Let’s take a look at what makes content great. In this article, you’ll dive deeper into content, tell a story, and repurpose and curate content.
Elements of Content
After you’ve considered your customers’ needs or problems, chosen a topic and a format, there are a few more content elements you’ll want to pay attention to in order to make your content great.
First, content, that is more niche and more personalized is often more successful. For example an article on
How to Attract Customers Online
is too generic. Most people pay attention to content that relates to them and their specific problems or needs. So a better article and headline would be
How to Attract Returning Customers Through Facebook Ads
You can use short-form content like a 500-word blog or long-form content like an in-depth white paper. What links work best will depend on your content topic, your audience and the format of the content.
For example Bamboo HR, a B2B, business to business, company created a white paper for their audience of HR hiring managers. The description of the article makes it very clear to users what they can expect. The full document is 25 pages long and has a clearer table of contents that gives the reader a good overview of what they’ll get.
Elizabeth Arden a skincare company and B2C, business to consumer, company created content around skincare with tips for users that they paid to have featured on the website refinery29.com. The content is focused on selling their product and it’s short. It’s only eight slides with pictures. The user again gets a very good sense of what they will get from the title.
There is a lot of content out there, and much of it waste the reader’s time. Make sure your content actually delivers on the title headline or description, includes only the necessary points and conveys the central message upfront. Whatever length you choose the golden rule is to respect your audience’s time.
You also want your content to use the same language that your audience uses. In many B2B, business to business, context you might need to use more formal language.
While in some B2C, business to consumer context slang could be okay. In general though, you want to avoid using too much jargon.
Jargon can demonstrate that you’re an insider in your industry and know the lingo, but too much jargon can make your content pretentious, clunky and alienating.
In any case, your content should always be easily understood by newcomers to your industry. Straightforward and simple messaging is best.
In addition, positive language is more effective than negative language. For example pay attention to your language is positive language. Don’t use jargon is negative language.
One way to detect negative language is to look for words like can’t and don’t. But it’s not a hard and fast rule. The right move is to use language that best conveys your message.
Tone and Voice
Further, pay attention to the voice and tone of your content.
Voice is who is crafting the content and their personality.
Tone is how a voice is used in different situations.
For example, you have the same voice all the time but your tone changes. You might use one tone when talking to your dog, and another when talking with your boss. With tone you’ll always want to consider the audience’s state of mind. You want to think through who you want the content to come from; a person, a team, a mascot, the company.
What is the personality of the voice?
Is the voice warm and encouraging or authoritative and disciplined? A good example of a voice reflected in content is Virgin America’s blog. As you can see they keep the content fun, with light and upbeat tone focused on content that is in line with their hip and cool image.
Don’t try to fake a voice.
If for example using emojis doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t attempt it. As much as you can use a voice that is authentic to your company or organization. Whether it’s a consumer or the decision maker at a business, you’re trying to establish a relationship with a person. As such you’ll want to speak to what makes us human.
There are many parts to being human that your marketing can leverage. Three core elements to consider are memory, motivation and emotion.
Humans have an innate ability to remember things spatially. That means you want to put your content in context. Give its sensory details and use imagery such as this infographic. Infographics are colorful ways to summarize data in sites with pictures and graphs. They are popular content format exactly because the imagery helps people remember the content better.
Every day we go through a range of emotions. Happy, sad, afraid surprise, and angry disgusted to name a few. Each of these emotions can drive different behaviors. For example, research shows that happiness can prompt people to share, sadness can prompt people to empathize, fear can prompt people to bond with others and anger can prompt people to action.
Humor works too. This video by Ikea created to announce the launch of their new catalog was self-effacing and tickled the funny-bone of viewers.
It’s a book book.
As a result it was shared millions of times.
If your content evokes emotions in your audience they’re also more likely to remember it. Motivation is another internal state that activates behavior. While many can’t articulate why they make the decisions they do, they’re often motivated by unmet psychological needs.
Common human needs, are the need for consistency, the need to categorize and they need to belong. If for example, someone listens to country music they will often also own cowboy boots to satisfy their need for consistency. Marketing content that leverages the memory emotion and motivation of your target persona, is likely to be highly effective.
Finally, Simon Sinek, an author and consultant sums up the best content creation with his advice for marketers. Start with why?
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do.
Your content will need to consider personalization, length,
language, voice, tone, and the humanness of your audience.
Use story to stand out.