“That’s been done before.”
“It’s too basic.”
“We want to be disruptive and different.”
When it comes to producing what some people would consider “basic” or “fundamental” content, I’ve heard all the protests.
And I get it – there’s a ton of content out there, and it’s hard to imagine that yours is going to stand out if it’s not “out of the box”, “in your face”, or otherwise disruptive to your industry.
If you produce something basic – something that’s already been covered by someone else in your space – you might be scared that your audience is going to think you’re not on top of the newest trends, or that you only know how to imitate content that’s already been written. You might worry that you’re not going to stand out or seem innovative, that no one’s going to read your content, and ultimately, that no one’s going to buy your product or service.
But before you go crazy trying to make each piece the most unique, never-been-done-before blog post, or eBook, or infographic ever created, remember these notes.
1. You can’t be the go-to source without basics
On a fundamental level, you want your readers to come to your website and stay there – reading blog posts, clicking to other articles, downloading eBooks, and getting to know your company and your subject matter.
But what if you catch a prospect who’s at the very beginning of his or her buying journey? He or she might be looking for introductory information (like “what happens if I don’t have any security measures on my computer network?”), and if he can’t find it on your site, he’s going to go somewhere else (hint: probably the website of your competitor).
If your content only covers new developments in your industry or niche topics, you’re going to miss the portion of your target audience who are looking for basic information. By including some of that foundational content, you can make your blog or website the go-to source for information in your industry.
It’s all about the angle
Suppose your company provides IT security to other businesses. The first topic that comes to mind – “why you need network security” – isn’t exactly unique. In fact, it’s the most basic of all basic topics in your industry. It’s easy to assume your audience has probably read about it a dozen times before. So why would they read your piece of content on that same exhausted topic?
The great thing about writing your own content is that you can be creative. You don’t have to approach it from the most obvious, straight-on perspective. There are hundreds of ways you can take on a single topic and make it valuable and exciting for your reader. You just have to think of a different way to present the information.
For example, maybe you decide to write the piece as “eight terrible things that could happen if your network is unprotected.” Boom. Same basic information, way more exciting approach.
2. It may have been done before, but it hasn’t been done with your voice
When you think of the topic, it may have been done before – but it hasn’t been done by you. You offer something unique and exciting to your industry. Your company has a voice; you have an opinion. So inject that into your content.
If you want to be funny, let your wit run wild. If you don’t want to come across as a post-graduate scholar, write in a conversational tone. If you have a unique anecdote that could spice up an otherwise boring topic, share it.
A topic may be basic, but that doesn’t mean the way you write it has to be boring. By adding in your company’s personality, you can still set yourself apart from your competitors.
3. Remember that this content is only part of your overall strategy
No one likes a one-trick pony (actually I’ve never encountered one of those in real life, so I can’t say for myself – but that’s what I hear). And that’s what you have to remember when it comes to your content strategy. If 100% of your content is written on an introductory level, yeah, people might get bored with it. But the same goes if it’s all highly technical content or only updates on the latest industry trends.
Even if you know your audience appreciates in-depth content (because you’ve done great content planning, right?) you can’t completely ignore foundational material.
The beauty of a well-crafted content strategy is that it incorporates a variety of content. You’ll create bite-sized blogs and 20-page eBooks. You’ll barely break the surface on one topic, and you’ll go into a deep dive on the next. You’ll write basic content and groundbreaking content. Different things appeal to different people – even if they’re all part of the same target audience. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.
I’m not saying you should dumb down your content, but I am saying that you shouldn’t throw out a topic that’s important and relevant to your industry just because it’s basic or has been done before.
A good content marketing strategy offers an audience a full spectrum of educational content on a given subject – from the foundational basics through the technical details and today’s most important trends.