Good content marketing adds value.

Three elements of successful content marketing

Content writing has been around for years. In fact, IBM has had a content and social media strategy since the early 1990s.

Despite this, the idea of employing a content writer is still new for many businesses. Lately, though, more businesses are requesting content like blogs, case studies and advertorials. Why? There are several good reasons:

  1. consumers are becoming apathetic towards traditional advertising
  2. content is great for attracting Internet traffic
  3. creating content is a good way to become an authority in a niche, to customers and Google.

 

In this post I look at three things that successful bloggers and content writers do to write good content.

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One: They focus on their audience

Every marketer knows the importance of targeting a specific market. This applies to online content marketing just as much as T.V., radio or print.

One place I’ve seen businesses veer off track is social media.

As a content writer, social media is essential for promoting my content, but it’s easy to waste time on the wrong sites. You see, each platform attracts different people with different reasons for being there.

So, it pays to find out which social media platforms your customers use before jumping in. For example, over time I have found Linkedin to be particularly good for businesses working in B to B; Facebook, on the other hand, is usually good for B to C.

If you would like more information on this, my previous blog looks at the pros and cons of five well-known social media sites.

Also, when producing content, stay on topic. If your business supplies sporting goods, produce blog posts, case studies and videos relating to sport. If you stray too far off topic it will only confuse your customers, and Google will hate you!

Two: They avoid the hard sell

It’s not about hard sell.  Content marketing works when it provides value to the reader. An advertisement thinly veiled as a blog, usually doesn’t offer much value and people can smell a sales pitch a mile away.

Using the previous sporting-goods analogy, producing a blog giving advice on how to maintain your mountain bike gives value. Good content achieves the following:

  • people will probably come back to read your next post
  • people may share your posts on social media
  • as more people visit your website to read your content, its authority with Google increases leading to a better search ranking
  • your customers and potential customers start to view you as an expert in your field
  • you can use your posts as sales tools to refer customers to.

 

Don’t get me wrong, content marketing is about promoting your business and ultimately making money. However, it is a long-term approach based on building relationships.

 

Three: They give value

In my view, the longer and more detailed your content is the better. Substantial posts with  links to valuable sources are more likely to be referenced by readers and generate incoming links. However,  if you’re writing content just to meet your quota, don’t. A short good-quality blog post is better than a long one that isn’t worth reading.

Recently I read a post  that lists elements for good content. I’ve cut it down a bit, but I think it is a good list to refer to.

So, when writing content,  make sure it has a good portion of these elements:

  • useful
  • timely
  • informative
  • relevant
  • practical
  • actionable
  • generous
  • credible
  • entertaining
  • occasionally funny.

 

What do you think? If you found this post useful  please share and leave your comments.

  1. Exactly what I think, Andrew – it’s about the value to the reader and sending the right message to the right people.
    Too many businesses think social media is just another place for putting ads, and miss the whole point about building relationships between your brand and your market, i.e. you and the people you relate/appeal to.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Fiona. I think that people also shouldn’t get too hung up on connecting with only potential customers. I have probably received more benefit from connecting with others in my industry.

      1. Too true, Andrew. I have to say word of mouth is my best source of work, and social media is an extension of the same principles. Referrals from industry peers and business community connections I have developed are just as common as referrals from customers.
        Online content serves as the support material that verifies whether I can provide what people are looking for. My last two website enquiries showed up as viewing my LinkedIn profile before they contacted me, and I was able to see which common connection referred them to me in one instance.

  2. I agree Andrew – and was glad to see humour on your list of elements. I think humour (portrayed professionally) is exceptional for stickability and standing out in a often crowded space.

    I also like your comment Fiona, social media as a promotional tool should be a very, very small percentage of the content you are placing – and of your overall online strategy. As you say, the whole point about social media is building relationships … i.e. social!!

  3. I agree with you here Andrew, it’s all about the value you can bring to your readers. I preach this a lot over at my blog and of course that’s about building those relationships with your readers.

    I was just over on a blogging friend’s blog and he was sharing his story of how not only did Google shut down his adsense account but his blog was hacked. He was so upset and didn’t know where to turn so he reached out to some blogging friends, me included.

    They all rallied to his side and within a couple days he was back up and running. Did those people want to buy anything from him in particular? No, they just enjoyed the content he shared and was learning from his experience. Had he ignored them and didn’t take that time to get to know them then he would have never been able to reach out to them and get this issue resolved.

    I’m not a big company needing a content writer but I know the importance of building relationships with your readers. They will be the ones to support you as you create products and/or services. If they don’t need what you have at the moment they’ll definitely recommend you because of those relationships.

    That’s what I know for sure.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Hi Adrienne, thanks for you detailed feedback. Social media certainly encourages a sense of community among bloggers. You touched on a point about engaging with people who aren’t necessarily potential customers. I think this is really important. Most of my good on-line contacts, in reality, will never become customers. However, they are often great sources of referrals and valuable information.

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