Hot water Content marketing is red-hot for one reason only: It works.

So how do you craft great gotta-have-it content? The white paper that endears you to your customers, the video that shows how your solution rocks, the webinar that subtly underscores how your company is the trustworthy expert?

There’s no one right way; there’s no one right format; there’s no one right channel. You can buy it, borrow it (with permission), or build it yourself, but however you acquire content, there are seven characteristics that all great marketing content has in common. Act-On’s new white paper, cleverly titled “The 7 Characteristics of Great Marketing Content” lines them up and tells you how to spot the good stuff.

Great marketing content…

  1. Speaks to a targeted audience
  2. Fits a specific place in the buying cycle
  3. Tells your story with customer-centric examples
  4. Uses meaningful images
  5. Can be used in interesting, varied media
  6. Employs a clear call-to-action
  7. Can be parsed into additional pieces for optimum use and visibility

Just to give you a taste of the paper, here’s an excerpt:

1: The targeted audience: Know who you’re talking to

Imagine pitching specialty cat food to a dog person. Promoting the benefits of a buffalo steak to a vegan. Pushing a SaaS solution to a person who isn’t familiar with cloud hosting.

We’ve all experienced it: mismatched promotions and messages that clearly demonstrate the sender either doesn’t know what we’re interested in, or doesn’t know where we are in our information-gathering process.

Writing your content for “everyone” is precisely the wrong thing to do. Not only does it miss the key markers of your sales cycle, it also tends to be too general and diluted to have any meaningful impact.

Instead, pick a target reader – a specific persona – and direct your content to that person. By focusing on a single individual, you give yourself the freedom to pursue a meaningful conversation, which helps you create content (a single piece or a series) that addresses the person’s unique issues, challenges and aspirations.