5 Fundamentals to Developing Good B2B Content
Good content bridges the gap between your competitive advantage and your customer's needs. But what exactly makes content "good"? Here is our guide for developing engaging, sharable content that offers real value to readers.
The Fundamental Ingredients
To understand what makes content good or bad, it helps to explain the reasons behind content marketing: In essence, content marketing involves developing and sharing information that is educational, entertaining, interesting or emotionally driven for the purpose of generating profitable customer action and establishing ongoing relationships with a specific audience.
When properly crafted, good content leads potential customers toward competitive differentiators, while translating into quantifiable revenue for the content provider. To achieve these goals, however, content must be developed around the following core principles, which drive engagement and action:
It should be tailored around your business objectives. While good content should inform and engage, it must also be developed around your company's specific goals. Perhaps you are looking to coax visitors through a funnel that will lead to conversions or memberships. Maybe you are trying to position yourself as an industry thought leader or boost awareness about your brand. Whatever the case, it's important to identify your business objectives before you start crafting topics or content.
It should be targeted. Effective content marketing is about more than simply churning out interesting fluff. To craft good content, you must develop a complete persona of every type of customer you want to reach. This means knowing their needs and concerns, along with demographics, income and anything else that paints a complete picture of the people you are trying to reach. Armed with this knowledge, you can develop content that speaks directly to these characteristics to better engage, inform and impress.
It should be readable. According to a study from Microsoft Corp., digitalized lifestyles have shortened human attention spans to about eight seconds. With this in mind, it's clear that your content will have only the briefest chance to hook a reader. While this fact highlights the importance of punchy, engaging titles; it also points toward the value of easily digestible content. If your content reads like an air conditioner repair manual, you can expect your bounce rate to soar. Likewise, if your content rambles for paragraphs without getting to the point, readers are likely to bail out before getting past the fold. Ideally, your content should be based on clarity and concision. It should also be broken into lists and scannable chunks, so readers will have something they can quickly latch onto.
It should offer value. Before you begin developing content, you need to determine why anyone would want to read it. If key industry developments might impact your target audience, you might report this, breaking things down to explain its significance. If your content revolves around commonly known industry news, it should offer a fresh perspective if possible. This is especially important if you aim to position yourself or your company as an industry thought leader. Whatever the case, it's always best if your content can provide value that's unique enough to make it shareable and citable.
It should be shareable. In the business world, if someone likes a service or product, they often tell others about it. In content marketing, something similar happens when people decide to share content that is especially impactful.
Obviously, it's a good thing when more people become aware of your content. In extreme cases, when content goes viral, it can find its way in front of millions of eyes. That said, shareability is also an important driving force behind search engine rankings. When other sites or blogs decide to cite or share your content, it can act like rocket fuel for your search engine rankings. From Google's point of view, these types of backlinks act like votes that say your content is valuable, informative and relevant. If other publishers believe your content is good enough to cite or share, you can expect to see it rise in the search engines.