It was way back in 1996 when Bill Gates wrote the article Content is King. Since then the phrase has become cliche and the benefits of content marketing have been proven over and over. Unsurprisingly, people are more likely to respond to informational content than traditional advertisements. According to a Hubspot study, 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog recommendation and small businesses with blogs receive 126% more lead growth than competitors without blogs.
With a content strategy in place, you’re ready to begin developing new content. Inbound marketing thrives on fresh content that is relevant, informative and trustworthy. What makes content ‘relevant’ and worth promoting? The best marketing targets the intersection of:
Your prospect’s interests.
Your potential customers want something. They have a problem to solve or a need to fill. Great content puts your customer first by centering that challenge. Consider the ways that you can address the customer’s most pressing need.
Your company’s strengths.
Once you have identified the problem, ask yourself – why is my company the best choice to solve this problem? Focus on your strengths, the things you do at a knockout level. While you may do many things well, there are probably a few that you do best. For content marketing, those are the ones to focus on.
Your competitors’ weaknesses.
When you have a sense of which two or three strengths best match the problem, ask yourself: at which of these are my competitors weakest? How can I clearly show how superior I am at this element, without necessarily doing a direct comparison?
Gotta Get a Gimmick
Film Crit Hulk is a movie review blogger. Like many reviewers, he takes a look at movies in theaters and gives his thoughts on the craft of film-making. Style, editing, acting choices, and all the other usual fodder are part of his reviews. You could get similar thoughts from nearly any other critic out there. But when he was starting out, FCHulk did something different.
WHEN HULK STARTED, HULK DID ALL REVIEWS LIKE THIS. ALL CAPS. ALL THE TIME. BECAUSE HE IS HULK AND HULK IS LOUD.
The gag, of course, is that big, loud, angry Hulk giving thoughtful, cogent movie reviews is a weird juxtaposition. It was attention-grabbing and people loved it. When they read his work and realized he was the real deal, they loved it more. Even though the reviewer behind Hulk has backed off the gimmick, he’s maintained the raw, unfiltered style. You read FCHulk’s reviews because you want his opinions.
I’m not suggesting that you should go for a big over the top gimmick like FCH in order to get noticed. But I do think you have to have an identity. You need to stand for something, be somebody. What’s your thing? What differentiates you from everyone else making content about your industry?
Even the most targeted content in the world will pale in comparison to content with a strong point of view. People have limited time and limited patience when they’re online. While there are those times when it’s necessary to dig into bland, information-heavy content, for most users it’s hardly ideal. Much better is to have that same content, but given a voice and a purpose.
NOTE: Gimmicks are not substitutes for good, useful content. Memes are gimmicks that lack content. No one buys a meme. No one puts their trust in a meme. [bctt tweet=”Memes are gimmicks that lack content. No one buys a meme. No one puts their trust in a meme.” username=”ContextWest”] Memes are for entertainment and then they fade away. So while you grab attention with your unique voice, always be backing it up with your targeted content that answers customer needs, elevates your strengths and reveals competitor weaknesses.
Headlines Can Make or Break Your Content
Forget finding “one weird trick.” (Can we all agree we hate those headlines?) When titling your piece, put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
What might they search for when trying to find the information you’re providing?
How can you present that in an attention-grabbing way?
Does the content you’re providing fulfill the promise you’re making in the title? Nothing will annoy your audience more than bait-and-switch content.
TIP: Content isn’t just blogs and quizzes. The form that a content marketing asset takes can vary wildly based on who your customer is, where they’re likely to encounter that content and what will catch their attention. Get creative! You can find lots examples to give you an idea of the different types of content marketing out there.
Creating content doesn’t have to be a struggle or a chore. Grab a buddy to brainstorm ideas with you and you’ll be amazed by how quickly you fill your content marketing calendar with awesome ideas.