How to add value to your content

How to add value to your content

Author: Ashton Oldham

Hey there, I'm Ashton, the Content Ninja with a penchant for creativity! I'm all about crafting killer customer-focused content and sprinkling it with that special sauce that makes brands pop. Teaching, strategising, organising (people and projects), and spicing up collaborations? That's my jam!

Every single business that exists creates content - for websites, blogs, social media, sales brochures, lead magnets and more...

Whether they create good, engaging and high-value content is another question!

So what does it mean to add value? And why is it so damn important when writing content?!

Well friend, that’s exactly what we are about to explore 🙂

Dora the content explorer

You either get it, or you don’t...

Creative content writing is a skill - I’ll give you that. 

Some people are natural born storytellers, others just know how to put words together to create meaning. It’s definitely something that can be learned and cultivated - but to start with you need to know:

  • Why you’re creating content in the first place
  • What you want to achieve with your content
  • Who your audience is and what they want to see

Understanding this before you even begin copywriting is super duper important.

It’s the answers to these questions that will help to shape your strategy and allow you to design a content planner that will actually benefit your business goals.

The problem is a huge amount of companies aren’t considering the points above. 

By ignoring them they are failing (usually) to create customer centric content and therefore they aren’t providing the ultimate customer experience. 

The customer experience should be the backbone to every piece of delectable content that you produce.

That being said, I think it’s time we get stuck into some serious stuff...

Your content is like a cup of tea

Yes, I’m being serious!

In order to make the perfect cup of tea for someone, you need to know the following:

  • What teabag to use (or loose leaf - no judgement here!)
  • How strong or weak should you make it
  • Do you add milk? Sugar? Honey?
  • What size cup or mug should you serve it in?
  • Are you going to offer some biscuits as a little extra

If you don’t try to find out and just go all gung ho with your tea making, the consumer is going to feel a little disappointed if you’ve not made it to their liking… 

And if they’re anything like me they’ll be gracious, swallow it down begrudgingly and politely say no to a second cup.

But you want them to want more. You want them to stay and eat cake!!

Eat some content cake

You smash that cake Tina Fey!

Ok, let me explain the metaphors a touch. In this instance eating cake = engaging with your content.

So you provide an amazingly delectable cup of tea (valuable content), which entices the drinker (reader) to eat some cake (engage with your content).

Am I making a bit more sense now? Yes - good 🙂

For your business to be successful, you need prospects and customers to engage. To inspire engagement you have to give them what they want. Your content needs to be interesting, consumable, relevant and provide tonnes of value.

What is ‘value’ and why is it vital to content?

When you add value you build trust, likeability and stand a much higher chance of conversions.

Value isn’t sales.

It’s not details about your company, how awesome you are, or information on your products.

A discount or special offer isn’t valuable, not really - they can actually detract value.

Content that is educational, helps solve a problem, or provides the reader with quick wins - no strings attached - is valuable.

You must provide value. I’m not saying don’t sell ever - that would be silly. But you should balance out the sales and marketing stuff with content that isn’t product purchase related.

Sleazy salesmen are a thing of the past (no offence). You do not need to do the hard-sell anymore. It’s actually rather off putting to most. In our digital age people don’t buy because some biased person said they should. 

Personally I spend aaaages researching products before I buy them. For example, I’m currently looking to buy a new car. 

There’s no way in hell I’m going to a dealership and asking them what I should buy. Yes I know they are meant to be experts, but honestly I wouldn’t totally trust them (and their commission).

Instead I’m surfing the internet, reading unbiased reviews, and looking for information that will help me make the right choice, for me.

If and when I stumble across a website that provides me with bountiful information about different cars, in my price range, with FAQs and honest opinions from experts and users - then I might just be open to buy.

The problem is if there’s no dealership offering this to me as a one stop shop, then there’s no trust being built and I’m still going to struggle to take the leap and buy. 

6 CMI statistics to back up the need for content marketing

The good ol’ Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is awesome for providing an endless stream of useful data on consumers. Let’s take a gander at some of the stats they’ve collected that position ‘value add’ content as a cornerstone for successful marketing strategies.

  1. 1. Paid search has been touted as the be-all, end-all for cost-effectiveness. However, a study by Kapost (in collaboration with Eloqua) proves the opposite.

