Yes, content is king, but quality, customer-centric content is the queen. The one who really wears the trousers!
Surfing the internet has become a bit of an effort. There's just so much information available, and a lot of it is just, well, sh*t. You have to wade through page after page, site after site, just to find that little gem. There's just far too much mediocre content being produced that it's becoming increasingly hard to find the quality stuff or to get your own quality content noticed. Over the last five years, the average number of blog posts published per brand per month increased by 800 percent. Whilst the amount of attention being competed for hasn't increased one bit. Source: https://trackmaven.com. So all new content being produced is having to work 800% harder just to get noticed.
Content, great content, is customer-centric. It should inspire, educate, engage and entertain. It should be questioned. It shouldn't just be written to tick a box. It shouldn't add to the drab bullsh*t that is becoming all too familiar. It needs to stand out amongst the two million blog posts being published everyday.
Now I realise we're not all literary geniuses. Me especially. Getting by on GCSE English is all I can muster. Yet, if I write content, even if it isn't grammatically correct, I know if it's bad or not, and I know if it's bringing value to the customer. Instead of writing what is basically a rewritten piece of content, ask yourself what it brings your customer that they can't just google and download from hundreds of other sites. It's just like your brand. What does your brand bring that a competitor doesn't have? Your USP. This can be personality, knowledge or real life experiences.
Quality over quantity.
Marketers have become obsessed with data, analytics and ticking the todo list. Content driven marketing is not all good. Consistently churning out crap content will not help your business. You will become part of the noise, and your customers won't see you. You need to stand out, and what better way than producing content your customers want, with a personality that keeps them engaged. Next time you sit down with your CEO, instead of looking at what the content you've been producing has done for your business, ask yourself what has it done for your customers. After all, they're why you're in business in the first place.
Budget permitting it's always worth getting a professional to write your content. It's what they do, what they're good at, and can raise your content game enormously. Just ensure you've briefed them correctly by giving them clear objectives.
3 steps for quality customer-centric content
- Understand your customer
Unless you truly understand your customer, don't even start. Talk to your current customers and find out what value you can give them. What do they want to know? Ask yourself does it answer a question your customer wants answers to? or is it a solution they have a problem with? They don't want to know about your employee training day or money raised for a good cause. This sort of content has its place for sure, but not when trying to attract future leads.
- Customer focused
Create content for your customer, not to shout about your brand. If it's too salesy and pushy, you've lost already. They just don't have the time to read about how well your business is doing, they want and need content that gives them real value for the time they're investing in reading it.
- It takes time
Yes, we all have deadlines and targets, yet if you find yourself writing content to tick a box, then stop. Valuable content takes time. Plan it, research it, create it, edit it, and get feedback, until it's right, for your customer not you.
Content marketing is a huge part of a successful inbound marketing strategy. Attracting potential leads through great content is the main goal. If it's not customer-centric and too brand led, then it's acting more like outbound marketing. Trying to push your message on customers rather than give them the information they need to make the right decision for themselves is not the way to go.
Next time you're creating content, ask yourself if it offers real value for your customers, and if it offers something different than what is already available.
Let us know what you think at @sevenseven_UK or get in touch to discuss your inbound marketing strategy.