Does Your Content Warrant Applause?

applause-297115_1280It was the beginning of the end for Jeb Bush on Feb. 3 when he felt compelled to ask his New Hampshire audience to “please clap” after delivering this line: “I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.”

The message, which he’d hoped would ignite nationalistic fervor among the crowd, instead seemed to fall on deaf ears, and provoked this comment from a CNN broadcaster: “This campaign’s got everything besides a candidate that can connect with voters.”

The former Florida governor dropped out of the presidential race Feb. 20.

Connecting with your constituency has been the holy grail for marketers since the dawn of marketing. As you know, a lukewarm reception to your marketing message might spell disaster for your brand—just as it did for Bush.

How can you be sure you’re hitting the mark with the content you deliver to your key targets? Tips abound for creating compelling content. Here we present some basics that you should take to heart:

Know your audience. Consider what your key personas want to accomplish as they interact with your brand. That is, do you understand your customers’ pain and pleasure points? Data is your friend in this regard. What have your key targets responded well to in the past? Identify patterns in those topics. Then, you’ve got to generate some new insight that they won’t easily find anywhere else. This is the angle that will draw them in. Make sure it shows up in your captivating headline!

Connect with people emotionally. Think of your brand in terms of moments in your customers’ lives. Consider the times when your brand made a special appearance in their homes or communities and use them as touch points with your audience. Get at the heart of a customer problem and tell a story about it that builds rapport with your brand. Start by using an authentic voice, speaking as a human with passion and empathy. Draw in your audience like a classic novel would do: Begin with a problem, raise suspense with a twist, and finally end on a positive note with a tip to your business’s major message or idea.

Map your content: Content is one of your products, after all, so it needs to be strategized. Start by outlining its ultimate purpose—the business reason for creating the content (e.g., brand awareness, lead generation/nurturing and developing customer loyalty). Then you need to find that sweet spot where your business’s goals intersect with your audience’s real interests. What is the common path that brings you together? Deliver content for every step customers take along the path—from awareness of a need to evaluating options, to purchase, to retention and upselling … even to evangelism.

When your content incorporates these tips, your audience is sure to clap, without prompting, when your brand speaks. In turn, your key targets will be motivated to take action and to come back to your brand the next time they have a similar need.

If you could use some help producing compelling content, consider investing in the services of a content strategy vendor.

PegAfter spending seven years as an editor and supervisor at Gartner Inc., you could say that Peg Ventricelli—also known as Content Boost’s very own “grammar police”—knows her way around an AP Style Book. As Content Boost’s Quality Control Editor, Peg is the last set of eyes on content produced by our team of editors, and is tasked with redefining our standards of excellence in writing. Did we mention she holds writers workshops for the team (and they include pop quizzes!)? Drawing from her early days working local beats as a journalist, Peg is also a regular contributor to our corporate website. When she doesn’t have a red pen in her hand, she can be found employing her green thumb, traveling to the beaches of Maryland on the weekends, and biking around her hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.