“You need to create ridiculously good content – content that is useful, enjoyable and inspired.“
~ Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Think about all of the content creators you follow. Two of my favorites are Rachel Parker and Neil Patel. You can’t wait for this week’s podcast or today’s blog post from your favorite content provider. If you’re doing content marketing, this is the feeling you want to create in your audience. You want to create the kind of content that they’re waiting for, and that they’ll tell their friends about. Successful content creators don’t just sit down and crank out content whenever they’re inspired. They can produce consistently high-quality content on a frequent basis because they have a system in place for doing so. There are keys to creating a solid content creation and publishing system. So why is content so important to absolutely everything you’re doing online?
The purpose of your online content is to raise awareness and drive engagement. When people are surfing the web looking for information, they’ll find your content through links or searches. If the content you have online helps them, entertains them, inspires them, or gives them some type of unique value, they’ll follow you and continue to consume your content.
In addition to raising awareness, this content must “engage” in order to be effective. This is tough to define exactly, but what it means is that it:
· Creates a connection with the reader
· Draws the reader in and makes them want to read more
· Offers something new and unique the reader hasn’t encountered before
· Is relevant to the reader, or inspires an “a-ha” moment
· Inspires the reader
· Gets the reader actively involved with it
· Leads the reader to take action
Think back to a time recently when you were skimming through your Facebook feed or surfing around reading articles online. At some point, there’s likely to have been one article that made you stop, sit up and pay attention. You might have bookmarked it or shared it with your friends. Engaging content has this effect on the reader.
Content is also important because it gives you a free advertising opportunity. The savvy entrepreneur reduces their advertising budget and invests the funds instead in creating and distributing content. Nearly all major content distribution channels are free to use, so this is literally free advertising. You can write an article and post it on a high-traffic website where thousands of visitors will see it daily at no cost at all. This is an amazing deal when you consider how much it costs to run an ad and get it in front of a few thousand people. Even the cheapest online advertising options cost more than posting content.
Content marketing is a great option for solopreneurs and small business that have limited resources. You can drive brand awareness and build your audience without spending money. You only need to invest some time and energy into creating the content yourself. If you have a budget, and do not have the time or writing aptitude, you can outsource your content marketing to a professional.
Over time, content that is consistently helpful, interesting, unique and high-quality builds trust with your audience. Again, think of all of the content providers you follow like magazines, newsfeeds and websites. If you are interested in internet marketing, you may follow Website Magazine and Entrepreneur. You follow your favorites because you read and enjoy each installment of content from them from cover to cover. You can build this kind of relationship with your audience through good content.
Furthermore, your loyal followers will share your content, effectively doing your advertising for you. As long as your content is consistently good and speaks to your audience, you’ll see it grow. This is referred to as User Generated Content (UGC) and is highly effective. Read more about UGC here. Through this content, you also establish yourself as a brand. Just as a magazine is synonymous with a certain lifestyle, ideology, audience, activity or mindset, you can establish your content brand in the same way.
Are you convinced you need to create compelling content? Evaluate what you are currently creating and publishing. Would you follow yourself? If not, you may need to re-evaluate your content creation process.