Sarah Shade is the Content Specialist at Express Writers.
In order for customers to want to read your online content, it needs to be valuable, unique and exciting.
No big deal, right?
While everyone knows that creating, curating and distributing valuable content on your website and throughout all your web marketing is the key to online marketing success, it’s not always that easy to create content that wows your audience in a world were 27 million pieces of content are shared across the web.
If your content hasn’t been working lately, it’s possible you’ve been missing important “value points” of great content or that you’re simply not giving readers material that is applicable to them.
Fortunately, these problems are easily fixable and content marketers who have been struggling to create successful content can do well to go back to the basic value points of fantastic content.
What are “Value Points?”
Value points are the things that make your content stand out from everybody else’s. For example, if there are 5,700 articles on the web on how to plant a garden correctly, the strength of your value points is what will make your article the one people choose to click on.
The 5 Value Points Your Online Content Should Have
Although the above definition sounds intimidating, value points can be broken down into very specific sections that outline how, exactly, content goes about providing unique value to its readers.
1) Your Content Should Be Capable of Shifting With its Audience
You’re a good content marketer so you’ve probably taken the time to develop target personas, right? The thing about even the best target personas, however, is that they change with time. Your target persona at the beginning of your business’s lifespan will absolutely not be the same as your target persona five years later.
Additionally, target personas can (and do) vary by product, location, form of content and even website or social media platform. The people you target on Instagram may not be the same people you target with your videocasts, and so on and so forth. With this in mind, one of the most notable value points of great content is that it is capable of shifting as its target persona does.
If all of the online content you create is aimed at Jane Doe, a 53 year old woman who lives in the Midwest, works a middle class job, is concerned about coupons and saving money, isn’t particularly tech-savvy and wants information about living frugally, all of the John Does and Laura Jones out there are going to be left in the dust and, as such, they won’t find your content interesting or valuable.
With that in mind, take the time to research all of your target audiences and then create content that caters specifically to them. Update your target personas as your business grows or your values change. A great way to stay on top of shifting trends is to use a tool like Prismatic or Klout, which allows you to keep tabs on the people you follow via keywords, so you can stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry.
Additionally, be conscious of the customer’s position in the buying journey. If they’re in the early phases of research or inquiry, they probably don’t want product-specific content. With that in mind, seek to offer content that isn’t directly related to your company’s product, good or service but that offers helpful information nonetheless (For example, consider clothing company ModCloth’s Twitter feed, which offers everything from tasty sangria recipes to shots of the company’s clothing).
This is a valuable and non-intrusive approach that is absolutely killer at attracting new customers Additionally, it is the primary way you can ensure your material provides solid value to readers and differentiates itself solidly from the churning sea of content consumers deal with daily.
2) Your Online Content Should Fill in the Gaps
With upwards of 27 million pieces of online content whipping around the web on a daily basis, it’s hard to imagine that there are any gaps anywhere, right? Think again. What takes content from being run-of-the-mill to outstanding is its ability to see the things other content misses.
Maybe those garden articles all tell customers how to plant a garden but they leave them wondering when and where. By providing an answer for these unanswered questions, you meet an important value point and set yourself up for success by dominating the market for those queries. By filing in knowledge gaps or acknowledging unacknowledged challenges, you can stand out in the eyes of customers who want valuable, solid information.
3) Your Content Should Play the Long Game
While it’s great for content to go viral, it’s also valuable for content to draw a steady stream of customers for months on end. With that in mind, don’t allow yourself to be perpetually obsessed with content that goes straight to the top of the charts immediately.
While viral content does offer specific value, the value is typically trend-based, which means it may not offer sustainable use to customers or readers. In order to reach its peak value potential, content needs to be able to play the long game, as well. By dedicating yourself to creating varied content with a wide array of goals and functions, you can provide a variety of valuable pieces to customers.
4) Your Content Should Be Unique
While it’s all well and good to cite statistics and provide great information, truly memorable content will stand apart via its use of new information, anecdotal evidence, themes relevant to a specific audience or well-placed action tips. Again, there’s a lot of content out there and everything sounds roughly the same. In order for your content to stand out, it needs to be unique and offer the value point of substance and relate-ability to customers.
With that in mind, offer anecdotes that come from your personal experience or that they can relate to directly and, once you’ve disseminated information, offer them a series of action tips on how to use it. Incorporate these things throughout all of your content. Think of it this way: ribs all taste the same; it’s the sauce that makes them definably different. When you bring a great sauce to your content, people will happily flock to it.
5) Your Content Should Be Elegant
Nobody is going to find clunky, badly written content useful, valuable or share-worthy. With this in mind, if your content isn’t working, it’s worth it to spend some time looking at your actual style of writing. Is it elegant? Is it concise? Is it clear and to the point? Can you outline concepts in a simple way that readers can understand without a diagram?
In order to be elegant, great content needs to be written in a clean and simple style; it needs to include unique images that add value to your message and pertain directly to your audience and it needs to be presented in a format that is capable of keeping people engaged. For a blog post, this might mean that text is broken up into headers, sub headers, bulletins and short paragraphs. For a podcast, it might mean that the audio is high quality and easy to download. For a videocast, it might mean the camera angle is appropriate and the image is clear. Making content elegant applies to any form of content you choose to use and should be one of your main considerations as you seek to create material that customers will love.
The Case for Value Points
Although seeking to stand out from the online content sea may seem intimidating, it’s really a simple process of learning what works and what doesn’t. At this stage in the journey of content marketing, we know that readers want value and that the best way to deliver that value to them is to write unique, elegant, interesting content that caters to their needs and concerns. By meeting the value points mentioned in this article, you can ensure that your content is always as good as it can possibly be.
Although there are millions of pieces of content available on the web today, the difference between good content and bad content is astounding. Fortunately, with these tips, you can ensure that your content always lands on the “good” side of the page.
For great online content that brings in all the right value points, hire our industry expert copywriters to pen your content!