Content marketing works when done right – here’s why

Every Christmas and Birthday we’ll probably receive an assortment of presents that invoke reactions ranging from “not really bothered” to “just what I always wanted”. So what is it that makes a particular gift an especially good one?

I’m guessing we’re probably not too fussed about the wrapping, but stylish is definitely a plus; we may not be bothered about how the gift is delivered, but on time and to the right place is essential. Most importantly, it’s what’s inside the package that counts: is it something we value, that’s right for us, chosen by someone we care about?

It’s the same with content marketing

Content marketing works when it’s done right, yet some commentators are already arguing that it has had its day. This, of course, is nonsense – we’ve always cared about content; it’s just that we didn’t always call it that. Content is in books, newspapers and magazines, and in music, movies, paintings, theatre and dance, and also in advertising. Content is the substance of the message that we aim to convey – one that informs, entertains and inspires our audience – and intrinsic to the medium we use to communicate.

The biggest lesson to learn is that content is not so much about us – our product, service or solution – as what our audience finds interesting, entertaining, informative and useful. However, it’s not just about attracting attention; it’s about holding that attention. So content has to be relevant.

Furthermore, in an Internet age where so much online content is questionable, content needs to be credible and trustworthy. Buyers today are certainly not naïve and they can easily seek out the opinions of their peers.

Headlines need not be catchy slogans, but they must promise clear benefits. Opening paragraphs should convince readers that reading further is worth their time. The structure should be clear, readable and consistent.

Aim to deliver an experience that people will want to repeat and share with colleagues or friends. The best salespeople are already concentrating on communicating value; similarly, our content marketing needs to focus on delivering a meaningful value exchange with our audience. Overall, content needs to avoid that dreaded reaction: “So what?”

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