That’s right, not all content is created equal and, while it’s true that the more you publish online, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website, if the content your visitors find on your site is not great then they will just turn around and leave.
How does content marketing help? By providing useful and actionable information that helps your website visitors achieve a goal. That goal can range from learning about certain products and services to making a buying decision to how to care for a product after it’s purchased.
The more you help your visitors, the more they will trust you and the more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Putting Lipstick on a Pig
Unfortunately, awful content is often published “in disguise”.
You see, content consists of three parts:
- The topic (what the content is about),
- The information (the content’s actual text, images, videos, audio, etc.), and
- The design (how the content is presented).
Each of these parts needs to shine in order to create great content however, it’s typically the second part, “The information” where a lot of poor content falls short.
Here’s how it happens:
- The content creator spends time researching topics that interest their target customers. This can include many market research sources ranging from keyword and search history to something as simple as asking website visitors what they want.
- Based on the topic, some high-level content is slapped together with minimal research.
- Lastly, the content creator spends time and effort creating content that presents well whether it’s text, images, video or audio.
The result? Awesome looking website content that seems interesting at first glance, but falls short in helping website visitors achieve a goal.
Does that kind of content build trust? No siree, it does not.
The “Missing Ingredients” of Great Content
So, where does poor content fall short? Below I’ve detailed the four “missing ingredients” which, if missing, turn great content into poor content.
- It’s not actionable - the greatest fault of poor content by far is non-actionable information (i.e generic content that does not tell you how to put what you’ve learned to use).
- For example: a blog post that espouses the benefits of using Facebook to extend the reach of your content and engage customers without detailing any of the steps you need to take to use Facebook to achieve those goals.
- It’s not specific enough or it’s too specific - going hand-in-hand with being actionable, if content is not at the right level of detail for the target audience, it will fail to be helpful.
- For example: if the target audience is folks who already know lots about Facebook, then telling them how to create a fan page is probably to basic for them to find useful.
- For example: however, if the target audience is folks who are Facebook newbies, then explaining how, and why, to build a fan page is right on target.
- It’s not credible - if content is full of unsupported information, then it will fail to build the trust that you need to sell your products and services.
- All factual claims need to be backed-up by supporting evidence even if it’s just a link to the spot online where you found the information.
- It’s not “human-friendly” – all too often, content creators create content to fit search engine optimization (SEO) criteria. In other words, their content is aimed at search engines, not humans. This leads to forced and awkward content that is just not as clear and useful as it could be.
- The good news is that search engines, especially Google, continually strive to make their software as close to “human” as possible. In other words, they want their software to evaluate content the same way a human does. Therefore, if you write clearly and usefully for humans, the search engines should reward you with higher marks as well.
What Do You Think?
What do you think makes great content? Where do you see content creators fail most often?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.