For marketers obsessed with ROI, simply shouting ‘Content is King’ and pouring buckets of content over people’s heads is illogical – because it doesn’t drive ROI. Content marketing should – and can – drive real, concrete, tangible results…
If you’ve spent any time in marketing you’ve heard the phrase ‘Content is King’.
‘Content is King!’ you hear, the muffled shout of a thousand marketers seeping under the door of yet another pointless meeting. ‘Content is King!’ that shifty looking man on the tube mutters under his breath.
The thing is, Content Isn’t King. That’s a lie marketers tell themselves to justify putting out yet another repetitive, keyword jammed, uninformative, pseudo-valuable piece of content. Content that sits like a slimy fat toad in the Internet backwaters and lures innocent readers in with its click-bait tongue.
The marketing world seems to have collectively forgotten that quantity does not quality make. We’re drowning in content.
But it’s fine, because content is king, right?
Wrong. Good content is king.
So what is good content?
Hint: It’s not the endless regurgitation of top ten tips that many content marketers are collectively spewing.
Good content is content that helps, inspires, empowers and drives action. Content that is relevant. Content that is unique. Content that drives conversation. Content without conversation is broadcasting. It’s selfish and self-promotional. It adds no value and, more to the point, it doesn’t deliver value for the marketers who use it either. On the flipside, good content brings something to the table. It challenges people to think differently, to act differently. It’s a two-way process. And it gets actual, tangible results.
How do you create good content?
Create a Persona
I’ve said this once and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but stop trying to be everything to everyone. Content should be targeted, precisely so. Good content that creates conversation with 50 people is more valuable to you than bad content that 5000 people skim-read, forget and delete.
Creating good content is about getting inside the head of your ideal customers:
• What do they want?
• What do they find interesting?
• What are their challenges, goals and ambitions?
You should be creating a content plan before you even start writing, based on these observations. A classic marketing technique is to create a persona – a fictional representation of your target prospects, complete with name, demographic, interests, passions, internet habits and so on. By creating a persona before you start writing, and taking the time to create a comprehensive content plan where you map out topics your persona will be interested in, you ensure you’re creating relevant, focussed content.
One of the most important steps in creating good, targeted content is to listen. Just as in any other conversation, listening has to come before speaking if you’re planning to say anything interesting, relevant or useful. (We all know someone who seems to have forgotten that, and it’s not a pretty sight…)
Listening gives you insight straight from the horse’s mouth – you know what people are talking about, what their problems are, what they want to read about. There are plenty of social media listening tools out there, or even manual observation is better than nothing – simply lurking in the places your audience hang out and watching what they say and how they say it.
The spray and pray approach to content is depressingly popular amongst many marketers today but good content isn’t a leap of faith. By listening and creating an insight-led content strategy – based on tangible data, rather than guesswork and Googling – you know which content is going to be useful to your audience. You know, in short, which content they’re crying out for.
That sort of content, Good Content, drives conversation. And content that people are engaging with drives tangible results – not only in terms of views, likes and shares, although those will come naturally, but in terms of actual relationships, meetings, enquiries and sales.
That’s why Good Content is king.