Posted on August 14, 2012 by Webfor Creating effective content is the cornerstone of any business marketing strategy. That may sound a little self-centered coming from someone who has made their living as a content professional their entire adult life, but that’s precisely the point. Pretty much everything everyone does is based on a selfish need or desire. That’s not to say there has to be a negative connotation in that statement. People have wants and needs, so as a business, you have to find effective ways to communicate how you can fulfill one or more of those natural impulses. “What’s in it for me?” Or in the case of content marketing, why should someone read your content? Simply put, people who surf the Internet and come across your content are going to subconsciously ask themselves how they will benefit from reading or looking at it, whether it’s simply shallow self-gratification or searching for a practical product or service. So, when you are creating a landing page, static web content, articles, videos, etc. you must ask yourself, why would anyone read my content? People don’t buy products and services that don’t benefit them, and they won’t read your content if it doesn’t do the same. Make a Promise, Then Deliver If people are looking for something that benefits them, you must promise them your products and/or services can do that, and then show them how. The first place you start is the headline (presuming we’re talking about word-based content). I must confess: I often have to fight the urge to write cute, punny, headlines. That’s not to say you have to always avoid creativity in favor of the strictly utilitarian, but since headlines will often be the point where you win or lose the battle for your audience’s attention, choose your words wisely. Vague headlines that only act as an exercise to amuse or validate your wordsmithing skills will likely not communicate a single thing to your audience. You can simply write a headline that lays out in stark simple terms how your content will benefit the reader (“3 Ways to Lower Your Taxes”). But you don’t always have to be so direct. Put the aforementioned wordsmithing skills to good use by piquing your readers’ interest by building intrigue or mystery (“What Every Business Owner Must Have to Succeed”). Or maybe something like the headline I used for this article, which may seem odd or counterintuitive (most people would not think selfishness as a key to anything positive). Whatever your approach, you are making a promise that must be delivered in the body of your content. Once you get to the body of your content, you need to build trust. Why should readers trust that you know what you are talking about or have something that will deliver what they want without risk of disappointment? You may answer this concern by supporting your case with third-paty facts (“According to so-and-so of the industry authority group of your choice…”). You can also site past results, possibly through customer testimonials. While it’s only one part of the Internet marketing equation, if you aren’t creating effective content, for you website on others, you are putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage with your competition. There are many sfactors and approaches to content marketing – using blogs, white papers, landing pages, videos, etc. – to sell your business in one way or another.