Does the content you produce inspire people? Does it save someone's time, money or nerves? If not, do not bother publishing it!
A beautifully and concisely wrapped message that has no content meaningful to the consumer is an empty shell which is thrown unopened in the trash without a second thought.
A couple of decades ago, I took part in a content design meeting of a student organization paper. Our selected theme for the paper was online content production.
The theme nearly got scrapped at the outset as we argued whether the Internet can have content at all. According to the editors, the Internet was full of junk not related to content in any way.
Today, the question is absurd but topical in the arena of content marketing. Content can be endlessly pushed online or in marketing materials, but what content is worth creating?
Does the content we create have meaning, and for whom should it be meaningful? Why should content be pondered about in the first place?
Does the content we create have meaning, and for whom should it be meaningful?
In the midst of the changing marketing industry, the question of content has become topical in an entirely new way.
Companies and their individual employees have become their own media that should produce content for a number of different channels. However, simply using or filling a channel is not useful if the message is unable to reach anyone.
New communication channels have tightened the competition for people's time. What sort of content do people want to grasp? How to catch the attention of the user? How to make people addicted to the content we produce?
Content marketing tells the story of your brand
Those with a background in journalism have a strong outset for content marketing. Producing contents is based on knowing the target group.
Before starting to create content, one must identify the needs and wants of the target audience, even the ones of which the customer is not yet aware.
Each brand is a story, a serial that needs to be consistent. Each content must tell the same story.
Like journalistic content, content marketing also has goals: the desire to make the user committed to consuming the brand in question and its products.
A realized brand promise makes the customer believe the product satisfies their needs. Only the feeling of benefiting from the product entices the consumer to come back to the product and the brand over and over again.
Each brand is a story, a serial that needs to be consistent. Each content, be it a newsletter, magazine, video or a Facebook status, must tell the same story. Inconsistency is quickly discovered, to the impairment of credibility.
To make the story strong enough to compete with other contents, you must make your story the one that is meaningful to the consumer.
The fact that some products are novelties is not big news to the consumer. Novelty items are constantly being pushed to the market. The consumer only becomes aware of a novelty if it is meaningful to them.
The task of content marketing is to make this meaningfulness clear to the consumer: to assure them to order or open a newsletter, watch a video or like the Facebook status of a company or brand.
Consumers benefit from good content
Journalists are the experts of creating content. Not only are they professional storytellers but they also know how to wrap the story in a pretty package.
To make sure the content reaches its destination, it must be useful to the consumer. Usefulness can be tangible (saving money/time/nerves). It can be a feeling, a need to be moved or touched, it can inspire or offer insight.
Usefulness can also be the need to fit in. The content of a status or a magazine article can be something one can share with friends, a topic one would not have come up with by oneself.
Usefulness can also be a change of perspective: that's true, I never thought about it like that, I guess you can look at it that way too. The best content makes all this come true.
Useful content can also trigger a change of perspective: that's true, I never thought about it like that.
New channels have also revolutionized the concept of communication. When communication becomes more interactive, it can no longer be directed from the top down. That is why good content not only informs but communicates.
Even with experts, good communication is an equal dialogue where, in the end, meaning is produced together. At its best, good content makes the consumer want to communicate and join the conversation.
At its best, useful content creates the desire to share the company's message: thanks for telling me, I want to tell others about this.
The writer works as Managing Editor at Aller Ideas, Aller Finland's journalistic content marketing unit. Aller Ideas is a part of Aller Marketing Services.