Before you sign off on that production estimate for the latest instalment in your content marketing strategy, here are three questions to help ensure it’s seen widely.
Is it really just a long ad?
One of the most challenging aspects of content marketing is letting go of the urge to “always be closing”. Thing is, most marketers have been taught to do precisely that from their very first day on the job. As a result, too much content ends up being just long-form ads. Not only is the result unengaging, it can also be insulting to the audience if they feel they are being duped into watching a tarted-up ad. An excruciatingly long, tarted-up ad.
That said, there are a few brands fortunate enough to be in a position to skip this question. Take this piece for Barrett-Jackson and Chrysler: Yup, it can be argued it’s just a really long ad. But for classic and muscle car fanatics, this is one of the best things they’ve seen all day. And they will watch it. 400,000 times.
Does it provide value?
Great content should leave the consumer feeling like they have gotten some value from the time they’ve invested in it. “Value” can have many forms when it comes to content: it can amuse, amaze, inspire, unite, educate, incite or even just inform. But whatever it does, the consumer needs to feel rewarded. If not, then why would they bother to open your next piece of content?
Would I share it?
Be honest with yourself when you answer this important (yet rarely asked) question.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience: It’s 10:30 on a Sunday evening, you’re sitting in front of the TV, half-heartedly swiping your way through your Facebook News Feed. Or you’re sitting at your desk on a Tuesday morning, looking for information to support that business case you’re making to the corner office. Imagine coming across your video (or article, or photo). Ask yourself, is this something you’d watch or read? And most importantly, is it something you’d share?
Taking the time to honestly answer these three questions could mean a good portion of the content development proposals you consider end up in the bin. But in the long run, the quality of your content will be improved, and that means far more people will see it.
And that’s what great content marketing is all about.