Welcome to the next instalment in our series: Champions of Content
Content is integral to the way brands are understood and seen by their audiences, but developing content for different audiences, on different channels and even in different languages can be very complicated to get right.
In Champions of Content, we’ll be speaking to passionate content creators we admire including marketers, journalists, writers, podcasters, and speakers about their experiences and sharing the wisdom to help others on their own content journey – whether your first putting pen to paper or looking to level up your content strategy.
Mélanie Dallé is a marketing specialist whose career has spanned the globe, taking her from France to Mexico and the UK. Since 2018, she has worked for Traackr, an influencer marketing platform that helps brands find influencers, manage their relationships and measure the impact of their campaigns.
Previously, she has worked for FCB México, where she oversaw the planning and the implementation of multiple international projects, as well as Jazz Group where she developed Content Media for international brands.
In this interview, Mélanie shares her views on the importance of content.
Mélanie, please can you begin by telling us about your own career journey as it relates to content and what role content plays in your work today?
I had a fairly typical marketing journey. I studied international business and did a Master’s degree in marketing and digital media before starting work in communications and marketing for some event companies and advertising agencies.
This all started because I’m a dreamer and I love reinventing stories or impacting people’s minds with messaging or activations. Therefore, marketing was a natural choice for me. I love the diversity in all the tasks I manage, but one crucial thing that connects everything is content. Content is at the heart of everything, as it brings meaning and credibility to anything you try to do or accomplish – whether during a conversation or for business purposes.
I’m currently working for Traackr, an influencer marketing platform. At Traackr, content plays a big role in how we market to prospects and retain customers. Every day, we get inspired by our customers’ success stories and by how the influencer marketing industry is becoming more sophisticated. Therefore, one of our biggest priorities is to constantly create content featuring best practices, success stories and data reports that will drive interest and also educate our community.
What’s interesting is that content is also at the very heart of the influencer marketing industry itself. The main reason why brands partner with influencers is because they help them reach and connect with consumers with more authentic and creative content.
Whose content (brands or individuals) do you admire most and why?
I really admire the work that Dove has been doing! I love the content and actions they develop around female empowerment, self-care and safety. They use their influence to call out major social issues that all generations are facing today.
Dove has launched several powerful campaigns that call out the harmful, unrealistic beauty standards that social media has imposed over the years. For example, the #TurnYourBack campaign goes after filters distorting reality, while their campaign around The CROWN Act had the goal of embracing natural beauty and ending hair discrimination.
Dove plays an enormous role in making social media a more positive place with diverse campaigns and it’s also able to move fast in order to address issues as they happen in real time, to inspire real change. It’s very inspiring for us all and for brands! Another brand I like – for a totally different reason – is the French retailer Monoprix. I like the way they play with words in their product packaging to build a creative and playful story about their packed products. They make random things fun and appealing. For example, I love looking at a pea can or trash bags and reading what’s written on them. Yes, I end up smiling at trash bags – and so what! The casualness of its content is brilliant in my opinion.
We all want our content to stand out, what do you think are the main ingredients that make one piece of content stand out above another?
I think the key is to customise your content for its target audience as much as possible. Then, you can add different “ingredients” if you wish in order to give it a bit of sparkle.
My recommendations are:
- Write authentic content that features rigorous storytelling. People want to identify themselves with what they read. This will catch their attention and encourage them to keep reading or interacting with your content. This narrative is the main thread that will drive your audience to the message you want to convey.
- Have an opinion or a clear point of view. People don’t want an empty piece of content with no clear opinion or message in it. Of course, do be careful not to offend or be too forceful with your opinion. Everything is a question of balance.
- Add actionable insights to ensure transmission and learning. In short, offer a giveaway; either a learning, a plan, a template or just an insight. People want to be fueled by information and feel that they haven’t wasted their time while interacting with your content. This is crucial!
- Finally, have fun! In my experience, every time I tried to write something too seriously, it was such a pain to get it done. Eventually, I realized that if it was no fun for me to write, neither was it fun for the reader. And this is not a good sign. Either have fun or add fun to your content – I’ll let you decide!
What are some of the challenges you face when producing content for different channels and audiences, and how do you deal with these? Here at Tyto, we often navigate the complexity of developing content for different audiences in different countries.
The main challenge is to make sure that it resonates with your audience while taking into consideration cultural elements. I’m French and I manage the EMEA region. I’d say my English has more American influences, but I’ve also lived in London. Even if this language is not my mother tongue, I can definitely see the differences in the way Americans and Britons communicate. This doesn’t prevent folks from perfectly understanding each other, but the way they communicate is undeniably different. Therefore they will have a natural preference for interacting with content that follows their communication style.
My suggestion for marketers is that you might want to create content that makes one unique point or statement, but then adapt it to your audience profile. For example, when I plan a new report or a new campaign, I’ll try to think globally – does a global audience have the same needs or pain points?
If so, I plan a global campaign based on a piece of content that is similar for all regions and then localise some elements for each market (i.e. changing the language, adding specific market insights or changing the promotional tone of voice). Customisation is key in my opinion.
Are you excited by AI and ChatGPT, and if so where do you see the greatest potential to harness it in the development of content, now or in the future?
I’m an advocate for accessibility. New technologies have played a big role in educating and connecting people. But I’d say that even if accessibility is good, authenticity is better.
I’m excited about innovation, but my only fear (especially with ChatGPT) is losing authenticity. When we access content on the web, we find different sources but as individuals through our discernment, we’re able to recognise what is actually a good source or not. Generative AI does not seem to discern between good and bad sources, so how can we make sure that it won’t lead to disinformation in the content it creates?
To me, content is created by individuals and its nature needs to stay intact even though it might be shared through diverse channels. I think we need to protect this. Will AI and ChatGPT be able to do so? If it turns out that they can, I’ll be more excited about that.
For brands or individuals planning to level up their content in 2023, what would be your top three bits of advice for how they can increase the impact of their content? What should they be thinking about and looking at? What are you thinking about?
The two brand examples I’ve mentioned above (Dove vs Monoprix) have completely different approaches because they have different purposes and goals.
What is yours? Ask yourself, what do you try to accomplish by developing a new piece of content or a new campaign? Do you want to educate people? Do you want to entertain? What’s your message and what is the best approach and/or tone of voice to reach your audience?
There is no need to stay traditional or conventional about the content you develop. What you need to focus on is the value you’ll offer. I’m not talking about business goals, I mean what value people will get from your content. If you create value for them, then you’ll convert them and reach your original goal.
For example, I really like some tech providers’ blogs and it happens that sometimes I read their articles to help me think about some marketing use cases or best practices. If one day, I need a similar service to the one they offer, will I contact them instead of another tech provider? Affirmative!
The point I’m trying to make is, content is powerful and it might not bring what you need right away, but it has the power to resonate into people’s mind. It can be a long process, but this is exactly what you want to do – make an impact and be memorable.
Final question, how do you measure the success of your content?
Throughout the years, I’ve gone through many different types of KPIs to measure content success. In my previous advertising agency, we were looking at video views and positive/negative comments.
Over that time, we’ve relied on diverse indicators (website visits, bounce rates, shares and likes, etc) but we’ve also kept a pulse on whether or not sales folks are able to utilise key pieces of content in their outreach and conversations with prospects. It gives a sense of whether it’s working or not. Today, I’m also measuring based on the engagement content generates (hello dark social!). Personally, I want my content to get consumed and resonate with my community.
All those KPIs are good to look at to get a sense of preliminary results. But the truth is, if you want to know if your content is successful, the best way is to look at business outcomes. Successful content drives business forward. Let me know if you disagree!