You’re creating content. Maybe it’s a blog post. A whitepaper. Anything. There are lots of ways to measure its effectiveness after you’ve published it. But what about before? How do you know if the stuff you’re writing will actually move the needle? There’s a great rule of thumb for creating content that prospects will actually read. And it all comes down to one question:
“Who would want to read this in their free time?”
If the answer is your prospects, you’ve got some winning content. If the answer is your employees, your boss, or no one … then you need to try something else. The key to the one-question test is the “in their free time” part. It’s not compelling content if you think someone would read it because it’s their job (an industry analyst) or their obligation (your best friend).
Now try the one-question test on this typical blog headline:
- Axpliantz Technologies Appoints New Eastern Region Sales Manager for Widget Division*
Who would want to read this in their free time? Not me. Probably not your prospects either. Why would they spend a precious lunch break reading about your new regional sales manager? The one-question test says try something else.
What could you have written instead?
Obviously, it depends on what your prospects care about. But for now, let’s stick with the sales manager theme. If my prospects really were that interested in new sales managers, here’s what I would’ve written:
- Four questions to ask before hiring that new sales manager
- Interviewing new sales managers? Watch these body language cues.
- The two most important things to look for in a sales manager’s resume
- Six ways to increase your sales manager’s compensation that won’t cost a penny
- Why this East Coast company always recruits its sales managers from the West Coast
- Why you should never replace a sales manager in September or January
- What Moneyball taught us about hiring new sales managers
See the difference? This is content marketing, not company news.
A big misconception about content marketing is that you just need to get lots of words out there. That’s how you end up with a blog full of announcements about your new hires and your minor software updates.
If that’s where your blog is today, don’t panic. You did well to get something out there. But with future posts, kick the interest level up a notch or two. Your blog – like any other content marketing channel – is not about what interests you. It’s about what interests your prospects and customers.
Okay, but what if you still want to write about that new hire of yours?
Then, find the story. Dig up something truly interesting or entertaining about your new sales manager. Tell us three lessons you learned from hiring her, or show us what she taught your company on her first day at the job. Share her tips for saving time on the phone. Tell us the story of how being a ski instructor made her a better sales manager. Everyone has a story. Just make sure you tell it in a way that would make me want to read it in my free time.
*Not an actual headline. Any similarity to real companies or sales managers is purely coincidental. No sales managers were harmed in the making of this headline.