While the content marketing zeitgeist means we're all in a job, we need to make sure it stays like that because, bills. So here's a simple guide to creating quality content that works.
1. What's the objective of the piece?
It's all well and good writing articles to make sure there's a steady stream of stuff coming out, but if it doesn't have an objective, you may as well just get a monkey on typewriter. Good objectives for producing a piece are:
- To fill an SEO search term gap
- Help a customer's decision-making by answering a known issue
- A trend where you have permission to play
- Enrich a customer's experience
- Retention and acquisition through digital equity
- Appeal to potential customers at the top of the funnel
2. What problem are you trying to solve and what's the level of awareness?
Although you've written a piece based on a search term for SEO, is what you're saying relevant to the customer's problem and what do they know about your product/service. Apple don't really need to say much about their smartphone, because even WW11 soldiers living on remote Pacific islands know what an iPhone is. Apple needs to address the problem their iPhone will solve like it's super-swanky camera functionality.
Whatever you do, make sure this content is relevant and empathetic. You're going to lose a reader if it's reams of boring technical info, start by addressing the benefit, like:
How to capture the action using just your smartphone
Use your phone to be the envy of sports photographers
3. Is your content relevant and appealing?
Then lead into those moments someone might've missed out on because the camera button is slow or in an awkward position or because of the shutter speed, like throwing the mortarboards at your graduation, your child's goal or swimming with dolphins. All of these build an idyllic but relatable picture, bringing it all to life.
More importantly, talk about how you're going to solve this problem. Make sure you address this above the fold, so you keep them reading, like; there are several features on a phone that come as standard or you can optimise, depending on the conditions.
4. Does the content take them on a journey?
Make the subsequent information useful, easy to scan and have a key theme that you can thread throughout and preferably ends with a neat message or a shopping basket. Also, make sure the flow is logical and takes them on a journey:
Open the camera app without even touching the screen
Tap anywhere on the screen to take a series of photos and videos
Hold down the thumbnail to edit and share that killer shot instantly
Easy filing, storing and deleting to save on that all important memory space
5. Is it an educational piece?
If you're creating content about a product, service or brand that is new to market, your job is a little easier. Content should then be all about educating people about what it is, what it can do and how to get it. Of course, never lose sight of the fact that you're trying to solve a problem for them. If you're creating educational content, remember:
- Don't lead with brand names, no one's heard of it and they'll switch off
- Stay away from any sales messaging, people won't part with cash if they don't have confidence in your product
- Bring it to life by relating to them, use empathetic systems to appeal to customers
6. Can it be consumed in a format that is expected?
Regardless of who you're writing for and why; best practice is to sound journalistic:
- Have a headline, not a heading or hero
- Introduce the page with a standfirst
- Build the story with lots of relevant information
- Appeal to system 1 by being empathetic and emotional
- Conclude by summarising the story and talk about next steps