It used to be that just having a lot of content put you ahead of your competition. But then everyone realized that content was king, and we created so much of it (metric ass tons, in fact), that we started ignoring much of what we saw. It’s content shock. You’ve heard of it by now.
Today’s challenge is to create content that will actually get noticed, engage your audience, and move the needle. Content that is actually powerful. But what does that really mean in practice?
Powerful content works for you to help you achieve your marketing and business goals. It addresses content creation: gaps in topic areas, SEO, repurposing to maximize each piece. It also addresses content marketing: how easy is it for your target audience to find the content that is important to them and then take action. So, what do you need to do to make your content powerful?
Below are seven characteristics of powerful content and some tips for implementing them.
Powerful content is:
1. Anchored by a complete strategy.
It’s hard to be successful with your content and marketing efforts, if you are driving blindly. Creating a complete strategy and a plan (no, they are not the same thing) helps you guide so many aspects of your content effort: goals, content themes and topics, target audiences, and even who is doing what and why. Part of the reason companies have SO much content hanging around that is not getting used or read is that the topics are random, and likely not related to the overall marketing or business goals.
To know what you should do, you have to know what you have. Part of your planning should include assessing and auditing all the content you’ve created so far to understand what is performing, what is not, what can be repurposed or repromoted, and what needs to be refreshed. You should know how you do in search rankings compared to your competitors, and whether you rank for terms that are important to your company and goals. If the showing is less than stellar (and even if it’s pretty good), part of your plan should include a keyword strategy and editorial decisions that will directly impact search performance.
2. High quality.
Consumers have become more discerning. They have to be — there’s just too much content out there to not be picky. Stop churning out average content to meet an arbitrary schedule. Decide what your schedule needs to look like in order to create remarkable content on a regular basis. Less is more here, folks. Do one piece per month if that’s what it takes to create something that will really stand out and be useful to your audience.
3. Targeted for a particular audience.
Talk to your audience about what matters to them, not what matters to you. Lots of people make this mistake. Forget about what your engineers, or CEO, or wife thinks would be interesting. If none of these people are in your target audience, don’t listen to them.
4. Available in the today’s formats.
What people want to consume today is not the same as what they wanted a few years ago. People now want a larger variety of formats to choose from, content that is quicker to consume, and that is more engaging. Create or repurpose your content, and think 2019 when you do it, not 2009. For instance, powerful content is what we focus on at Right Source. It only makes sense for us to take this blog post and turn it into as many different types of content possible so that all of our readers, clients, and potential clients can learn from it in the format that works for them. So, we will probably create an audio blog, a downloadable, short audio snippets for social, graphics for each social channel, a video or two, maybe create some kind of interactive quiz on the topic, and perhaps down the road, we’ll knit this post and a couple others together into an eBook.
5. Developed to drive conversions, but also conversations.
Here’s what I mean by that: Content can be created to drive a particular action, like a download of deeper content or a contact us — hopefully turning into a true lead — but it can also be developed as thought leadership for your company or a particular subject matter expert. While SEO is super important to all of us, some pieces just need to be written so you have them, so you can show thought leadership, or to give your CEO a voice. These pieces can then be used with clients or friendlies to start a conversation or prove depth of knowledge. It may not be anything more than that, but that example of thought leadership has value. Not everything has to drive a lead.
6. Distributed through all the appropriate channels.
This is a biggie. It is no longer true that if you build it, they will come. They will NOT. They will have no clue you made anything, and they will go visit your competitors for the information they need. Market to your target audience, my friends, and “surround the castle” when you do it. Just like people have varied preferences in the types of content they engage with, they also will not all engage via the same channel. Market your content in lots of different ways. That way, if your target buyer misses what you posted on your company’s social media channels, you follow them around with some paid ads. If they miss that, they get it in their inbox as an email newsletter. Hit them from all sides.
7. Measured, reported on, and analyzed.
Decide what metrics are important to your effort based on your goals. Maybe it’s clicks, engagement, or time on page. But remember, only measure what’s important (decide that back when you create your strategy), and don’t get caught up in numbers that don’t matter. You got 4,000 Facebook likes? Congrats. But if none of them are your potential customers, are you really winning? And remember, you are not just collecting this data so you can say you have it. Use it to adjust your plans based on what content is resonating with your audience. You have to be flexible to maximize your content marketing efforts.
Remember, the days of creating content and hoping it produces leads or awareness are long gone. Start creating and marketing powerful content to be successful in today’s content marketing landscape. Need help getting started? Remember, having a strategy and a plan are the foundation of a successful effort. Download our eBook, “Build Your Content Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide,” or get in touch and we’ll give you a hand.