“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty Four (1949) opening lines. From 30 great opening lines in literature, The Telegraph.
Wonderful writing, but to call it “good content” would be as silly as calling The Lark Ascending “good content”. I do get irritated by what seems the overuse of this term “content”. Do we think, “I must have some good content when I go on a date with this prospective girlfriend/boyfriend?” In fairness in an age of automation and mass communication, we need an all-embracing term for this “stuff.” So, what’s great content: it is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want. Christmas Day, a Wedding, any special event, a good piece of copy, a website page, a targeted email all need good content. Some things haven’t changed since the dawn of time, some change with technology and innovation. There is more focus on content, the word, in recent years, so I thought I would look at the importance of good content. But separate what has always been important from more recent online aspects. Because simply, great content: is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want.
Is there anybody out there?
The definition of content is information of material, something contained in what you deliver which might be written or an event for example. In business, the key thing is who is this stuff for. Charity, retail, consumers, engineering, UK, overseas…you understand…in other words, what sectors, what country and so on. And to use a current popular term, create a Buyer Persona profile – a representation of your ideal customer – so you know what content to produce for them. The phrase “it’s all about you” is a good one to keep in mind. And it’s easy to forget in a busy work environment, when we all have targets to hit, products, services and content to share with our audience. But do they really want to hear more and more and more about the latest z factor 3 fastest and bestest on the market we’ve got to offer? Well, actually they might, but at the right time. First we all as the audience, as people choose what we want to go to, enjoy, read, buy, dip into. And intelligent suppliers get to understand that.
The Essence of good Content Creation
- A great image or video, which is relevant, funny, engaging and interesting.
- A strong headline with impact.
- Sub-headlines which are clear to guide your reader for easy scanning.
- Connect with your targets. You empathise, you understand their problem and perhaps give solutions. Give some answers to the problem. With actions people can take-away.
- A good title tag, meta description which summarises the article or page.
- Helpful links to other content
Some Other Practices to Avoid
- Pages with no original content, or limited original content.
- Scraped content – taking content from other places on the web and publishing it on your own site.
- Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value.
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords.
It’s not what you do
Coming back to my original point, about the overuse of the term content but accepting the need for description for material and things we deliver to customers. Automation increasing will be used by all of us to deliver content. It relies on mapping the way people do things, how we buy, along the customer journey. How To Create A Customer Journey Map. And sharing helpful content at each point on that journey, what is described as the funnel. Some of the skills that work well in this new world include:
- Customer journey mapping.
- Inbound marketing – not pushing out to people but having useful content people can find on their journey.
- Social Media – content creation, targeting and a growing list of skills.
- Storytelling – a nice video here with Julian Friedmann on the art of storytelling.
- And if course digital marketing – Google The Digital Garage, great self-help videos.
All this is great content: is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want.
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited