Stop Emailing Me Snoozeletters and Other Useless Content
Content marketing means more than just dumping words, graphics, and videos out on the web in hopes of scoring some new customers. That’s not only a ton of unfocused effort, but it’s also a bit spammy and annoying. Instead, your content must be valuable to your audience if it’s going to be successful. Here are some examples of valuable content so you can be sure you’re heading in the right direction.
Blogs Done Right
Hobby bloggers and people hoping to gain ad revenue from viewers all know how to target their readers to get people on the page who are interested in the ads. We all know how obnoxious it is to scroll through 14 paragraphs of babble just to get to a recipe, but those words are all there to make sure the readers are a good match for the advertisers. Then, you finally get to the 50 words that are valuable to you: the actual recipe.
For businesses trying to get customers, we can skip the 14 paragraphs of babble entirely and get straight to the valuable part. Your blog posts should inform and educate, answer questions, or otherwise meet the needs of the person searching for the content. They should also either provide unique information or a novel viewpoint to be valuable; otherwise, you’ll be one more page on top of a hundred more.
Videos That Work
Videos continue to be one of the most rapidly-growing segments of content, likely due to good high-speed internet available on smartphones and other small devices. Of course, for every good video out there, there’s probably a few dozen that are awful.
The good news is that people don’t value professionally-produced video more than amateur video anymore as long as the content is worth watching. While you still want to put some effort into a well-made video, you don’t have to sink a ton of money into an expensive camera, sound system, and editing software.
Instead, focus your resources on writing a good script and practice your lines so your delivery is smooth. Create a few visuals to go along with it, especially if you’ll be discussing complex subjects or anything to do with numbers or statistics.
The majority of your audience is not likely to be interested in all your long-form content like ebooks and whitepapers. Why? Because they’re long and people don’t like to read a lot. On the other hand, anyone who is interested is likely to be very interested in what’s inside so you better make it valuable! Imagine having someone ready to dig into a 20 or 40-page document because they’re so interested in your ideas and then disappointing them with poor content. Yikes.
Long-form content must be jam-packed with facts, figures, details, examples, illustrations, surveys, statistics, and anything else you can get your hands on. Double bonus points for any original research you have. Whether it’s an aggregated survey from comment cards or a well-funded scientific research project, people will want to learn about the results of any new research.
Long-form content must also be very well organized. For business owners who are confident writing 500 or 1000 words for their blog, this might not translate well to a multi-chapter document. Consider using a professional writer, or at least a professional editor, to make sure you’ve managed to create something that flows in a logical way from start to finish.
Newsletters, Not Snoozeletters
I’m gonna say it: almost all company newsletters are boring. What’s worse is that newsletters tend to be the primary method of email marketing! Do not waste an entire segment of your marketing wing on boring, useless content that provides nothing of value to your readers.
When planning what to put in your monthly emails, go back to the content marketing basics and focus on your readers. It’s ok to include a section to introduce a new hire or wish someone well on their retirement, but if that’s the foundation of your newsletters, you’re doing it wrong. Focusing only on Buy! Buy! Buy! is also the wrong approach.
Valuable newsletter content includes mostly educational information and just a teeny bit of sales and an even tinier bit of company-related stories. Remember, the idea is to get people to open them, not grumble about not wanting to buy anything as they hit the delete button. Include information on how to use your products, industry news, upcoming events, and community service projects. Always ask yourself, “why would they care?” before including anything in your newsletter.
The pressure to produce fresh content on a regular basis can push a lot of companies to put anything out there to say it’s been done. I get it. The struggle to come up with something that’s both new and valuable is real. But, let me be the one to tell you that you’re better off taking a break for a cycle than to dump out something useless to make sure you’re meeting your publishing goals. It has to be valuable or it’s useless.
If you’re struggling to come up with valuable ideas or to cover the topics you need without being boring or repetitive, let me know! I’m an expert at getting to the bottom of what makes you, your company, your products, and services valuable and making sure your audience knows all about it.