There’s a lot of hype over content these days. But what is it, anyway? It’s the words you write and the blog posts you submit, right?
The deliverables you send to your client are a large part of content. But there’s more to content than just what a visitor reads.
So what is content?
Content is an experience. And in order to deliver quality content, you need to consider the full scope of the client’s project.
Content is Functional
In short, it delivers a message. So while the words you write certainly do that, the images, videos, infographics, memes and lists you include will, too.
The message doesn’t stop at the information you’re imparting. Instead, your content should serve to deliver the message of the brand, as well.
Content is a Conversation
This doesn’t necessarily mean each of your deliverables should be written in a conversational voice. Your client may want just the opposite.
What it does mean is that every word you write and every visual you include is part of a one-way conversation to your reader. Use your words and your message to encourage your reader to respond within that conversation.
Content is a Story
Successful content is, anyway. Content is a story you tell your readers, and that story has a purpose. To sell a product, to introduce a brand or just to share your experience.
Your story doesn’t need to be personal. But good content, particularly in content marketing, should show the human side of your brand.
Content is Unique
Anyone can be a mommy blogger. Because everyone’s kid is the most special, smartest, most beautiful on the planet. Right?
Right. I know mine are.
So unless you’d like to tell the story of how you and your children left an abusive relationship, or of how your child was diagnosed at an early age of blue-eyelid syndrome, pick a new niche.
Good content approaches the everyday in a unique way.
Content is Targeted – Usually
Most content is written for at least a generally defined audience. For example, parents of toddlers or Democrats.
Some content is very niche. Gun owners in the state of Alabama whose last names begin with F.
There are exceptions, of course. There are sites like WebMD which offer a resource to anyone. And there are sites like People of Walmart which are fun for pretty much anyone. (No, seriously. I love that site.)
But, in most cases, your content is targeted to a specific subset of the population. Blogging about your gout one day and your latch hook project the next won’t draw huge crowds.
Content is Valuable
Good content serves a purpose. That purpose may be to warn someone of a danger, to share advice, to teach, to promote a useful product or to encourage.
There’s a point to content, and it’s to spread knowledge. Whether that “knowledge” is opinion or researched is up to you. But there should be a clear focus to every piece you write.
Imagine you started a blog:
What I Eat Each Day for Breakfast
It’s okay to blog every day about what you had for breakfast. Go right on ahead. But there’s a good chance no one will read it. They don’t care about your breakfast.
However, if you change the focus of your blog to something useful, your following might start to grow. For example:
365 Breakfasts Under $4
Your content absolutely must bring value to readers. Ensuring that your mom is proud of your dietary habits doesn’t count.
So Then, What is Content?
Content is fluid, and the definition changes almost daily. But content, in short, is a relevant and useful message you deliver to your readers. It’s a conversation with your visitors and it’s your contribution to conversations being held elsewhere.