Want to Create Great Content? Make Sure It Has Heart
Content quality is an essential factor in building an audience that will keep returning to you. Anyone can find a way to produce dozens of so-so blog posts, middle-of-the-road white papers, and downright terrible videos. But when you take the time and effort to produce something of true value to your audience, they will love you for it and come back for more.
How do you ensure your content is truly of high quality? We think there aren’t enough cheeky acronyms in the world, so our new rule for creating great content is ensuring that it has HEART: it’s helpful, engaging, accurate, relevant, and timely. Ask these questions to help guide your content creation process in the right direction.
Is It Helpful?
Your content should answer a question, solve a problem, or illuminate an idea. If it’s not educating the reader or assisting them in some way, it has missed an opportunity to make you a credible, valuable resource. Successful content marketers understand that creating great content is all about empowering the audience.
Is It Engaging?
All good content balances two roles: a source of information and a source of entertainment. The extent to which it emphasizes one over the other may vary, but there should always be an element that focuses on audience enjoyment. At a bare minimum, you want to produce something that is well-written, easy to follow, and visually appealing in order to make consuming your content a pleasure.
Is It Accurate?
Unlike journalism, content marketing isn’t always held to high standards of ethics or fact-checking, and is often dominated by opinion. Content that is truthful, accurate, and honest will be more useful to a customer trying to navigate a sea of information. Credibility can’t be faked or bought, and holding your content to a high standard will set you apart.
Is It Relevant?
Aspiring writers are always told “write what you know.” That’s good advice for content marketers, up to a point. You might be intimately familiar with the intricacies of a product and its features, but if you can’t make them relevant to your audience, your message will be lost on them. Focus on benefits first and how what you can write about fits into what your target customer needs to know.
Is It Timely or Timeless?
Timeliness in content can mean different things. When you’re writing about a major event or responding to some industry news, the longer you wait to respond, the lower the resonance of your content. Most of the time, you want to create content that is “evergreen”—and stays relevant for a long time, possibly through many changes in your industry, generating traffic and leads for a long time. The less obvious but critical aspect of timeliness is where your target customer is in the buying cycle. Having content to deliver at the right stage in the buying process is more about distribution than creation, but can make all the difference in whether your message lands.
Showing your audience some love through great content is something you should do on an ongoing basis. As you prepare your next piece of content for publication, make sure you stop to ask whether it has heart.
Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.