Five Rules for Content
We all know that the “content” market is oversaturated, but it’s also “the only marketing left” according to some industry experts, as we see traditional advertising taking a backseat to a truly customer-first approach. Five simple rules to make sure that your content marketing is not only keeping up with the times, but taking your company forward.
1. Give It Away
The days of gated content are over. Users are wary of a something-for-nothing bargain when it’s their information on the line. If your content is as valuable as you think it is, people will want to come back for more. They’ll sign up after you’ve given them the goods. But until you prove that you really have something to offer, users are less and less likely to trade their information for yours.
2. Tell Stories With Conflict
You’d never read a newspaper article about a bank that wasn’t robbed. In your content, make sure that you’re speaking to the problem and the solution. Don’t be afraid to agitate the pain – demonstrate the need that you’re trying to address as well as offering your answer. Pie-in-the-sky stories not only seem unrealistic, but they’re also boring. You never want to be an ambulance chaser, or exaggerating the problem artificially like a bad infomercial, but the hook of conflict and resolution will keep your audience engaged, and help them feel connected and invested in the final offering.
3. Be Useful. Really.
Think like your audience. They’re asking, What’s in it for me? Your brand does not have to be front and center – it might hardly feature at all. But if people believe you’re smart and helpful, they’ll like and trust you. Focus on what your true customers are worried about. What problems are they trying to solve? What’s their pain point? Even if they never purchased from you, what could you offer that would be valuable? As consumers, we’re so used to advertising, but we’re always looking for help, advice, and answers. Think like your audience to build content that is truly relevant.
4. Don’t Listen to Opinions
There is so much data out there, you no longer have to wonder about what will be most effective. Opinions about your target audience are only guesses – data is the audience telling you directly what it likes, wants, and needs. The amount of data can be overwhelming, but don’t get too bogged down too early. Look at what’s working and what isn’t, what’s popular and what isn’t. Marketers at any level can get valuable insights from their audience that can drive content creation much more effectively than ideas or opinions about what “might” be effective.
5. Stay True to Your Brand
There are a lot of successful brands doing content a lot of different ways – rather than looking at what’s working for other people, focus on what works for you. Stay true to your voice, your audience, your core message. There will always be content trends, but don’t be led astray from what you can sincerely offer.
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