Look at any creative blog or website right now and one of the key things you’ll pick up is that content is being heavily promoted as an effective form of marketing. This is a bit misleading, considering that marketing in itself is impossible without content.
However, the types of content being produced is the issue that’s recently come under the microscope. Over 60% of consumers stated they prefer a company that delivers custom created content. So what makes good content? Better than that, what makes content glorious?
To go through it all will take a lot more room than available here. However, there are seven things we can talk about to make your content engaging and appealing:
1) The First Bite Is With The Eye
Like food, you’ll see it before you taste it. So it’s the same with content. Creating visually stimulating content is by far going to engage with your audience far more than simply using the written word. Even if you can get much more information about your product or service into those long chunks of text, who is going to have the patience to read it?
Almost 20% of page views will last less than 4 seconds, so making your content as visually dynamic as possible is something that is recommended. Would you prefer to read the above content or the below?
The sad thing is that it doesn’t matter if the first piece of content is more substantial, factual or relevant. If it doesn’t look good enough to read, it simply won’t most of the time. Infographics are a fantastic example of visual content that is digestible and sharable. Consider creating them from time to time.
2) An Excellent Headline is Half The Battle
Much like newspapers and other print media, a great headline can often be make or break for your content. The whole purpose of a headline is to get the audience to read the next line. Don’t settle for anything less than a purposeful headline that tells the audience there’s something here they won’t regret reading more of.
A good headline will catch the eye and provoke a response. Being direct and addressing a need (more on that below) when you create your headline should be priority. Remember, this is likely the first (and if it’s not good, the last) thing the reader will see. It’s your best and most important window in marketing the content.
3) Relevance Is Key
Fantastic content is focused. That is, it addresses a key need for your target audience. It should be relevant. It needs to be worthwhile. You should giving an opinion or arguing a case, with the quotes, facts, statistics and citations that will make you an authority on the subject in hand. Write as real and as passionate about something as possible and you will get read. Think of it like being the most interesting person at a party. Talk about something that resonates with the other guests, and sound like you know exactly what you are talking about and people will gather round to listen.
4) Use The Resources Available
If you work within a company with more than a handful of people, then it’s important to understand that everyone is a potential resource. Don’t restrict yourself to simply asking the marketing people for content ideas. Expand your search and explore all the members of staff that work under your roof. Chances are they might have a few ideas for content that you might not have considered.
Expanding on this; ask your audience. It seems so simple but by asking them what they want to see or read, you’re getting a built-in readership already. Using FAQ pages is an excellent avenue for content ideas. Even better, using competitors FAQs is a good method of providing content that addresses needs their audience has.
5) Create Or Promote Video Content
This cannot be stressed enough. Video is a glorious form of content that is eminently sharable and interesting. Online video accounts for 50% of mobile traffic and it’s estimated that it will account for 55% of consumer traffic by 2016.
Video doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to burn a hole in your marketing budget. As long as it fulfils a basic need of your audience then you’ll find it an effective form of content. Take Moz’s ‘Whiteboard Friday’ series of videos. Essentially, they are visual blog posts which consist of a person and a whiteboard. Yet, these videos are very popular within their community.
6) Provoke A Reaction
Glorious content should stick in the mind. It should be something that one person says to another during conversation. “I saw this article that talked about….” That is the power of great content. It lives beyond the page and causes a reaction. It doesn’t always have to be a positive reaction (although that’s the aim). Good or bad, a reaction followed by engagement is something you want to be shooting for.
Which leads to the final tip for glorious content creation….
7) Take Risks
Don’t be afraid to step outside the comfort zone on occasion. You want to get noticed. You want to stand out from the rest of the content out there. Coca-Cola have an excellent format which you might want to emulate.
Their strategy is 70 – 20 – 10 when it comes to content:
- 70% tried and tested content that definitely works.
- 20% is innovative content built on that initial 70%.
- 10% is content that is extremely high risk.
Be bold and seriously consider all ideas that fly across the table. Ask “Is anyone else doing this?”
Sometimes, it can work.
Marketing is a fluid concept. These tips are only scratching the surface, but hopefully will give you a little direction when it comes to crafting unique and glorious content.[Images via leaderswest.com, stayonsearch.com, gnu.org]
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