Ever since Google introduced the Panda and Penguin updates, companies have been clamoring to publish content in hopes to improve ranking and engagement with customers.

It is impossible to navigate the internet today without being hit by ‘to do lists’, ‘how-to’s, and ‘top 10 lists’. But are brands simply creating a digital landfill of content that no one is reading?

The answer depends on how you go about the creation of digital content in the first place. 

Before creating digital content, you must answer three quick questions: 

1. Do you have a digital content strategy?

As obvious as it seems that brands need to have a content strategy.  Indeed, it is a surprise to hear 50% of digital marketers do not have a content strategy.

Without a clear strategy, brands are pouring hundreds and thousands of dollars into creating a digital content landfill.

Not only should brands have a content strategy, it should also be closely aligned with brand and sales objectives depending on the goals that the strategy is aiming to achieve. 

2. Who is the content being created for?

For content to stick your brands really need to know the target consumer inside out. Successful brands spend millions on segmentation studies and understanding the target consumer.

Once you know who the content is being created for, the next step is to understand ‘what’ are these consumers looking for – research, in-depth understanding of product features, and product comparisons.

Creating content that addresses ‘specific’ pain points is what draws consumers in. Talk to your marketing and sales teams – understand the gaps in the sales cycle and future plans to direct your content strategy to fill in those gaps. 

3. Does the content adapt itself or is it static?

Consumer websites such as the Gilt Groupe have been creating websites and content that automatically adapt to the consumer, so users doesn’t see everything.

Customers only see what is relevant to them – promotions, blogs, research, incentives etc. This builds a bridge for deeper engagement and higher conversion rates. This is another outgrowth of deep insight and understanding of your audience. Thus creating adaptive content keeps your content fresh and relevant.

Rather than just shouting about your services and value to a visitor, think about the problem facing them at the moment. Again, you may need to ask visitors outright what they’re looking for or what issue they are seeking to resolve.

Next, list every step down to the smallest detail that the visitor must take to overcome that problem. Then, think about what content resources you can create to remove a step or make a step easier to complete.

If you’re a B2B company that is selling software a visitor comes to your site because he is looking for a new CMS platform that will make his job easier.

What are the steps he needs to take? Chances are that his first step will not be to buy your software. The first step is likely to be research, gather compelling data, and convince higher-ups to make room in the budget for a CMS upgrade.

How can you help him achieve this objective? Your content should focus on providing data, industry comparisons, spec sheets, and case studies and testimonials he needs right out of the gate.

The bottom line, there are no shortcuts to creating great content marketing. It takes ongoing insight, creativity, targeting, and analytics. If done right, your content will stick and generate sales. If done wrong, it will land up in the digital content landfill with everything else.