In the midst of the content marketing rush, great content is becoming increasingly elusive. We can't all be Red Bull overnight, but while everyone tries to become a content publisher, let's take a step back and look at what we're doing.
Whether it's crafting posts for social platforms, or penning a new blog post, it's vital to examine the content we create. We have to be brutally honest about whether we're adding to the sea of sameness or actually creating something worthwhile.
Here are the key questions to ask before hitting the 'post' button:
Is it worthwhile?
This is probably both the most important and most difficult question. It boils down to whether or not the piece of content adds value. Of course, value in itself can be subjective. It can range from imparting knowledge to simply making people smile. Whether that value is worthwhile, depends on your objectives.
Relevance and interest are also important here. Weigh up the content's relevance to your audience and just how interesting it is. Remember, what's relevant is not always interesting, and what's interesting is not always relevant. If it's both relevant and interesting, it's probably worthwhile.
Is it fresh?
Are you putting out something new or just jumping aboard a trending topic? If you're going to give a fresh take on something or present existing information in a new way that makes it more useful or helpful to your readers, then go ahead.
If you're just taking what's already out there and putting it on your platform, ask yourself if you're truly doing a great job of content curation and giving your audience a reason to follow you? Or are you just highlighting the fact you don't have anything original to say?
And if you're going to just share a link to someone else's great content (which there is a time and place for) make sure in sharing it you add context and insight for your audience. If you're just sharing links and saying 'This is awesome' or 'Watch this' and think you're rocking content marketing, think again.
Is it the right medium?
Knowing if you're using the right medium depends entirely on understanding your audience and their content consumption habits. This concerns both the form of the content and the platform it's shared on.
A single piece of content might need to be repurposed across platforms to ensure accessibility. For example, a gallery of images on a blog could be used as an album on Facebook, a link on LinkedIn and a series of images on Instagram.
Is it the right tone?
Good content speaks to people. In order to do that, it needs to first and foremost be written in a way a person would actually say it. To craft a post for a platform, consider exactly who you're speaking to.
This involves creating detailed persona profiles for your audience by platform. Craft your content specifically for the person you're aiming to speak to. Simply talk to them as you would if you were talking to them in person.
Is it the right topic?
Social media is the water cooler on steroids. If people aren't talking about it at the water cooler, they won't want to talk about it on a social platform.
Don't try to force unnatural conversation topics. No one likes the person who starts talking about their stamp collection when everyone else is talking about what they want for lunch. Know your audience and know their interests.
Give some thought to your own brand's interests too. If you stick to topics you know, you'll retain your authenticity. And remember, if you're interested in something, you tend to know a lot about the subject, so you're more likely to have something valuable to say about it.