Monday, August 12, 2013

Content Is King

Content Marketing is not new, but it has changed dramatically in the past 10 years or so. Mashable released a simple yet effective illustration a while back, which I came across while looking through my old bookmarks. They described this shift as a comparison between “Content That Humans What to Share” vs. “Content That Ranks High in Search.” While there was a noticeable disconnect in 2002, by 2012 content people wanted to share and high search ranks were in near alignment.

That article was about SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and included some wise-words from SEO Moz CEO Rand Fishkin about what kind of content businesses or start-ups should create to get noticed in this “new” paradigm. The conclusion... basically, “good.”

Good Content

It’s impossible to say at a granular-level what “good content” is. We can all only speculate and abide by some fairly good guiding points: 

1. Good content must be genuine.
2. It tells a compelling story about you or your brand.
3. It is relevant to the target audience. 
4. Video and other visuals are used to convey information. 
5. Form follows function.  

Naturally, I intend to tap-away on my keyboard for the next 20 minutes or so to provide some thoughtful ideas about each of these points. But first, it’s important to consider just how important content is for business. 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing, and are spending 28% of their marketing budget on that content (37% for companies with less than 10 employees!). And that budget is enormous, reaching $100 Billion in 2012 and estimated to increase to nearly $120 Billion in 2013.

1. Good Content Must Be Genuine 

There are lot’s of ways to interpret this, so here’s what I mean. You want to genuinely want to improve your consumers experience, life, cup-of-coffee. Whatever it is you are into, you are into it because you sincerely see a way you can help improve the community. Think about it.

Ultimately, your business (user-base, etc) will grow because influential people like what you are doing. This doesn’t have to be some cohort of celebrities, but ultimately it may be. People will want to work with you, will want to support you, if they feel you are doing something they believe in. In the words of Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

2. Good Content Tells A Compelling Story About Your Brand

This is not the same as point 1, but yeah they are (they all are) related. YOU MUST HAVE A STORY... this doesn’t matter if you are selling yourself, selling your business, or selling a house. Stories sell, and for lot’s of good reasons.

Your story is what is going to convey that genuine desire, it’s the vehicle that carries your excitement, your inspiration, your love, your frustration, whatever emotions you feel are motivating you to do whatever it is you are doing... those are carried to the hearts and minds of your audience via the words, those compelling words of your story.

You can start getting the right story by having the right mission statement. Your mission statement should convey your reason for existence, your "why," in addition to some hint at "what" you do. 

It’s like the mantra of your brand. Make sure you nail it! Check this out.