“Would love to hear more about your content services.”
That’s the message from someone who read a content piece I recently wrote about SaaS content marketing and wanted to work with me.
And this is one of many messages I get from readers who become leads.
But let’s not miss the point here; I’m not trying to brag. I’m only sharing my little story (above) to demonstrate the impact of good content.
But let’s define what it really is — especially as it relates to marketing.
A great way to define anything is to look at its function and explain it through that function.
So, to define “good content,” you need to look at its function.
If your content performs the function you created it for, then it’s good content.
If it doesn’t, it’s bad content. Period.
I explain this better in the <2-mins video below:
Want a video animation like this for your business? Click here.
But if video isn’t your thing, here’s what I explained there:
A car, for example, is a car because its function is to transport you from one place to the other. And if it doesn’t do that, then it’s a bad car.
A phone is also a phone because its manufacturers made it to help you make calls. And if it doesn’t make or respond to phone calls, then it’s a bad phone.
In the same way, a good content piece is one that does what its “manufacturers,” creators or writers (depending on your content format) designed it to do.
For example, if you create a content piece to generate buzz and brand awareness, and it sends you thousands of visitors and gets people talking about your brand, then that content is good.
Or if you create it to drive you more leads or product trials and it does that — and gets you talking to leads — then the content is good.
In essence, and from a marketing perspective, your content is good when it achieves the results you want it to.
In fact, the whole concept of content marketing is built on creating content that fulfils specific goals; see how Content Marketing Institute put it:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
See the part in bolded italics in CMI’s content marketing definition? It further reflects the function of content: to drive profitable customer action.
This means any content piece that achieves specific goals for your brand is good content.
On the other hand, if it doesn’t achieve the results you create it for, then it’s simply not good and will end up wasting your marketing budget.
But let’s break down the process of creating content that achieves your desired results.
Creating a good content piece starts from identifying your goal for creating it.
You need two key questions answered to create a good piece of content:
- What do you want readers or viewers to do after reading/viewing your content?
- What does it take to create content that makes them take such an action?
The first question addresses your why?
Why are you doing this? Why are you creating content at all?
Are you trying to use content to:
- Generate leads for your B2B business?
- Get trial users for your mobile app?
- Drive direct sales?
- Generate buzz or brand awareness?
- Rank on Google?
- Something else?
Once you identify the reason why you’re creating content in the first place, then you have found a compass to create quality content.
The second question addresses your how?
How do you create content that achieves your goal? Now you have to be brutally honest with yourself: Do you really know how to create content that achieves your goal? Or do you need to hire an expert? If you’re not certain creating great content is one of your strengths, it’s best to get an expert to do it for you.
But if you’re going the route of creating content yourself, be sure you can do it. And I’ll share examples of great content so you can see what they look like.
In marketing, quality content is not just some artfully written words on a page. Don’t get me wrong; it’s part of it. You need to write (and design) well, but that’s not the guiding light when creating a fabulous content piece in marketing.
Great content in marketing is the type that (1) gets the attention of a particular audience and (2) achieves your desired marketing goal. It doesn’t do one of the two; it does both.
I asked Jay Baer of Convince and Convert: “Jay, what do you define as “good content”?” He sent me to his post titled Content Marketing Is a Job, Not an Art Form, where he wrote:
“The only job that content marketing has is to create behaviours among target audiences that benefit the business.” Click To Tweet“There are, of course, a lot of ways to do so. Youtility content.” Jay continues. “Content that makes you laugh. Content that makes you cry. Content that makes you mad. But ultimately, content must prod behaviour, or it’s a useless exercise.”
In essence, this is marketing, not art. When you create content in marketing, your real intention is to not only add value to your audience but also to drive marketing ROI.
So what does content that drives ROI (aka good content) look like? Here are two examples:
Good content example #1: Uplead’s content generated 20,000+
UpLead’s founder Will Canyon shared with me that these two conversion optimization strategies have generated 20,000+ subscribers for their blog.
Will shared that he had PDF opt-in forms at the top of each article to generate subscribers, and that’s how he’s strategically been able to generate so many subscribers so far.
