There’s a difference between being a writer and a marketer, and being skilled at one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll excel at the other. This is something I consistently see businesses fail to understand. I’ve lost count of the number of blogs with content that consistently fails to place. It’s not that the content is bad, either.
It’s engaging, it demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the subject material, it’s original, and it’s well-written. It’s good. But from a content marketing perspective, it’s not great.
Content quality is about more than writing alone. It requires more legwork than simply sitting down and creating something. It’s about research, optimization, and analysis.
First, you need to understand your audience. Start by brainstorming a few profiles that encompass your ideal customers. Each of these profiles should answer the following questions:
- Who are they?
- What are they interested in?
- What do they value?
- Why have they chosen your business over the competition?
- What problems are they looking to solve?
- What websites do they frequent?
- What search terms do they tend to use?
Once you’ve generated three or four profiles, your next step is to refine them with research. Tools like Google’s Consumer Barometer, Google Trends, and Facebook Audience Insights can prove invaluable in this regard, as can a thorough examination of your competition’s social channels. Note also that this is an ongoing process; you will never be done with audience research, and you can always take steps to further refine your understanding.
Armed with this understanding, you can then use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner to determine the phrases your audience is using to search for your content. Again, you may also consider looking at your competitors to see what sort of topics they typically cover. The idea here is to create focused content designed to specifically meet your audience’s unique needs.
Speaking of focus, high-quality marketing content is written with a clear goal in mind.
This may be to promote awareness of your brand and driving traffic to your website. It may be to provide the audience with valuable information about your products and services. It may be to drive sales of a particular product or service.
The important thing is that you aren’t just creating for the sake of creating but creating with a clear purpose.
The best-quality content is also designed specifically for the platform on which it’s hosted, whether that’s a blurb on Facebook, a blog post on your website, or a video on YouTube. Study the best practices for each platform on which you want to establish your brand. Examine what other successful brands are doing, and follow their lead.
Finally, successful content is promoted across multiple channels. A single blog post, for instance, might be turned into an infographic, a webinar, and multiple bite-sized pieces of content on Facebook or Twitter. Typically, this works best with evergreen content rather than anything time-sensitive, though it can occasionally be worthwhile to tap into current events.
Focus. Promotion. Understanding. Research. These are the core components of effective content. The key elements that differentiate good content from great content.
While there’s certainly something to be said for kicking back and writing whatever comes to mind, truly successful, exceptional marketing content requires more effort and focus. It demands an understanding not just of your audience, but of your own distinctive goals and brand. While you can still enjoy some measure of success without that approach, it won’t be to the same extent.