she received her master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism. She has developed digital content for Bloomberg News, the Content Marketing Institute, Duke University and many other organizations. In her hometown of Durham, North Carolina, Melissa teaches UX for Girl Develop It and helps organize the Ladies that UX group.
Learn more about Melissa at her website or follow her on Twitter.
Rob is Content Strategist at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways, WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy at leading industry events.
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