Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.
How do you create amazing content?
You understand your customer, you develop an original brand voice and you address the topics your audience cares about.
But to truly stand-out (we're talking "amazing") you must either:
a). Do the things your competitors aren't doing; or
b). Do the things they are doing BETTER.
The iPhone: Your Secret Weapon for Original Content
If you think creating original content has to be hard, think again. You can actually organize and produce much of what you need to "stand out" with your iPhone (more on that in a moment).
If you're competing against a business that has been dominating Google for a while now, trying to outdo them is a waste of time. Instead, focus on developing your own way of doing things and creating content that is 100 percent unique.
Does that mean you should avoid answering the questions your target customer needs answering in your content? No, absolutely not. It means you should answer them in an original way AND take chances by creating content outside of your niche.
Just make sure to keep things compatible. For example, a financial services firm writing an article about "how to plan the ultimate around the world trip post-retirement" would work. However, the same business writing about productivity hacks wouldn't be brand consistent.
In this article, we'll reveal 3 ways to enhance your content with your very own smartphone:
1. Take Original Photos
If you want your articles to stand out, you need to use both words AND images. The majority of blogs obtain their accompanying photos from stock photography websites. A variety of both free and paid sites offering stock photography exists online.
How They Work: Professional and amateur photographers submit their work to the sites. Their photos are then categorized into stock libraries by topic and assigned a price. The cost typically ranges from $5 to $25. At Lean Labs, we often use stock photography in our blogs and marketing materials; it's a great way to save time.
HOWEVER, solely relying on stock photography is NOT advised. Do so, and you'll risk blending in with everyone else! Instead, create your own photos using your iPhone.
Phone Photography Tips
1. Aim for Versatility
Your goal is to create a versatile arsenal of photos for your personal library.
The good news?
You don't have to know how a photo will be used before taking it.
Instead of actively looking for specific photo opportunities, take pictures of interesting subjects as they arise. Not only will this take the pressure off finding "the right shot," it will also quickly build a larger selection to draw from.
This method works much better than trying to pair shots and content ahead of time.
2. Use Gridlines
Open your iPhone's "Settings" app, select "Photos & Camera," and switch "Grid"on.
The symmetrically crossed lines will now appear on your viewfinder when taking a photo. Gridlines operate under a photography principle called "The Rule of Thirds."
The principle dictates that images should be broken down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, equaling nine parts in total. Place your primary subject matter within these intersections, and your photo will be more balanced, level, and natural looking.
3. Look for Textures
Ultimately, your photos should support your written content. However, that doesn't mean you ALWAYS have to be literal (i.e. including a photograph of trees when you're a branch trimming company). Your ultimate goal is to invoke a feeling.
One Trick: Begin Photographing Textures – steel poles, wood grains, interesting mosaics and patterns found in nature all make fantastic subjects. Experiment with taking macro (up-close) shots and more distant shots using blur features.
4. Edit Your Photos
You know what makes professional photos look so professional? Besides great lighting (go natural whenever possible). Editing!
Most of the photos you admire have gone through some sort of editing process. Tweaking a photo's saturation, brightness and contrast can have a profound affect. A variety of affordable photo editing apps now exist for iPhone. We recommend checking out ProCam.
2. Make Spontaneous Videos
Many marketing gurus have declared 2016 "the year of video." You can bet in 2017 we'll see more creative use of video than ever. According to Syndacast, 74 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video.
Of course, using video on its own will not magically grow your business. However, it could skyrocket your results when used in conjunction with clear objectives. Check out these stats gathered by Convince and Convert:
- Adding video to websites increases the chance of landing front page search results by 53.8 percent.
- 71 percent of marketers say video conversion rates consistently outperform other marketing content.
- Audiences are 10x more likely to engage with video content than text-only blogs or social posts.
What types of videos should you make? You can experiment with Q&As, "meet the team" and product demonstrations. Thankfully, the iPhone comes with a built-in, high-quality HD camera.
iPhone Video Tips
- Take advantage of natural lighting whenever possible.
- In absence of natural light, use a lighting kit with two floodlights and one spotlight.
- Use apps like iMovie and Video Filter to add professional effects.
- Pair your videos with royalty-free music.
- Experiment with high and low angles.
3. Catalog Your Ideas
Finally, your smartphone can help you catalog content ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come when doing something completely unrelated. Whether you're in line at the grocery store or listening to a friend tell a story, having a way to capture spontaneous ideas is important.
iPhone Ideation Tips
- Use Evernote: Evernote is an app that allows users to conveniently organize ideas. Since it's kinda hard to explain, check out this article to get the most out of it.
- Use Voice Memos: Your phone's standard "voice memo" feature is great for those who prefer the convenience of speaking notes on the fly. Just remember to check them periodically.
- Use Notes: Your phone also comes with a standard "notes" feature. Jot down inspirations as they come.
No matter which method you use, the important thing is to be consistent and check your notes on a regular basis. With that said, we recommend Evernote since you can pair your notes with any supporting research you find online.
Create Your Own Category
As you can see, the key to standing out online is to create your own category and original content. Have fun integrating the aforementioned tools into your content creation process. Don't be afraid to experiment! The best results often come from trying something new.
Got any other tips for using the iPhone to create content?
Tell us in the comments below.
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