3 simple (and free) ways to make sure your content doesn't suck


It's not rocket science, but the industry has made a meal out of content marketing. 

So let's cut to the chase. Good content marketing is nothing more than telling your story to people who want to hear it in a way that means something to THEM. This is also essentially the basis of good selling. But as John Sweeney of marketing automation services firm DemandGen said to me recently "It feels that not enough marketers are aware of ‘how’ sales colleagues sell."

You can over-engineer this thing, but there are three simple (and free) ways to improve your content massively without employing the interpretative dance explorations of a "content marketing guru".

1. Problem > Consequence > Solution > Benefit or PCSB

Write all of your content from your customer's viewpoint using this simple structure:

  • P(roblem) : What is the problem they're facing?
  • C(onsequence) : What's the consequence to them of that problem (i.e. why should they care)?
  • S(olution) : What do you have that solves that problem (and how you do it)?
  • B(enefit) : What is the benefit to them? In their terms!

Forget writing that Release is 30% faster than Release They really don't care. If they're failing to retain customers or their costs are spiralling out of control focus on that.

Oh, and when it comes to benefits there are only four answers:

  • It saves them money.
  • It makes them money.
  • It makes them a hero.
  • It saves them from being fired.

Quite simple really.

2. Visualize your customer.

Forget Segment A1, D4 or C3PO. Visualize your customer. Give them a name, find a photo that reflects who they are. It'll help put you in their shoes.

Even better, speak to a real live one. It won't hurt. We all have friendly customers. Why not run your caffeine-fuelled, offsite-enabled, no-ideas-a-bad-idea messaging past them? Does it make sense to them? Does it speak to them in their language? If it doesn't, find out how it falls short and take it from there. You don't need big market research budgets to find this stuff out.

3. Bin everything.

If your content doesn't pass points 1 and 2, bin it. No seriously, bin it. Unless you're employing smart content tracking tools (like squeeze) that prove people download your stuff then you're wasting your time. In fact, your customers are binning your stuff anyway.