I know you hear it.
That not-so-subtle chant of “Content is king!” ringing in your ears. But I won’t bother reminding you why content should be the driving force of your overall marketing (and marketing automation) strategy, because you already know.
Instead, I’d like to discuss the real topic at hand: How to spot the really great content from the “just OK” stuff.
Whether you produce your content internally or outsource it, telling the difference between the good, the bad and the just plain ugly copy isn’t always easy. To help you determine whether or not your content is deserving of its kingly status, or needs some lessons in royal behavior, here’s a few questions you can ask:
1. What grade would an English teacher give my content?
This may seem obvious, but if writing was never your thing in school, how can you be sure that what you’re sharing with your audience has correct spelling, grammar and good writing flow?
Despite living in the age of shorthand and emoticons, Old School word-smithing can still make or break your brand awareness initiatives. Think about the last time you noticed an error in something you read. Chances are, you rolled your eyes, mentally chastised the editor who missed it or perhaps even unsubscribed on the belief that they simply aren’t a reliable or professional resource.
Why risk putting your company or brand in the same position? In fact, a study by the U.K. firm Global Lingo found that 74% of consumers pay attention to a website’s prose. And 59% said they avoid doing business with companies who have errors in their communications. It’s a good policy to always have a reliable source proofread your copy. Always. No matter how small or short the message. If it’s audience-facing, it’s important.
2. Does my content have a good personality?
Content personality comes in many forms and goes so much deeper than a tone that can be described as short-and-cheeky, serious or technical. While there isn’t an exact formula to creating a winning personality for your content, there is a way to know if yours is headed in the right direction.
It elicits an emotional response.
Our favorite brands make us feel a certain way when we encounter them, they share a message that stays with us even after we are exposed to them. In general, we are unlikely to put our reputations on the line and recommend something to a friend or colleague unless we feel passionately about it.
Give your audience a reason to feel passionate about you. Your marketing automation results from platforms like Marketo or Pardot can be a great resource for telling you whether or not your content’s personality is hitting the mark with your target audience.
3. How often do I need fresh content?
Whether you decide to overhaul all of it in one massive effort, update a few pieces over time, A/B test copy through email marketing or bring on a dedicated content manager, there’s really no wrong way to start improving your content game. If you’re still drawing a blank, here are a few suggestions:
- Complete a thorough audit of your website.
- Look for spelling, grammar and copy flow errors.
- Does it share a clear, consistent message across all web pages?
- Is it easy to understand and navigate?
- Establish a brand/copy guideline.
- Consistency is the key to a strong brand and a successful consumer relationship, so make sure every piece of public-facing content you produce meets your brand/copy guidelines.
- Let people know early on what they can expect from (and love about) your brand. Is your aim to help them? Entertain them? Keep them informed? A mix of all of the above? This should be clear at all times.
- Decide who will be responsible for content creation and its review.
- In addition to a regular schedule of content production, set aside time for researching and analyzing content trends within the industry, competitor content reviews and stringent proofreading.
- A good rule of thumb is at least 2-3 pairs of eyes on a piece of content before it is published.
When you have a marketing strategy that is backed by strong products or services and a well-executed automation strategy, and still aren’t getting results, it’s time to reevaluate your content’s effectiveness.
You can also contact one of our superheroes for additional guidance or to learn more about our marketing services including marketing automation, account based marketing, training, content/creative and more.