Creative Content
July 6, 2020

7 Agency Methods to Kill It with Creative Content

There is a long list of variables that contribute to success on social. As we all know, social media is driven on most platforms by visual content. In this article I want to share with you our key insights & learning that lead to Creative Content that stands out in the social media space.

Creative Content is the core idea you want to convey as a brand, expressed in an original and unusual way. 

Creative Content - what is it? 


In the marketing and advertising world Creative Content is a term describing various forms of multimedia, like photography, video or graphic design that form a core part of your digital presence and marketing strategy.


In general, Creative Content can be categorised as follows: 

  • Audio
  • Blogs & Articles 
  • Video Content & Animation
  • Photography 
  • Graphic Design 


In the digital space, the Creative Content can be distributed via organic marketing activities and paid advertising, such as:

  • Paid Social Ads 
  • Display & Programmatic Ads 
  • Organic Social Activity 
  • Email Campaigns 


With the above information in mind let’s look at the meaning behind the term - “Creative Content”.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary :

Content [1]: 

the ideas that are contained in a piece of writing, a speech, or a film.


Creative [2]:

producing or using original and unusual ideas.

In short, Creative Content is the core idea you want to convey as a brand, expressed in an original and unusual way. 




It’s part of a bigger plan


Before we jump into dissecting how to stand out on social with your Creative Content, let’s talk about the most important thing. It’s your marketing strategy. 


Your marketing strategy will dictate a list of monthly, weekly and daily activities across your marketing channels. It should also lead to creating a campaign plan. 


With a clear marketing direction you will know the types of Creative Content you need to produce and can start planning its execution. 


By the way, you can read about how to create a marketing strategy here.


So, how do you stand out on social with Creative Content? 


In my opinion, there are two parts in the answer to this question. It is the structure and execution of a piece or a campaign. 


In terms of the structure, there is a variety of elements you need to cover and understand when planning any Creative Content piece.


Define the 5 following structure elements:


  1. Audience - who is the piece for? 
  2. Message - what is the main idea you’re communicating to your audience?
  3. Story - what is the narrative/story in that message? 
  4. Creative Direction - if you’re creating visuals, then what creative means can you use to represent and even enhance that message? 
  5. Visuals - the look & feel of the visual content, like photography.
5 structure elements to build Creative Content that kills it on social media


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Secondly, let’s look at the execution. 


In terms of social, we have two main content types we can choose from - images or videos. Those content types can be published in a variety of networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or TickTock. 


Each platform is unique and has a set of rules for content display.


Also, viewers of each platform engage with the content in different ways. 


Instagram stories, for example, allow you to publish pols and ask your audience questions. 


Content ratios also matter - we have square, 16:9, 4:5, the list goes on.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Tik Tok - visual content ratios.

Here is my list of 7 top execution tips to stand out in social with your Creative Content:


1. Be Platform-Specific - your creative content needs to be tailored to the specific platform you’re publishing on. 

2. Audience - you need to understand who you are speaking to exactly on that platform and what makes them tick.

SquareSpace - different audiences exmaple

3. Tone - this is a very important one. It stems from being platform-specific. Each platform has a specific tone, Tick Tock is about dancing, Instagram about great visuals, Twitter about information. You need to tailor your message to be in line with the tone of the chosen platform. 

4. Visual Consistency - it’s key to fully own your Brand Identity Toolbox (you can read more about that here).

On social, being coherent is essential to building trust & authority. 

Visual coherency means that all the visual content you publish as a brand needs to “belong” together. 

Own your brand colours.
Own your layouts & typography.
Own and use the brand identity system and the photography.

I bet you must be thinking - is that not going to be boring? The short answer is  - no. The social space is very noisy, and projecting a coherent and consistent image symbolises integrity and authority. Ofcourse, you have a level of flexibility in your design system but that’s a topic for a different time.

5. A Digital-First Brand Identity Toolbox - to achieve visual consistency you need to have a very well designed brand identity system. I like to call it a toolbox as in fact, it's a set of visual tools you can work with to very quickly assemble visuals needed for your campaigns.


If you want to find out more about what to include in a brand toolbox - check out my article here. If not, let me break it down quickly:

a. Digital-First Brand Colour Choice - in social your colours have to stand out. Bear in mind that Facebook and Twitter for example have blue as their brand colours. Best to stay away from blue, if you can.
Your colours have to look good on screens. Use bold but not eye-straining hues. The colour choice needs to be based on your brand positioning.

b. Brand Universe - you need to have a design system that can express your values. It needs to be flexible in building Creative Content for your marketing campaigns. Here is a list of some of the elements I recommend including in a  Brand Universe:

i. Brand Device - a bespoke pattern or shape. 

ii. Custom Illustration & Icons - unique set of artwork in line with the brand. 

iii. Art Direction for Photography & Video - a quick guide on what look & feel you’re going for in your lifestyle imagery.

Mailchimp's bespoke illustrations.
Mailchimp's art direction for photography.

c. Motion Language - if you’re considering social media marketing then video & animation will be a daily task. Design the animation of your logo & brand universe in line with your values. This will be key in assembling very quick creatives that project brand coherence in the digital space.

Motion Language - Miro

6. If you’re using video - remember the Emerging Story Arc.
Social is wired for short form content, so your sweet spot should be around 15 seconds. Remember that your intro - or the first 2 seconds - are key to capture attention, invoke interest and establish initial trust. So start with fire. The narratives for your creatives have to be straight to the point and engaging. That allows viewers to drop out [and engage or click through] at any point. You can read more about storytelling on social here.

“The emerging story arc starts fast, keeps up the pace, and delivers messaging with unexpected surprises until you fade out––no more build up, climax, and pay off. Go fast!” [3]

7. I kept the best till last 😈 

The absolutely most important thing is to remember that on social, the narrative doesn't end. There is always more story for those who want it. Invest time in your customer journeys and planning out the Call-To-Actions in the campaign pieces. Continuity is the beauty (or curse) of social media.

Hope this sheds some light on paid social & creative content.

We’re sharing content regularly for those who want to grow their business using the digital space, with a focus on digital marketing.

If you have any suggestions, questions or just want to geek out over some creative topics, let’s connect on Twitter or Linkedin

Thanks for reading! 

Stay safe,
Anna

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Article links:

[1] https://dictionary.cambridge.org

[2] https://dictionary.cambridge.org

[3] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com

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