Guest post by Sharon Tanton, Creative Director at Valuable Content, a content marketing agency and co-author of Valuable Content Marketing – How to Make Quality Content the Key to your Business Success.
In the stampede to join the content rush, there’s a danger that the quality slips. So how do you ensure that you are producing valuable content in 2016?
There is no way you have missed the revolution that is content marketing. More fashionable and as ubiquitous as a Leopard Print Onesie – content marketing is the strategy that everyone everywhere is wearing.
Today, more and more companies realized the value of creating and sharing unique content across the web as a way of attracting and converting new customers and building their businesses. Pages and pages of new copy, blogs, videos, infographics, and ebooks are produced every day. Some of it is brilliant – most of it isn’t, and it’s certainly not all getting the results its creators hoped for.
Let’s go back to basics. ‘Content’ is the words on the page you are reading. It’s the copy on your website, the blog you posted last night, the videos and images that you share. When we’re talking about content we just mean words, knowledge and information.
What lifts a piece of content beyond the ordinary is the value it has to the person reading it. The term we use is ‘valuable content’. Valuable content is supercharged content – words, knowledge and information shaped for a particular audience. It is content with a bigger purpose, useful information created for a niche; content that hits the mark.
To be valuable, content must have uniqueness at the client level, and it must be meaningful.
Charles H Green, author of The Trusted Advisor.
The key to producing valuable content is a deep understanding of your client and customer base.
- What do they genuinely care about?
- What questions are they asking?
- What answers can you give that will really help them?
To find the answers you need to talk, listen and engage; you can’t create a successful content market strategy in a vacuum. It’s a shift in focus. Forget the self promotion. If you want to create content that your people will value, you need to put them and their needs above you and your business. Our content marketing mantra is ‘Help, don’t Sell. Talk, don’t Yell. Show, don’t Tell.’
So what does valuable content look like?
Whether it’s a blog article, ebook, Tweet, newsletter or web page, valuable content always shares certain attributes.
Valuable content is:
- Helpful – It makes a difference, it answers a genuine question.
- Entertaining – Provokes a reaction. Smile, laugh, or think – people respond to it and want to share it.
- Authentic – Genuine and original. Written from the heart, it tells a story that people understand and respond to.
- Relevant– It is rooted firmly in the client’s world, it makes perfect sense.
- Timely – it is sent out at the right time, it hits the audience when they are most receptive.
In any combination, these attributes form the kind of content that gets read, shared and acted upon. Businesses that really win exhibit all these qualities across the variety of content they put out there. They start from a point of deep understanding and a desire to help, and then they get creative.
Where do you start?
Get to know your clients better, put valuable content at the heart of your marketing, and this thoughtful, joined up approach will pay dividends.
It takes work and commitment – it’s not all simple, you’ll need to take some risks and probably make a few mistakes along the way. Being valuable is not something you can pay lip service to, or tackle half heartedly, but you can make it work. Marketing with valuable content gives you the most fantastic opportunity to build your business, starting right now. Why not seize it?