One of the things bloggers, website owners, and content marketers tend to struggle with is getting their content in front of as many people as possible – specifically getting their content shared to as wide an audience of their desired demographic as possible. The reason why the content may fall flat on its face is because it may be missing a crucial ingredient.
Your content must provide value to the audience you are targeting. Moreover, if you really want to make a hit and get your content shared, it must significantly exceed the expectations of the user who happened upon your content.
Value comes in all kinds of forms. Whatever your industry, website, product, or blog – your primary goal is to provide very specific value to your target audience. Creating valuable content can be done via tutorials, advice for your industry, recipes, free resources, awesome content full of information, entertainment (humour, music, video), cutting edge news value, tools, imagery, commentary, fashion advice – any website for any industry can provide lots of value via the content on their site.
Think about the websites you yourself visit and see what kind of value these sites offer. Let’s start with the big ones.
Facebook – provides entertainment value for “normal” users whilst offering marketers a very targeted audience to market to.
Google – provides exceptional informational value through giving you access to the right information when you need it. It also offers marketers a very good opportunity to market their wares at the specific point when a customer is searching for them.
YouTube – provides entertainment and informational value to the end users whilst providing very good exposure to video publishers.
Your favourite news website – provides information on international and local news value.
Your favourite daily site(s) – trending and topical news about topics which interest you.
The real reason for visiting these sites if you had to think a little bit about it – they provide essential value to your everyday life at the point which you need it.
So on to the question you need to ask yourself as a content provider…
What is the essential value your audience is looking for?
Figure this out – it may be a simple question, but the definitive right answer is probably not very simple. Once you’ve figured this out – give your audience this value in the form of your content. And if you want your content to stand out – you need to give it to your audience bigger and better than your competitor.
Let’s give a few examples of providing essential value via your website
We are a digital marketing agency. Our target demographic is small businesses who want to do digital marketing. So our blog (tries to) provide essential topics and content for those who are trying to figure out digital marketing – content such as “A Social Media Primer – ”, “10 simple growth hacks for your business’ Instagram feed” and “Why are people not seeing my Facebook posts any more” provide essential reading for our demographic.
We are an upcoming project management service for web designers. Our target demographic is web designers. So we create and share content which provides real value for web designers. Examples of some our awesome, high value content for web designers are “101 awesome tools for web designers and developers”, a quotation generator for web designers, and “The Ultimate Web Design checklist”
Our 3D designers follow these blogs: Dezeen, Contemporist. Our graphic designers follow The Fox is Black, Bored Panda, and Blood, Sweat and Vector. The reason why they follow these blogs is because these blogs provide essential inspirational value.
Being a bit of a geek I follow XKCD.com, and also The Oatmeal. Not for their value in Product Management but for what I believe is very particular entertainment value.
Let’s go on a tangent to completely different sites.
Airbnb – AirBnB provides exceptional value to two specific kinds of people. Those people who have a room/place to rent and don’t have enough clout to attract sufficient customers to their service by themselves, and those looking for cheap accommodation in the places they are travelling to
Booking.com – again, besides being a one stop shop for all your hotel booking needs, it enables small hotels to piggy back on the popularity of the site to get additional exposure and bookings than they would have been able to get if they were going it alone
TripAdvisor – Whilst customers can be well advised about the place they are about to visit, service providers can ensure that their good service is well-rewarded by getting even more exposure and customers
Amazon – widest choice and cheapest prices for nearly anything for customers, whilst being a massive opportunity for small business selling their goods
Look around you, reflect on the sites you visit, and understand the value that site provides to you. Now – figure out how to provide that essential value to your own target audience.
The more value your content provides – the easier it is to hit the spot with your audience – and the more likely it is that they will come back to you for more… Even for offline goods and services, content of your website can still provide much value for your specific customers. Just take your specific industry, and write content about questions or concerns your customers typically have.
…and yes, they will eventually give you their money. Which brings us to our next topic.
Value in your sellable goods
Whatever you are selling, whether it is expertise, services, consultancy, freelancing, digital or physical goods – you must be providing MORE value than you are selling your product for. If you aren’t providing sufficient value at the price you are selling for – you are going to have a hard-time selling. Value in sellable goods of course comes in various forms, operational efficiency, increased productivity, entertainment value…
So the question you’ll need to figure out when you are selling goods is:
- Am I providing enough value for the price I’m selling my product?
- How do I provide more value than my competitors?
At Switch Digital / BeeWits – one of my primary concerns as the Product Manager of new SaaS products, is ensuring that the product(s) we are developing deliver value to our customers.
Whether those customers are readers of our blogs, users of our free tools, or paying customers of the services we develop – we need to ensure that we provide enough value to our customer that they come back because they want to, not because they have to. With BeeWits – a project management service for web designers – we want to offer exceptional value to web designers. Rather than provide a generic project management service, we provide a service which is specifically tuned for the needs of people designing websites. And more than anything, we want to provide the service at prices which given the improved efficiency of our customers, will make it a natural selection for our demographic.