Dave Oury is the president and managing partner of Medical Leverage, a healthcare communications company.
Creating great content can help nearly any business boost its reputation, build customer lists and positively impact its bottom line. But just creating content for its own sake won’t get your business very far. Content needs to be effective, not just catchy, to actually generate benefits. And the process of creating effective content starts long before putting pen to paper.
Know What Great Content Looks Like
Effective content and great content are not always one and the same. When people say “great content,” they’re often referring to content that’s entertaining and memorable. These are wonderful qualities, and everyone enjoys engaging with content like this. But just because people like your content doesn’t mean it will actually accomplish the goals of your organization.
Great content is information or entertainment. Effective content actually moves people to action. It generates leads, makes sales, improves your image, etc. Creating content that’s powerful starts with strategy and research, long before the writer is handed an assignment.
The First Step Is Setting A Goal
Creating effective content starts with defining your goal. What do you want to accomplish? Usually, it’s best to start with the big goals of the company, such as gaining a larger market share, becoming known as an industry leader, or launching a new line of products. Knowing where you want to end up will drastically increase your chances of actually getting there.
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Data Analysis Gives A Framework To Build On
Now that you know your ultimate goal for content, it’s time to look at the data you have available. What sorts of numbers and reports do you have to work with? What survey results, keyword statistics, and market analyses do you have at your disposal to guide your content creation process?
Data provides you with a framework to build your content upon. For example, if keyword statistics show that there is heavy search traffic for a term related to your business, you may want to generate a blog, paper, or webinar that capitalizes on that trend. Using data to guide your content strategy can save your team a world of work on content that doesn’t deliver results. It provides the opportunity to identify and ride a wave, which is much easier than creating or fighting a wave.
Talk To The End Users
Your best source for finding out what people are saying about your product is by talking to the people who actually buy, sell and use it. People who interact with your product will be able to give you insight into the real benefits. Also, putting your content into the voice of the customer will help make an impression that lasts.
Find The Right Audience
Your target audience may not be who you think. It is important to identify and understand your customers. With proper audience segmentation, you can ensure you are saying the right thing to the right people at the right time. This helps align your goals with the goals of your customer. When that happens, you move from great content to effective content, as people are more likely to take action when they strongly identify with the message. .
Now, Start Writing
Like most things in life, what most people see is just the tip of the iceberg. Creating content is no different. The most effective content takes a concerted effort in the pre-writing phase. Fortunately for you, our world is full of content partners, data companies, and software that can help you gather the critical information you need.
Once you’ve accomplished these pre-writing steps, you can feel confident that you’re on the way to creating content with the power to accomplish your goals.
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Author: Dave Oury, Forbes Councils Member