M-Rated: Contains some mild course language – Cut the Cr@p!
Excuse the crassness of the title… I’m on my soapbox and I wanted to get your attention to share my opinion (and to make your time worthwhile, I promise to give 4 useful ‘to do’s’ to help cut the cr@p at the end of this article).
We’ve all done it… spat out an average blog post or article for the sake of meeting an arbitrary content schedule deadline. I’m as guilty as the next person.
Before you do it again…. STOP! You’re a busy person, your audience are busy people. Producing average content is an absolute waste of everyone’s time and worse, can be damaging to your brand. The world of content marketing has evolved. Thanks to the previous content marketing trend: ‘publish as much content as you can loaded with key words in order to improve your SEO rankings and visibility’, there is a glut of average content flooding the market. Unfortunately that strategy was based on quantity not quality, and quite frankly, people are sick of it.
Thank goodness times are changing. The key to online marketing success today is virality, which is created by:
- Knowing your target market intimately. A much underestimated concept.
- Writing exceptionally useful content that solves a high value problem and positions you favourably in the minds of your key audience.
- Only publishing content when you’ve got something worthy and useful to say.
For all you busy people out there, this should be great news. You win in 3 ways:
- You’re no longer tied to arbitrary or irrelevant deadlines that put you under pressure to write something.
- You won’t be tempted to publish below par content.
- Any content you do produce will be valuable and worthy of being commented on or being shared, which will result in better visibility within the right audience and extra credibility and qdos to you.
That doesn’t mean you can sit on your laurels and write 2 or 3 awesome articles per year. There is still a need to produce some quantity of content. However the need to write 1 or 2 blog posts a week can be relaxed somewhat. One awesome article every 2 weeks is better than 4 average attempts per month.
So let’s make a pact to cut the crap!
Before I finish my rant, here are four things our team are putting in place to make sure our content is worth publishing:
1. Continuous research with our target market
We are constantly asking our core target audience what their biggest challenges are (as opposed to making assumptions). This activity has many unexpected benefits for us and our clients. Not a revolutionary idea, but are you doing it? How can you apply it to your business? The many aspects of ROI will surprise you.
Side note: clearly defining your target audience is the number one issue both marketing consultants and business owners generally have. People underestimate the value of intimately defining their core audience, which impacts the results of every other aspect of their marketing efforts. More info to help you with this here…
2. Narrow and deep focus vs broad and general
We have definitely been guilty of writing articles that are far too broad and general – apologies for this, and we’ve change how we do things. We are adopting a narrow focus on our core target audiences issues (refer to point one above) and delivering deep dive highly valuable content to help them resolve their issues. If you’re a marketing consultant, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the level of information we’re providing, we call it the ‘Full Monty Approach’, bare all and don’t hold back! We’d rather connect with 10 relevant prospects than 100 general contacts. Quality not quantity is the crux of this strategy, which suits our specific marketing goals.
3. Give original value
‘Original’ meaning don’t simply regurgitate what everyone else is writing about. Give us your own spin, share your experience, view or opinion. That’s not to say a good list post sharing other peoples great content doesn’t cut it. Just make sure you stand for something and write some of your own original content too. People want new, refreshing, insightful and real content.
‘Value’ means give useful insights, resources tips or recommendations your target audience can use. Help them by providing solutions to high value problems. The key to this is ensuring the value is of value to your audience… it’s not about you and what you want to promote or how good you are. It’s about how you can really help your audience solve a problem and what is of value to them. The more value you provide, the more they trust and like you, the more likely they will want to work with you (soft sell heaven on a stick right there!). Think long term lifetime value not short term gain.
4. Be authentic and stand for something
Let’s be a little radical here… break away from the flimsy rules imposed by pop-marketing culture. By the time the marketing guru’s have decided a particular strategy is working, 100,000’s of people are using it, so if you jump on the band-wagon you either need to be first on board (ie a ground breaking leader), or understand you’re part of the pack providing the same as many others (yawn…).
Put another way, if you want to stand out from the crowd, don’t follow the flock. Do things your way and you’re more likely to get noticed, especially if you produce high value, high quality content that solves a high value problem for your specific target market (read that sentence again for impact – it’s gold!).
And lastly a quick note about being authentic… your opinion matters as long as its yours. Your readers are smart. If you try to dupe them, they’ll know and they’ll go elsewhere. Be real and be relevant.
Thanks for reading my rant. That’s all I’ve got to say about that…