How Do You Create Compelling Content?

Posted on November 16, 2011

Woman Computer Scientist/Kobieta informatyk II  Reading "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest.

Compelling content is like porn. It is difficult to define, but the reader knows it when she sees it. However, we can make a few educated guesses as to what kind of content might rise to that level.

Tap Your Own Data

Website analytics is a great place to start for that.

  • What search terms found your website, and what pages did the visitors view when they got there?
  • How and in what order did they consume solution subject matter or product information?
  • What can you deduce about the problems they have and the solutions they are seeking?

Knowing those answers can provide a big clue to the next question. Review your high-traffic web pages that focus on your domain expertise (the deep industry knowledge your company has) and ask: what other digital assets can you create that provides similar but even better content?

Steal From The Competition, But Do It A Lot Better

Industry blogs, yours and other industries, is another great source for ideas, too. Set up an RSS Reader with Google Alerts for important keywords. (Learn how to easily make your own Social Media Listening Dashboard. )

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People who download your white papers, eBooks, or read your blog are looking for information that helps them do their job better. They read and share information they feel is relatively unbiased and insightful. So, chuck out the self applauding marketing crap speak. Tap those smart brains in your organization to talk about what they know. If you do that, you will build your street cred and get virtual face time with prospects before they ever hit the sale’s funnel.

Wiretap Your Internal Experts

Prospects want what you know. Here is the opportunity to bring knowledge experts from your company into your content marketing program. If your co-workers are willing to write, that’s great. However, most co-workers have other things to do, and put off writing until it just falls off their radar.

Did you know that people do like to talk about what they do? If you have ever been to a party you know it’s true. You can use that to your advantage. Make it easy for them by interviewing them, and recording that conversation. Spend 20 minutes having them tell you what they are working on, or about an area they like to talk about related to their work.

That interview can be transcribed. Do yourself a favor and have that outsourced. There are lots of services who do that for a very reasonable fee. Now you can look at the transcript and decide what you have. A blog post, a series of blog posts, an eBook, or a white paper. Ideally, you can do several of those with the content. Like a blog post series that you then make into an eBook.

You can watch a video with Matt Ceniceros of Applied Materials talk about how he does this very effectively.

Talk About What You Know. Not About What You Sell

Repeat with me: The key is to talk about what you know, not about what you sell. At least for content that early stage buyers are looking for, and you really want to target this group. This is where opinions get formed. Here is where you have the greatest opportunity to frame the discussion and define the product category, as long as you provide good faith council. Everyone knows BS when they read it. This is not rocket science. Trusted, forthcoming advice is compelling content.

Compelling content educates the buyer about smart practices. Everyone wants to make smart purchases. Regardless if it is for their company, or for their personal use. When you give a reader an informational advantage on how to knowledgeably move forward with their purchase, with minimal risk, to the next sales phase, they will trust you more than a competitor.

Disclosure: An earlier version of this appeared as a response I gave on Focus.

About Steve Farnsworth @Steveology

Social media and content marketing strategy and implementation that generate leads, builds customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing. Contact 650-331-0594 to see if working together could increase your market position and sales.