When it comes to content creation, the hardest part of the process is coming up with not only a really good idea but one that proves to be incredibly readable, shareable, interesting, good for SEO and useful for your readers.
When you create content, you normally create it for a specific purpose or to achieve an objective. That objective could be to generate leads with a call to action on the blog page, it could be to create brand awareness, it could even be to get your website ranking for certain keywords on search engines.
But whatever your purpose, when it comes to writing content for your company, it often broadly fits into two main types: helpful content and informative content.
Now, you may be thinking they are both pretty much the same thing. Well, the answer is in fact that they are not, and both types are useful in their own different ways, depending on the objectives you have. Just take a look at any marketing blog you frequent. Is any given bit of content giving you new background information (the theory, if you will) or is it helping you to do something in your day-to-day role?
More importantly: which one ultimately wins the marketing battle? Which one gets you, as a content producer, the best results?
To help illustrate the difference, let’s look at a couple of examples from our own marketing efforts:
We have recently been using two different primary pieces of content, one is a helpful SEO guide that provides 47 tips for people to try on their own website and content; the other was an informative report covering the results of a digital marketing survey that looked at the marketing efforts of North West businesses and compiled data and stats on them. We designed both of these content pieces to use for lead generation.
What were the results?
While both pieces were successful in gaining leads, there was a clear winner when it came down to it. Can you guess which one it was?
Yes, the helpful content came out on top and it’s because it was incredibly useful to the audience we were targeting. In fact, it gained us 30% more leads than the North West advert campaign.
In this case, helpful content wins the marketing battle.
Should I always create helpful content then?
The temptation is to conclude that helpful content will always win, but before going down that route, make sure you consider what your objectives are. If your goal is brand awareness, then creating something that is highly informative in your industry, positions your brand really well and is interesting to read, could do the job.
Equally, however, helpful content does have a demonstrable impact on readers. Helpful content is almost informative content to the power of ten; content which talks about your audience's interests and problems and then shows them how they can overcome them and better themselves or their firm. It’s content which makes a real difference, so it’s not surprising that audiences and your marketing benefit from it.
So, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer when creating content, but if you find yourself producing informative content, it is worth asking yourself whether you could be being more helpful to your audience. Could our ‘State of North West marketing…’ piece of content actually have been something along the lines of, ‘6 things your firm can learn from the North West’s best marketers?’ Answer: yes!