What’s the difference between passable, “meh” content and truly great content that influences? After some stellar SEO has effortlessly led people to your content, there are several other attributes that must be present to make it great.
There are three important characteristics that separate memorable content from content that is just okay. Great content should:
- Entertain; so that the reader can feel pleasantly engaged while learning things he needs to know.
- Give value to the reader. Never throw up a content “mirage,” with writing that makes promises that are never delivered in your piece.
- Achieve specific goals for your brand. Objectives like increasing brand awareness and boosting sales are important too. They are, after all, the ultimate goals of your content.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into why each of these three points is important to consider when you want to create A-grade content to promote your brand.
Great Content Tells an Engaging Story
A good story is so important that it’s first on the list of qualifications for awesome content. This is because content that is fun and engaging ensures that people will read far enough in to get your message.
Engaging content is simply more memorable. When content is more memorable, its message is easier for readers to absorb and integrate.
Imagine that you have a meal delivery service that goes beyond the usual vegan, gluten-free and paleo options into nitty-gritty ingredient specifics. You could have content that explains plainly and simply what you offer. For example:
The Home Gastronome meal delivery service gives you exhaustive lists of ingredients that you can choose as favorites or opt to exclude from your meal kits.
Or you could offer content that tells the compelling story of a busy exec who is short on time but has devastating allergies to tomatoes and citrus. She’d love to take advantage of the convenience of a meal delivery service but doesn’t dare since tomatoes and citrus are prominently featured in so many recipes. Here’s an example of how this situation might be presented as a story:
Helen is a busy, newly married VP who clocks about 70 hours per week at the office. She would love to have pre-prepped meals delivered that she and her new spouse could share on the rare opportunities they have each week to eat together.
Unfortunately, throughout her life, Helen has made frequent visits to the emergency room for allergic reactions to common ingredients like tomatoes and citrus. And she’s had trouble finding enough meal choices from delivery services that don’t contain at least one of her problem ingredients.
Then Helen discovered a convenient meal kit (insert link to product via the underlined text) that features ultra-specific lists of ingredients—known as preference sheets—where customers can eliminate ingredients they don’t want included in their personalized meal kits.
For Helen, this means that lemon juice will be replaced with a different sour element and dishes where tomatoes are the “star” will be excluded from her meal plan altogether. And she and her partner can spend their precious time together enjoying each other’s company instead of stressing over ingredients and meal prep.
Stories give readers something to relate to and identify with. They set up circumstances that viscerally connect people to needs that only your product can fulfill. You can add as much detail to your story as you like. A compelling story injects that touch of humanity that will bring your product or service to life for your prospective customers.
Next, Give Them What They Came For
Great content shouldn’t merely engage the reader. It should also give him some real value for the time he spends reading it. Readers should not come away from reading your content piece feeling as if they are filled up with something tasty yet nutritionally empty.
Your content should provide readers with dense, useful and easily assimilated—“nutritious”—information that they can truly benefit from. This means including real, actionable steps readers can take to substantially improve their personal or professional lives. It means anticipating and answering any questions readers may have about the topic of your article or blog.
Your meal delivery service could be one tip in a list of ways for busy professionals to remove items from their to-do lists and free up more time to spend with family and friends.
An anticipated question/concern could be, “I’m super busy and I’d love to save time with a meal delivery service but I have allergies and it’s hard to trust a service to adjust to my dietary needs.”
Other items on your list of time savers could include suggestions on how to find a great nanny or hire the perfect assistant. You might include a link to a highly rated new time-saving virtual assistant app as one of your suggestions.
Whatever you include in your content piece, be sure to put yourself in the shoes of those in your target audience. That audience should come away from reading your piece feeling like they have terrific new solutions to the problems that drove them to read your content in the first place.
Meet Your Own Goals While Entertaining and Giving Value
The first two rules for creating great content are the wind beneath the wings of your objectives (aka your original reasons for placing your content). The ultimate goal of top quality content can fall into several categories; among them to expand awareness for your product or position yourself as an expert in your field so that you can increase sales down the line as your reputation grows.
Real rockstar content—in addition to being entertaining and providing value—achieves goals for your brand. So, as a starting point, you must specifically define those goals.
Once you’ve determined your goals in producing content be sure to go that extra mile and hire a writer who can produce the kind of content that will get you the results you’re aiming for. If you don’t get results for your business your content has not served its purpose and can’t be considered good content.
A writer with experience that aligns with your marketing goals can help you meet your objectives. For example, if you’re looking to increase brand awareness, an expert social media writer may be just what you need.
For businesses the goal of good content is to get potential customers closer to making a purchase. In the words of 7 Eleven’s Gary Stein, “When a brand creates content, it needs to remember that it is doing that for a business reason. After exposure to and engagement with the content, the consumer must be closer to buying or believing.”
We couldn’t have said it better. When you give to the consumer in terms of focused, quality content, your business will reap substantial benefits.