Do you know how much content is online? Do you know how much of that content is genuine and original?
An eBook written by a subject matter expert or someone with love for the topic outperforms dozens of decent articles written by a content farm using the same terminology. It outperforms them where it matters -- in the opinion of your customers. Those articles may get people to your landing page through search, customers actually enjoy reading the original eBook, and gladly pass it on to their network.
Original content is hard -- and expensive -- to create. I know from experience.
It's one of the reasons why there is a lot of content either blatantly copied or rewritten from obscure or less known sources online. Original content works on the strength of it being genuine -- from a place of subject matter expertise, and a certain personality and unique point of view.
Humanizing means being humanBefore we talk about content, let's talk about people. When we replace a more passive proposition like mass media, with a more interactive one, like social media, we get the advantage of humanizing and personalizing the experience.
Yet, we don't scale so well, either. People have so many hours in a day. We need to be quite deliberate in choosing where to spend our time and energy. Social networks have the tendency to take up good chunks of both, even as you execute against your goals.
Companies and individuals are still coming online every day by casting a net wider than necessary to gain leverage, thus contributing to the general volume of the conversation. We're also learning to manage our own experiences directly, which adds to the attention and time invested.
Content that works
It works not on everyone, and not all the time, just like in the old mass media days. Except for now you have the opportunity to attract those you want to work with by writing about topics that appeal specifically to them.
So you start with the end in mind -- who are you looking to attract, and what do you want them to do? Then build from there.
Here are several ways for content to be connective:
- talks about what they're interested in
- uses narrative or story to illustrate a point
- creates a movement
- maps to the buyer's decision journey
- assists a person in gaining internal buy in
- helps people do their job better
- is permission-based
- is interactive -- a tool, for example
- engages in play
- is easy to scan and read
- allows people to add their own content
- learns from customers in the form of feedback -- traffic and comments
I keep reminding myself that these are still early days, and we have so much to learn from all of this. Participating and observing, creating and consuming/sharing content is teaching us something new every day. And I'm sure you have many other kinds of content you'd add to this small list.
Good content -- even bad content, for that matter -- is not free: not to the people who develop it, nor to those who consume it.
[image of we have signs reminded me of we have content]