It’s often said that quality is the most important component in content marketing. What does this mean, exactly? Among other things, it implies that some content ideas are better than others, and that part of the content marketer’s job is deciding which content ideas have potential and which are better discarded.
Sometimes, you’ll have a new content idea that just seems so obvious, it’s almost too good to be true. In other cases, seeds of uncertainty will be there throughout the content development process. In all cases, it’s wise to do a quick inventory, asking some key questions to properly vet your content idea.
Is This Relevant to My Core Business Offerings?
Content marketing depends on you displaying real thought leadership, providing your readers with something valuable—not simply advertising your brand all the time.
But even when your content isn’t directly “salesy,” it should be relevant to your core business offerings, underscoring your knowledge of the field.
For example, if your business is a used car dealership, good content ideas might encompass vehicle ownership, vehicle buying guides, even vehicle financing. But you wouldn’t want to branch out to topics that don’t directly impact either vehicle buyers or vehicle owners.
Does This Topic Offer Value?
Another way to phrase this question: What’s in it for my reader?
Your content should always provide an actionable insight; there should be a clear sense in which readers are better off having consumed your content. In short, they should learn something that’s actually helpful to them.
Vet your content ideas by asking: What are the benefits? If you can’t list them, it’s probably not a very strong topic.
What’s the Hook?
Another way to phrase this question: Why will anyone care about this topic?
Sometimes, the hook is closely tied to the value proposition. If your article is 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Used Car Purchase, the hook is self-explanatory; everyone wants to save money, and your content offers five ways to do it.
In other cases, though, you might look for a seasonal hook—e.g., 5 Reasons to Buy a New Car in December, or Why Summer is the Best Time to Shop for New Trucks. You could also tie in your topic to hot topics, current headlines, holidays, celebrity announcements, or even sporting events; for example, an alcohol rehab company we work with recently posted a great blog about how to stay sober at Super Bowl parties.
What’s the Pitch?
Take a minute and try to summarize or explain your content angle in two or three sentences.
If you can’t give a fairly succinct elevator pitch, it may mean that the topic is still too broad or unrefined. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad topic; just that you need to polish it a bit more, and zero in on exactly what you’re trying to say in your content.
What’s the Call to Action?
Or: What do you want readers to do once they finish your content?
Does your blog lend itself to a CTA for a free consultation? Should it link to a particular product or service page? Or should you simply invite readers to contact you directly for more information?
Can I Write This?
A final consideration: Just because you have the technical faculty to understand your topic, that doesn’t always mean you have the time or the writing craft to develop your content fully. If that’s the case, it may be wise to enlist the services of a content writing company.