There’s content…and then there’s content that gets found, provides answers to your target’s challenges, and reinforces you as an expert and a valuable resource.
What are the hallmarks of good content? Use this overview as a guide each time you start work on a new piece of content to ensure that it’s going to do its job: attract leads and help turn them into customers.
Good content addresses a very specific challenge. A good piece of content helps solve a problem. If you’ve created target personas, you know your best prospects’ challenges, pain points, demographics, needs, hurdles, etc., and your content should reflect an understanding of their situation and the problem they’re having. Writing an eBook about the history of welded steel storage tanks, for example, doesn’t answer a need your B2B target has, but writing one about the benefits of polyurea steel tank coatings for water treatment facilities does.
Good content provides distinct value. While it’s not a bad idea, necessarily, to outline what visitors will see in your booth at an upcoming trade show or to share a technical specifications sheet, good content should give the target something of value to walk away with: a method for improving productivity, a more streamlined way to process travel expense reimbursements, a way to reduce the time required to test food products in the production line, etc.
How do you know what’s going to be valuable to your target? Pull together a group that includes someone from sales, operations, customer service and marketing; ask each to provide several of the most common questions he or she is asked about your product. If you make whey protein ingredients, for instance, your team will probably identify questions like:
- “Couldn’t I use gums and starches and get the same results?”
- “Can your product be used in both cold- and heat-activated systems?”
- “What’s your product’s water binding capability?”
Every target in every industry asks unique questions, and those that your target has are a great foundation for advanced content.
Good content aligns with keyword searches. You may have written a Pulitzer-worthy piece of content but if search engines don’t find it, you’ve wasted your time. Your content, its headline and your social media promotion should all include keywords (ideally long-tail keywords) mostly likely used by people searching for answers. If, for instance, your target is trying to learn about polymeric sand for patio paver installation, a headline like “Why Polymeric Sand Is The Best for Patio Paver Installation” is far more likely to get found than “Introducing A Great New Product For You!”
Good content clearly communicates your value proposition. While you’re solving a challenge and providing value, it’s also important to present your product or service as the hero. Using the example above, rather than simply talking about the features of polymeric sand, present the benefits of yours over competitors’ (binds and dries more quickly, easier to level). Content shouldn’t be mistaken for a sales piece, but don’t miss an opportunity to connect the solution directly to your product.
Good content is clear and concise. People have painfully short attention spans and want information presented quickly and simply. The most widely read pieces of content are those that are easy to digest. If someone looking for that same information about polymeric sand finds a one-page Tip Sheet and a 7-page eBook, guess which one she’ll choose? The easier it is to digest, the greater the chances of it being passed along, too. There will, of course, be topics that require longer, more in-depth content, but make sure the length and complexity of the piece matches the length and complexity of your topic.
Good content includes a call-to-action. Whether it’s asking the person to read more on a related topic, fill out a form to receive a no-cost evaluation, or to watch a video, encourage the reader to take one step further to find more reasons you’re the solution they’ve been looking for. If the content piece you’ve created is a top-of-the-funnel, your call-to-action typically will be to download a middle-of-the-funnel piece that provides the information appropriate for that stage in the buying process.
Good content is easy to share. Make it easy for people to share the value you’ve presented with others – include embedded social sharing buttons or links for the reader to share the content on their social media channel of choice.
Now that you know what constitutes great content, find out how to populate your blog with it – download our Tip Sheet, "10 Ways to Keep Your Blog Stocked with Great Content," below!
Topics: Content Marketing
Meg provides creative vision to all client projects and serves as the agency's chief content writer. She has extensive experience writing for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare. Meg started in advertising and has become a thought leader in digital content creation and inbound marketing.