What Is Value, And Does Your Content Deliver It?
By now we all know that customers and prospects have just one thing on their mind – what’s in it for me? It matters not how wonderful you think your products or services are, only how your audience perceives them. The same is true for your content. And just like the things you sell, poor quality or worthless content reflects negatively on you and your company. Ouch.
No wonder we keep talking about value.
But exactly what is it?
Adarsh Thampy says value “helps create a positive effect on others.” It’s purely in the mind of the beholder, so perception is everything. Your content should be useful or interesting, it should make us feel a certain way. That’s so personal and subjective.
Value is contextual. It can be practical or esoteric, although for B2B customers value is nearly always tangible, relating to increased revenue and/or reduced costs. In the end, while you can’t necessarily touch or see or smell value, as a recipient you certainly know if it’s there or not.
Think about what marketers call your “value proposition." Products, services and information – your content -- all can have intrinsic value to the audience. You’re proposing to give them value. But if your proposal isn’t aligned with your audience’s needs, it’s pointless. People have to want what you’re offering, and you have to make sure it’s something they can’t get anywhere else.
Your content will never appeal universally to everyone. But that’s actually good news. This liberating fact means you can stop trying to reach every prospect with every piece of content. Instead, embracing the niche-ness of content marketing will put you on the fast track to delivering value. The ability to highly target your content is the essential value of this form of marketing.
Addressing a need guarantees value.
Your content should help people solve a problem. Of course not all needs are “problems,” just a desire for improvement.
If you can ask “who cares” after posting something and all you hear is a resounding silence, you probably aren’t delivering value. Think about what you sell, what customers do with your “stuff”? They’re using it to solve a problem or fill a need.
Your content goal should be to help your audience live their lives better, feel smarter, work faster, etc. – whatever is most relevant for your business. So give them information, in the format that makes the most sense. That could be:
- One-way communication – downloadable documents, blog posts, periodic e-newsletters, videos, etc.
- Interactive – webinars or live classes.
- Hands-on, high touch personal training or advisory services.
How you craft and deliver content depends on who you expect to find it valuable.
Continuous improvement guarantees continuing value.
You’ll never know if your content actually delivers value unless you test it. So put it out there and see what happens. Don’t just passively sit around waiting to see if anyone responds, deliberately ask for comments or other feedback. Listen, and you’ll learn.
Especially pay attention to negative comments or customer concerns, as these can be exceptionally valuable (there’s that word, again), pinpointing problems that need to be solved or improvements you can help make – in other words, opportunities for you to connect more strongly with your audience.
And bear in mind that in these days of instant communication overload and rapidly-evolving techno changes, a hefty segment of your audience likes to think they’re on the cutting-edge, trendy, in the know. So be audacious with your content and your goals, and become the right-now resource they look to.
Value has nothing to do with money. Free things can be amazingly valuable, like timely advice from a friend. And costly things can be worthless, like your new car that’s a prize-winning lemon.
How valuable is your content?