The focus of your content is not always your product, service, or even your company. We’ll give you a moment to digest that …
Great! So, as we were saying, you should not write all your content with the intention of expressing just how effective, valuable, or impressive your offering is. Not everything your business publishes has to be explicitly promotional.
If you aren’t entirely familiar with the benefits of content marketing, how it should be made, and how it can be effective for your business, we’re here to help.
Why shouldn’t I directly promote my business?
Content marketing is different to advertising. It looks different, it reads differently, and it serves a different purpose. As a result, your audience isn’t expecting it to be an advert, but something that holds value to them. So, you can imagine their reaction if they opened your article and were greeted with a puff piece on your latest product. It wouldn’t go down well.
Content marketing is so prevalent now that it has become familiar to many. They understand that its purpose is to give them information or insight that benefits them. As such, they're not as reluctant to engage with your content as they would be if they were presented with an advertisement. They place trust in your content having good intentions; it’s important to not betray that trust.
Lead with value, reward their trust, and the audience will repay you.
What’s considered value?
Ultimately, value depends on, and is determined by, your audience. What the audience of a construction company sees as value will not be the same as what the audience of a software firm considers valuable. It’s up to you to know your audience and understand what they can gain from your expertise or would benefit from knowing.
If you’re short of ideas, you’re in luck, because we have a few suggestions:
- Instructions — If there’s a job you carry out regularly or a problem your audience frequently encounters, you could offer instructions on how to provide the solution. This may seem counterintuitive as you’re giving potential customers the information they need to do the job themselves, but rest assured most will still hire a professional instead.
- Insight — In every field of expertise, there’s a topic that those within the industry understand more intimately than their customers. By sharing an insight into that topic with your audience, you come across as knowledgeable as well as helpful and open.
- Reviews — Assess a range of products or services available to your audience and help them to understand which is most suitable for them. If these offerings include yours, or those of your competitors, make sure you’re fair and balanced in your assessment. Any bias toward your product can be seen as manipulative and misleading.
- Opinion — When there’s a hot-button topic prevalent in your industry, your audience will probably be looking for the opinions of experts to improve their understanding on the matter. Sharing your opinion on the matter will usually generate a lot of interest from your audience.
Hopefully, while reading these four suggestions, a content idea has popped into your head for each of them. If you’re still not sure how you can deliver value in your content, let us know and we’d be happy to help.
How should my content be structured?
Now you know your content marketing should be about providing value and not just promoting your offering, and you have an idea of the value you can give to your audience, it’s time to work on the structure of your content.
Every piece of long-form content is different, but having a general structure makes your content easier to produce and feel more familiar to your audience. This is how we’d suggest structuring your content:
Set the scene — Your content should begin by providing some context to the reader. If you’re solving a problem or providing instructions, talk about the issue, how it occurs, and the negative effects it has. This will emphasise exactly why the rest of your content is valuable.
It’s important to get the opening right. Make sure it’s not too long, or you’ll turn your audience off, and don’t leave it too short, or the reader might reach the value before they fully understand its importance and what it’s about.
Hit ‘em with the value — There’s no need to wait too long to arrive at the main event. The later you get to the value, the more you’re expecting your audience to read to reach it. So, now you’ve set the scene, it’s time to deliver the value.
It’s still too early in the piece to start talking too much about your product, or trying to convert the reader into a customer — focus entirely on the value you’re providing. In content that offers value in the form of solutions, make sure you emphasise the benefits the reader will experience thanks to the solutions.
Bring in the brand — Now that you’ve provided the value to the reader, you’ve earned the right to promote your company or your offering. To maximise the impact and relevance of the content, be sure to link your offering to the main topic.
For example, if you’ve provided instructions, let the reader know that you’re there to carry out the work if they’d rather not. If you’re addressing a common problem, make sure you emphasise that you can provide the solution, and accompanying benefits, that you’ve already highlighted.
Round off with a CTA — No matter how long or short your content is, a call to action (CTA) is essential. Whatever action you want the reader to take, make sure you spell it out to them. If your aim is to generate leads, encourage readers to get in touch. If you want them to arrange a service, provide a link to your online booking form.
Can someone do it for me?
Absolutely! The Prize Content team would love to help you create content that makes a difference.
We recently ran a two-month campaign for a client that, in the first month, resulted in visits to their website increasing 12-fold on the previous month. And that’s not all. During the second month of the campaign alone, our client gained 15 new customers. When it’s done right, content marketing has a huge impact.
If you want to start your company’s content marketing journey, get in touch with our team today.