Content Marketing: Where’s the Beef? How to Cook your Content Right

wheres the beef

Lots of content floating around the web right now. The fact of the matter is, there are literally thousands and thousands of searches occurring each second that passes us by. Oftentimes they land on crap – content that has a nice title, a good first paragraph but empty words to fill up the ‘Meat’. And users are left asking “Where’s the beef?”

This entry is part of our series “Breaking Down Content Marketing“. The series is aimed to help you learn how to write great content for your audience. If you haven’t read the previous entries yet, I encourage you to do so.

Deliver your Promises

Your title is a promise to the reader. Whatever you write as the title of your article sets the initial bar of expectation that your reader would want to take out from the body of your content or what we usually call the ‘Meat’. The meat of your content has to be faithful to your title. It has to back it up. It has to fulfill it.

Take this title for instance: Optimizing Site Speed: Asynchronous and Deferred Javascript

What would you expect out of a title like that? Most users would expect that it would show a way for them to speed up their website by asynchronous and deferred javascript loading. A little context on our website’s content strategy would tell them that it would be explained in a simplified way and there should be easy takeaways from the entry.

Did we fulfill that promise? Heck yeah. Check out the post and see for yourself!

Fish Don’t Eat Cheesecake

I’m personally fond of cheesecake. It has a rich, creamy taste and a satisfying crust to add to the flavor. I noticed that fish don’t share the same sentiment as I do when it comes to cheesecake. For some reason, they prefer to eat worms. So when I go out fishing, I don’t dangle a cheesecake in front of the fish. I put worms on the hook because that’s what they like.

Your readers aren’t fish but… You get the point.

Do a little research. Know your readers. Know what they like. Don’t dangle a piece of cheesecake in front of them if that’s not what they’re looking for. Google Forms is a great way to ask your audience for feedback or even for what kinds of content they want you to publish moving forward.

Google Forms

Here’s a sample survey you might want to show your audience. If you don’t want to embed it in your website, you can simply email them a link pointing to your survey.

 

Don’t Keep the Hungry

Lead them straight to the beef. Be concise and don’t repeat words. People are smart enough to know when you’re beating around the bush.

Chances are, your audience are not people who already know what you are talking about. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re writing for people who don’t know – and who wants to know.

So let them know what they are looking for. Appease their appetite. Feed them the right meat right away.

Help them Chew and Digest

As a reader myself, I appreciate simplicity. It helps me better absorb what’s really important out of an article – the meat. I don’t like it when publishers use deep, uncommon words that make me go out of my way to look for the definition before coming back to their article. It doesn’t help me digest their meat at all!

So adjust your writing voice and style to suit your reader’s needs. Often people aren’t philosophers. They don’t understand what you’re telling them. They don’t have the time to do even more digging for definitions of your deep, rich vocabulary. All the time they can give you is time to read your stuff, learn from it, leave and (hopefully) apply it, and then go about their business.

Not too Many Seasonings

Keywords don’t really hold much weight in the meat. Don’t fall into the mistake of peppering your content with keywords. Rather pepper it with relevance, cohesiveness, action points, screenshots, perhaps some codes or scripts or anything for users to take out of the post and take home to their own website or project.

What your readers want is the meat, not the seasonings.

The Exact Amount of Servings

Not everyone really reads extensively long posts. Most often new and up-coming readers of your stuff will read through only the first 500 to maybe 800 words then bookmark it. Chances are, they will never get back on it after bookmarking it.

Know when to stop. Lots of publishers feed you tons of content. Often times we stop and ‘give up’ and feel like we didn’t accomplish finishing the post. This usually keeps us from clicking on quick positive social signals such as ‘Likes’ or ‘+1′s’ or even for sharing it because we want to be able to finish it first. Too much content is sometimes better minced to parts for better feeding. You don’t usually swallow a good, flavorful steak without cutting it down with a knife and chewing on it properly. People want their content minced to perfection and easily chewable.

Besides, if you’re really a straight-to-the point kind of writer, you’d have already delivered your meat within 500-800 words. Tops.

Tips for Keeps: The meat of the content is the deciding factor of whether your branding will stick to your reader or not. Make it good because it matters.

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  • http://www.kenfolios.com/ Suhas Naik

    Hi Sean,
    I liked the recipe and the way you garnished it.
    Well, our writing attitude is what should be very important and you are right at the point.

    Fulfilling the promise title makes is also an essential part of the story.

    Thanks for a very good post.

  • http://pislit.com Jasper Nikki Dela Cruz

    Thank you Sean for this article. I am a neophyte blogger that looks to improve my work. Hope you can stop by my blog.

  • SentiasaPanas

    Great article. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://medsipo.com/ medsipo

    LOL! Great recipe, Sean!

    I’m a copywriter too, so get into a kind of some competition, but I have to declare defeated…
    You managed good-quality information in a very original way and the result is an awesome article!

    • http://h3sean.com Sean

      Thanks!
      Glad you like the way the beef was cooked here.

  • nail machine

    Hello Sean,

    As a Social Media Marketer i found this post very interesting you provide such a useful information related content and after all content is king right :)

    Thanks again

  • http://www.thekonsulthub.com John

    This is another great post from you the author. Its an informative and a post any one must read especially those in content marketing. Bravo and keep it moving.

  • http://www.aboriginalartcentre.com.au/ James

    Nice mesh of ingredients and delicious recipe for writing content marking. :p

  • http://winner-bonus.com/winner/games/ Augustin

    Content Marketing is your only Gateway to long-term success and authority. It’s your trademark and uniqueness. I always appreciate articles who promote content marketing, so well done Sean for writing this beauty.

  • http://bestinterestingfacts.com/ hanady

    Nice advice. I particularly liked the bit about fish and cheesecake. It is totally true, no matter how good the content is, people want to find only what they were looking for.

  • jual kaos bola

    great tips and advice. content marketing is the “beef”, dont too much keyword seasoning and etc.. thks for your tips. :)

  • Jason

    Loved the title!! Where’s the beef!!

  • Deepak Rawat

    Thanks for this informative post of Content marketing….. This is a good post :)

  • Janet Milano

    The first point seems to have won the brownie points by mentioning one of the most powerful and important aspects of writing a great content. To be able to keep the readers attention glued till the end of the article it is important that you
    deliver the promises you have made at the beginning of the article. Living up to your promises makes your readers happy leaving them with the urge to come back to you time and again in the want of reading good articles. The best part about this article is that it has been written in a format that would keep the readers entertained for a while.