How to Create Valuable Content that Stands Out from the Crowd

Content, content everywhere. You know it is important to your marketing. You want to create stuff that your clients and customers appreciate and like you for; valuable content that spreads the word, builds your reputation, sparks conversations, pulls people towards you and motivates them to buy. But when you log into LinkedIn or cast a weary eye on your inbox you are inundated – 5 top tips for this, the ultimate guide to that. Everyone seems to be at it! 

If you’re going to invest in this content thing you have to be sure it’s worth it, that it means something. You don’t want your customers to feel like you often do – a bit ‘meh’, or at worst downright annoyed. Is content becoming the new spam? 

We think about this often. Yet even in this era of overwhelm there is content we truly value. Some of it comes from the ‘superstars’ who have been honing their skills for a long time: 

We always look forward to their stuff. So useful and interesting. 

But it’s not just content from the well-known content marketing superstars that we appreciate.  

  • Romanian success story UIPath’s content is so valuable and has helped them grow at incredible speed.  
  • Gill Andrews is a website copy expert based in Germany and her website tips and resources are always on the money.  
  • UK digital agency coach Janusz Stabik’s blog and weekly newsletter is super-useful, widely read and driving many great opportunities his way.   

Content like this we appreciate and act on. We’ve referred all these companies very widely (we’re like an extension of their marketing departments!) and, what’s more, we’ve bought from many of them too. 

Creating truly valuable content that connects IS possible, and it’s worth it, even in an increasingly crowded space. You just have to approach it right. 

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that. 

How to create content that connects 

  1. Get your intentions right and your actions will follow. When it comes to creating and sharing content ‘help don’t sell, talk don’t yell, show don’t tell‘ is the very best mantra to hold in mind. We’ve found that there’s a paradox at the heart of marketing: the more you help, the less you sell, the more you sell. Funny isn’t it? To truly connect you have to genuinely care. 
  1. Think like a customer. Put yourself in their shoes. We don’t just mean conjuring up ideas for content we think our customers would like. The trick is to get out there and talk to real people. Listen hard and they’ll willingly tell you what content they’d value from you. Ask what they struggle with, then answer their questions through your content. 
  1. Write for one, help many. Have a real person in mind with everything you produce – that’s a great rule for writing good content. Can’t think of WHO it’s for and how your content will help? Then the content is unlikely to connect. Write for someone, always. If what you create helps or inspires one person then chances are it’ll help many others like them too. But write for everyone and it’ll fall between the cracks. It always helps to have somebody in mind. 
  1. Give away the process. You have loads of experience in your business. You might not even think that this will be interesting or useful to anyone but be assured it will be. Lifting the lid on your process makes for compelling content. Look at the way US web firm Newfangled share their thinking – this is ‘show, don’t tell’ at its finest. Show your work. 
  1. Share the excitement. Enthusiasm is infectious. Share what you truly love about what you do, and you’ll find that energy bubbles through it. Check out UK-based design agency owner Bob Mytton’s Jazz Types project to see genuine design love in action. 
  1. Share lessons from the dark. Not just the polished corporate version of yourself but the human side too – real, messy stories with genuine authenticity. Chris Brogan does this with warmth and bravery. Living with depression, wrestling with his weight, business lows as well as his highs – we love him for his openness, and we learn from his stories. His vulnerability makes us trust him more, and his content is always super engaging as well as useful. 

Inherently valuable or surprisingly human 

Create and share stuff that’s “inherently valuable, surprisingly human or unexpectedly useful.” 

If you want to connect in the sea of noise you have to really push it on the value front these days. Create and share stuff that’s “inherently valuable, surprisingly human or unexpectedly useful.” That was US marketing expert Joe Chernov’s advice and we think he’s so right. 

Yes, the content game is not an easy one but that’s an opportunity, not a blocker. You can do this. Even if your budget is small. Even if you’re part of a large corporate organisation and one step removed from customers. Whatever your business you CAN create meaningful content that makes a real connection. 

Start here – call up one of your clients/customers 

Want to create stuff that connects? Ask your client or customer. Call someone you love to work for and look at the world through their eyes. Start by asking them this question: 

What’s the biggest challenge you face when it comes to X* right now? 

(* X = the area your business helps with) 

What insight would they crave to help them unblock that challenge? Use the conversation that springs from this question to write a blog post for that person. Write about the challenge and use your knowledge to help. Keep it tight and focused – one person, one challenge. And share it widely. 

Content does matter. You can make yours valuable. And there’s everything to play for. 

Let us know how you get on. 

…………………………………. 

This post was written by Sonja Nisson and Sharon Tanton who run the School of Valuable Content. The post first appeared on the Valuable Content website in 2016. The lessons most definitely still apply!  

Want to learn more from European content marketing thought leaders? Join them at WeContent Festival 2022, a must-attend event for content creators and marketing professionals.

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