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Is Your Content Content?

content?I love homonyms. At first glance, the title of this post looks like I made a mistake, but I didn’t. The post is all about getting content with our content.

When you become content (i.e. happy, laid back) with your content (info up for discussion/sharing with your audience), you’re walking on thin ice. Sure, formulaic blogging is a great starting point, but we really need to make sure content is fresh, fierce and fetching.

Content contentment can take away from that fresh, fierce and fetching approach to producing content. So, how do you know when you’re becoming a little too content with your content? Here are a few indicators:

Too much focus on the search words

Yes, content marketers are looking to gain search engine traffic, but your content has a higher purpose – to be engaging and educational. And it’s purpose is to etch credibility and trust into your audience’s minds. When your content becomes resourceful, they come back. And that’s the secret to content marketing.

Too narrow a focus or too much repetition

Some blogs are geared toward providing tips and tricks on how to use a product. That’s all great, but it’s important to pepper in some benefits to all the features. It’s important to make connections to what’s happening in the industry or your space. Look at your category list for a little inspiration. If there’s a content gap in a category or two, and the blog is getting traffic to those categories…maybe it’s time to beef them up a bit. Adding some customer case studies or a tie-in to something cool in the news is a great way to harness attention from both your audience and the search bots.

Too much focus on product info

I make my living writing for a number of blogs and companies who know the value of content strategy. However, sometimes a theme is weak or the topic is just losing its luster. When you reach this hurdle, looking at the search terms, what the competition is doing and outside your industry spark fresh, fierce and fetching ideas.

Too little focus on your audiences’ needs

The reason someone found your content in the first place is because they have a need – a need to solve a problem, a need to learn how to do something or a need to be entertained. They searched or heard about you from someone else and need you to help them. If your content is content with only addressing audience needs once in a while, you’re missing the point of content creation and missing out on opportunities to help people. That’s why we should be in business – to help others and get paid for doing a good job. Does your content do that?

Spreading your content in too many directions

Content marketing is as much about the medium as it is about the words you use. However, I learned something from a great former boss – sometimes the medium is the problem. Let me give you a couple of real-world examples.

Email bombardment

I’m on quite a few email lists because I need to know what’s going on in the industries I write about. However, this past week I’ve been bombarded with emails for whitepapers, industry reports and other promos I don’t care to read. So, I unsubscribed from the email list of a publication I respect. But the unsubscribe didn’t work (big no-no). I’m still getting emails with content I could care less about. I’ve filed a complaint with the director of online marketing. Hopefully, this will be fixed soon.

Spinning your wheels in the wrong space

Some mediums are filled with people just like you looking for an audience. Twitter is a great example. In some cases, Twitter is a great place to converse and spread the word. But for some companies, it’s not the right place to be spending your time. I’ve witnessed recently that a client has gotten response from Twitter, but the response has not been from the right people. If the audience isn’t right, why spin your wheels?

Is your content suffering from contentment? Contact me to help you develop a strategy for getting it out of its comfort zone.

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The Nuts and Bolts of Great Marketing Content

nuts and boltsI once got a comment back from a college professor stating, “Great nuts and bolts article.” Next to it was an “A.”

I loved the grade, but I didn’t love the comment until years later, when I realized that nuts and bolts are the keys to great marketing content. If you don’t have the nuts and bolts located and labeled, your article or email or web page is going to fall flat. Just like the bookshelf that requires these pieces to stand tall.

The nuts and bolts great marketing content are simply benefits, facts and audience emotions and desires. With these three tools, your content will stand tall amid the fluff many marketers call great content. Let’s break down what’s behind these essential pieces of great marketing content.

Benefits

The benefits are the bolts of the content. They give your content the strength to attract your audience. Benefits are the foundation of great marketing content, but they don’t work without the nuts and washers.

Facts

Facts are the washers in great marketing content. A good nut and bolt combination uses a washer to build a stronger foundation between joints. For instance, if you are connecting a door to a cabinet a washer protects the wood surface from damage when the nut is tightened. Fact “washers” come in three flavors – audience, product and industry. Consider them the protectors of your benefits and audience claims. Here’s how each washer works:

  • Facts about the audience help you connect the message to the consumer of your message, especially when there isn’t an exact fit.
  • Facts about the product help you derive the benefits for the audience
  • Facts about the industry help you understand the demand for the product.

Emotions and Desires

I often see content written with no audience in mind. Sure, there may be an implied audience, but without the audience or your content won’t keep anyone engaged for very long. Audience was covered in the facts section, but beyond the facts, marketers need to understand the emotions and desires of their audience. The emotions and desires give the bolts and washers (benefits and facts) the support they need to stand strong. 

Remembering these fundamentals of great marketing content can give you a foundation of credibility and engagement with your audience. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Courtesy of Firesign

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What is Brilliant Content?

brilliant content

As a kid I secretly wanted to wear glasses because I thought they made you look smart.

However, I didn’t need them. Or, so I thought.

I got glasses at 28. You see, I was farsighted in one eye. My other eye was making up for my lack of up-close focus.

Well, as I learned later, a simple pair of reading glasses can help immensely.

I finally got my wish – to wear glasses to look smarter. But they did more than that. They made me smarter. I could see more clearly and didn’t suffer from muscle tension in my neck anymore from straining to see the computer screen.

Brilliant content is just like a great pair glasses:

  • It brings the customer’s needs into focus.
  • It tells your story clearly and simply.
  • It allows you see what works and doesn’t – quickly.

Want to give your content a clearer focus? Let’s chat.

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What I Learned About Marketing from My Preschooler

My daugther just turned two and attends a preschool program at our church in the mornings. I’m not usually the one to pick her up; my husband is. Well, I had the pleasure of doing the honors recently and I learned a valuable marketing lesson from it.

The preschool has an ingenious method for delivering the children to their parents – the bye-bye buggy. It’s a large cart with seats and seatbelts for each toddler. They get to rotate the “leader” seat each day. You see, the front right seat is the most desired because the lucky tot gets to push the “button” that opens the power-assisted doors to the outside world.

Isn’t this very much like marketing?

We all want to be in the “leader” seat. Getting to the leader seat for the toddlers is a matter of rotation. In business, it’s who gets there first or best. Are you positioned to be in the lead?

Do you know your audiences’ button? The teachers in this preschool know something about the kids – that they are singularly focused on pushing that button. Do you know what that button is for your target audience?

Do you have content strategy as focused as the bye-bye buggy? The purpose is simple – get the children to the cars as simply and safely as possible. Content strategies don’t have to be complicated. Setting up a process as seamless as the bye-bye buggy can help deliver better content, leads and ROI.

Are you ready to simplify your marketing communications? Let’s chat.