Publishing valuable content for your customer is an integral part of successful copywriting. However, figures suggest that content marketers aren’t as good at this as they should be:
Yes, you read that correctly: a mere 14% of marketers believe their content marketing efforts are “very effective” at delivering business value. What’s behind this sorry state of affairs?
What do we mean by valuable content?
When we talk of ‘business value’ we’re referring to Return on Investment (ROI). Usually, this means leads, conversion rates and retention rates – none of which are possible if the audience won’t engage with our content.
So, in order to generate business value from our content, we must ask ourselves whether the content itself is valuable in the eyes of the reader. The two most important factors that influence this judgement are price and satisfaction.
Let’s take a look …
Everyone loves a bargain – that’s why high street stores are constantly shouting about sales, vouchers and ‘one-time-deals’. If you can make your readers feel like they’ve got something for less than it’s worth, you’ll be well on your way to making a successful piece of valuable content.
Of course, we’re not recommending that you start making people pay for your content. Instead of asking them to contribute financially, you are asking them to give up their precious time to read your content. Your content must be worth more the five or ten minutes it will take to read, or it will not be deemed valuable by the reader.
Next up is satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, the customer thinks it is all about them – and they’re right! You must provide content that is relevant to your audience and directly benefits them. Content that’s useful and speaks to their needs will always be more successful than generic ‘me too’ articles that you’ve written only because your competitors are doing something similar.
Why is it important to have valuable content?
Providing valuable content is a fundamental part of content marketing. Without it, your consumers have no reason to return to your brand.
By creating the best and most useful content possible, you will have a competitive advantage in your industry, be better able to sustain customer relationships and increase your conversion rate.
Value is subjective
No two people are alike, so each customer’s situation will affect how valuable they consider your product and content to be.
For example, think of a pen.
Normally, a pen would probably cost you 40p, and you’d be quite happy to pay that.
Now, if you’re on the phone with an important client and you need a pen, you might be willing to pay a little more for that same pen. Maybe up to £2.
Now let’s go to the extreme. Say you’re stuck on a desert island with no chance of a rescue. Then you find a man with a pen. Your only hope of being rescued is writing a letter and putting it in a bottle. That pen is now much more valuable. It might even be worth your life-savings once you get back to the real world.
Consumers will make individual judgements based on their situation/considerations, and it is your job as a content marketer to pre-empt them. Therefore, you must create content that targets customers at different stages of the customer journey.
How to identify what your customers want (and give it to them)
First of all, you must identify who your customers are. Reaching the right people is integral, as there is no point targeting people who won’t find your product or service useful, or who can’t afford it, or who are simply not in the market for any number of reasons.
Conduct market research to ensure that you have an in-depth understanding of your client-base. This information should include:
- Occupation/rank in decision making process
- Income/ budget
- Most likely point of contact (print ad, e-mail, social media etc)
Once you’ve identified your target audience you should map out their customer journey. Your content should support them from their first click, to their last and beyond the purchase stage.
Give them value at multiple levels of the sales funnel by putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about what they would like to know. Would a ‘How-to’ guide or instruction manual help? Or a general introduction to the issue your product solves?
It is your job to know what your consumers want before they do. Many may not know what they want when they visit your site. You must provide them with the answer, even if it is one they did not expect.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford
Now you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time for you to clearly demonstrate your expertise and what you can offer your customers. Whether it’s price, customer service or efficacy, you must show your audience that you’re worth the investment of both time and money.
Use your content to become an authority and prove that you thoroughly understand your customers’ needs.
Don’t be put off if you don’t see results straight away – content marketing is a long old game. Regularly publishing substantial and worthwhile pieces will create a close relationship between your brand and your customer, so they turn to your company to solve their problem.