The latter point is tremendously important to me. My primary business is in the wedding industry ( a field I've worked in for 18 years now), and my passion project is a wedding business blog. I'm amazed at the lengths that consumers, and - worse - the media, will go to to disparage wedding vendors. Collectively, we've been described as predators, price-gougers, ripoff artists, predators and worst. This may be biased on my part, but I'd venture to guess that purveyors of wedding services, inherently a luxury purchase, receive more vitriol than just about any other kind of small business in existence.
With that being said, it's a huge priority for me to create content of value on the topic of weddings. Some, such as the e-book, informational articles and blog posts on my DJ company website, is geared toward consumers. Others, such as the business resources and articles on my business blog, is intended for other business owners. My goal with both of these types of content, however, is the same: to give something useful to the people who work in weddings and the people who are planning their own, and to improve the reputation of the wedding industry as a whole.
While wedding businesses happen to be Firebrand Messaging's primary clientele, they're far from the only industry we serve, so let's look at the concept of valuable content in a more general sense. What do we mean by content of value?
Content of value doesn't require a purchase. Now, that isn't to say that you can't sell valuable content - hell, if you're selling anything, it had better have value! In this context, though, we're talking about content that is put out into the world solely to benefit people without a price. It serves one of the purposes above for anyone who happens to encounter it, and is useful without someone having to pay a penny.
Content of value is original. Obviously there's inherent value in content that gathers the "best of" various resources - who doesn't love top ten lists, or compendiums of quality articles or websites? To experience the real business benefits of being a content creator (cultivating your status as an expert in your field, for example), what you're putting out there needs to offer a fresh point of view or a new solution to an old problem.
Of course, being a creator is just one way to put valuable content out in the world - the other is to be a smart sharer. Using your blog and social media accounts to promote others' content that's useful is a service to your industry that can't be overlooked. Some of the businesspeople I respect most don't actually do much blogging themselves, but they know how to identify fantastic articles, tools and other resources, and are generous enough to guide others in the same. There's great value in that.
As you work on your blogging and social media this week, consider this:
- Have I written something that explores a topic in a new way?
- Am I offering something useful - advice, tips, templates, reviews, whatever - to anyone who stumbles onto my site or my social media accounts, not just those with open wallets?
- Are the posts I'm writing or sharing going to educate, inform, support, cross-promote,, inspire, or bolster someone else?
If the answer to any or all of these is "yes," you're definitely on the right track to creating content of value.