In journalism there’s a test that every keen young reporter learns in their first few days on the job: “why do we care?”
When the reporter pitches a story to the news desk, the news editor often hits them with that question. (Although the grumpy old news editor will probably use more colourful language.)
The editor is trying make the reporter ask themself: why would a reader care about this, how is it relevant to them, how will it affect them?
These questions should also be at the heart of every piece of content production.
It’s a recognition that what’s important to you isn’t necessarily of interest to your customers or readers.
You’ve just refurbished head office? Not really.
Chairman’s message? Yawn.
You’ve just launched your latest product upgrade? By itself, no. Demonstrate what how it’s going to make users’ lives easier and then they’ll listen.
The essence of good content marketing is that it offers something the reader or viewer wants, not something that you want to give them.
So once you’ve identified your audience and what you want to achieve by engaging with them, you have to turn your attention to what they’ll be interested in.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re busy managing and growing the business, or you spend your day planning marketing campaigns for the business, it’s probably all interesting to you.
What you need is a grumpy old news editor – someone who can step back and ask the tough questions. You might have someone internally who can do this. Alternatively, you might do better to get an external person, someone who’s not too caught up in the business and can provide an objective view on what’s important and what’s not.
An outsider person can better place themselves in the reader’s shoes and see the business through the eyes of your customers. They can tell you if what you want to tell your customers will engage and interest them.