5 ATTRIBUTES OF GREAT CONTENT
GREAT CONTENT TRIGGERS EMOTION
Emotions trigger dopamine in the brain, which makes people process and retain information better, and, importantly, take action. That’s why marketing has always chased emotions like happiness. And for good reason: awe-inspiring and funny stories get more shares and drive people to act. Content that triggers fear and anxiety is also highly successful, as is content that triggers other emotions—anticipation, anger, sadness, and hope.
As you craft each piece of content, keep in mind the emotions you want your audience to experience. Use words, phrases, and imagery designed to trigger those emotions.
GREAT CONTENT TELLS BRAND STORIES . . . AS STORIES
One sure fire way to trigger emotions is to craft brand narratives that tell stories—stories that feature protagonists who overcome challenges, stories that have a beginning, middle and end. Stories should tie to your brand. Ideally your brand will play the role of superhero, solving the protagonist’s problem. But content that ties more loosely to the brand can perform well too, especially for top of the funnel messages.
Before crafting content, consider writing it as a narrative and think about where your protagonist would be in the beginning, middle and end of the story as well as your brand’s role in helping the protagonist overcome obstacles.
GREAT CONTENT MAKES USE OF VISUALS
We humans are truly visual creatures—we understand, process, and retain visual information much faster than textual info. That’s because 99% of all sensory information is filtered out by the brain immediately, which means only 1% of information actually gets through. Of all the info successfully transmitted to the brain, 90% is visual.
Select attention-grabbing visuals that surprise or appeal to the senses. Consider taking some risks with the visuals you use. And making use of visuals doesn’t mean just adding images. Consider videos, infographics, GIFs, illustrations, charts, quote cards, and more–your brand doesn’t need to be visual to tell a visual story.
GREAT CONTENT IS NONPROMOTIONAL
We could have chosen many adjectives to highlight here: timely, relevant, informative, entertaining, useful, to name just a few. Indeed, virtually every great piece of content you’ll ever see either entertains or educates . . . or both! But if we had to choose one attribute that differentiates content marketing from traditional marketing, that attribute would be nonpromotional.
Make sure your content isn’t just a sales sheet in disguise. No one likes people, or brands, who drone on about themselves. Ensuring your content isn’t too self-promotional is especially key for top of the funnel content.
GREAT CONTENT IS HUMAN-CENTRIC
T o appeal to humans, write like a human. Don’t be scared to let your brand’s personality shine through in the content you create. A conversational writing style is more engaging. No one wants to read/watch/listen to boring, grey, corp speak. But we love engaging with content that tackles real ideas, in a real voice, with a dash of passion and humor. Authentic and real trumps perfect and predictable every day!
Make sure your writers, designers, and vendors are aware of you tone, story, and style guidelines. (If you don’t have these, get them!) Read your content out loud to make sure it flows smoothly and sounds personable.