Content is the foundation of marketing and frankly it is what makes the internet. Every single page on every website, every video and every picture is content that is consumed by internet users around the world. However, when content is developed by brands with the intent of marketing, it comes with an entirely different requirement, expectation and perception by the audience that sees it.

What is good content? Good content is meaningful to your audience.

The Content Expectation For Brands

Did you realize that a massive 84% of people say that they expect brands to create content? It is a fact that people have an expectation that brands will or should be creating content for their customers and prospects to consume, but not just any content will do. Consumers expect good content that is meaningful to them, yet most brands aren’t fulfilling this expectation.

According to the new annual Meaningful Brands study, which measures the contributions that brands make to the quality of people’s lives, there is an extreme disconnect between what people expect in brand content and what is actually being delivered. The Havas Group Meaningful Brand report interviewed 300,000 people in 33 different countries regarding brands, the content they produce and how it addresses people’s expectations.

The results should be a wake up call to every large or small brand and a realization of how high the content bar has become.

What Is Meaningful Content?

Brands that people believe to be more meaningful are able to garner more purchases, and get this, they are also willing to pay more for those brands products or services! How much you ask? Well, brands that are considered to be more meaningful outperform the stock market by over 200%, for the last 10 years.

Content that drives emotion, makes the reader feel connected to the brand in a much deeper way and therefore makes the brand and its content more meaningful to the consumer. When brands create content that is about what people want, and that personally benefits the reader, that makes the content more meaningful. So good content, as defined by the reader, simply means that it is more meaningful to them. In short it’s about creating content that means less to you as a brand and more to the interests and topics that are personally important to your customer, thus making that content benefit them more than you.

Content Wake Up Call For Brands

Consumers surveyed in the Meaningful Brands study stated that 60% of the content that brands are creating isn’t meaningful to them at all. In fact, those surveyed stated that sixty percent of the content that brands create is poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver FOR THEM. Much of brand content is pitch or sales messaging that doesn’t address the personal interests, needs of the reader, or doesn’t provide a benefit to the customer. It’s simply clutter!

Don’t believe it? The study further uncovered that 74% of brands could literally disappear and people wouldn’t care one bit. Talk about being a meaningless brand… This statistic has got to be the definition of being meaningless!

Brands Need To Change Their Content Creation

In order for your brand to become meaningful to your audience, you need to produce content that THEY find meaningful. Brands must first determine what your audience considers to be meaningful and that can only be done by investing the time and resources into research.

Through research of your market, your target audience and your unique space, you need to know what type of content and topics move your audience and impact them on an emotional level. From the research you should be able to know what you don’t know and devise a strategy for content development that encompasses a meaningful focus that delivers value to your audience. Your content simply has to create meaning in their lives as it relates to your brand.

Is creating good, meaningful content easy? Not at all. Is creating meaningful content imperative to your brands success? Without question!

You see, consumers say they want brand content to speak to their personal wellbeing and address their quality of life in ways that connects in deeper, more meaningful ways. In other words, meaningful brands address the lives and personal circumstances of their customers beyond the products and services that they sell. Are you doing this?

How To Be Meaningful With Content

Within our integrated digital marketing agency, we filter everything we do for our clients through a lense that we have developed to ensure that the content being created will have an impact. We call our lense “Cool, Innovative and Effective”, and is the foundation of what we do.

This content creation foundation is often realized by incorporating two or more of the following components within the content that is being created. The result is usually meaningful content that resonates with the target audience.

Feeling/Emotion/Edgy – Create content that is or creates feeling and emotion. Sometimes this is done by being edgy, but often it is simply knowing the hearts and minds of your audience and the topics that drive their spirit.

Humor/Funny – Humor is a universal emotional reaction to something that comes from relating to a specific thing or circumstance. There is no doubt that when humor is used properly within content it can make an affinity connection with an intended audience that speaks to their personal wellbeing and/or circumstances. Brands need to stop taking everything so seriously and understand the universal human experience that is humorous.

Facts and Statistics – In most of the content we generate for our clients, we include facts and statistics that back up the hypothesis, theory or story that is being brought forward within the content. Humans respond to facts and using them within your content to support your assertions connects your content with your audience at a deep subconscious level.

Importance/Resonating Topics – The topics that you focus on in your content needs to have importance and relevance to your audience. We have one word for you here. Research!!

Solutions To Problems – Finally, meaningful content that connects with your audience will provide meaning and solutions to their fears, needs and concerns. People want solutions, not information or disconnected stories that don’t help them. Solve problems and be meaningful. It’s just that simple!

The adjective: meaningful can often be subjective from one person or another. The secret to understanding what is meaningful to your audience is taking the time and investing in the resources to actually find out. The definition of good content or meaningful content is to have a serious, significant, relevant and useful quality or purpose for your target audience. Make their lives richer with more sincere and important topics that affect them personally, while staying clear of superfluous and inconsequential information that leaves them cold and disconnected.