Great Content vs. Bad Content

Great content is exciting and engaging. It tells a story without screaming “BUY ME!” People share great content with their friends.

Bad content, on the other hand, is marketing propaganda. A swift click of the “DELETE” button is all it takes for someone to put bad content in its rightful place.

The difference is worth highlighting because these days everyone is a content publisher. Does your business have a website? Do you send out a newsletter, write a blog or maintain your company’s social media pages? If yes, then you are a publisher of content. You also know how difficult it is to keep producing content that generates attention and builds loyalty while optimizing your company’s position on search engines.

Feeding the Machine

Indeed, it takes a lot of work to feed the content machine. Thanks to social media’s exponential growth, the development and dissemination of fresh online content can involve everything from blog posts, webinars, videos, slide shows, podcasts, white papers, newsletters and more. No wonder you see so many company websites with blog posts and Twitter feeds that date back weeks, months or even years.

Unfortunately, stale content is just that: stale. It hurts a company’s credibility and sends customers and prospects searching for a more dynamic competitor.

If content is not a cornerstone of your company’s marketing efforts, it should be. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. People are tired of being bombarded with commercial messages. They don’t want to be interrupted. Instead, they expect to access information when they want it and how they want it. That could mean newsletters, blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook pages, Pinterest boards and more.

To engage people, give them something that is worth sharing. Connect with your audience by making it easy for them to connect with theirs. Suddenly, your content becomes a powerful vehicle for positive word of mouth. You do this by creating content that:

  • Educates
  • Entertains
  • Tells a Story
  • Overcomes Resistance
  • Establish Credibility
  • Builds Word of Mouth

Examples of Client Work

Here are three examples from our content development work for clients:

Online Education: The Standard created a “Building Your Business” online webinar series to provide fresh educational content for its retirement advisors and partners. The online courses feature a variety of experts (including Patrick Galvin of The Galvanizing Group) to provide insight and commentary on the challenges and opportunities that advisors face in the retirement plan industry. In doing so, The Standard has created a library of educational content that is readily accessible and enhances its credibility as an expert in its field.

Corporate Storytelling: OCSC SAILING in Berkeley, California, is the best sailing school in the country. We’ve generated coverage for OCSC SAILING in every major media outlet in the nation by telling the company’s story using words and images that get people excited about the sport of sailing, even if it’s something they’ve never tried, or never plan to do. (We’ve managed to get more than one seasick-prone reporter aboard an OCSC sailboat in pursuit of a story!) By continuously adapting content to match each audience’s specific interests, we have helped keep OCSC SAILING’s story as fresh and relevant as the day the business opened in 1979.

Search Optimization: How does a relatively new garden product acquire thousands of social media fans and appear at the top of search engine results for key gardening terms in just a matter of weeks? It starts with quality content that educates, entertains and differentiates. Cascade Minerals in an all-natural remineralizing soil booster made from volcanic basalt from Central Oregon. We helped the company launch an SEO-optimized website. We research, write and edit weekly blog posts that educate consumers on the benefits of the product and keep the company at the top of Google results for relevant keywords (check out “volcanic soil booster”). We create daily social media content (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), produce eNewsletters and communicate with the media to generate coverage that increases credibility, visibility and sales. The result is substantial online “buzz” that generates awareness and interest for the brand and supports the Cascade Minerals sales team as they sign up new distributors and get the product into the hands of consumers.

A Few Guidelines

There is no right way to becoming a content expert. Every company must balance its own capabilities with the needs of its audience. Whatever route you choose, keep these three guidelines in mind:

1. Create great content…and create it often. This takes planning and starts with a clearly articulated content strategy. It also doesn’t hurt to create an editorial calendar with specific dates and content-related tasks (e.g., “On Wednesday, May 15, at 10:00 AM, send out monthly eNewsletter.”)

2. Think outside the text. Great content comes in many forms (words, images, videos, audio, etc.)

3. Use (and reuse) your content creatively. Post it, share it, promote it and recycle it across multiple platforms. It might not be news to you, but it will be for many of your customers and prospects.