The answer won’t be a surprise to most; nevertheless, the concept or principle behind the answer needs frequent repeating until it’s permanently embedded in the business operator’s mind and memory.
Suppose you’re hungry and anxious to find something to eat. So you stroll down the block past all the shops peeking in display windows looking for something to satisfy your appetite. You’re particularly sensitive to the sights and smells of each open door as you pass by, but you’re not willing to venture inside unless you’re fairly satisfied that you’ll stay and dine.
Are you likely to stop and sample food that appears to be many days old? You can see the mold and dust growing everywhere. Or would you be more apt to pass on that shop and find something that appeared fresh and just recently laid out?
Are you going to stop at the store that displays its food in used, dirty, or leaking containers? Or will you search for items that are presented in an appealing and appetizing manner?
Wouldn’t you like to see some nice garnishments and maybe a succulent cherry on top?
Would an enticing sign or advertising display on the front window cause you to look more closely at a particular shop?
Will you stop for a plain mass-produced one-of-ten-million product, or would you naturally seek out a specialty item that was a little different, intriguing, maybe mysterious, or a little bit quirky – maybe something you’ve always wanted to try?
If a shop offered their house specialty at a reduced price for the next 3 customers that simply asked for it, would that help you to make your buying decision?
Would you be likely to stop at the shops that carried the types of food that you can’t stand? Would any type of special discount or other offer make you change your mind about your basic preferences?
Would you buy from a store that had no customers, no activity of any kind, or even the appearance that others might stop there? Or would you pass by such a shop, preferring to trust the busy bustling store that may even require you wait in line for a short time?
All of these characteristics that are important to you as you mentally form a decision about where to stop to satisfy your hunger or pick up your treat for the day can also be applied to a customer’s search for good content in your business.
Regardless of how the content is used, whether it’s meant as copy on a landing page on your web site, an article in your newsletter, a daily post in your blog, or as ad copy for a product or service, your prospects will be attracted and more apt to stop and read your message if it’s appetizing and appears to satisfy their search for a particular want (desire).
Here are the characteristics of good content, in the order we mentioned them in our food analogy above:
Ten Characteristics of Great Content:
1. Appeals to one (or hopefully several) of the basic human senses. Can you tell a story that draws on the reader’s interests, emotions and passion?
2. Makes you want to stop and sample it right now. If you pass by there is little chance you’ll come back again.
3. Is never stale or old or simply a rehash of what has already been said.
4. Is presented in an appealing manner. You want it to be packaged so that it’s professional looking, without typographical errors, maybe has some interesting graphics added, and some type of unexpected but welcomed bonus.
5. Is always prefaced by an attention-getting headline; every content product, article, blog post, advertisement, and web page needs one. You must stop the reader in his tracks and force him to read further!
6. Unique, custom made, original, intriguing, mysterious, possibly quirky, maybe controversial, definitely not boring or too plain, and never a copy of the same thing available everywhere else.
7. Carries with it a sense of urgency or has limited access by just a few people. The fear of missing out on something is a powerful motivator that causes prospects to get in line now so they’ll not be left behind.
8. Relevant. The customer, regardless of the deal he’s getting, won’t usually stop to read content if it’s apparent that it has nothing to do with what he’s searching for. If I hate seafood, it doesn’t matter how you present it or how mouth-watering it may look and smell to a seafood lover, I’m going to pass it by without another thought.
9. Is painted or pitched as being popular. If others liked it, I should as well. If the product has already been downloaded 20,000 times, there must be a good reason. If a blog gets tons of traffic and comments, it must be worth reading. If there are many glowing testimonials, I feel more comfortable that I will benefit from my purchase as well.
10. Is specifically targeted to a particular audience. Content that might be appealing to a very broad audience is usually not what a niche business needs. Don’t try to be everything to everyone . . . that strategy generally causes the material to appeal to no one in particular. Small online business is all about being specific and targeted to a particular niche. Those are the people you want to talk to.
If you build all, or as many of these characteristics as you can, into your content, you’ll have an excellent chance of stopping the prospect in his tracks and appealing to his feeling or need that he stop and sample this content.
To your online business success!