Content is at the heart of your marketing strategy and the lifeblood of your business. We have seen too many business owners suffer because trying to increase their digital footprint. They throw a ton of information at their audience in a misguided effort. A lot of the time, though, it doesn’t stick because the content is weak and not relatable. Publishing bad content can be damaging to your brand on a number of levels.  On the other hand, strong content can give you a competitive edge and strengthen your online reputation. And let’s face it: reputation is everything nowadays. With so many communication outlets at our fingertips, it’s never been so easy to make or break a business.

What is Content?

Content is far more than just words on a page. It can be expressed in many ways, including writing, graphic design, infographics, videos,apps, and more. In its simplest form, content is the delivery of any information across a broad spectrum of mediums.  

It’s not just information, though – it is also an expression of your visual identity. You might be an excellent writer, but if you don’t present information in a compelling way, your readers (and potential leads)will quickly lose interest. That being said, the content you put out there will have a direct impact on your reputation in the digital world.

Here are some best practices for content creation to strengthen your reputation, generate more leads, and ultimately lower your marketing costs.

Always Have a Purpose

We all have those friends on social media we’ve thought about unfollowing or hiding their posts. You should never share information just for the sake of getting something on your website, social media, or other communication channels – it should have a clear purpose. When you are building out your content strategy, you should always think about what the value proposition is. Is it educational or inspiring? Does your audience get something out of the information you are putting in front of them?

Keep Your Messaging Consistent

You can build rapport in the online community by using clear and consistent messaging. For example, if a prospect stumbles across your page on Facebook and decides to visit your website, the landing page should mimic the information that got them there originally. Maintain a cohesive brand presence by aligning your messaging, graphics, tone, and your company values. Over time,people will come to not only recognize but trust your brand, which can trigger a number of beneficial responses (increased sales, positive reviews, higher retention rates, etc.).

When in Doubt, Keep it Simple

All of your content should be presented in a simple way that requires minimal effort from the reader. If the information you share is too lengthy or hard to understand, your audience will quickly lose interest and move on. Most online users have a low tolerance for unclear messaging, so readability is key.  You should never make assumptions about your audience that could result in miscommunication. Asa rule of thumb, content should be written in a way that can be easily digested by a middle-schooler (grade 8 and below).

Take a Data-Driven Approach

Using data to convey information is a great way to engage your audience, but it must be well-organized. Infographics are on the rise in the business world because they have the power to tell an important story in a quick and effective way. It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to condense all of their financial reports into two or three pages of infographics in an annual report. When data is presented correctly, it can eliminate doubt and inspire your audience to take action. Being a quality writer is important, but content creation is also contingent on creativity.Search engines are constantly throwing information at us, and as business owners, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention through all the noise.

Focus on the quality of your content you are sharing, not the length or frequency – more is not always better. Following these best practices will help you stand out from your competition and attract new leads.