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Posted by: Matthew Cook

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As Bill Gates outlined in 1996: “Content Is King.”

Yet, content has no power over the masses if it is low quality, uninteresting, non-relevant or poorly presented. Good content, like a good king, looks its best, expresses knowledge about topics that targeted groups value and presents information in ways that create memorable experiences.

1. Research Audience Interests

Your content must fulfill your needs while addressing the wants or concerns of your target audience. To make certain your content will be of interest to your target audience, research topics that existing and potential customers consider valuable and then create content to match. For example, survey existing customers via email or in your store, if applicable; or review the accounts of social networking followers to see what they’re posting about and discussing online.

2. Break Up Content

Layout is another area to consider when improving content. TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) is an acronym Internet users often write in comments about content they consider too long. Many people today are multitasking more than ever and your audience likely gives priority to content that’s easy to review quickly. Break ideas and concepts into smaller sections divided by subheadings and imagery. Within each section, use lists to emphasize and draw attention to specific points and details you feel are important or that your audience will value most.

3. Speak Through Imagery

Visual communication is powerful, but text alone doesn’t cut it. If a king gives a long speech while wearing rags or makes difficult to conceptualize points without visual aids, his subjects will likely ignore him and his message, and perhaps even mock his presentation. The same is true of content. Your content is King when it combines a clear message with colorful relevant photos, infographics, GIFs and videos. Relevant imagery makes a powerful impact that attracts interest, improves message retention and generates positive discussion.

4. Diversify Your Content

Text and static images are enough to keep some people engaged, while it takes more interactive content like live streaming, podcasts and webinars to draw and retain the attention of others. Additionally, some people prefer educational or instructional content, while others prefer reviews, news or humor. Share content about the same topic using different formats so that you’re attracting more than one segment of your target group.

5. Rethink Content Headlines

Of course, content is meaningless if your target audience doesn’t know it exists. Think of a headline as a royal herald. Your content’s headline is the messenger announcing the existence of your great King Content and its message. It is the voice that draws attention and gives people a fantastic reason to check out what your content has to say. Improving the herald's message is critical. Think about what attracted you to content about certain topics. Did you click a link or open an email because of specific keywords and punctuation? Did you follow headlines that made startling or strange announcements? Once you grasp what attracted you, write your headlines to match those guidelines.

6. Link Content-to-Content

In every kingdom, a king's subjects depend on him to provide resources for them. When a king fails, they often help a new king to rise. Why let competitor content attract the loyalty of your target audience? Wherever you display content, mention and link to high quality additional resources you’ve created or found about the same topic via a variety of methods, such as text and thumbnail links, banners and social sharing buttons. Linking content-to-content further engages your target audience and, as a result, helps increase traffic and sales.

7. Improving Old Content

Lastly, a king who mentions outdated facts or statistics in an outdated way doesn’t attract positive attention for long. Again, the same is true of new and old content -- especially old content you're displaying alongside new content. Improving old content whenever possible makes it clear to everyone that your knowledge is up to date.

How to Create Killer Marketing Content