But where exactly is this ever-expanding industry going? Below is what some of the top content marketers feel makes memorable, persuasive, and award-winning content.

Create content which resonates with users

Jonathan Kranz, principal of Kranz Communications, author of Writing Copy for Dummies and judge at the recent Content Marketing Awards, says he’d been surprised by the contrast between the best work at the awards and the remaining entrants.

“I had expected to see a gradient of many shades of gray; instead, there was a black-and-white difference between the losers and the winners. The hard part was selecting a champion among the top three because those three stood out like swans in a murder of crows. The best content made me laugh out loud, want to try out a new idea, or nod my head in empathetic understanding.”

Create content that’s useful

Gary Vaynerchuk, author, entrepreneur and investor, says; “I truly believe that content is the best way to market a product today. Provide value to consumers by creating helpful videos or new recipes or funny cartoons. Give them something they actually want because that content builds up the relationship that then allows you to ask for the sale.”

Create content that fits into users’ lives

Vaynerchuk points to the importance of understanding the reasons why people are using specific platforms and the type of content they’d like. He says it’s important that marketing efforts don’t interrupt the experience of consuming content, pointing to the irritation of YouTube ads and website pop-ups.

Create content for your specific audience

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, points to the importance of creating content specifically for the user. He’s a firm believer that your ‘what’ doesn’t matter if your ‘why’ is lacking. Otherwise, he says, the content you create is “self-serving content that does nothing for the audience and wastes time and resources of the brand”.

“Nobody cares about your products or services. If your ‘why’ is based on selling more shoes or consulting services or routers, your ‘what’ will have no soul. Your content will be wanting. Why you exist is not your product. Your ‘why’ is the problem your product solves.”

Create content that’s different to everything else

Pulizzi often speaks about the importance of standing out in the crowded content space. You’ve heard the statistics about the staggering amount of content created daily. Estimates are that 90% of information in the world has been created in just the past two years. As a marketer, you have to find a way to create something different.

Pulizzi asks: “Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”

Create content which tells a story

Longtime content creator Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes and co-author of Content Rules, believes in the importance of building relationships with an emphasis on storytelling.

She’s been saying this for many years but for business, she says, the best content isn’t storytelling. “The best content is telling a true story well. It’s a subtle difference. But the creators of the best content … contemplated not just what story was worth telling, but how to tell it. And one way to do that is to hire an artist.”

Create content that people will talk about

Marketing legend Seth Godin, who famously said that “content marketing is the only marketing left”, says it’s important to create content that people will talk about because they care about it. That’s the content which will resonate with your audience.

These are all sound, practical pieces of advice which we can all use daily as we create our content. As a journalist, I was taught to write news articles like I’d explain it to a friend later that day. Content marketing is similar. Create stories, campaigns, and strategies which you’d like to tell your loved ones about over dinner. Those are the ones which will be memorable, persuasive, and award-winning.

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