One Foolproof Equation to Creating Great Content

So, you want to create a content marketing strategy but have no clue where to start? Luckily for you, marketing guru, Ann Handley from MarketingProfs, has bestowed a few nuggets to help you get started. Throughout her presentation during the 2014 Vocus Demand Success conference, she provided attendees with a very useful equation to ensure great content creation.


The equation, Useful x Empathy X Inspired = Great Content, should permeate throughout your entire content strategy. Here’s how to take your content to the next level.


Step 1: Use the “Ira, did you know” test


If content isn’t sharable, it isn’t great content. Before creating any content, ask yourself: is this topic useful enough to your audience that they will reference it in a casual conversation with friends? For instance, if you own a wallpaper company, chances are, your target audience would share an article about “10 Ways to Spruce Up Old Wallpaper”. However, chances are you won’t get the same response from a post geared toward selling your new floral print.


Step 2: Experiences vs. Articles


Another critical component of creating great content is to be empathic to your customer’s experience. This involves anticipating questions people may ask that aren’t necessarily directly related to your product. For example, people moving to a different neighborhood often ask “What’s around here?”.  If you work for a real estate company, for every listing on your website, include a Walkscore Map which will detail the closest restaurant, grocery and transportation options. “A good rule of thumb,” says Handley, “is to ask yourself ‘What will our customers thank us for?’”


In the same vein, it’s also helpful to highlight stories from your customers or case studies based around their experiences. A 2013 survey of B2B marketers by LinkedIn revealed that testimonials and case studies are two of the most effective content marketing tactics in terms of lead generation.


Step 3: Inspiration


Some readers may groan at this one, but data- yes, data- has to be a point of reference when creating content. Handley suggests that content creators look to data and current events to scope out a particular need that their customer may have. They should also look to fill that need in a unique way that’s consistent with their branding. “Content marketing should be baked in, not bolted on.” warns Ann. Data inspired content is a surefire way to propel your content marketing strategy.


As with all equations, if you’re missing any of the above elements, your content marketing won’t work.


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