Marketing today is about content, and when developing a content strategy for our clients, we place a high emphasis on value. Others will say the same thing and probably mean it, so the question is: who are they creating value for? This is a foundation of the book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype by Jay Baer--a title I found myself nodding "yes" to over and over again as I read.
Far too many create what they see as value for themselves--or for the business they represent in the case of marketers, advertisers, and other content creation firms. This content may end up boosting search results or seem relevant in the eyes of Google's bots, but it's low value for visitors, fans, or followers. This is the kind of content that no one really wants to read, and if they do stick around to read it once, they probably won't want to come back for more. It's focused inward on the company, often bragging about this or that, tooting their own horn while being all features and no benefits.
While we avoid creating this kind of content, this is what too many of our clients ask for! They want blogs that only talk about their business, brands, and products, spewing out repackaged versions of spec sheets and other existing company literature. They want text that talks them up with more calls to action, and they most likely don't even think about a new blog post unless it's to talk about how awesome an upcoming new release is. Unless someone is obsessed with the business, an employee trying to stay in-the-know, or a competitor trying to get the scoop, we wonder: who'd want to read this?!
When given the controls by a client, I aim to develop content valuable for those who access it. You can never create something of true value that will appeal to everyone in every situation, so the content should fit the niche, be specific, and be pointed to the audience you want to reach. This kind of content is beneficial for so many reasons, including:
- It's share-worthy. A useful and informative (or even entertaining) blog post about something your visitor is interested in is more likely to get shared on social media sites and via email. It may even get picked up by other blogs! Even if the original reader who shared the post isn't a potential client or customer, who knows about those he or she shared it with?!
- It builds connection. There is a lot of competition in almost every industry, and in the Internet age, there's more than ever as businesses can market and sell to people in a wider geographic area at a much lower cost. One of the best things you can do to stay competitive is to have a solid, well-defined brand people can identify with, and your content is a great way to do that. Valuable content connects with customers and prospects, making them feel connected to your brand. That connection can be the deciding factor when selecting someone to do business with.
- It builds the brand. Who are you? High value content can help you pin down your brand identity and develop it. A strong brand voice with strong values will resonate well with people who share those values--this goes back to that connection thing above.
- It creates trust. You already give these visitors value without them having to spend a cent. When they are ready to buy or someone asks them for their opinion on who they should do business with, they are more likely to recommend you.
- It really does boost your SEO efforts. This is truly relevant content that will be read, re-read, shared, and will lead people back to your URL time and time again, and the search engines see this. Even without appropriate keyword density and a ton of tags, this should climb much higher in search results than bland keyword-rich, self-serving copy.
- It builds credibility. By helping others with the content you put out there, you are building yourself up as a trusted resource and expert in your niche--just the kind of business or brand or person people will want to do business with.
I could keep going, but let me give you real-word perspective. Imagine you are lost and go into a bar. You aren't buying anything, but the bartender takes time to give you directions and lets you use the lavatory. She may even offer you a glass of water--it's a hot day. When you are in that neighborhood again or a friend asks for a recommendation, you are pretty likely to recommend that bar because the bartender treated you like a customer and gave you value, despite not spending a cent. If she had told you restrooms were only for paying customers and talked about how great the bar was and tried to convince you to stay there instead of giving directions, would you want anyone giving them business?
There are several different ways you can give someone this sort of positive experience online, and Youtility goes through many of these. While there isn't any one-size approach to providing Youtility, there is the right high value content for every niche, industry, brand, and business. When you make the right call on content, you can indeed help yourself by helping others for the reasons outlined about and more.
If you want to learn more about this concept, I suggest picking up Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype by Jay Baer. If you want to learn more about how you can get this kind of content on your site, blog, or social channels ASAP, you should contact our content specialists today.