The great Albert Einstein once said: “Strive not to be a success, but rather be of value.”
Of course, striving to be of value to others often leads to success. It is a universal truth that many content marketers recognise. In the world of communications and content marketing, where 27 million pieces of content are shared each day, only truly valuable, relevant and engaging content will get noticed. If your content does not help, interest or inspire your audience, they will simply ignore you.
Content is growing exponentially, and as it becomes more competitive, there is a need for quality content to capture and hold an audience’s attention. Sadly, in the rush to produce content in great volumes to build an online presence and an audience, great quality and value can be overlooked.
Yet content value and quality is important because your content is your brand in action – it demonstrates clearly what you’re all about, how your people or products solve a problem, as well as less tangible aspects of your brand such as your culture and values. If your content is valuable, it instils a strong impression of your brand’s value.
The difference between ‘ordinary’ and valuable content is in the eyes of the beholder. The value of your content is determined by how well it fulfills the needs of your audience. There is no ideal format, style, tone, frequency or length. There is no more inherent value in a video or blog post compared to an infographic, if they all fail to help, inspire and engage your customers. Essentially, understanding your audience, their needs and interests, is crucial to creating the content they value.
Three rules for creating valuable content
There are three simple rules to follow to create content that people want:
1. Accessible: Great content should be easy to understand, fun, easy to relate to. People engage more with content that surprises and entertains them.
2. Informative: We all have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, spanning everything from interesting facts, checklists and tips, relevant information or new research. Content designed to inform and help solve a problem, rather than as self-promotion, it will be more highly valued.
3. Inspiring: Content that is valuable inspires your audience to do something; such as putting their new found skills or knowledge into action, or sharing it with others.
Words, images and ideas created with a specific audience in mind, that entertains, informs and inspires, will be far more successful than content that simple aims to sell. Ultimately, your content should be focused on what your audience needs, rather than want you need. A strategy built on a self-interested quest for success, without ongoing focus on what your audience values, will inevitable fall flat.
The valuable content checklist:
· Does this answer a common question?
· Does this help my customers solve a problem?
· Does this offer anything new or intriguing?
· Am I sharing something of mutual interest or concern?
· Does it touch on a relevant or topical subject and offer new insight?
· Is it all about my audience or just about me?