Your clients will benefit from knowing how to recognize valuable content, and how to get it. Share with them the following information and they'll start seeing results with their content marketing campaigns:
Your website and blog need to provide valuable content to your readers. Creating valuable content is part art and part science. We know as much of the science involved in creating valuable content as possible. When you begin content development, you now know the five elements of valuable content – it’s easy to find, easy to read, easy to understand, easy to act on and easy to share.
Element #1 Easy to find
The first rule of content development is to create content that is easy for readers and search engines to find. People use search engines, like Google or Bing, to conduct research and this means you must create content using search engine optimization best practices.
Creating search engine friendly content begins by researching keywords that you use in your content. You need to place these keywords in your posts headers using H1 and H2 tags. Your on-page SEO continues by turning keywords into links that connect your readers to other valuable content you created.
Off-page SEO involves taking your keywords and placing them in your metadata, the information that describes what is on your page.
Element #2 Easy to read
Making your content easy to find is the first part of the battle. Once people find your content, they will leave if it is not easy to read. With this element, content development moves from search engine optimization to readability.
The first step you must take to make your content readable is to remember that people scan content until they find information they find useful. Another thing to remember is that you lose the reader’s attention the further into your blog post they have to scan.
To keep their attention, it is important to put the most important pieces of information at the top of the blog post and keep your paragraphs short. The Content Marketing Institute recommends the rule of three: no more than three sentences per paragraph and no more than three paragraphs per heading.
Element #3 Easy to understand
Formatting your content so that it is easy to read is important, but you also need to write your content at the reading level of your target audience. Writing about investment strategies at a university level for an audience that did not complete high school will not be effective.
Making your content as easy to understand as possible is a necessary part of content development. You need to leverage different mediums – you can use images, video and the written word. Using the appropriate medium and an accurate reading level will ensure your content is easy to understand.
Element #4 Easy to act
If you are using content for marketing purposes I am going to assume that you want people to act after reading your material. Content development must include certain elements that make it easy for readers to act once they’ve consumed your content.
The most important element, but the element that is most frequently ignored, is the call to action. A call to action will tell your readers what you want them to do: download an e-book, sign up for a newsletter or submit their name for a free consult.
Element #5 Easy to share
Once people find your content, read your content and share your content you want them to take an action that creates revenue or enters the reader into your sales cycle. That won’t always happen.
The next best thing to having someone enter into your sales cycle is to have them share your content throughout their network. When they share, your content becomes more influential because they have a rapport and a trust with the people that see the content they spread.
If you want readers to share your content you need to show the benefit of sharing your content, you need to leverage social networking buttons and widgets to make liking and tweeting your content easy and, most importantly, you need to ask people to share.
The sole purpose of content development is to create a system that generates useful, problem-solving content. Producing anything less than valuable content is a waste of time. Valuable content must be easy to find, easy to read, easy to understand, easy to act on and easy to share.
Follow the steps above and ensure that each of the five elements is included in your content and your marketing efforts will be a success.