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Are You Creating Purposeful Content?

by Sue Duris  |  
March 6, 2013

I have a cube on my desk that reads "the purpose of life is a life of purpose," which to me translates as "we should be doing everything toward a greater good."

I have always been a fan of Steven Covey and his phrase "begin with the end in mind." It has always had an impact on me; to me it is code for "do the research to determine what you want, envision what that looks like, and then act the part." In the entertainment world, the phrase used is "act as if..."—as if you have already met your goal.

If your goal is to be a well-respected marketer, act with the traits of a well-respected marketer. But don't just act—live, breathe, and commit to what you want.

How does all that apply to content creation?

We are in the age of information overload, with a plethora of blogs for every topic imaginable. We just do not have the time to read everything. Because our time is at a premium, we need to prioritize what brings us the greatest enjoyment with the least effort. And we always need to be maximizing value: We read content to learn, after all, at least in business.

I have a test I use—I call it the five-second test—to measure whether a blog post, print article, or other content is worth my time. If within five seconds of glancing at it I can tell it's worth my time, I read on; if I can't, I pass. I've been passing on a lot lately.

For example, if you are writing about "Five Ways to Develop a Content Strategy" and one of the ways you have listed is "develop a plan," do you just write "develop a plan" and leave it at that? How about the whys? The hows? I kid you not, but in the previous two weeks I must have read a dozen articles in which the writer just stopped at "develop a plan."

I propose we start thinking about the purpose of our content before we write it. Why?

  • First, according to B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends study, 91% of North American B2B marketers are using content marketing, and on average 33% of marketing budgets are being dedicated to content marketing; that's because B2B marketers know that content marketing is the most important tool for generating leads.
  • Second, we are all in the business of building trust (which is why people buy from us), and to build trust we need to provide value, and to provide value we need to laser-focus on what our audience wants.

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Sue Duris is president of M4 Communications Inc., a Palo Alto, CA-based marketing strategy and communications firmthat helps technology, entertainment and nonprofit organizations build and extend their brands. Reach her via

Twitter: @M4_Comm
LinkedIn: Sue Duris

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  • by Rachel Bryant Fri Mar 8, 2013 via web

    Great piece, Sue - I did keep reading. Love the connection to Covey's "7 Habits".

  • by Sterling Green Sat Mar 9, 2013 via iphone

    I think there is a saturation of mediocre content for SEO's sake and not for the people's sake. Thank you for your post, I found some great take aways.

  • by Sue Duris Mon Mar 11, 2013 via web

    Thanks Rachel and Sterling! I totally understand the saturation dilemma with respect to SEO. Some people out there think that key words ---%3E higher up in search ---%3E lead ----%3E conversion. It doesn't work unless you are connecting with your audience. It's like social media - social media without content is just chatter.

  • by Sergey Wed Mar 13, 2013 via web

    Great post, Sue. Makes you stop and think of the whole content creation process. Great parallel with 7 Habits too!

  • by Beth Worthy Wed Mar 20, 2013 via web

    Content is King.You have no more than few seconds to grab the reader's attention. If you don't grab their attention in few seconds to continue reading, they will move on to someone else's content.The only way that will help you to forge a relationship with the readers is to relate them on emotional level. That is where the picture will build.

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