It’s pretty obvious that if you want people to watch, read or listen to your content, it needs to be interesting.

Yet somewhere along the line many people in the communications field forget their audience. Instead, they take the safe, boring road. They produce reports with images of old men in suits, media releases with quotes that no one would ever say, and flyers with buzz words that mean nothing.

Why? Because it ticks the boxes. It slides smoothly through the approval process, and it makes bosses happy. But who out there in the world cares?

Speaking at the Public Relations Institute of Australia annual conference, Steve Crescenzo from the US consultancy Crescenzo Communications, points out that we are saturated with content. Corporate content is competing with content from all directions for public attention. Why would anyone watch your CFO discuss your organisation’s quarterly financial results on YouTube when there are global news outlets producing high quality content around the clock? Not to mention all the cute cat videos out there.

It’s our job as communications professionals to get content noticed. This means one thing: creativity. Steve says we need to give ourselves permission to be creative. It takes courage. But the results can be astonishing.

Here’s an example Steve uses in his presentation. As you watch this K-Mart ad out of the US, imagine the brief: Tell customers that we now provide free shipping on our products. Yawn, right? But take a look at how they’ve taken a risk, and come up with a humourous creative idea to sell their message.

The 19.9 million views speak for themselves.

What’s the difference between corporate and creative content? According to Steve, corporate content is top-down, stiff and formal, safe, uses old vehicles and focuses on policies and programs. Creative content is interactive, conversational, risky, uses new vehicles and focuses on people.

My team tries to achieve the creative benchmarks for our clients. Here’s an example.

asthma

Do we meet the criteria? Interactive. Yes. (We’ve had 324 likes, 55 comments and 15 shares to date.) Conversational. Yes. Risky. No. New vehicles. Yes. (We used a blog and Facebook for this message.) Focuses on people. Yes. So, we are nearly there. Perhaps it’s time to turn the risk factor up a notch.

Do you have any good examples of  creative content? Let us know.

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