Ask These 3 Questions...So Your Content Doesn't Suck

Posted by Jack Wilkinson on Nov 14, 2018 7:00:00 AM
Jack Wilkinson
Find me on:

The average time people spend reading an article is 36 seconds. That’s because much of the content available for consumption is ordinary, uninteresting, boring crap. And if we’re not careful, we can easily add to the ever-growing mountain of crap content produced on a daily basis by lazy marketers.

Be mindful of Josh Bernoff’s “Iron Imperative”: You must treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own. Take the time to think about the reader when you write. Don’t just write about the things you want to write about, write about the things your readers want to read about. If you overlook the reader when you write, they will be gone in less than 36 seconds.

Develop Better Personas Using Our Handy Buyer Personas Template -- Download Now!

Here are three questions you should always ask when you are working up a new piece of content:

Who is my audience?

Think about the types of people that make up your target audience. Hang up a picture of them by your desk as a constant reminder of who you are writing for. Stay away from jargon. Instead, speak to them in a language that they use themselves and will easily understand. To do this, use a three step process:

  • Have conversations with people in your target audience
  • Write down the words they use in these conversations
  • Use these words in your content

I know -- it seems simple. But the average writer or marketer won’t do this. Instead they will assume they already know how to speak to their audience. This is why most content sucks.

Coming Up With Content Ideas

Don't kill yourself trying to come up with good content ideas -- just ask yourself three simple questions.

What value does my content deliver to my audience?

Identify the takeaways. Every piece of content should deliver a key insight or helpful piece of information that will resonate with the audience. Readers should finish reading the content and be glad that they took the time to do so. Think about your audience’s pains and barriers and create content that speaks to those challenges. Help the reader do something. Offer tools and resources that will assist them in their endeavors. Here are five ideas for valuable content you can bring to the table for your readers:

  • FAQs
  • Interesting Stats
  • Checklists
  • How-Tos
  • “Little Known” Tips

What action do I want them to take next?

Every piece of content should illuminate the path for another action. Should the reader check out another article? Download a guide? Watch a video? Schedule a free consultation? Whatever the action is, clear the path and light the way. You can use links from within the copy, place a clear call-to-action at the end, or embed a video on the page. Keep the conversation going. By understanding your audience, offering value and engaging with them in multiple ways, you’ll be sure of keeping them around longer than 36 seconds -- and you will help to fight the battle against content that sucks.

Lead Generation Guide

Topics: Marketing