While content marketing has moved past buzzword status to become a pillar of marketing strategies, many marketers and business professionals are still unsure of what makes good content.
I often struggle with what to write or wonder if the topics I want to cover are worthwhile. When considering questionable content ideas, some of the lessons of our youth can come in handy.
Applying life lessons to your content can create a good litmus test to determine whether you should scrap an idea or if you might be on to something.
I know I heard this one as a kid, and you probably did too. It’s been said that everyone’s favorite topic is themselves – we’re not alone, it’s science. Being aware of this tendency to talk about ourselves or our brands can remind us to scan content for anything too self-promotional.
Knowing that your visitors will want content related to their favorite topic (i.e. them) will help you stay focused on those people and how to solve their problems. Creating personas is a great way to keep your reader in mind; and this technique will allow you to ask yourself what he or she would think of what you’ve created.
You can even feature your customers and fans in your content to create information they’ll be excited to share!
I sometimes recite this timeless Thumper quote to myself to make sure I don’t say anything I will regret. As it applies to content marketing, if you don’t have something valuable to say, don’t say anything at all.
Your content should add to the conversation by being helpful, useful or entertaining. If it is none of these things, it is best left unsaid. Content that is shallow or doesn’t provide value to the user can negatively affect your search rankings. So don’t let a quota of content get in the way of the need for quality content.
Check out these guidelines on how to make great content that is worth sharing.
Ahh, the golden rule. Sometimes easier said than done, but essential for content marketing.
When creating content, ask yourself:
If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re on your way!
Another caveat I’d add here is that, unless your content is so-good-I-should-be-paying-for-it quality, don’t make readers jump through hoops to get it. Lead generation gates like email sign up forms on resources like e-books, videos, white papers etc. should be reserved for the cream of the crop.
This life lesson likely applies to the vast majority of us right now in general. But, for your content marketing efforts, taking a break or sleeping on the material you create can make it better!
Like other writers, when I have the time to employ this strategy and can put some time between myself and whatever I’ve created I can more easily critique the project and improve it.
By making sure your content 1) isn’t all about you, 2) is valuable, 3) is easy to understand, and 4) is clearly written, you’ll be on your way to create great content – and making your mother proud.