Do you think going viral is what makes a good piece of content successful?
You may have read the title of this post and are now thinking: “Kevin, have you lost the plot? Is it not a GOOD thing for my content to go viral?”
Because surely if a blog post or video gets a lot of attention over one day or week, it’s going to get you more leads, and isn’t that all that matters?
Okay, so now you might be feeling a bit confused. I don’t blame you, but keep reading.
Below, I’m going to tell you why viral content may not get you success in the long run, and which type of content can.
Why you shouldn’t care about ‘going viral’
The truth is that if you’re creating your own content, you shouldn’t be focusing on attention-grabbing tactics that may or may not cause it to ‘go viral’.
This is because as a rule of thumb, the success and attention you gain from viral posts is typically just a flash in the pan, and there’s a good chance no-one will remember or care about it in a month – or even a week – down the line.
A viral blog post or video may seem important in just that brief moment in time, for reasons no-one can quite comprehend, and is therefore impossible to recreate. It will not keep generating you business in the long run.
What really matters is that you’re delivering quality content that answers the questions your potential customers are asking, educates them and provides them with real value.
If you can do that with honest answers alongside helpful, actionable information, you’ll gain leads who’ll turn to you when they need whatever it is you’re selling, and they’ll even share your content with their friends and colleagues.
And if you can help just one person, and get them to become a lead – making their life just that little bit better in the process – then you’ve justified that piece of content’s existence in the world.
After all, it’s not about how many people see your content. It’s about the right people seeing it, at the right time.
It’s all about questions and answers
When it really comes down to it, content marketing is actually very simple – regardless of what some people might have you believe.
The truth is, it all comes down to questions and answers; that’s all you need.
The best advice I can give you when it comes to creating the right kind of content, is to become a better listener. And not just to listen, but listen to the right things.
I will bet you any money that your customers probably ask you about their questions and concerns on a day-to-day basis, and you probably just answer them on auto pilot.
Instead, you should be writing these questions down.
And not just you; your entire sales and customer service teams. In fact, anyone who deals with customers on a regular basis – be it your best salesperson or your receptionist – will probably be able to contribute towards valuable content your potential customers will want to read.
I guarantee that if you write down these questions for a month, and write content that answers these very questions, that content is going to be the best content you have ever created.
Tips for creating the best content
Below are some quick, practical tips to help you get the most out of your content, as well as what you should avoid in future.
1. Call a meeting with your sales team
Include anyone else you think may be able to contribute. Put them in front of a whiteboard, and ask them the questions they all hear on a regular basis. Say you need two pieces of content a week – in just one hour, you could have an entire year’s worth of content.
2. Get it published
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to not get too bogged-down with all the finer details. If you can have a professional editor check your work for you, then great. If you can’t, and the content has a powerful enough message, it won’t matter if it’s not 100% perfect.
3. Avoid guesswork
I know it can sometimes be tempting to do this, but if you start guessing what your customers are thinking, instead of basing it on fact, your content will quickly go off-track and you won’t keep getting those great results. It’s not worth it!
4. Don’t be scared to answer
Sometimes your prospective customers may be asking questions that you’d usually shy away from answering (at least without a sales call first). But questions such as price, competitors or what’s involved in a process are some of the most important questions you can answer. If you won’t, someone else will.
Remember, content marketing really isn’t that difficult.
In the words of Marcus Sheridan himself: they ask, you answer. Simple.
What makes a good piece of content? In the grand scheme of things, ‘going viral’ is not the be-all and end-all of content marketing; in reality, it’s just a flash in the pan that everyone will forget about in a week’s time. It won’t keep generating you business.
Instead, you should be focusing on delivering helpful, quality content that answers the questions your potential customers are asking. And to get the best results, you had better become a good listener.
The truth is, if you sat down with your entire team and got them to write down questions your customers are asking on a daily basis, you could end up with a year’s worth of content. Base it on their real questions and concerns, get it out the door, and you’ll be laughing.
Just don’t try and guess what your customers might be thinking, no matter how tempting that may be. And don’t be afraid to answer some of the tougher questions; these could be the most important questions your customers will want to know.