This is the second post in a series of “Principles of Great Content Marketing”. The first post talked about creating simple content.
So just to recap, there are three key principles for creating great content:
- Is it simple?
- Is it timely?
- Will it solve a problem?
Simple content was explained earlier and is a sure way to create engaging and direct content. But, even simple great content can’t win you over unless it is timely.
If you don’t need it, you won’t look at it. It’s that simple.
What is Timely Content?
There are three different perspectives to consider:
- Content that is a hot topic
- Content that meets your needs
- Content that creates urgency
The first perspective deals with the hot issues at the moment. Maybe your industry is going through additional regulations or new certifications are being required. Or maybe there’s this new methodology everyone is talking about. The hot topic is not necessarily something you actually need to do right now, but is top of mind, it will get looked at because is part of the trend.
Content that meets your needs is not necessarily about the hype, like the previous perspective, but rather something related to a mandate or a need. If you were told by your boss that you have to close down one of your locations and you come across a Whitepaper that talks about how to calculate which plant to shut down you will be interested in checking it out. Or, you have to start outsourcing the IT function overseas and a webinar invitation for a “how to outsource IT and not regret it later” just came to your inbox so you decide to register.
Finally, the urgency perspective is also related to creating timely content, but content that has an expiration date attached to it. Promotions that will only run for the next 5 days or those offers that gives incentives to you to act now (or be the first, or among the 10 first) before it’s too late.
Timely Content Perspectives
Being urgent or a hot topic doesn’t help much though, unless the content meets the needs of the reader. Content that answers a need will always win. The best content is one that combines the three perspectives to create something that meets the prospect’s current needs, is a hot topic, and creates a sense of urgency. That’s the best timely content you can create.
Timely content needs to evoke the following reaction from the reader: “I’ve gotta check this out now”. And there is either a download, registration, or whatever the call to action is. That’s how you know you nailed it.
Crafting Content for the Right time
Sending content at the right moment (when there’s a need) is tricky. How do you get to send content to a person who is at the right moment to receive it? That’s one of the big promises of Marketing Automation software, of automating the sending of the right content to the right prospect at the right moment in time.
Easier said than done? You bet. That’s because someone has to actually think through what “right moment” really means and also has to understand what clues will tell the software that the right moment approaches.
Regardless of whether you automate or not, one thing is certain. Timely content can only be created if you intimately know your audience. You’ve got to know what their daily activities are, what their challenges are, and what their hopes are as well. It means talking to customers and prospects, getting out of the building, and learning about the industry you are selling to.
Want some shortcuts? We’ll approach them in the next segment, when we talk about creating content that solves problems.