The Most Important Principle of Content Marketing: Usefulness

By March 24, 2020Content Marketing, Editorial

When we’re talking to a friend about something we care about—let’s say the beach and how beautiful it is—we aren’t trying to sell them anything on the beach. 

We aren’t selling. We’re simply passionate about the seashore and the things that make it our object of attention. We’re experts on the wonders of the beach, and we want to help others see it for all the beauty we see in it. 

We’re simply trying to be helpful. Another way of saying this is that we’re trying to be useful. To demonstrate the value of our knowledge. 

It’s the same way with content marketing. At the very core of content marketing is the commitment to be useful. 

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How to be useful

“Useful content should be at the core of your marketing,” according to the Content Marketing Institute.

But how is a content marketer useful?  It’s a deceptively simple question that in its answer provides a helpful window into how to approach the challenge of content marketing. 

Or, if you’re simply looking for a way to stimulate new topics, the principle of usefulness can be a prompt for a river of ideas. All must stem from the desire to be useful.

What’s the best way to be useful? Create content that is actually useful. Seriously. That’s it.

It sounds like a trick. An overly simplistic answer to a complex question.The truth is that the simplistic answer is the basis for creating content that creates value for your business.

Identifying the ways in which you can be useful mostly come down to how well you understand your audience. With some pinpoint research, you should be able to understand what’s driving the people that matter most to your brand.

The real trick is at once setting aside your own expertise to get into the mind of someone entirely new to your business, maybe even to the space your business operates in. 

Do you ever notice that the best automobile salespeople don’t try and sell you a car? They know a lot more about the brand of car they’re selling, and often a lot more about the type of cars in the category then you do. But you’re just going for a test drive, and they’re just informing you about cars in the category. There’s no pressure.

Start with the basics

If you’re kick starting your content marketing program, or looking to refresh your library, the best place to start is with the basics in your category.

Selling services to designers? Start by creating content that can be truly useful for designers. Forget about what you’re selling. Help them by sharing your expertise.

Offering real estate services? Start by discovering what would be useful to buyers and sellers in your market. 

When your content marketing is grounded in a desire to be useful, you really can’t go wrong.

With the principle of helpfulness at the center of your content marketing program, you’re ready to make a big impact on your business.

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