We all recognise a good piece of content when we read, watch or listen to it, but what really makes content great?
Our perception and taste varies, so, naturally, what appeals to one person will not appeal to another, much as what works for one brand won’t work for another.
Memorable, effective content really sticks in our minds and often has an incremental effect, with TV campaigns such as Dairy Milk’s 2007 drumming gorilla leading to a resurgence in sales for Phil Collins’ 1981 hit ‘In The Air Tonight’, alongside the intended boost in chocolate sales. The advertisement went on to be named as the nation’s all-time favourite by ‘Marketing’magazine.
While this is an exceptional example of advertising which appealed to many, good – and great – content often shares a host of similar traits:
Providing value to your target audience
You can have an original, well crafted and informative piece of content, but if it does not appeal to your audience, they will not engage with it. Ensuring your piece of content is entertaining as well as informative is key to catching – and keeping – the interest of your target market.
Do not over complicate your content – the key message of the piece should be clear and concise. If it is too complicated, it will not appeal to your target audience.
If a piece of content takes the form of an article, blog post or outreach communication, ensure the title is as short and digestible as possible, while still including target keywords or phrases. Remember that, on average, 80% of people will read your title, but only 20% will read the content below it, so a striking or thought provoking title is essential.
Why are you producing your piece of content?
Essentially, any and all content you create is a form of advertising for your brand, designed to promote your service or product to potential customers.
Google specifies that all content must be unique and valuable. The search engine penalises sites who post poor quality or duplicate content, whilst also rewarding sites with good quality, well optimised, relevant and valuable content. It’s therefore in the best interest of your brand or business to create great content, to benefit both your brand perception and online positioning and presence.
While it is, of course, important to boost your page rank and drive good quality traffic to your site, you are creating content to appeal to and engage with a human audience, not just to chase sales, leads or search engine ranks. It’s therefore imperative to keep your target market in mind when you conceptualise and create your content, whether it takes the form of a blog post, article, guide, infographic or video.
How to produce great content
There are two key elements to consider when you are producing a piece of content:
- Who is your content aimed at?
- What is the purpose of your content?
Who is your content aimed at?
Have a clear idea of your target audience, particularly the demographic, is essential. After all, how can you create great content if you don’t know who your audience is?
You wish to attract the best audience for your brand, as this group is likely to:
- Connect your content to your product or service
- Buy your product or service as a result of your content
Defining your target audience will:
- Help you create the right content
- Help you to avoid creating content for content’s sake
- Help you to understand how to create content that meets the needs of your audience
If you are unsure of who you wish to be tailoring your content to, you can begin to define your target market by:
- Determining your competition
- Defining your current customers
- Clarifying your services or products
- Understanding your USPs
Once you have determined these factors, you should be able to:
- Define why your content should be produced
- Know who is going to read it
- Know why your audience should choose to engage with your content over your competitors
In time, the creation of relevant, engaging content tailored to your target audience may:
- Increase online conversion rates
- Decrease online bounce rate
What is the purpose of your content?
Knowing what you wish to achieve from your content is essential before you even begin to conceptualise ideas.
The best content leaves a reader, viewer or listener feeling they have learnt, understood or appreciated something.
Ideally, a great piece of content should:
Alongside pure text, the inclusion of visuals such as surveys, graphs, video and images – where relevant – all add authority and reliability to a piece of content. These elements can also contribute to a higher authority and rank for your page, thanks to the engaging structure of the content.
Are you ready to publish your content?
Always get a second, neutral, opinion before you publish a piece of content. You will naturally be very close to the piece through the ideation and creation process, so an outside perspective will be helpful to provide objective feedback prior to its publication.
If you can, try to leave your reader, viewer or listener with questions. Aim to make your audience reflect upon how they can implement or action the knowledge they have gained from your content.
Ultimately, the perception of your brand is only as good as the content you produce, so ensure everything you create is: