In previous posts I’ve talked about content marketing—both what it is and why you should invest in it. But in this post, I want to talk about the actual “content” in your content marketing.

And I’m going to start by painting a picture for you.

Imagine two friends at a party. The first guy says, “Hey man… When I was having the problem you’re having, I used this box and it really worked for me. Open it up and check it out.”

So, the second guy opens the box and finds…nothing special. A piece of the same crumpled up tissue paper he’s seen in every other box he’s ever opened. That’s it.

Now pretend that instead of a box, we’re talking about a referral from one businessperson to another. The first one says, “You have to check out this web pro. He really helped me turn my site around.” So the second one goes to your site and finds content that reads like every other web company’s site he’s ever seen.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

If your content isn’t truly awesome, you’re finished before you start.

But what makes truly awesome content?

I like to tell my clients that great content needs to be educational, entertaining, engaging, and effective—the four Es.

Educational: Truly awesome content informs and teaches. It expands a prospect’s awareness of your company, teaches them about web design, and maybe even tells them something about running a business. And because you’re improving their business and their life—instead of just shilling your services—the prospect becomes predisposed toward building a business relationship with you.

Entertaining: It’s not enough to educate; you also need to entertain. See what I did a couple of paragraphs ago? Using analogies and telling stories can help liven up dull material or explain tricky concepts.

Engaging: The more your potential client is engaged, the easier it will be for your content marketing to do its job. If your content draws a prospect in and keeps them hooked, they’ll be more likely to learn what you want them to learn, do what you want them to do, and share what you want them to share.

Effective: Effective content not only rewards your prospect, it rewards you. It’s all well and good to educate, entertain, and engage, but if your content doesn’t raise awareness of who you are, what you have to offer, and the value and benefits of doing business with your company, it’s just not effective. Truly awesome content gives potential clients what they’re looking for, but let’s be frank… There’s no point in doing that unless that content also gets you leads and helps you grow your business.

You run a web company, not a library. You’re not giving away information for the good of your health; you’re trying to build trust in your company.

When your content is truly awesome, you do just that—build trust in the minds of your prospects. Trust breaks down barriers to a sale, and establishes an emotional bond that makes the sales process easier.

And once you gain a prospect’s trust you become the authority, the web design expert—and the natural choice when it’s time to build a website.