The 2019 Guide to Top-Quality Content Allie Wolff When you’re passionate about your business, it’s hard not to talk about it, right? Chances are, you’re thrilled to be able to do what you do best — and what you love — each and every day. You get the flexibility of calling the shots, the privilege of working with a small team, and the connection with your origin story. And all of these benefits give you a huge advantage in terms of creating quality content. The secret to creating top-quality content is to be memorable. To connect with readers or viewers, and thereby make a lasting impression. In the modern digital age where “content” can be created by anyone with a digital device and an internet connection, saturation is high. Schedules are packed, time has become even more valuable, and your audience doesn’t want to waste theirs consuming uninformative marketing speak. If you spend your time creating “marketing material disguised as value,” not only will you bore your audience — you’ll be on their mental blacklist. To make a lasting (and positive) impression in 2019, your content must be authentic, transparent and valuable. What is Valuable Content? Quality content isn’t about selling your products or promoting your company. Instead, quality content provides some sort of value to your audience — for example, through education or entertainment. Giving value positions you and your team as industry or niche experts, which boosts your KLT factor (know, like, and trust). Content that’s informative, entertaining, and absolutely authentic allows your audience to start to trust you, and trust is the cornerstone of loyalty. Is My Content Authentic? Authenticity proves that you (and your small business) truly care about what you say you care about. Authentic content is both informative and engaging, offering a deeper look at company activities. Here are three criteria you can use to evaluate the authenticity of your content: Does it align with the existing message and goals of your business? Does it help your clients/customers accomplish their own goals? Does it increase comfort around your business and encourage further participation? Quality Content Brainstorm Feeling stuck around content topics? Chances are, you’ve already got a lot of great content ready to unleash: What questions are you asked on a frequent basis? If they’re not top of mind, you can go through feedback forms to look for patterns. Research groups and membership sites related to your business and write down the most common questions and/or complaints. Use each of these as the topic for a piece of content. Take inventory of your existing content and make a list of ways to repurpose it: Strip the audio from any video and release it as a podcast. Create an audio version of an informative blog post by reading it out loud (and perhaps interjecting additional side notes). Go back through past long articles or blog posts, breaking them into components. Go deeper into your topic by creating a piece of media to address each relevant chunk on its own (for example, breaking an existing blog post into three sections and creating a series of three new videos — one per section). Stand Out by Making Connections The easiest way to personalize your content and actively involve your audience is to simply reach out and engage them. Be both personal and interactive. Reach out to past and active clients to discuss their experiences. Make use of live video platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) to host live Q&As, interactive how-to videos, behind the scenes reveals, and more. Create tools, workbooks, checklists, or videos to hand-hold your audience through a process, or to accompany other content you’ve created. Stand Out through Transparency One way to be memorable to your audience is through voluntary transparency. People are curious to know what goes on behind the scenes, and to be a part of the mystery “behind the curtain.” That sense of belonging and exclusivity is desirable. (The Patreon platform is one example of this; patrons exchange a monthly fee for access to exclusive content.) Here are some ideas for Inviting your audience into your inner circle: Employee profile blog posts with quirky, relatable personal facts and direct quotes Podcast interviews with team members or department representatives Facebook Live videos showing works in progress or the behind the scenes of your office environment, such as the process of getting ready for a client presentation Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube AMA (Ask Me Anything) livestreams where team members answer audience questions as they come in — the “face to face” interaction of video also builds trust. Stand Out Moment-by-Moment Modern audiences are often looking for quick answers to immediate questions. Google calls these “micro-moments:” I want to know I want to go I want to do I want to buy To meet the immediacy of your audience’s in-the-moment needs, create short-form content that solves these micro-problems. (Efficiency is just as important as giving them what they’re looking for in terms of perceived content quality): Create FAQ pages or posts. Make use of the immediate and interactive (in terms of your audience’s ability to interact and respond) stories feature on Instagram and Facebook. Create short audio snippets or videos, keeping them as brief as possible to answer targeted in-the-moment questions. Now that you’ve got an idea of how to make your 2019 content top quality, go out there and do it! If you take it on step by step, moment by moment, the overwhelm will subside and you’ll be able to infuse your content with the same excited energy that flows through your business in the first place! The more relevant, high-quality content you create, the greater the likelihood of you being seen by the right people. And the more you aim to actually connect and engage with your audience through your content, the greater the likelihood you’ll be remembered favorably — and sought out when you’re needed.