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From the Trenches

From Content Shock to Content Power: 7 Checkpoints

Yvonne Lyons | May 16, 2024

It used to be that 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 all of us, myself included, started ignoring much of what we saw.

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 truly mean in practice?

Effective content serves as a strategic tool to assist you in reaching your marketing and business objectives. It encompasses two key aspects: content creation and content marketing. Content creation involves identifying and filling gaps in topic areas, optimizing for search engines (SEO), and maximizing the value of each piece through repurposing. Meanwhile, content marketing focuses on ensuring that your target audience can easily discover and engage with the content that is relevant to them, prompting them to take desired actions. So, what steps can you take to make your content truly impactful?

Below are seven characteristics of powerful content and 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 efforts: 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 often not related to their 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 well, 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 honestly), 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 fail to prioritize this. Forget about what your colleagues 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 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 content that is more engaging. Create or repurpose your content, and think 2024 when you do it, not 2014. 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 a downloadable asset, short audio snippets for social, graphics for each social channel, 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 form completion — which hopefully turns 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 your thought leadership on a subject or to represent your CEO’s voice and perspective. These pieces can then be used with clients or prospects to start a conversation or prove depth of knowledge. It may not be anything more than that, and that’s OK. That example of thought leadership still 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’ sites when they pop up on Google 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, not when you’re reporting on how your content is performing), 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.

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.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published on September 24, 2019, and has been updated multiple times since to maintain its relevance.

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About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.