What makes content great?
“Elementary, Dr Watson.”
That is how Sherlock Holmes would have answered the above question. After all, forensic analysis of all ‘great’ content would reveal consistent findings. No, these findings wouldn’t be about the right grammar, punctuation or style. Those parameters separate ‘good’ content from ‘bad’. For content to go a step further and be ‘great’, it must it must contain the following three elements.
First clue: Are you hooked yet?
We are a race that, for generations, has been huddling around camp fires and kitchen tables, around grandparents and raconteurs, under the starry sky or in cinema halls, consuming legends, anecdotes or stories. Why are we such suckers for stories? Because they give us an opportunity to enter another world, live somebody else’s life and feel somebody else’s pain or revel in their happiness. They enable us to learn from others’ experiences. They entertain, enthrall and engage us.
Yes, great content engages. It draws in the audience and makes them a part of the story. So does content.
The engagement can be conspicuous in the form of comments, feedback or affirmative action such as a consumer deciding to make a purchase. It can also be inconspicuous, and yet positive, in the form of building trust.
Therefore, while creating content don’t ask if it is funny, informative or SEO driven. Ask if it engages your audience. Once that criterion is in place, everything else will follow.
Second clue: Is it valuable?
Time is money. And so is attention. Why would anyone ‘spend’ their attention on your content if they do not get anything in return?
If you, as an enterprise, want your audience to value your content, offer them something valuable in return. Talk about what they want to know, not what you want to tell them. Share actionable information that will make a positive difference to their business.
They say it is not wealth, but the ability to give, that makes one rich. Ask yourself: Are you rich in your area of expertise?
Third clue: Does it contribute to the big picture?
Cardamom is a wonderful spice. So are Asafoetida, Celery, Coriander, Cumin and Nutmeg. However, have you ever had a dish made entirely of Nutmeg? No, I thought so too. These are but individual ingredients that go into making a dish.
Disparate pieces of content are like spices. They must be added together so as to contribute towards your brand’s big picture. A standalone article, irrespective of its excellence, will fail to stir your audience. However, the very same article when tied into your content marketing plan and taking into account your long term goals through appropriate messaging, will create ripples.
Any missing clues?
Truth be told, the audience isn’t Sherlock. They don’t have the time or the passion to decode your content. Or what went wrong with it. So engage with them, share your insights and aim towards your ‘big picture’. Soon the pieces will start falling together.
You know, why wait? Share your insights now as to what makes content ‘great’ by commenting below!
This post first appeared on ThoughtStarters monthly newsletter.