Most B2B marketers today have a basic understanding of what content marketing is and what it is used for. It can take many forms, from service descriptions to blogs, from 1-pagers to social media, depending on the target audience and what is being conveyed. More and more businesses are investing in content marketing (recent reports have stated that 53% now rely on content marketing to engage their customers), and continued growth is expected.
It has been twenty years since Bill Gates wrote his famous essay on ‘content is king’ – and the adage holds true in content marketing. Truly engaging content that really resonates with your target audience marks the difference between success and failure of any marketing campaign.
What is epic, engaging content?
The simple answer is that it is content that stimulates your audience to behave or think in the intended way: changing their minds, saying ‘huh, I didn’t know that’, clicking on a call back button… all these are behaviours that content marketers want to trigger. It’s not necessarily content that you like to read, or content that’s graphical, funny, detailed or high-level: all these types of content could be epic if that’s their objective. And with 51% of businesses publishing content on a daily basis, it’s important not to put quantity on the pedestal and leave quality behind.
Here are a few tips and tricks that help in creating epic content:
- Know your audiences: Since epic content is defined by whether it makes your audiences behave in a particular way, the first order of business is to start with the audience. Common sense, isn’t it? And yet, this is precisely what many content marketers do not do. They start with a terrific product or technology and painstakingly create content that says a lot about it: and then often wonder why it isn’t achieving what they wanted it to! Starting with the audience and understanding what they want, their knowledge gaps and their concerns/ aspirations makes it natural to deliver content that presses all the right buttons.
- Know your competition: Be aware of what assets your competitors are putting out there and what they’re saying, and if it’s grabbing the attention of your target audience or not. You need to be able to stand out and differentiate, so find the gaps and the pain points for your target audience and run with them, sometimes it can be as simple as just that.
- Do your research and plug the gap: In order to write epic content, research, research, research! There’s no point writing a blog about the problem with Smart Cities, when there are a hundred blogs discussing exactly the same thing from the last week alone! This is when you should research to identify anything that’s not being addressed. Find the gap and you’re half way there. And don’t be afraid to take risks. Epic content doesn’t need to be positive.
- Word dump and draft: Now you’ve got the research part out of the way, it’s time to start writing – but where to start? A wise man once told me that the only two steps for writing content were ‘think of what you want to say, and then say it!’ Get a first draft off the ground in whatever way works for you. Create an outline. Word dump everything you’ve read and researched into a document. Depending on the asset and audience, identify the piece’s key messages. Remember to talk in a language that is natural and comfortable for your target audience, and tell the story from their perspective.
- Polish that piece: Now that the content and the framework is there, it’s time to get your content polished and reading smoothly. Take a break and come back to look at the piece with fresh eyes. When you get back, relook at your piece and ask yourself; does this read like a story? Is this addressing my target audience? Is it addressing a pain point for my target audience? Are there clear key takeaways for the reader? And finally, have you offered a solution to that pain point? You need to have answered yes to all of the above if you want epic content. Now it’s time to put your editing brain on and ensure your content is 100% ready to go out.
- Promote it: Perhaps the most important step to writing epic content is knowing how to promote it. There is absolutely no point in writing an epic piece of content if it’s just going to sit where no one will see it. Think about every available channel that could get your content in front of your target: PR, social media, blogs, emails, content discovery platforms, sponsored newsletters and SEO. The more you and your colleagues share your content, the bigger the reach will be and the more likely it is to spread to more of your target audience in other nations.
There’s no recipe for epic content, it’s a process that gets easier and easier over time. Your epic content is now poised to increase engagement for your target audience and generate leads, whilst people will share it over various social media channels and hey, you might even just go viral!
Now you’ve created it, want to know the best ways to reuse and recycle content? Read our recent blog discussing how to alleviate stress and reduce effort by repurposing the content you already have.
Photo by Gem & Lauris RK on Unsplash