Great content needs purpose

Written by Chris Tapley

Content. It’s everywhere these days. On your phone, on the side of buses, on stock cube packets. So how can you make sure your brand message is heard?

The short answer: purpose.

Think long and hard about why you’re telling people things. It should be about more than pushing traffic to your site. The best content is rooted in empathy, it comes from a belief that you can genuinely help someone overcome the problem they face.

The old model of sales had three elements — empathise, educate, sell. The key to getting it right was to give all three equal weight. Those who got it wrong went straight for the jugular; reeling off product or service benefits before understanding the customer’s issues. Unfortunately, many still make this mistake. But there is a better way...

Focus on what users will gain from your content

Empathy is what triggers your content, it’s the underlying principle that makes sure you’re delivering something of value to the reader. Don’t overlook the big questions you should ask at that stage – what is the problem you’re aiming to solve?

By translating that solution to content, you can then deliver the education element that a good face-to-face salesperson would have provided.

We talk to a lot of organisations who simply want to ‘publish more content on their website’. Their strategy ends there. More content. You need to understand what each piece of content is there to achieve.

Pillars of a strong content marketing campaign

Building a campaign is not as simple as gathering a bunch of content about the same thing. You need an overarching theme and a sense of purpose you can deliver in a compelling way. Here’s a quick checklist of things you’ll need to get you there:

  1. Define your tone of voice — be consistent and set out clear guidelines that will help colleagues or freelance writers understand what you sound like.
  2. Educate, don’t opinionate – focus on the indisputable facts, not on points of view or discussion points. This gives your content a solid foundation.
  3. Ask your sales or customer services team — they’re full of anecdotal insight on your customers’ concerns and how you might solve them.
  4. Develop a content plan — split your marketing year into handy month-sized chunks, write down what you’ll do in each one, and then do it.
  5. Promote your content — it’s unlikely the world will beat a path to your door, so figure out how you’re going to let the right people know about your content.

Next steps in content operations

We've worked in-house, off-site and everything in-between. It's fair to say we know a good content process from a hobbled one. Want us to take a look under the hood of your content operations? We'll dust off our overalls.