Creating Great Content

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With the significant Google algorithm updates in 2013 has come the dawn of the term “content marketing”, and as a result, the meaning of content has expanded beyond simply just “text” or “composition”. Content is information, presented in a variety of different arrangements (including videos, photos, infographics, white papers, case studies, etc) that educates, entertains and persuades. But how does really great content, that readers want to share, come to fruition?

Content, will of course, vary depending on industry and audience, but there are four main areas to focus on when aiming to provide value and encourage interaction.

Know Your Audience

Who’s visiting your site and reading your content? Who’s converting the highest on your site? More importantly, who’s NOT reading your content that should be? Keeping your ideal reader in mind when creating great content (tone, subject matter, etc) is key. Looking at all of your marketing personas will help identify individual interests and unique needs, so that you’re providing the most valuable information possible to each persona while avoiding wasting time targeting less qualified audiences. For example, Coors came out with a line of bottled spring water, hoping to tap into the lucrative bottled water market. Coors’ problem was that they didn’t know their core audience. Coors drinkers look specifically to buy beer from the company and look to buy their bottled water from other vendors. While the bottled water industry has been highly successful (Americans consume billions per year), Coors consumers aren’t interested in drinking water. Their target audience was way off, and as a result, this specific product flopped.

Coors Sparkling Water

Research Trending Topics

Staying in the know is critical. Looking at trending topics is a great place to start when creating content. What’s going on in your specific industry? What’s the latest buzz word? Ultimately, what do your readers and potential readers care about right now? One of the easiest places to uncover this information is Twitter. This social media platform provides real-time data on the hottest topics. Google Trends can also be another great resource for discovering what people are currently searching for. Keeping up with and writing about trending topics will help position you as an industry leader/expert that, in turn, creates strong brand trust.

Twitter Trending Topics

*Velveeta’s trending on Twitter AGAIN??

Include Media

Great content should be unique and enticing. It should be something that is memorable beyond just a few minutes. That’s why it’s ok to step out of the norm and be bold, unusual or even humorous. Inserting media such as video and/or images into your content makes people more interested in consuming your content and it also drives more engagement. People enjoy sharing/liking images and videos that provoke thought or induce laughter. Further, online virality often results from some type of emotional connection.

Elevated Third Video embedd

Make Sharing Easy

First, ask yourself: “Would I want to share this content?” Basically, is your content something you would be proud to post on Facebook or a blog for all of your friends and/or coworkers to see? If not, start over. How sick of reading mediocre, uninformative content are you? Don’t put your audience through the same misery. Additionally, you want to encourage readers to share your content. The easier it is to share, the more likely readers will be to post or forward on, so always make sure to include Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn icons on your content pages.

Social Sharing Icons

Content remains king in 2014’s forecast, so go on, start enticing your readers [and Google] with great content. Be informed, be creative, be interactive, but most importantly, be honest with yourself about the quality of what you’re putting out there. Half-assed content just doesn’t cut it anymore (even if it is original half-assed content). Bottom line: if you aren’t excited about it, why should anyone else be?

Banner image courtesy of Flickr user Jonathan Kim