Content Marketing – Are You Solving Problems or Creating Noise?

jonmikelbailey
Jon-Mikel Bailey President, Wood Street, Inc.

Posted on April 15th 2012

Content Marketing – Are You Solving Problems or Creating Noise?

One of the partners here, Jason Giuliano, has a mantra… “cleaning up the web.” His passion is helping clients to realize his vision of directed action by sending users to targeted content that achieves the clients marketing plan/message .

Of course, this is not a new idea. Entire industries exist to make sense of loads of information through better site design, functionality and analytics. This can get so complex and multi-layered that even the most technically savvy marketers will glaze over.

But don’t worry, there are lots of geeks out there to handle this stuff for you. We have a few ourselves. Make no mistake, you still play a vital role in all of this.

Our clients come to us looking for answers on the best ways to improve the quality of online leads. As we work with them (with Jason’s mantra ringing in our ears) we often ask the same question – who is your audience and what do they care about?

Person Holding Hears

When it comes to content marketing – using tools like blogs, email newsletters, eBooks to drum up business – you need to ask yourself, “am I solving my client’s problems or simply creating more noise?”

There is so much content out there today. Access to this content through the web and mobile devices is at an all time high. Conversely, a typical user’s patience is at an all time low. If something isn’t obvious it is often ignored.

In order to be successful you need to be a hero to your clients. Heroes solve problems. With your blog, your web content, your mobile app, whatever content you produce, are you solving some problem for the intended audience?

Think about it this way. What do you offer that someone couldn’t find with a simple Google search? Remember, you are an expert at what you do. Are you sharing expert tips and advice with your target audience through your content marketing efforts? Or, are you simply pushing out more of the same information?

Organizations are continually increasing their content marketing efforts. According to a recent report from Joe Pulizzi over at the Content Marketing Institute, 9 out of 10 organizations market with content. And their adoption of some content marketing tactics are increasing…

  • Blogs (27% increase)
  • White papers (19% increase)
  • Videos (27% increase)

With all of this content out there, how does yours stand out and get results? You are unique, there is no other organization quite like yours. The content you create should be an extension of this and not more sales speak and jargon filled drivel. Take your knowledge and expertise and apply it to the information. Offer insight and a unique perspective.

Write content with a purpose. The reader should walk away with something useful. Take another look at the list from above…

  • Blogs – should be on one topic and offer a solution to a problem your client has.
  • White papers – go deeper with studies, activities or implementable solutions.
  • Videos – inform, entertain and educate with visuals. Keep them short and to the point. The viewer should want to watch it twice.

So, the next time you create some content, ask yourself, “does this solve a problem for my clients or simply contribute to the noise?”

jonmikelbailey

Jon-Mikel Bailey

President, Wood Street, Inc.

Jon-Mikel Bailey is a partner at Baltimore area web and mobile design and development firm Wood Street. Jon writes and speaks about web design, SEO, branding and social media.

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Comments

Hey Jon-Mikel,

Thanks for a very clear and useful article. I'm in the middle of rewriting web-content for a local government organisation and you have articulated clearly what I am aiming to achieve. Local government in Australia is really caught up in fads and fools gold and really does need some direction. I have a background in journalism which holds me in good stead as I move forward into web-content, which I love. I also love the 'cleaning up the web' mantra, I admit did feel some despair as I waded through a very messy site at about 10pm last night, but this morning feel inspired. Thanks.

 

This might sound like a quote from Star Wars but stay the course, your journalism background will serve you well.

Totally agree!

To success, the main point: going with a value proposition, a highly functional basic

- from users point of view, of course-

To be different. Make it unique, relevant and useful...

(And... With passion!)

Nice article, Jon-Mikel! We feel the same way about social media noise/spam. Hope this is entertaining for you...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q1SZ2X2vkU

 

 

 

Hi Jon-Mikel,

You're right. There's an overwhelming amount of noise over the Internet and not enough purposeful content.

But, there's two sides to this. First, bloggers and businesses learn it's best to rank higher on search engines with an ample amount of content. With that mindset, they run the risk of adding content for the sake of boosting their SEO chances and forget about the audience.

A reader looking for answers might bail on them and focus on a source who really brings value to the table.

But, it all depends on knowing what the audience seeks from the content.

Scores of users will follow bloggers just to hear what they have to say whether it's serving their need or not. That's the beauty of the Internet. People who crave entertainment don't necessarily need every content piece to help them with an issue. 

What's noise to one audience, might be music to the ears of another.

 

That's why it is so important to know your target audience.