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Content Marketing, Step Two: What to Say

February 11 2016

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Welcome to the second installment of our series on content marketing. Inspired by the interest of clients, partners, and colleagues, we wanted to create a guide to help you master the art of content marketing.

The first step is to understand WHO you are targeting. Once you have a good sense of who you’re talking to, you’ll need to figure out what to say. There are 4.6 billion pieces of content created every day. That’s 4.6 billion pieces competing for the attention of your target. You will only win if you have a firm grasp on two things: your purpose and your voice. If you have clarity in those two areas, your content will resonate and your business will see results from your efforts.

First, Know Your Purpose

Screen Shot 2016 02 11 at 2.34.50 PMWhat is the purpose of your content? Before spending a moment creating content, understand your intent. If you create content without it, it will get lost.

Answer positively at least one of the following when describing your content:

  • It is Informative

This piece from Birchbox is an example of an informative piece. It is simple how-to guide that breaks down a process and yields clear results.

  • It is Interesting

This piece from Business Insiderpiece from Business Insider coveys interesting information in a clear, cohesive way.

  • It is Utilitarian

This piece from Equinoxpiece from Equinox describes visually and with supporting text how to complete a specific exercise.

  • It is Entertaining

Screen Shot 2016 02 11 at 2.35.02 PMThis collection from the White Housecollection from the White House is designed not to inform or teach, but to shed light on a different side of the Presidency in an entertaining way.

If what you’re creating is none of these things (informative, interesting utilitarian, or entertaining) – start over. You don’t have a purpose.

Once you identify what you hope to accomplish with your piece, keep digging. If your piece is informative, for example, make sure you understand what information you are trying to convey. What skills do you want your reader to take from your piece? Are you delivering that message in the clearest way possible?

You want to accomplish something substantial with your audience – you want to make their lives better, richer, healthier, or happier – bring them value in some shape, way or form.

Your Voice

Screen Shot 2016 02 11 at 2.35.23 PMHave a point of view, perspective, and personality in what you create. Content marketing is not where you sell, it’s where you connect with your audience. How do you ensure your voice will resonate? It goes back to empathyempathy. Understand who you’re talking to... then speak their language. Refinery 29 is great at this with headlines like: “This Granny is a Total Beer Pong ChampThis Granny is a Total Beer Pong Champ” and “23 new Models who are about to do the Damn Thing23 new Models who are about to do the Damn Thing.” They are speaking to their tribe – 20-something, affluent, city-dwelling females (or those who aspire to be).

If you speak with a voice that resonates, your message is more likely to be memorable, noteworthy, and shareable. So be impartial. Embrace the voice of your consumer. They will not settle for bland mediocrity and neither should you.

Remember, you’re trying to create a relationship here. This isn’t about a one-night-stand – it’s about building something that lasts.

How will I know if it’s working?

How will you know if you’ve achieved these objectives? You’ll connect with your target. You can look at vanity metrics like uniques and time on site, but those don’t really measure engagement. You want to see people you care about reading, sharing, interacting, and delighting in your content.

You are creating content to capture the new marketing currency: attention. The attention of your target must be earned and once achieved, it must be valued and nurtured. So understand your purpose and point of view. Then get out there and start writing, recording, filming, snapping and sharing relevant content that truly drives interest and creates relationships that yield dividends for your business.

Join us next week when we delve into how to deliver your message in Part 3 of our 4-part series on content marketing.

To view the original article, visit the Onboard Informatics blogOnboard Informatics blog.