Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about content marketing — it’s been around for ages. But, what makes great content? Is there one key ingredient? Let me tell you what I think.

What’s the point of content marketing?

Content marketing is about engaging and educating a target audience. The ultimate goal is to gain and retain clients.

The benefits of effective content marketing include

  • business exposure
  • website traffic
  • customer loyalty

It is also estimated that content marketing costs around 62% less than outbound marketing and generates as much as three times as many leads.

But, what exactly is content?

It comes in many forms: blog posts, case studies, newsletters, audio, video, images…. As a writer, I specialise in written material, so, in this post, I focus on blogging.

Here’s a definition from the Content Marketing Institute:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

As you can see, this definition includes four key points:

  1. Valuable
  2. Relevant
  3. Consistent
  4. A clearly defined audience.

Let’s examine each point in the order you need to consider them.

A clearly defined audience

Why start at the end of the list? Well,  to judge the value and relevance of content, first you must know your audience. What do they care about? What problems do they face? What pleasures do they seek? What kind of content does your audience consume? Any marketer will say you can’t be everything to everyone, so clarify your audience.

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Relevant

Okay, once you’ve settled on a clearly defined audience, think about what is appropriate — useful. For example, if you’re an insurance broker, your clients and prospects will probably appreciate topics like

  • How to get affordable life insurance
  • Why medical insurance is important
  • What is trauma insurance?

Stick to the ‘script’ — there’s probably no point discussing your weekend activities if you sell insurance.

Valuable

I don’t know the figures, but I reckon most blog posts are pretty pointless. Sure, they may be well-written and meet the prescribed word count, but many don’t add anything new, cover topics of interest to the intended audience or, worse, are just thinly disguised advertisements.

The point of content marketing is to educate a target audience to move them farther along the sales pipeline. If your content doesn’t do that, rethink your strategy.

Consistent

Create a content schedule and stick with it. You see, Google loves fresh content; in its mind, new stuff is likely to be relevant to users of its search engine. Consequently, you’ll have a better chance of ranking favourably in searches.

So, what’s the key ingredient in great content?

As a writer, I frequently receive calls from people who, perhaps through a business coach, seminar or book, have learned about content marketing. They’re eager to jump on the ‘content bus,’ and need me to drive, which is great — that’s my job.

However, be aware: If you hire a blog writer, you must have involvement in the process. And, this is where many people go wrong — they want rewards without the effort.

You see, for me to write consistent blog posts that are relevant and valuable to your target audience, you must communicate with me. I need to know about your business and what your audience cares about. Basically, I need you.  Alas, for some reason, once the novelty wears off, some people start playing ‘hard to get’ and tell me they are “too busy” to talk. So, the content bus grinds to a halt.

So, what’s the key ingredient in great content? By now, you’ve probably worked it out. Yes, my friend, it’s YOU.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments section below.

  1. Great post, Andrew. 🙂

    I feel your frustration at not being able to do as good a job as you could for clients if they don’t provide input. After all, they know their product/service best.

  2. Fabulous post Andrew. I could not agree more. I too have experienced ‘content clients’ who know their industry, product and or service better than anyone, including me. So it is their job to share as much information about that, for us to translate their information into the written word to share to others.

    Oh I wish there was a ‘writer’s crystal ball’ available to assist the information transfer!

    Keep up the great work!
    Sandy

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