Now let’s look a bit more closely at how UpLead generated 20k+ subscribers. It’s a formula you’ll want to follow.
- Industry expertise:
They’re subject experts at the topics they create content on.
You’d notice their blog topics appeal to B2B businesses — a market where they have years of real-life experience; their founder, Will Canyon, has been working in B2B since at least 2007 (according to his LinkedIn profile).
- Quality content creation:
What defines quality content creation (regardless of its format)?
It’s not rocket science. Your content creation is good when it communicates accurate and data-rich information in a clear, concise, and inspiring or exciting way.
But let’s get back to UpLead and their writing.
Besides writing their blog posts really well, they use several images in each post to make their content more interesting for readers. (Not to mention that visuals are also one of Google’s ranking factors).
They use a mixture of text and relevant images in each of their blog posts. And that combination helps them create content that’s more explanatory and engaging.
- Content promotion:
The UpLead team promotes their content through channels that get their audience’s attention.
For example, they promoted an article through GrowthHackers and it got over 2k views:
- Conversion optimization:
In every post, UpLead has at least two opt-in forms — at the top of their articles and an exit popup — to convert readers into subscribers.
So you see, a great content piece in marketing strikes a balance between artfully created content and content that drives marketing ROI — it’s not one of the two; it’s both.
It would look something like this in a mind map:
Good content example #2: Groove used content to grow to $5M/yr in 3 years
You’ve probably heard the story of how Groove grew their business to $5M in annual revenue through content marketing.
In a podcast at SaaS Club, former Groove marketer Andy Baldacci says most of their customers found them through their startup journey blog:
“…the startup journey blog, that’s what people know us for. That’s why when we talk to a lot of customers, that’s how they hear about us.” Click To TweetSo their stories generated awareness for Groove and ended up selling the product to thousands of buyers. That’s good content!
And you’ll find that the factors that made UpLead’s content successful are similar to Groove’s, in that Groove also had the following in each content piece:
- Industry expertise: The Groove team ran a blog series about their startup journey, and that alone helped them demonstrate expertise in what they were talking about.
- Good content creation: They write really well — and you can see the proof of this in the number of shares they get per post. Not only that, they write SEO-driven content as well. For example, this post helps them rank #1 for “customer service email” — a 2,400/mo keyword that’s closely related to their product.
And this is just one of their many posts that gets good engagement and ranks on Google.
- Content promotion: When they launched their startup journey blog, they promoted their stories through influencers who had contributed to their content pieces even before they published.
- Conversion optimization: In every post on Groove, you’ll find at least two opt-in forms — (1) a welcome mat and (2) a form at the bottom right corner of their blog.
Gone are the days when good writing meant good content. Now quality content is the type that drives ROI.
I asked Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media the same question I asked Jay Baer: “Andy, what do you define as “good content”?” He mirroed the same idea:
Good content is content that outperforms. It is in your top 5% of articles in its ability to attract visitors … or turn visitors into subscribers Click To TweetHe went on to share how you can find the content pieces that perform better than others on your site:
“It’s easy to find articles that attract lots of visitors. These posts jump out at you every time you look at your Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report. But the articles that turn visitors into subscribers are much harder to find. You usually need to check the Conversions > Reverse Goal Path report to see the number of subscribers each post generates and divide that by the pageviews for each article. So it’s a calculated metrics. A good content audit will reveal them.”
In essence, you can fish out your high-performing content through Google Analytics and optimize those winners for even better results.
By short-term results, I mean the immediate ROI you get from content. Long-term results (traffic, leads and revenue), on the other hand, come to your site from Google months and years after you’ve published your content.
These results come from the aforementioned factors that help UpLead, Groove, and many other sites drive ROI through their content. I’ll list those factors here again.
To create good content, you need to:
- Demonstrate industry expertise in your content.
- Use SEO writing strategies and visuals in your blog posts.
- Promote your content in places your audience will find it.
- Optimize each content piece for conversions — unless driving conversions isn’t your goal.
I run an agency that can help you plan your content marketing, create good content and drive traffic, leads, and sales.
See how we do it here. Or contact us through the chatbot in the bottom right corner of your screen.