In this article, Dan Maudhub from Wonderful shares the strategies for writing effective and customized content to engage your target personas or audiences using the power of data. We’ll cover:
- Q: Can you introduce yourself and share with the audience what was the inspiration or aha moment when you decided to help brands and started content marketing?
- Q: What makes your content creation service unique or different from others?
- Q: How do you use data to create and design content for a specific persona or for a specific audience?
- Q: How do your clients react to this? What’s sort of their feedback when they see that?
- Q: Can you share with our audience what is your process of content creation?
- Q: What do you see that some writers and some marketers miss in that process that would make their content more effective?
- Q:07 – What are some of the advice you have for the companies regarding creating content that is launching their products?
- Q: What are some of the best practices you have so far? Can you share with our audience to identify the right kind of tone of voice?
Q: Can you introduce yourself and share with the audience what was the inspiration or aha moment when you decided to help brands and started content marketing?
My name is Dan Maudhub, and I am the founder and CEO of Wonderful. We are a digital creative agency, and we help empower brands and transform brands by fusing creativity and technology. I remember the days before Google, search engines, and the social channels when content was a premium.
It was something that you had to think long and hard about, and it wasn’t readily available as it is now. I have been in since 2004, so I remembered websites and content structures for clients, and everything was very in-depth, and I had to think.
I remember the aha moment when you realized the power of the internet to create human engagement. Before many relationships were one-to-one, or the content delivered over offline channels; direct mail in the press, awards, newsletters, or newspapers; those sorts of things.
Then around 2010, we started to create content, and we realized “wow” we could create human engagement from one to many ones to millions very much more efficiently and quickly. It was a real game-changer for us as an agency.
So I have seen all types of content, from the old school direct mail days, the newsletters, and the exhibitions to what we now deliver over social channels. So I think seeing the journey of content has been exciting for me.
Q: What makes your content creation service unique or different from others?
In a modern context, there are a few layers to creating great content in a contemporary context. We have one layer: data, understanding previous and current metrics and utilizing data in the best way possible. That’s the real key.
The second key and still the same thing throughout the content is understanding your audience. Too many brands create content that they want to read and see, but you have to put yourself in the consumer’s mind, the person reading the content. Start there and work backward, not start with “I want them to hear this.” That’s how you can get contentengagement.
So for us, a lot of the work we do with our clients is user research, user engagement, understanding what they like, understanding their behavioral trends, and their search trends to create a contentengagement strategy.
What is it that they’re consuming? How are they consuming it? And how can we match what they’re doing? So I think that’s also a key; the first key is data, the second gear understanding your audience, and the third key is understanding your channel.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to content. What works on one channel does not work on another channel, and I think being able to help clients create simplicity and say right that’s another key as well.
Because I think, for many brands, content strategy can become something that they’re not sure how to do and what’s the best thing to use. So for us, making sure that the content marketing strategyworks smartly for each channel is the real key, and it is often the best to keep it simple.
Q: How do you use data to create and design content for a specific persona or for a specific audience?
We saw that a problem with people is not understanding the data or how to use it to create engaging content. So the practical outcome is we created our data performance platform called Omnibi. We found two problems with the client; one is understanding the data. In the first place, many clients aren’t hugely literate.
Although data science is becoming more popular now, many clients aren’t hugely data literate. When you talk to them about results, they are looking for you to send them these Google analytics or send them some data studio maps, and they ask what that is.
So we created a data platform called Omnibi which effectively translates the data into graphs and charts. They are simple to understand bar chart graphs and pie charts. Now the key is seeing data in context.
For example, if you put out a content campaign over a particular social media channel, it’s straightforward to measure linearly. I got these likes, shares, or whatever it might be, but how did that impact your website? Did you get any more significant share of voice? Did you get more subscribers? What was the broader impact of that content piece?
So what we do is look at data in context to say, “well, we didn’t get as many likes or shares on that particular piece of content.” We got an extra 15% increase in web traffic and time on site. So it’s looking at data and context, and very few brands do that.
