Value Exchange: Are You Ready For A New Currency?

Life moves fast these days, and each second of attention you earn from a reader amounts to a value. This value can be seen as a currency that you trade quality content for. The question is: Are you providing enough value?

In every consumer-brand relationship there is what is called ‘value exchange’. This exchange occurs at any time when the consumer is interacting with the brand. These exchanges can be in the form of of money for goods and services; an online survey in exchange for a coupon or a call between a customer and the brand’s helpline. All of these are an exchange that amounts to a specific value to each of the parties involved.
The same values apply for websites and social media interactions. When a consumer browses your site or clicks one of your links there is an expectation of value exchange; their time is exchanged for valuable or interesting content. Whether or not you uphold your side of the exchange determines how your consumers feel towards your brand.
For example, you see a Facebook post by brand X that claims to have the top five reasons that your children won’t listen to you. If you click the link, there is an expectation of quality, relevant information that could help you make your children listen to you, or at least help you laugh about the situation.
At this point one of two situations will occur:
Result #1: You click the link and laugh at GIFs that show you not to worry too much because children don’t listen to their parents and you are not alone. You enjoy the brief interruption and brand X earns a few brownie points. Those brownie points will come in handy when the situation arises that you need a specific service or product that brand X provides. You won’t specifically remember the funny link about terrible children but the fuzzy feel-goods will still be in your brain, which is obviously the effect that brands are looking for.
Result #2: You click the link and there are 16 ads and an article about muscle-building supplements. No brownie points and certainly no fuzzy feel-goods. You learn to not trust that brand for links any longer because they did not hold up their end of the value exchange. This is exactly what you – and brands – do not want in social media interactions.
So, how do you make sure that you are upholding your end of the value exchange? Well first off you can make sure that you never repeat any of these mistakes. And second, make sure that your brand is producing valuable content.
How to tell if your content is valuable:

  • Does your content answer questions?

If a potential customer is looking for a specific answer can they find it on your site? Your content should visit areas of your expertise and provide simple, easy-to-read explanations.

  • Is your audience and its expectation aligned?

By knowing your audience, you can frame your answers and explanations in a language they can understand. Using heavy amounts of industry jargon can alienate your customers and readers.

There is a time and a place for formal tones but sometimes your website isn’t one of them. When using a consistent and friendly tone your readers will feel at ease when accessing your content. If you’re talking about anything to do with safety or security, formal language is better.

  • Are you being specific enough to not create more questions than answers?

Simplicity is very important. Try to target small problems and then work towards a big picture, not vice-a-versa.

  • Do you include examples? How about how-to guides? What about testimonials from others?

Nothing says customer service like putting yourself in the seat of a customer. Pretend you are new to a particular situation. What information would you need to make decisions.

  • Are you reading what others in your industry are creating? Do you have theories towards what works and what doesn’t?

Nobody likes to be the last one to the party but by not keeping up with industry standards you might be the last one to know. Competitors aren’t enemies they can actually be used to provide answers when you cannot.

Nobody wants to read the dictionary or even worse the instructions that come with your do-it-yourself furniture. Just because you might be explaining dry topics, doesn’t mean you have to be dull.
If you can answer yes to the above questions, there is a good chance that you are producing valuable content. And that means that you are holding up your end of the value exchange. Congratulations! If not, spend sometime analyzing your content strategies and try again.

What value points did we not include? Tweet your ideas to @Midphase.