Creating Good Content – Just the Basics

No doubt about it, developing good content requires investment. Time, research and expertise all go into crafting interesting stories that others in your market will find interesting and valuable. This ‘value’ inclusion is the element that builds strength for your website and strength for your reputation as an author.  As author and sponsorship authority and rank become more important in attracting new readers from the search engines, these story elements cannot be taken lightly and in the end, define what is ‘good content.’

What is good content?  Simply put, good content:
·    benefits others
·    offers help and assistance, and
·    answers questions

Note in particular that there is nothing in this list about selling a product. The place for product advocacy is on a product web page that the user can be invited to read. Content created for the purpose of building a relationship should in most cases avoid a direct sales pitch and instead offer suggestions, solutions and information geared to making the reader’s life better.

Does informational content qualify as marketing content?  The simple answer is ‘yes.’ Marketing establishes relationships with those that may become future buyers and brand advocates. Content that helps build these relationships then qualifies under the business marketing function.

Many marketers and marketing organizations fail to distinguish between marketing and sales. The selling function provides information necessary to the buying decision and in many instances, attempts to compel the reader to take action. The marketing function tends to fall under a higher level of research, relationship building and brand management. It is within this latter area that content marketing tends to be the most effective.

Making this content effective – in addition to meeting the basic good content requirements – provides a benefit to those reading it that they don’t have to pay for.  It is though, an invitation to continue visiting the site or blog and when the need to buy arises, the author will have the credibility to compete for the business.

Benefits:
Benefits take many forms. Ways of thinking about certain problems or overcoming obstacles qualify as a reader benefit. In terms of form, content may be presented graphically or with a bit of humor. Humor is in fact a big reason readers return to certain sites.  Information that is delivered with some entertainment value is disarming and makes consuming the content enjoyable.

Giving some credit to one’s readers is also important.  Letting the reader distill his/her value from your content  by presenting case studies, results of system trials and other attempts to do things differently are terrifically valuable.  In the end, providing a benefit to your reader simply means sharing something that you have learned in your business or in life.

Help and Assistance:
Offering help usually takes the form of offering a resource list or some type of suggestion for solving critical problems.  In addition to problem solving, information to help in problem avoidance is also quite valuable to the reader.  In either case, providing this value is a good reason for the reader to consume the content and to return at a future date.

Sometimes, problems and obstacles are either hidden or somewhat embarrassing.  Recovering from mistakes and errors can make for compelling content. Besides, everyone loves a comeback!

Questions:
Answering questions is a frequently overlooked way of connecting with readers. Simply maintaining a list of issues that others in your industry are wrestling with can give you a never ending supply of content ideas. Presenting questions and answering them also keeps you in a leadership position in your industry.

Creating good content may not be easy.  If it was, everyone would be doing it.  in the end, the effort to create good, basic content is conceptually easy, but more challenging to deliver.  But.. by attracting readers in your niche and by presenting your ideas, you can attain a leadership role in your industry and with that, attract business when readers become buyers.

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