As almost every person with an online business would know, content is unequivocally the most important aspect of any digital marketing campaign. The term ‘content is king’ – no matter how overused, cliché and eye-roll inducing it may now be – is certainly on the mark; there is nothing quite as effective, important and useful to a brand than engaging content.
But the question remains; how do you create high-quality content? It’s something that most brands struggle with, but it really isn’t as hard as many make it out to be. The truth is that your blogs, website copy or Facebook posts don’t need to be written by the next Shakespeare to be loved by your target audience. In reality, you just need to satisfy three key areas: usefulness, uniqueness and alignment.
Today, we’re diving right into what each of these elements means for your content, and how it can help to not only draw more attention to your brand, but keep it there for the long-haul…
It must be unique
In a world where social media is so oversaturated with branded content, the thought of being ‘unique’ can seem almost impossible. But the truth is that this is what sets apart the average blog, article or social post from the truly incredible ones.
The key to unique content is that it makes your target audience sit up, take notice and, most importantly, remember your brand. It sets you apart from the dozens of other companies offering the same or similar products and services as you are; because while they’re all spouting the same rehashed blogs over and over, you’re out here giving relatable, relevant information.
Think about it; every day on social media we’re inundated with information and ads, many of which blur into the next. But when something does catch our eye, it’s usually because it’s doing things differently. It’s a company that has clearly taken the time to sit down and map out their content strategy, brainstorming creative and unique ideas along the way.
If you want to be successful, that needs to be you. You need to give enough time and resources to your content so that the end result is what you audience actually wants.
It must be useful
Before we get started, let’s get on the same page regarding the word ‘useful’. This doesn’t just mean you have to give instructional, problem-solving content to your audience. It means your content serves a particular purpose for the reader. The most common purposes are:
- It answers a question
- It helps them learn something
- It helps them buy something
- It entertains the reader
- It instructs the reader
Every blog, article, Instagram post and YouTube video you see falls into one of these categories. So, when creating your content, you need to be mindful of which one you’re trying to fulfil. Sometimes, these categories can overlap – for example, the reader has a question and the answer involves the use of your product or service – but it’s important not to try and cram them all into one. Good content is clear cut and precise, it isn’t overwhelming and clunky.
But the work doesn’t just end there. No matter which category your content fits into, it should have a few key characteristics. These are:
- Credibility: If you want your brand to be a trusted source for information, you need to make sure what you’re publishing is credible. Over time, this will build a sense of trust from your readers and keep them coming back for high-quality content.
- Engagement: It doesn’t matter if your content reliably answered the age-old question, “what is the meaning of life?” – if it’s not engaging, no one will read it. Especially in this increasingly online world, the attention span of online audiences is getting smaller and smaller. You need to grab their attention and make it worth their while to read from start to finish. Otherwise, your incredibly well-thought-out content strategy may as well be in the bin.
- User experience: No one wants to click onto a blog only to find that it’s filled with ads for products, poorly written and designed so poorly you can barely keep your attention focused on the words. Creating a great user-experience comes part and parcel with developing amazing content, so be sure the experience is tarnished by misplaced commas and spammy ads.
It must align with yours and your reader’s needs
Creating great content is a delicate balancing act between what you and your reader wants from the piece. It needs to serve a purpose for your company, of course, but it also needs to appeal to the reader. And finding this balance can be hard…
Here are the two most common mistakes made by content makers online:
Pushing the brand too strongly
No one wants to read a blog that pushes a product from the very first line. Not only because it feels too salesy, but because topics that allow you to talk about your products throughout usually aren’t the most engaging anyway. You don’t want to be known as that brand that constantly puts out uninteresting content whose sole purpose is to make money. Not only will this decimate your readership, but it will waste your own time and resources.
Trying too hard to be relatable
As we said earlier, amazing content is a balancing act. So just as you can lean too far to the business side, you can also lean too far towards the reader. This usually happens when a company tries to be so ‘relatable’ that the content feels forced, patronising or simply irrelevant to the brand’s identity. This content might attract a lot of attention, but it’s not likely to serve your end-goal because the audience it’s appealing to won’t necessarily be the same people buying your product or service.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember the purpose of your content is to grow your brand, reach new people and engage potential customers. That’s why having the right balance of business and reader elements is crucial, as this is the best way to combine what your readers want with what your brand needs simultaneously.