How to create great content

Photo by  Daniel Fazio  on  Unsplash

What makes business content great? I can summarise this in two words: its humanity.

Have you ever thought what exactly makes you human? You’d probably wondering where I am leading to with such an obvious question. Keep reading and you’ll see.

What separates us, humans, from all the other fellow, earthy creatures is our capacity to reason. When we reason, we think. We accept or reject information, we memorise, we tell.

One of the oldest forms of education in the history of humanity is storytelling. Old civilisations used stories to preserve their culture, teach their religion and educate their people.

Essentially, stories make us human. Roger C. Schank writes about this in his book, Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story (1995).

Human knowledge is based on stories and the human brain consists of cognitive machinery necessary to understand, remember and tell stories. Humans are storytelling organisms that both, individually and socially, lead storied lives.

Telling your story is what makes your content great. It is what connects you with your customers.

For many businesses, however, discerning their story and knowing how to share it can be a real challenge. To unfold your story, you are going to have to take a step back, look inside and find out the real reason why you do what you do.

How to uncover your story

Your business’s story is the journal that details all your dreams and ambitions, the original vision that drove you to create your company. It narrates your journey, your highs and lows, your reason for existing. It illuminates your path to your goals.

It is the answer of the why you do what you do and why your clients choose ‘you’ and no one else. And it is in this why, where content becomes great from average.

So, if you are running a business with the intention of just making a healthy profit, forget it. This may maintain its steady growth but it will never make you a brand of choice. It will force you to continually reach for new business leads, instead of bringing customers to you.

Your business must have a reason to exist. It is your business’s purpose — its reason for existing or set of beliefs — that inspires people and draws them to it. It is what makes you memorable and valued.

Defining your business’s story puts in place the main foundation to build your content from.

To start unfolding your story, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What made you want to set up your business? What inspired you to do it?

  2. What do you stand for?

  3. What makes you different?

  4. What things do you find really frustrating? What do you most love?

  5. Why do you think your customers want to do business with you? What inspires them to choose you?

  6. What’s your day-to-day motivation?

The answers to these questions will provide you with a clear message, which is the heart of your brand story, the foundation of your marketing strategy and what gives your content purpose and value.

This message is your story’s plot thread, and like in any novel, it stitches and interweaves all that you are.

When you know this, you are ready to start producing great content.

Creating great content

As well as telling the why, your content must also be of value to your audience. This involves knowing what you do best. It is what Doug Kessler calls finding your sweet spot.

In content marketing, your sweet spot is the exact area of your company’s expertise. It’s the thing that you are uniquely positioned to talk about. The thing your company knows better than — or at least as well as — anyone else in the world.
— Doug Kessler

Share your expertise with your customers and tell them how your distinctive attitude can solve their problems. Your content should be written and produced with them in mind. Ultimately, it is for them. Ask yourself the following questions: what problems or challenges are they facing that I can solve? How can my words inspire them and make their day more joyful? How can my services or product make a significant difference to them? What do I want to be remembered for? How would I liked to be described?

Creating great content is the result of measured introspection. The better you know yourself and what you stand for, the more relevant information you can produce and share.

Are you stuck with your business’s story? Do you find coming out with ideas for your content a real challenge? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it.
— Somerset Maugham