Great content is, without a doubt, the number one priority for your website.
Without great content, whether it’s text, video or even just a graphic, your website really serves no purpose and is therefore destined to get lost in the quagmire of the billions of sites currently swimming around on the world wide web.
But how do you create great content, and why is good content so important?
The answers are actually more complex than you might think, but every website owner absolutely has to hear them in order to create the best content in their niche.
Great Content is a Two-Way Street
Don’t be lulled into thinking that your content is solely to serve your reader’s needs.
In fact, the content you provide should only focus on one thing: how it benefits you.
Your reader’s needs often align closely with what you’re looking for though, meaning that useful content really does benefit everyone involved.
Think of it like this: you run an online store selling watches. Someone navigates to your page looking for information on the best watch under £1,000.
What exactly do they need?
Well, they need practical, honest and useful information on the watches available to them. Give them this, and they’ll potentially buy from you.
Fail to give them this, and they’ll be off to another store in seconds.
Now, the useful content is benefitting the customer, as they’re finding out the exact information they need.
Their experience impacts directly on your site’s success though, as you ultimately want them to make a purchase.
… your vehicle to obtaining more sales is creating the kind of content people need.
In short, useful content equals happy customers, and happy customers equal a busier, more profitable business.
So, great content is key to any website looking for even a modicum of success.
Great Content 101 – How to Create Useful Content
Content is king, as they say, so how do you create the most regal content possible?
Well, the most vital step is the first one – identifying your customers’ needs. You might think that every customer has their own individual needs, however, they don’t.
By thinking critically and identifying the main reason your customers visit, you’ll be halfway to creating useful content already.
And this is where the concept of customer avatar comes into play.
A customer avatar (buyer persona) is a detailed profile of your ideal customer.
Before you create any piece of content, you need to understand:
- WHO your ideal customer/client is
- WHERE they’re hanging out online
- WHAT their challenges are
When you get clear on the traits of the person who is going to consume your content, it’s a lot easier to find and present them with a message that moves them to action.
Identifying Customer Need
So, what does your customer need? Well, it will be one of three things: inspiration, information or entertainment.
We’re going to focus on information on this page, as it’s by far the main thing web users are looking for.
Let’s go back to the watch shop example we used earlier and that post on watches for under £1,000.
What is it that the consumer is actually looking for?
Well, at the moment, they’re not thinking about buying – instead, they’re doing their research. This means that they’re quite early in the sales funnel.
In all honesty, it’s really simple to work out what they want: they want to find affordable watches.
So, what can you include to help them?
Firstly, you’re going to need to find some watches you honestly recommend, as honest information will only help to increase your credibility.
You’ll then simply need to list these watches, making sure to include details like price, material and notable features – the things people want to know.
That’s it – the customer doesn’t need to know anything more. They want to know about affordable watches, and you’ve delivered.
Adding extra sections, like how to find an affordable watch, why certain watches are more affordable, and how watches are made, is completely pointless, as the reader generally won’t care.
What’s more, this superfluous information might even harm the page, as the reader could skim read and see irrelevant points, thus driving them elsewhere to find their information.
Choose How to Display Your Info
Now comes the point where you create your content. For most people, content usually means text – the wording on the website used to convey the information to the reader. It doesn’t have to be text though.
Instead, you could choose to create a table, which is perfect for comparing those different watches you’re about to talk about.
You could also create an infographic or a video, although neither of these would be too effective in the watch comparison page.
You could even make all three, disseminating them to different parts of the internet in order to target certain demographics.
So, what’s the perfect choice for the watch post then?
A table should definitely be included, as it’s incredibly easy to scan and quickly get the information needed. If you put this table near the top of your page, it will make getting the information even simpler.
You can then use text on the page as well, in order to provide additional information to those looking for it.
You’ve then served two types of people: those looking for quick info, and those who like things a little more in-depth.
Create That Great Content
Yes, after all that work, it’s now time to create the content for your website.
When doing this, you should always be thinking of one word and one word only: relevance.
Absolutely everything you write should be relevant to what the reader is looking for in order to perfectly match user intent.
Include prices for different watches? Definitely! Add in information about celebrities wearing the watch? Definitely not.
As already mentioned, even the smallest piece of irrelevant information could drive a customer away.
What’s more, Google’s ultra-smart algorithms can tell when a page is relevant or not, and those pages with irrelevant content will not rank as well.
An example of relevance would be this page: we’re not talking about SEO trends here, although they’re undoubtedly important.
Instead, we’re focusing on the topic in hand: creating useful, quality, informational and optimised content.
Don’t forget that a useful page will always be one that contains information, and not opinions.
This means that, unless you’re an expert, you’ll likely have to do lots of research as you write. This is not something you can miss, as the more accurate information you provide, the more relevant a reader will perceive the page to be.
Some professional copywriters will spend more time on research than they do creating the page, as providing the best information possible is absolutely vital.
We’re not going to lie: creating good content is tough.
In fact, for some, it will feel like a task with no end. After all, some people simply aren’t confident in their writing ability.
For some, this means that they just decide to write anything, thinking that bad content is better than no content. It isn’t.
If you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help, as a professional writer will create the content you need – content that is more than worth the price.
However you decide to get the content, you should end up with a superbly written, informational and laser-focused page – exactly what your customers are looking for.
Then simply publish the content and let it work its magic!
Sorry, but you’re not quite finished yet.
This is because, as you’ll remember, there’s something every piece of content should be: relevant. So, your post could quickly go out of date.
What happens if one of your recommended watches stops being sold, or if one has a price hike, taking it over the £1,000 mark?
Your post will be irrelevant, that’s what.
An irrelevant page isn’t a useful page and will actually damage your reputation online. So, read through posts regularly and check for errors.
It might just be that you need to change the year of the post, or just alter a couple of links. It’s not usually necessary to completely rewrite the page though, especially if it is already performing well.
An SEO-driven Approach to Content Marketing
That is pretty much it – we’re not going to go on any longer, as it wouldn’t add anything to the page and might even wander off into irrelevance.
If you take anything away from this page though, it’s this:
Useful content really is the most valuable attribute a site can have
Sure, it helps the user, but ultimately, it’s you who will benefit most from it.
Are you interested in expanding your content marketing skills? Check my 1-day intensive training course here.