Great content, obviously, is the cornerstone of any successful content marketing strategy. But what actually is great content? How do you create content that brings excitement and value to your audience while reaching your goals (e.g. driving your sales or boosting your image) as well?
Create content for the right people
To produce the right kind of content for your target audience, you must first determine who is your target audience. Answer these questions:
- What people you want to attract?
- Who are your potential customers?
For example, we sell simple, easy to use online marketing software that helps our customers make their website more successful. Our target audience are small business owners that are interested in boosting their sales online.
Create the right content for your target audience
For content marketing to work, your content must be worthy of your target audience. Answer these questions:
- What is your target audience interested in?
- What is of value to your target audience?
- What kind of content your audience would be willing to like and share?
To be valuable, your content must be either educational or entertaining. Your content must be so engaging and unique that your target audience is willing to share it and to receive more of it. If it is boring, sloppy and mostly useless, it will not work.
For example, our target audience are small business owners and every business owner is interested in how to attract more customers, how to generate more sales and how to make their business more successful. So we have created free tools and educational articles that help small business owners become successful with their business online.
Create the right content for you
Your content must reach your goals
Your content must not only be of great value and interest to your audience but also be in line with your goals. Here is a list of usual goals:
- Attract and impress potential customers
- Establish confidence by demonstrating your competence and knowledge
- Build an audience that you can talk to
- Lastly, introduce people to your product
Ask these questions:
- What do you want to say or show to your target audience?
- How can you demonstrate your authority in the field?
- How can you impress your audience?
- How can you tie your product with your content without selling it?
For example, our goals are to a) attract more potential customers, b) leave a good impression, and c) ultimately sell more of our online marketing software. Observe that selling our product comes last. This is why our content is all about online marketing and how businesses can use various methods and tools to become successful online. This attracts the right people, gives them a benefit, demonstrates our engagement and interest into making them more successful and occasionally results into a sale of our product. Note that we do not sell our product directly, but we sure as hell do mention it occasionally, whenever it is relevant and can be of benefit to the reader.
Your content must match your resources
Here are the questions to ask:
- What type of content can you produce with the resources that you have?
- Can you write articles or create videos?
- Can you host webinars or podcasts?
- Can you create free software or materials for your audience?
For example, we sell software that helps our customers run online marketing campaigns and maximize performance of their websites. We would like to create a free comprehensive video course (and probably will in the future), but we can not afford that just yet, so we begin by writing this blog and sharing our knowledge and experience about online marketing, because this is what we can do and what also benefits our audience.
Secrets that separate good content from great content
So you have to have content that targets the right audience, that gives people what they want and that helps you reach your goals. Good, but good is not enough when it comes to content marketing. You need to go the extra mile to stand out and be excellent. Here are some ideas.
Use compelling headlines
Use compelling headlines to attract attention. For example, 5 ideas for making your wedding look twice as expensive for the same bucks attracts more attention than Wedding tips for everybody. Of course, the content itself must be on par with the heading.
Make sure your content is unique.
Covering topics and ideas that have been covered by hundreds of other sites dilutes the value of your content. Be fresh. Give them something they did not already know or something of a better quality.
Make content that is engaging
Remember an article, post or video that you read or saw that made you feel excited or enthusiastic? You probably shared that content with your friends or co-workers. Well, this is the effect that you want to create with your own content. Write content that produces enthusiasm and creates connection with your audience, content that addresses the problems that your audience has, content that makes your audience feel that you are communicating on the same emotional level. This might be challenging but it is very rewarding.
Deliver. Do not cut corners.
Instead of "generating some content because you need content for content marketing", go the extra mile and create a genuine value to your audience / potential customers. If you can not commit to excellence, you will not be successful.