If there’s one thing everybody has become surrounded by in the digital age, it’s content. These days, the stuff is everywhere. In fact, you probably can’t go an hour without being exposed to some sort of content. It’s on social media, on television, on radio, on advertisements, on bus shelters, in shop windows, on your phone; everywhere! But what makes good content? That was the complex question our global director of strategy, Frank Sanders attempted to solve at the recent School for Management and Communication (SCM) conference in Berlin. Here’s how we summed it up…
Good content is relevant
The importance of relevant content is nothing new to marketers. However, you’d be surprised how many businesses fail to engage their target audiences because their content just doesn’t resonate them with at all. It is important to understand the needs of your target audiences; observe their behaviour, analyse the way they consume information, get to the bottom of their decision-making process and understand what their biggest challenges are. This will help you target your audiences more effectively with tailored and relevant content, whether you are writing for a business-to-business (b2b) audience or a business-to-consumer (b2c) audience.
What else makes content relevant? It has to be timely, particularly if you are piggybacking your content on major events. For example, content drafted for a recruitment campaign where you compare your existing team to superheroes will be far more relevant at a time there is a major superhero movie release that everyone is already talking about. However, this does not mean that you have to keep spending all your time creating brand new content, it pays to update existing content too. Search engine providers (SERPs) love fresh, updated content, so it is a good idea to continuously revisit previous content to add new references or supplementary information in the form of text, video, PDFs or links.
There’s something else that makes content relevant – it should tell a story. A good story engages someone immediately and often doesn’t come from a company focused on a brand, but from a person, focused on a problem and a solution. Telling the story of how a product or service is helping someone’s life become easier through the use of video can often say more than a thousand words. With virtual reality and augmented reality, new channels for effective storytelling are constantly being developed.
Good content is visible
What use is good content if those who will appreciate it do not know it exists? It’s almost impossible these days to write content with the aim of it going viral – the internet is just too unpredictable. Content only becomes visible with the right marketing, topic and communication channels. To get this right it’s important to repurpose content wherever you can. If you write something for your company blog, share it on social media and in your newsletter and ensure as many relevant people see it as possible.
Content visibility also has a more technical side. The performance of your online presence will determine how attractive people find your content (and if they can even find it at all) and there are several on-page and off-page factors which affect this.
- On-page factors – Have you used the correct META tags when publishing content to your website? Have you added alt-tags? Does your page load quickly enough? Have you used internal links? Are keywords integrated into your content? Have you checked to ensure your content is original i.e not duplicated? Is the text structured effectively? Do you have integrated video? Is it hosted on a website that has a responsive design for mobile?
- Off-page factors – Are you sharing the content through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? Have you included high quality backlinks and referral domains?
Good content is efficient
In my view, this is the most important criteria for good content. The effort you put into creating your content must pay off in terms of the content’s output and outcomes. However, we all know that marketing budgets can be limited and therefore, content efforts must be highly targeted. So what can you to make your content more efficient?
Firstly, reuse your content, whenever and wherever you can. For example, if you write an interview with the CEO for a media publication, break down some of the salient points for social media content and re-use it for corporate communication. If necessary, company statements can be repurposed for company presentations, events or even sales meetings. Content that is ‘evergreen’ and has no definitive timescale can often be reused again and again.
Working with the right tools can also make content more efficient – and there are lots of free tools available to help you improve your content. Whether it’s online analysis, monitoring or SEO you’re hoping to improve, we’ve listed below a few tools that we find useful…
From the Google Universe: Google Alerts, Google Trends, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Planner
SEO and analytics: Answerthepublic, Searchmetrics, Sistrix, Ubersuggest, Talkwalker, WDF*IDF
If you need some help creating relevant, visible and efficient content, get in touch with our experts today on +44 1926 457103.