They just look at it very linearly, so I’m doing this on this channel. How did it perform on that channel? But for us, it’s looking in context and being able to tag data according to what your key measurements are. Is it awareness? Is it engagement? Is it rich? Is it an ROI focus?
So Omnibi allows us to tag every chart according to the metric that’s relevant for it. For example, if we want to put out a campaign, we want to measure our engagement, all the relevant stats for engagement across any channel, we can tag and look at it that way.
So it’s keeping data simple but deep diving a little more so that people are getting an actual 360 degrees understanding of how the data is performing. It means we have got current data flow and historical data to predict future trends.
So Omnibi allows us to set data targets. If we look at running the campaign over a particular channel or several channels, we can say, well, these are the anticipated KPIs we want to reach through it. So we’re looking at it from an emotional perspective, a human engagement perspective.
We are also looking at things from a data perspective efficiently. So that kind of solution to helping clients with data is to give them a dashboard that they can see and understand. Again, Omnibi keeps it simple, but it also provides us with much context and relevance.
Q: How do your clients react to this? What’s sort of their feedback when they see that?
Firstly, they understand it and say, “oh wow, I can see it now; I can see all of my data in one place.” Now the challenge is there is data for us. Data gives you an objective view, but we try to create insights.
So the part of the journey of delivering better results through content and campaigns is not just giving them data; it is providing them with insight.
So we built a chat tool within Omnibi, so when we are looking at a piece of data, or we’re looking at a campaign, we can give insights and recommendations, and that side of things, my clients love that.
Because part of the value of an agency has been being able to interpret data for clients, then give them the insights and recommendations for the next stage of their campaign or the next content piece.
For example, we are currently working with a startup, and at the seed phase, they are looking to infiltrate a particular market. We are creating 13 specific pieces of content that are unique, and aimed at the audience, and every single element has been tagged individually.
We put that content out to the marketplace. We will measure the results and then give them insight into what they should do next. So we can get as granular as that, or we can be as macro as how the overall business performs using content and campaigns, but clients love it.
Also, being honest with you, that old school agency approach is sending your client a monthly report, this 40-page document with google analytics downloads, that clients don’t want anymore. They are too busy; they need real-time data performance.
So with Omnibi, our clients get a login and can see how things are going. If you’ve got a question or a concern, put it in the chat. One of our team gets it, and they can answer back straight away, so it’s just trying to reduce the friction between the client and agency relationship.
Q: Can you share with our audience what is your process of content creation?
We have an efficient project delivery process broken down into four phases. Still, one of the exciting dynamics with Wonderful as an agency is we have a creative director. We have the head of digital, and we have the head of technology.
So when we are producing campaigns and content, we cover it from three different perspectives. We are coming from the creative, we are coming from the data and the content, and we are coming from the technology and the platforms.
So we are not just viewing content or campaigns from one perspective. There is a healthy challenge, so the client says we want a new campaign or launch something here.
Another example is launching a big online b2b retailer into the consumer marketplace through the line campaign. It’s omnichannel; by definition, you have got three different people’s input; you have got creative, digital, and tech.
They all are fighting their corner and finding the correct result in the middle. We see what builds better campaigns. For instance, the creative guys want to say one thing; the digital guys are saying that’s not going to work on that channel or how we are going to measure that, or well, that sounds great, it’s got no call to action.
So they are coming from different perspectives. Now that’s the critical part of our process; ensuring we have the proper internal engagement on the right team that can then go to the client and says these are the campaigns.
As I said earlier, the following key in our process is understanding audiences. So we have got a couple of relatively cool ways. We work with an online market research company that can give us good quality data to build specific audiences, test content, and test campaigns to very niche and specific audiences.
So that provides us with some feedback even before we launch campaigns, particularly for more extensive and more strategic campaigns. So I think our internal team is the first key part of our process to develop engaging content. I’ve made a lot of use of research.
Audience analysis is the next key part and goes into the production phase, data mapping, and result stage which I suppose many people do. Still, I think our key two bits of added value are very much that research piece and an under audience understanding piece.
Q: What do you see that some writers and some marketers miss in that process that would make their content more effective?
