If your business is spending dollars and resources to create marketing content, you want that content to help you reach your marketing goals. And for content to help you reach your marketing goals, it must provide value.
But creating valuable content means different things to different audiences. Here’s what makes content valuable to both your readers and your business.
What makes content valuable for a reader?
It teaches something new. As communications expert Jay Baer explains, the best content provides a youtility. It is useful. It is helpful. It offers value above and beyond what the business is actually selling.
It fixes a problem. Knowing what keeps your readers up at night – both personally and professionally – is critical if you want to create valuable content. If you can discover your readers’ most pressing problems or challenges, and use your expertise to create content that addresses those issues, your will attract your ideal readers and prompt them to engage with your brand.
It helps the reader make a decision. The best content gives readers the unbiased information they need to make the best decision for their situation. Valuable content is created to follow the reader’s decision-making arc, so that regardless of where readers are in their decision-making process, there is a piece of content to help them along toward purchase.
It can be trusted. Above all, none of the other factors matter if readers feel they are being sold something. Valuable content is authentic. It cannot be solely self-serving. It must focus on helping the reader in a genuine way, providing smart and thoroughly researched content.
What makes content valuable for a business?
It positions the brand as an authority. Effective content will demonstrate your expertise in your industry, and showcase your business’s unique point of view. This will earn you trust and respect as a thought leader – and once you’re seen as a trusted expert, you have already broken an important barrier in developing new customer relationships.
It creates new leads. Your strongest content will capture information from readers to give you insights that you can use to 1) provide further value, and 2) engage in one-on-one conversations with potential customers.
It moves prospective customers forward in the sales cycle. Once a reader turns into a lead, valuable content can answer that prospect’s concerns before he or she knows to ask the questions. A content series targeting leads at different stages of the sales cycle can automate some of your sales team’s work, and nurture your leads in an authentic way.
It improves SEO. Content has a huge impact on search, and that impact is growing stronger with each Google algorithm update. Just on example: content-driven sites generate 97% more external links, a critical factor in how Google judges your domain’s authority. So if you want to improve modern SEO, you need strong content.
It builds brand loyalty. Providing marketing content that is so valuable that it makes your readers view your brand as a trusted resource will turn those readers into loyal brand followers.
What makes content effective for both?
It tells me what to do next. For readers, this means having a clear call-to-action – a next step to either find out more, start a conversation, or make a purchase. For businesses, this means having a clear follow-up – a way for the sales team to contact the reader, or a way to send that reader additional content.
It keeps me connected. Great content makes it easy for a reader and a business to connect on a more personal level. This might mean prompting conversation on social media or signing up for a consistent eNewsletter.
It makes purchasing easy. Content is not content marketing unless it’s driving business. As The Middle Finger Project’s Ash Ambirge wrote recently, you can’t make money if you can’t ask for it. If a reader loves your content, give them the opportunity to purchase something valuable.
The value of a piece of content is the different between content and content marketing. If you want to learn new ways to up your value factor, subscribe below and get more tips on crafting and sharing a story that will engage your audience and grow your business.
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