Engaging & Profitable Content

The 4 R's of Making Your Content More Engaging — and More Profitable

With apologies to the literary aficionados and artistic purists out there, when it comes to creating content, businesses aren't looking to win creativity awards: they're looking to generate sales.

Of course, this doesn't mean that all content should be overtly sales driven, like one of those late-night infomercials where you can amazingly buy not one, but two Ronco Veggematics (but wait — there's more!).  On the contrary, most content doesn't have a "buy now" call to action. Instead, it aims to convey useful information, build relationships, earn credibility and trust, and ultimately onboard new customers — while keeping existing customers on the roster. 

At least, this is the best case scenario. Unfortunately, many businesses are experiencing the worst case scenario: their content simply isn't working. That is, it's not an asset that populates the sales pipeline with qualified leads, it doesn't help shorten the sales cycle, and it doesn't deliver ROI.

The problem here is typically not a matter of investment or effort — since many businesses with under or non-performing content are ticking both of those boxes. Rather, it's a lack of engagement. That's the bad news.

The good news, is that filling this gap is straightforward, and doesn't require a PhD in Online Marketology. It simply requires knowing about the 4 R's that characterize engaging — and therefore profitable — content: relevant, relatable, readable, and robust.

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1. Relevant

Relevant content addresses the needs, goals, aspirations, concerns and/or pain points of target audiences. It is not "content for the sake of content." Instead, it answers the essential question that customers ask at all times: WIIFM? ("What's in it for me?").

How to make your content more relevant: 

  • Conduct market research to develop buyer personas, which are psychographic and demographic profiles of key customer groups.
  • Conduct competitor research to see what's working in the marketplace and generating traction.
  • Get feedback from sales and support teams. They often receive comments from customers (new and existing) that reveal what's topical, important and meaningful.


2. Relatable

Relatable content is content that authentically connects with target audiences. The content can be formal, casual, solemn, funny, etc. The context and medium determine these variables. For example, an article on the dangers of obesity will obviously have a serious, no-nonsense tone. On the other end of the spectrum, an infographic for first-time cat owners could be amusing and playful (especially since, as we all know, one cannot actually own a cat — it is simply enough to have a cat tolerate one's presence). What matters most is that target audiences can relate to the content, and feel a personal connection to it.

How to make your content more relatable:

  • Focus on educating and informing — not on self-promoting or selling. Even content that discusses  a business's products and services (like introducing something new) should focus on the benefits and advantages to customers. Again, think: WIIFM?
  • Send the right content to the right customer groups (a.k.a. buyer personas). Even the most relevant content will fall flat if it's sent to the wrong people, or even if it's sent to the right people but at the wrong time. For example, customers who are at the beginning of the buyer's journey are typically conducting exploratory research, whereas those mid-way through the buyer's journey are typically open to learning about business/service provider/vendor distinctions.
  • Ensure that the format matches the content. For example, blogs are suitable for content that can be intelligently conveyed in 500-2000 words. Anything longer should be crafted into an ebook, report or white paper.  If the format and content doesn't align, then target audiences will have a difficult time relating to the message — and will either tune out or bounce away.


3. Readable

Virtually anyone can walk into an orchestra pit, grab an instrument, and start making (harrowing) noises. But it takes a trained musician to create beautiful music.

In a similar sense, virtually anyone can put words together — but this doesn't make content readable. That only happens when target audiences, ironically, don't even feel as though they're reading anything. They're simply immersed and engaged in the experience. That "magic" is readability!

How to make your content more readable:

  • Pay close attention to the rhythm and structure of words. Reading has to be a relaxed, downhill experience; even if the message is serious and alarming (e.g. "10 Ways to Avoid a Network Data Breach"). Otherwise, it's not reading: it's work!
  • Use elements like graphics, sub-headings and bullet lists to make content more accessible — and therefore more readable.
  • Clarify with examples and metaphors (i.e. describing one thing in terms of another). And where possible, avoid jargon (if this isn't possible, then explain the jargon in simple terms). 


4. Robust

Last but certainly not least: content has to be robust. No, this doesn't mean that it must be thousands of words long and suitable to exam study. Most infographics are interesting and informative, but they aren't comprehensive (and that's a good thing). The point is that target audiences have to deem content as substantial and robust. Otherwise, they'll label it as fluff. 

How to make your content more robust:

  • Ensure that all blogs are at least 500 words, but can be up to approximately 2000 words. Anything longer is typically better suited for an ebook (the exception might be breaking up several long articles into a series).
  • Properly cite sources, as experts, studies, etc. This helps with credibility, and also because giving credit where credit is due is always the right thing to do. Citations can be embedded in the content (which is what most blogs do), placed in end notes (which is what most ebooks and white papers do), or placed in the footer (which is what most infographics do).
  • Link to credible external sources in each piece of content.  For example: "Research by Curata has found the top three content objectives are: drive sales/leads; engage customers; and boost brand awareness." 


The Bottom Line

Strategies and tactics for winning over the hearts, minds, patronage and loyalty of customers has changed a great deal in recent years — largely because of the web, but also because of shifts in demographics and culture. 

But what hasn't changed — and will never change — is that for content to function as a profitable business asset, at its most fundamental level it must be engaging by capturing and reflecting the 4 R's: relevant, relatable, readable and robust!

Learn More

To learn more about making sure that your content works for your business — instead of for your competition — contact the Noble Webworks team today. Your consultation with us is free.

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