I have got two sides to this answer; one, we have an in-house team that delivers engaging content, but also we work with writers, copywriters, and motion graphic designers, so we have a more comprehensive team around us.
So from our perspective, over the years, people have particular strengths, so I would say to copywriters motion designers stay in your lane, stay into the key power of where you add value. So I think copy is one-size-fits-all.
Some people are brilliant at the headline, punchy, engaging copy; some are intelligent in a long-form copy, while others are brilliant at corporate copy. Stay in your name but understand how to engage your style with your audience, and the truth is not all copywriters or designers can work for every audience. Much of that comes down to your background, experience, and history.
The other side of it understands clients’ industry and the nuances of their industry. So for us, we spend a lot of time understanding all sorts of weird things that have been in this game for so long because you’ve got to understand what makes their industry tick and what makes them stand out in their industry.
It’s easy to write me a social media copy, but it’s unique to create a copy that understands your client’s tone of voice. So the tone of voice is vital when it comes to content. How does your client speak in the context of their industry and to their consumers? What is their tone of voice?
So not just brand guidelines, but the tone of voice are vital for content engagement. So my advice to some people in the content areas is to understand your client’s tone of voice and keep monitoring your content engagement rate.
Q:07 – What are some of the advice you have for the companies regarding creating content that is launching their products?
Most brands are launching a new product or service, or even most startups aren’t industry-wide disruptive. They are doing something slightly better or slightly more efficient. They have a particular value proposition, and most of the time, that value proposition isn’t as good as you think it is in the consumer’s mind.
Because the consumer doesn’t exist in your world, your audience doesn’t exist in your world; they live in their world, and they’re getting content, and they’re getting campaigns from everyone else.
They are not just getting it from you, so again, as I was saying earlier, as a brand, we think that the whole world is waiting to hear from us, and the world as a whole wants to listen to my stuff. The reality is they don’t. What they want to do is they want to make a connection with you; they need to connect to your new product or your new service through your content.
So my question back to the brand launching your products or services, how can you engage using content, connect and get your audience to understand? What are the drivers behind it? Is it the building of a personal brand?
The product or service you’re launching is not only doing things in a new way, but you’ve got a particular tone of voice and engaging contentmarketing. And a tonal voice is the key. I would say if you want to create content that’s got cut through, don’t just create me-too content, don’t just create corporate content; create content that connects with your audience. They can understand you, engage with you and respond to you.
Q: What are some of the best practices you have so far? Can you share with our audience to identify the right kind of tone of voice?
I think number one is not having one. I think that’s the worst part because if you are a new startup or scaling up, you don’t have the history of the tone of voice. So not having one means one day you are putting out a piece of blog content that’s very corporate and very formal.
Then on your social media channels, you have got all this crazy stuff. You think what I am buying into here is a corporate brand. What is my tone of voice? How does that look? Because the tone of voice isn’t just a word you use, it’s the imagery; it’s the feeling, the colors, and the emotion. So the tone of voice works alongside brand guidelines.
The second thing with the tone of voice and best practice is not understanding globalization. People obtain a voice that is very local to them or very niche. So in your tone of voice document, you can have these big buzz words that no one understands, or mainly our sector is the worst content marketing, full of buzzwords and acronyms.
But your consumer might not understand that if you’re talking to an audience. They don’t understand the language that you’re using in your content. So inclusive language is vital; exclusive languages are not great.
Understanding the nuances and the localization of global content that works in one country doesn’t work in another country’s cultural context. There is a national context or religious context. If you are launching a product or service or building a global business, you have to have a global tone of voice for content engagement.
That is inclusive that understands your audiences but is unique as well. Bad practices are where people try to be funny to a specific audience, but it’s very offensive to another world. I am trying to keep it simple, but you need a lot of thinking about a toner voice document or a tone of voice in all types of content including social media and blog posts.
The third is that bad practice is not putting yourself in your audience’s mind. A good practice is to understand the audience; what does your audience want to see? Who are they valuing? And then work your content backward. The best practice is to always remember how to create content engagement through different channels.