Content isn’t what it used to be. It wasn’t long ago when you could simply churn out blog post after blog post, focusing on some keywords and focusing on hitting publish as much as possible. Experts believe that this led to a ‘content shock’, where there’s simply too much content for any reasonable consumer to pay attention to. In other words, now that everybody has jumped aboard the content train it’s time to figure out how to stand out.
Marketing trends support this assumption. From 2014 through 2017, the average piece of content has gotten longer and less frequent. Quality over quantity. It’s more valuable to produce a single piece of content that your audience finds valuable and worth paying attention to than five pieces of content that aren’t worth a second glance.
Consider the changes being made to Facebook that we discussed last week. As a platform, Facebook is scaling back on low-quality corporate content and focusing again on the engaging content that its users prefer. Mark Zuckerberg believes in this so deeply that he was willing to make an announcement that dramatically decreased the value of Facebook’s stock. It’s because he understands that quality, not quantity, is the future.
To help you prepare for this dramatic shift in content marketing, we have put together four simple tips for making sure that the content you’re putting out is high-quality:
1. Provide Answers
If you’re trying to come up with something that’s valuable for your audience, talk to customer service or sales and figure out what the most commonly asked questions they receive are. Then simply create content that answers those questions or helps people along the way. As an added bonus, it is likely that this will contain keywords key to your brand, as this is information you know that people are actively seeking the answers to.
2. Mix it Up
You don’t need to focus on the tried-and-true blog posts and marketing videos all the time. People like to vary the content that they consume, and if you’re creating something slightly different it’ll stand out to begin with. Here are some easy types of content that you can put together to provide your audience value:
- Success stories – people love stories. Take a look at a time that you were able to help somebody dramatically. If you’re a restaurant, you could write a quick post about how you helped somebody celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. If you’re a B2B company, you can put together a great case study about how you helped somebody save a lot of time or money.
- Interviews – interview an industry expert, a customer, or even somebody at another company in your industry (for example, if you’re a brewery you could interview somebody who works at a beer store). You’ll get to benefit from somebody else’s wisdom and put together great content at the same time.
- Repurposed old content – look at some of your most popular content from the past and share it again with a simple introduction or update it for today’s environment. This provides value to new audience members who haven’t seen it yet and takes very little time to put together.
3. Focus on Actionability
A good piece of content drives the audience to take action after they consume it. You should start by setting clear expectations about what they’ll get from the content. A good way is to restate the question or pain you’re trying to solve right away, and simply tell them “by the end of the article, video, etc.”, you’ll be able to do this yourself. Use visuals and show examples if possible. This makes your content more approachable and breaks it down for the audience.
4. Keep it Simple
Most of all, it’s important to not overthink your content. What does your audience care about? What are you an expert at? Focus on those topics. You don’t need to worry about creating the next viral video or putting together a comedic masterpiece every single time. Great content really can be as simple as knowing what you’re good at and helping other people to be better at it.