Industry jargon is intimidating, but we’re here to conquer your fear. Engaging content boils down to one easy explanation: something that’s useful, answers questions, is interesting, or evokes emotion from a particular audience. If you’re new to the content marketing world and need to justify investing in a strategic content budget, here’s what you need to know.

What Good Content is—and What it’s Not

The definition of superior content is dependent on what your content needs to do. Does it exist to funnel an audience into a certain sales channel? Does your content need to increase traffic, garner links that will boost search engine rankings, or increase shares on social platforms? Should your content raise awareness about your brand, or set you apart from a new competitor? Come to the table with an idea of what a successful content piece needs to do for your business so that a content strategist can help you reach your goals.

On the flip side, no matter what your content needs to do, it needs to do it well. Good content isn’t a 3,000-word piece that blabs about something irrelevant to an un-targeted audience. It’s not random stock photos peppered into a vague post, or even a well-written post that does not appeal to your clientele. Good content gets to the point, reinforces your brand voice, makes an emotional connection with your specific audience—and most importantly—gives the user what they want.

Effective content also isn’t just a sales pitch. While you need to keep your business objectives at the forefront of your strategy, content is made to help your audience. They seek it out to get something they need or want. Content that’s all about you is like a one-sided conversation—it leaves your audience with a bad taste in their mouth and makes you seem more concerned with making money than serving their needs.

Why You Need It

Content engages your audience and helps you connect with them on a deeper level. Half of all internet users spend less than 15 seconds on a web page, so if you don’t grab their attention instantly, they’ll be gone in a puff of smoke.

Good content has a hook, hierarchy, well-told story, and purpose. It helps you strengthen relationships, build credibility, and generate trust with your audience.

Good content also helps on a technical level with your page’s domain authority and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. If you don’t have enough of the right content that both speaks to your users and utilizes SEO so it’s found by Google in search results, it won’t do much but take up space in a forgotten corner of the web. Not taking the initiative to optimize your content is a waste of your time and money.

How You Can Write Fantastic Content

Experts like Witty Kitty know all about creating smart, engaging content that converts. But if you’re going it alone, heed the words of the content marketing greats: create content that leverages ethos, pathos, and logos—with particular focus on ethos.

After all, people base purchasing decisions on irrational and emotional thinking. If you truly speak to your audience, you’ll break through walls and get to the emotional part of their brain where they’re more likely to make a decision—and a purchase—from your company.