Great Content is Shareworthy Content

Why great con­tent needs to be an imper­a­tive for your brand.

Susan Gunelius By Susan Gunelius from KeySplash Creative Inc.. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Peo­ple want con­tent. Con­sumers want con­tent. They’re more than will­ing to read brand­ed con­tent and inter­act with brands that pub­lish and share con­tent which is mean­ing­ful to them. The trick for brands is find­ing out what kind of con­tent their tar­get audi­ences want. It takes time to research your tar­get audi­ence and to effec­tive­ly seg­ment them based on their buy­er per­sonas and their posi­tion in the mar­ket­ing fun­nel. These days we have more access than ever to the data and con­ver­sa­tions we need in order to iden­ti­fy what our tar­get­ed audi­ences want.

Content is a Catalyst for Conversation

As social search nips at the heels of search engines, as a lead­ing source for dri­ving vis­i­tors to web­sites, the val­ue of qual­i­ty con­tent has increased expo­nen­tial­ly. Tried-and-true SEO tech­niques no longer work, and busi­ness­es, pub­lish­ers, and brands are scram­bling to recov­er after Google’s most recent algo­rithm changes. Today, great con­tent is the cat­a­lyst for the most pow­er­ful and far-reach­ing form of word-of-mouth mar­ket­ing. Use­ful, cred­i­ble, and mean­ing­ful con­tent has the poten­tial to get more expo­sure for a brand than a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar adver­tis­ing cam­paign.

Back to Marketing Basics

Remem­ber the fun­da­men­tals of mar­ket­ing. Con­sumers don’t care about you or your brand. They care about how you and their brand can help solve their prob­lems or make their lives bet­ter or eas­i­er. Your con­tent needs to do the same thing. Con­tent is the cat­a­lyst to con­ver­sa­tion that dri­ves word-of-mouth mar­ket­ing, brand aware­ness, and pur­chas­es. A weak cat­a­lyst won’t dri­ve the con­ver­sa­tions that leads to sales. Instead, devel­op a strong con­tent cat­a­lyst, and you’ll see your con­tent mar­ket­ing results improve.

Great con­tent cre­ates long-term, organ­ic, and sus­tain­able growth for your brand and busi­ness. An effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy focus­es on cre­at­ing, pub­lish­ing, and shar­ing con­tent (both online and offline) that con­sis­tent­ly and per­sis­tent­ly accom­plish­es three core goals:

  1. Mas­sages con­sumers’ per­cep­tions of your brand.
  2. Sets con­sumers’ expec­ta­tions for your brand.
  3. Cre­ates brand expe­ri­ences so con­sumers can self- select how they want to inter­act with your brand.

Savvy marketers understand why great content matters

Which would you rather do—continually chase Google (SEO-focus) and try to catch light­ning in a bot­tle (viral-focus) or pub­lish con­tent that enables your brand to sur­vive through any micro- or macro-envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenge? Savvy mar­keters under­stand that SEO, viral­i­ty, and con­tent should co-exist and com­ple­ment each oth­er because great con­tent is a cat­a­lyst to both SEO and viral­i­ty.

Now, ask your­self a sec­ond ques­tion. Would you rather have 10,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers who click the Fol­low but­ton and nev­er return, or would you pre­fer to have 1,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers who active­ly engage with you, share your con­tent, and talk about you and your brand? Again, mar­keters who under­stand why great con­tent mat­ters also under­stand that the pow­er of hav­ing 1,000 qual­i­ty Twit­ter fol­low­ers is sig­nif­i­cant­ly more effec­tive in build­ing your brand and busi­ness than hav­ing 10,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers who nev­er engage with you.

What makes content great?

Audi­ences have more access to infor­ma­tion today than ever before, and it takes mere sec­onds for them to eval­u­ate the val­ue of a piece of con­tent. If they can’t decide if a piece of con­tent is wor­thy of their pre­cious time, they’ll click away and find anoth­er piece of con­tent that meets their needs. If nec­es­sary, they can instant­ly ask hun­dreds, thou­sands, even mil­lions of peo­ple their opin­ions about that piece of con­tent and its source through social media.

Audi­ences have more access to infor­ma­tion today than ever before, and it takes mere sec­onds for them to eval­u­ate the val­ue of a piece of con­tent. If they can’t decide if a piece of con­tent is wor­thy of their pre­cious time, they’ll click away and find anoth­er piece of con­tent that meets their needs. If nec­es­sary, they can instant­ly ask hun­dreds, thou­sands, even mil­lions of peo­ple their opin­ions about that piece of con­tent and its source through social media.

