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What Does Eye-stopping, Interest-Arousing Content Really Look Like?

Mega-communicator Roger Ailes notes that the first seven seconds of contact represent the critical ones. All kinds of events transpire. In those seven seconds, you make up your mind whether you like something or someone, and if you have a choice, you decide whether or not to continue a relationship, which includes direct engagement with a brand.

contentWhen a potential customer or influencer stumbles across your content, will they be attracted or repelled? Will they even give you seven seconds? LinkedIN exec Brian Coffman recently provided a strategic summary of what produces eve-stopping and interest-arousing content. One may think that these points may represent the Master of the Obvious, but I would counter that sometimes that’s exactly what makes them ring true: we too often overlook the obvious.

Nobody has time for mediocre, tapioca content, especially you. So here they are, in bullet form with some relevant MEK commentary. Refresh your content with a quick read. And click here to read Coffman’s original article in its entirety.

1)      Great content is authentic. Readers can detect phony rubbish a mile off. That, in my view, is why cheap store-bought content doesn’t work very well. If it doesn’t sound like you, your readers will notice. Nobody has the bandwidth to tolerate poser rubbish for long, so make it count by being real.

2)     Great content is relevant. Many people fall into the trap of self-referenced criteria, which roughly translated, means “I like it, therefore everybody likes it,” or worse, “I believe it, therefore everybody believes it.”  Why is something important to your reader? Answer that simple question and suddenly you’re relevant.

3)     Great content is timely. Marketing and position genius Al Ries once coined the Lindbergh Law of Marketing Leadership: “It’s better to be first than best.”  In the 21st century, speed and agility are generally a major key to success. Don’t allow perfection and political back-gazing in the form of multiple sign-offs become a content-killing tyrant. Take some risks.

4)     Great content isn’t finished. This one could only happen in the 21st century interactive world. Engagement often comes AFTER the article is published and read, and ONLY when readers serve up their own views.

5)     Great content is as good as it gets. Great content often shows up in unexpected places. As Coffman notes: “One of the best examples of branded content? A transportation safety ad! Check out John Mescall’s video Dumb Ways to Die.”

And I’ll add two MEK rules for your consideration:

6)      Great content creates digital evangelists. Truly great content demands to be shared. It ends up linked or summarized in e-mails. It is cross-posted in Facebook or Twitter. And ultimately, it ends up in print form, quoted by media or other publishers.

7)      Great content moves mountains.  As the ancient apocryphal account goes: “When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke.’ But when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, ‘Let us march!‘”  Generally speaking, people won’t often remember exactly what you said or wrote. But they will definitely remember how you made them feel. If they’re not muted in dull, ponderous, passive copy, words can be powerful. Make them so.

Don’t settle for mediocre, warmed-over store-bought content. Be relentless.  Demand the best of yourself. Great content gets results. It builds brands. And it advances your company or mission. It changes people’s lives.

Have great content rules of your own? Let us know!

By Michael Snyder, Managing Principal, The MEK Group

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