Are You Creating Meaningful Content?

how to deliver beneficial results

Everyone’s creating all this online content, but does it matter?

More importantly, are you accomplishing your goals with the content you deliver, or are you simply spinning your wheels?

Well, if you’re doing it right, your content is highly effective and tightly tied to your ultimate business objectives. Otherwise, you’re just filling up space on an ignored web page.

Content marketing is the most effective and lucrative form of online marketing, because it not only works, it also builds a media asset at the same time. So it makes sense to understand exactly what makes content effective, right?

The key is meaning.

Effective content is meaningful

The simple definition of content marketing is giving away valuable information in order to sell something related.

Value is a function of perception. You want the people you’re trying to reach to perceive your content as valuable, even if people you’re not trying to reach perceive it as worthless.

This is an important point, even though it seems simplistic.

The snarling enemy of meaningful content is the urge to water it down for the lowest common denominator, in hope to either:

  • (A) Reach an unreasonably mass audience, or
  • (B) Not offend anyone

The result of that approach is content that means very little to anyone.

Meaningful content is an experience

As Sonia Simone has discussed over the years:

Content (what you say) without copywriting (how you say it) can be a complete waste of otherwise valuable information. But no matter how you say it, what you say has to have meaning to the right people.

Meaning is a function of what people believe before you find them. What people believe is how they view the world, and your content has to frame that view appropriately to be effective.

As a function of belief, meaning is derived from the context in which your desired audience views your content. From there, your content has to provoke a desirable reaction.

For example:

  1. Content: 10 Tips for More Productive Writing
  2. Context: Your ideal prospect believes productive writing is important
  3. Reaction: Your ideal prospect believes he can now write more efficiently

While everything we perceive is technically an experience, experiences begin to become meaningful at the reaction stage. It’s at that point that your content is good.

But is it great (meaning highly effective)?

No.

Meaningful experiences involve action

A higher grade of experience involves active participation from that ideal prospect. So, beyond the belief that your advice is beneficial, your ideal prospect actually acts on your advice.

  1. Content: 10 Tips for More Productive Writing
  2. Context: Your ideal prospect believes productive writing is important
  3. Reaction: Your ideal prospect believes he can now write more efficiently
  4. Action: Your ideal prospect implements your productivity tips

The action taken can vary. It can be acting directly on your advice, sharing your content, buying your software that helps implement the advice, buying your book for more details, or hiring you as a personal productivity coach.

At this point, your content is truly meaningful and truly aligned with your objectives. There’s only one level that’s better.

The content holy grail: results

What’s better than action? It’s action that leads to beneficial results.

Now, this won’t happen with every piece of content. In fact, it’s safer to say that reader (or viewer or listener) results happen thanks to the totality of the story you tell over time.

But let’s look at it in its simplest form:

  1. Content: 10 Tips for More Productive Writing
  2. Context: Your ideal prospect believes productive writing is important
  3. Reaction: Your ideal prospect believes he can now write more efficiently
  4. Action: Your ideal prospect implements your productivity tips
  5. Result: Your ideal prospect is a more productive writer

It doesn’t matter whether or not you know about these results — you’ve now earned a true fan. Odds are, a true fan is going to tell someone.

That’s the fantastic last part of a cycle that repeats itself over and over in social media, all thanks to content marketing.

And all the while, you’re building a media asset on your own domain that has independent value beyond the cash flow you pull in every month.

You are building that asset, right?

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on January 12, 2011.

About the author

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is CEO of Rainmaker Digital, founder of Copyblogger, host of Unemployable, and evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform.

The post Are You Creating Meaningful Content? appeared first on Copyblogger.

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