Content Needs an Objective - To Inform, Engage, or Entertain
Have you ever read or watched something lately that left you wondering or second-guessing the intent of the message? Was it meant to evoke some emotion in you? Was it meant to give you some information? Or, Was it just for the pleasure of the creator? With content now being all-pervasive and pretty much covering every aspect of our lives, very often one might come across something that may leave them thinking - "Was there a reason for that?"
Well, most often, content creators start by establishing the 'why' or 'objective' for their content, but somewhere through the draft, that gets forgotten, and their urge to show off their creativity or flair takes center-stage. This might also be brought on by external pressure from clients or financiers!
Starting with a core objective for any piece of content, whether created for an individual or an organization's need, helps in communicating a clear and concise message. While there may be many nuances to your content objective, the core will almost always boil down to one or more of these three reasons - to Inform, Engage, or Entertain. Let me try and elucidate what these mean and to what type of content it might apply.
If you are looking to share information with your Target Audience (TA) that may be new to them, or to remind them about older information, then your objective is 'to inform'. This purpose is used when you need to communicate routine, straightforward news, daily tasks, instructions, code of conduct, steps, and procedures. It can further be developed to evoke emotions, that lead to 'Persuasion' or creating 'Goodwill'. It can also be to 'Educate' or to disseminate knowledge and/or develop skills and attitudes through training programs.
For example, if you wish to inform your TA about the benefits of a product, you might simply draft an instructional document. However, if you wish that your TA is excited enough by the information to purchase the product, then you might use the services of an advertising professional to create creative content that might persuade them.
If you are wanting to build or reinforce an existing relationship, then your objective is most likely 'to engage' your TA. This purpose is often used when one wants to initiate a dialogue or intends the recipient to respond in some manner. Engagement can also be further developed to evoke emotions, that lead to a 'Connection', or creating 'Goodwill', or 'One-ness of purpose'. Polls, social media activities, contests, content for townhall meetings, interactive workshops, content for sales interactions are among the means used to motivate people. Engaging content might even be something that allows you
For example, if you are looking to build a relationship with your TG on social media, you might want to share polls, contests, and other interactive content that might make them share a response.
If you are looking to tell a story in a creative manner, or showcase your skills, or educate, or create a lighter environment, then your objective is 'to entertain'. When you are entertaining, you most likely do not wish to solicit a response, but just showcase your point of view or tell a story. While you may evoke emotions in your TG, they may or may not be to 'Persuade' or create 'Goodwill'. When one entertains, it facilitates social bonding and brings in lighter moments that help in releasing the tension, fostering camaraderie, and getting rid of negative feelings.
For example, if you want to tell a story that is close to your heart, you might create it and share it without expecting any response from the viewer, except that they like it.
Usually good content just uses ONE of the above objectives, however, there are instances where two or all three may be used. It is not easy to keep your content focused if there is more than one objective.
Your Audience Dictates Your Objective
Knowing your audience is probably more important than the objective of your content. Because, while you might intend to inform, engage or entertain, your audience might not necessarily want (or react to) what you share with them. If you are intending to inform an audience that is looking to be engaged then they might lose interest. Or, conversely, if you want to engage, but your audience needs more information, it might backfire.
Before you start any content or communication program, take the time to understand your audience's needs and devise content objectives that align with that need. You are ultimately communicating for a reason, don't lose your audience by giving them what they don't need.
Get in touch with us, if you need help aligning your content and communication objectives.