    When the two are pitted against each other, content marketing has both lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits.

  1. 2. Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less! Nuff said?…

  1. 3. More than 615 million devices now have ad-blocking software, according to PageFair 2017 Global Adblock Report. And that was 2017 - imagine what that’s gone up to in 2021… It seems ads are not always the one guys.

  1. 4. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.

  1. 5. Content marketing rates are six times higher than traditional marketing in terms of converting people into leads and leads into customers.

  1. 6. Populating websites with blog content provides 434% more search engine-indexed pages than other business sites that don’t publish content.

    The more content you create around topics relevant to your audience, the better your chances of boosting traffic from search and nabbing conversions.

How to start writing high-value content

First you need to get your head in the game. I previously mentioned those three important questions to ask yourself at the start of the blog, to recap:

  • Why you’re creating content in the first place
  • What you want to achieve with your content
  • Who your audience is and what they want to see

To answer these you’ll need to spend some time researching your ideal customers; their awareness levels, their interests and their pain points.

Then you’ll know what solutions and benefits to talk about (when it comes to promoting your products/services) and what kind of free to consume value you can offer.

Customer research

The foundation of your content should always be customer research. Listen and talk to your customers.

Survey them. Poll them. Interview them. Find out what makes them tick, what they’re looking for, what their awareness level is.

Consumer research is brilliant because it gives us the insight we need to work towards a great customer experience. It’s all about identifying customer needs and behaviours.

Using awareness levels

Knowing where the consumer is on their journey of awareness is like getting up in their brain. You can’t sell a solution to someone who isn’t aware of a problem, and you can’t level with someone who is aware, by trying to get them to find a problem.

The content aware scale:

  • Unaware “I have no idea I’ve got an actual problem, I just know something's not quite right…”
  • Problem Aware “Argh, I have this horrible problem and I need it fixed stat!”
  • Solution Aware “Cool so there are things out there that can help me, but where can I get them?”
  • Product Aware “Right, so I’ve narrowed it down. These products seem like the real deal.”
  • Aware “I found it - this is the solution for me. I just need a reason to commit to purchase :)”

It’s a beautifully apt analogy to really grasp what’s going on with the people who are visiting your website, social media pages and generally browsing the internet. 

However, this is where content can go very wrong. Why? Because it aims for one section of awareness without considering possible cross winds or weather conditions or distractions. It just aims and fires.

Telling people about your company is really important, but when you’ve got ‘product aware’ and ‘aware’ users checking you out, they already know who you are and you’re wasting your time telling them again. Focus on the benefits.

How to talk about the benefits

When it comes to telling the user what your product does for them - how it makes their life better, easier, shinier, happier or more memorable - remember to make it about them.

Yes your product is freaking cool. You’re really amped up about it and that is so awesome. But people want to know how your product is going to make their lives 10x better, otherwise why would they buy it?

Instead of saying “This chocolate cake is indulgent and rich”, you should say “This chocolate cake will make you feel like a champion”.

Features play a role, but that comes later when the technical stuff comes into play. The benefits are what secures the consumer’s interest and gets them lapping up what you’re putting on the plate.

Tell the people how your product will make them a better version of themselves. That’s what they want to consume, not a piece of content focused on company drivel. They want to be the focus with content that highlights the benefits for them.

Create a content planner

This is a must. It’s all about prep work. 

Can you imagine how a high-functioning commercial kitchen would crash and burn (possibility quite literally) if the chefs didn’t do prep work beforehand?

You want to be ahead of the game. Knowing what you are going to put out there and when will keep things running smoothly. You’ll allow yourself more time to really craft your messaging and ensure that it’s hitting all the right notes. 

It will help you to identify gaps in your content - what you’ve not written about but should have.

Where you’re putting content and who is creating it (accountability is always very important). A content planner is an incredibly powerful tool and any great copywriter will have one to hand.

I love a good content plan

And you will too…

Content creation next steps

There’s so much more to learn about content writing than I can fit into this one blog. But hopefully you’ve now got a good place to start: Do the research, write for the customer & utilise a content planner as a master tool. 

Focus on making the perfect cup of tea for the consumer, to entice them to eat some cake.

If you’d just like a touch of Ninjaness on your marketing - we’d love to help you by creating high-value content for your audience. Get in touch to talk more...

Further resources