These days, producing content is just a way of life for marketers. But more content doesn't always mean better or more effective content. In fact, less content that delivers greater value might be the right way for many businesses to view the task of producing content.
If you’re going to expend the significant amount of time and energy it takes to create content that will drive your marketing machine, you may want to think long and hard about how to make your content more powerful.
Below are five considerations for every bit of content you produce:
1. Craft a Point of View
Your unique point of view, whether it's how you do what you do, your view of the world or your way of getting results, should shine through in your content. If you’re simply agreeing with every commonly accepted notion or trend in your industry, you’re simply producing commodity content, and what’s the point of that?
Consider taking a stand and maybe even ruffle some feathers in the name of your beliefs in order to make your words gain traction with your prospects and customers.
2. Be Useful
I shouldn’t have to remind you of this, but offering something useful is always better. If all you’re creating doesn’t make people think differently, take action or learn how to do what they want to do, you may as well just link to other people’s content.
Long form, how-to content is useful. Free tools are useful. Screencasts showing people how to do something online are useful. Webinars are useful. In short, content that educates is useful, and it's what you should consider providing to your audience.
3. Be Consistent
Over time, you can build momentum, as well as a library of content that becomes an asset, by creating a weekly newsletter, writing daily blog posts, scheduling guest content and creating video and audio interviews.
Create a calendar of themes for the year that map back to your most important keyword phrases, and build an editorial calendar where you plan your blog posts, guest posts, podcasts, webinars, seminars, ebooks and curation activities. Knowing your schedule in advance can help you plan ahead, keeping your themes and content consistent with your marketing message.
4. Be Authentic
I know this term gets tossed around like candy these days, but I think it’s worth asking yourself if the content you produce is mostly industry blah, blah, blah or if you're offering real stories about real customers and real problems—as good, bad and awesome as they might be.
Authentic content sounds like you speaking—it tells us why you do what you do and it can help us see you as a real person.
5. Focus on Something Other Than You
The last element I want you to consider is how much you write about yourself, your awesomeness and your killer solutions versus how much you help your readers understand the value in the lessons you're sharing. Until people begin to see themselves getting the results they want in your content, it can fall short of the ultimate goal.
To get a sense of just how pervasive this idea is in most writing, you can quickly scan a Web page or article and pretty easily count the use of the words “we” or “our” or “I.”
Take a look at all the content your organization produces today—including Facebook updates, blog posts, email newsletters and promotions, and marketing brochures and presentations—and audit each of them to see if they pass the test for the elements outlined above.
If not, it may be time to get to work rewriting, repositioning and rethinking your content creation strategy and process.
Read more articles on content marketing.
This article was originally published on August 5, 2014.