Low qual­i­ty con­tent gets lost in the online clut­ter very quick­ly. If you want to stay rel­e­vant, you need to cre­ate great con­tent that is share­wor­thy. This is the type of con­tent peo­ple want to con­sume and share with their own audi­ences.

To cre­ate your own great con­tent, make sure it includes one or more share­wor­thy ele­ments (the more share­wor­thy ele­ments a piece of con­tent includes, the bet­ter):

- Great con­tent tells a sto­ry

The best con­tent is made up of brand sto­ries. Whether you cre­ate orig­i­nal char­ac­ters for your sto­ries or use buy­er per­sonas as your char­ac­ters, you should give the audi­ence char­ac­ters they can relate to and want to cheer for. Cre­ate a sto­ry arc that can be resolved in a sin­gle piece of con­tent or across mul­ti­ple pieces of con­tent, and allow the audi­ence to become con­nect­ed to the char­ac­ters, to the sto­ry, and ulti­mate­ly, to your brand.

2 — Great con­tent evokes emo­tions

Emo­tion­al brand­ing is extreme­ly pow­er­ful. Every piece of con­tent you pub­lish should have a real or per­ceived emo­tion­al com­po­nent. What emo­tion­al trig­gers can you call upon in your con­tent to emo­tion­al­ly con­nect your tar­get audi­ence to your brand? Do some test­ing to learn which emo­tions dri­ve the results you want and need.

3 — Great con­tent is use­ful

Great con­tent is tru­ly use­ful to the tar­get audi­ence. Keep in mind, use­ful­ness can come in many shapes and sizes. Before you cre­ate a piece of con­tent, ask your­self why you’re cre­at­ing it and if the end prod­uct will be use­ful to your tar­get audi­ence. If it isn’t use­ful, you need to retool it or aban­don it.

4 — Great con­tent is mean­ing­ful

Great con­tent mat­ters to your tar­get audi­ence. It holds some type of mean­ing for them in the util­i­ty or enter­tain­ment val­ue it pro­vides. Why does your con­tent mat­ter to your con­sumers? Be care­ful not to rate your content’s mean­ing based on your wants and needs. Con­sumers build brands, not com­pa­nies, and what you think about your brand is irrel­e­vant. All that mat­ters is what your tar­get audi­ence believes is impor­tant and mean­ing­ful to them.

5- Great con­tent is not self-pro­mo­tion­al

If your con­tent is self-pro­mo­tion­al, the qual­i­ty suf­fers. It becomes less share­wor­thy (unless it’s pub­lished for direct pro­mo­tion­al pur­pos­es such as com­mu­ni­cat­ing a spe­cial offer), and typ­i­cal­ly, it los­es the major­i­ty of its val­ue to your tar­get audi­ence and to your brand. Con­tent mar­ket­ing isn’t about sell­ing and adver­tis­ing. It’s about build­ing rela­tion­ships and trust with con­sumers and influ­encers as well as extend­ing your brand to wider audi­ences. Fol­low the 80–20 rule where 80% or more of your con­tent is not self-pro­mo­tion­al and 20% or less is self-pro­mo­tion­al. This is a safe bal­ance that your audi­ence is like­ly to accept.

360° content marketing

In sim­plest terms, con­tent mar­ket­ing is about organ­i­cal­ly dri­ving sus­tain­able word- of-mouth mar­ket­ing and sales that will last for many years to come.

Now, we’ve come full cir­cle, and you under­stand why cre­at­ing great con­tent should be a strate­gic imper­a­tive for any brand, busi­ness, or orga­ni­za­tion. Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the val­ue of con­tent as a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing cat­a­lyst. Instead, sur­round con­sumers with your share­wor­thy con­tent and let it spread, evolve, and dri­ve results.

This arti­cle first appeared on the ‘ReThink Your Con­tent Mar­ket­ing’ eBook.

Susan Gunelius

Written by Susan Gunelius

President and CEO, KeySplash Creative Inc.

Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering content and copywriting services as well as strategic branding and marketing consulting to small and large companies around the world, including household brands like Citibank and Cox Communications. She is a 20-year marketing veteran and spent the first half of her career directing marketing programs in Corporate America for some of the largest companies in the world, including AT&T and HSBC. Susan has authored 10 books about marketing, branding, and social media, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, and Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. Her marketing articles appear on,,, and more, and she is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by print, television, radio, and online media organizations. She also speaks about marketing topics at events around the world and owns an award-winning blog for business women,

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