Expert content marketing is all about providing free value to your customers and potential customers in order to win them over. It’s about building an audience and creating relationships of trust and reciprocity, so that potential customers become so much more than mere customers. They become fans. Advocates. Guerrilla advertisers for your company’s products or services. 

If that’s going to happen, your content needs to be top-notch. I’ve heard one content creator put it this way: “I want our free stuff to be better than most people’s paid stuff.” That’s a worthy goal, and one that will help you become a leader in your industry.

Expert content marketing is about so much more than having a blog page on your website that you update once per month. It requires a serious investment of time and resources, but the results could be revolutionary for your organization. 

Here are 5 top ingredients of expert content marketing. 

1. Authority

Since we live in an age where we’re constantly bombarded by advertising language, most of us have become pretty cynical toward organizations that declare ex cathedra that their product or service is the best. Expert content marketers create content that gives their audience insights into the substance behind their website homepage’s marketing copy. 

Great content proves your credentials as someone whose voice can be trusted. And if your voice can be trusted, then your products and services probably can too. 

Every organization is an expert in something. Your content should speak to that expertise. What is it that you know that makes your product or service worth purchasing? Create high quality resources around those topics. 

2. Empathy

Beyond creating content that establishes your authority as a domain expert, great content marketers know exactly who it is they’re speaking to and can accurately assess what information they’re looking for. Your content should always target a very particular kind of person — your ideal customer. 

When building out your target persona, be as specific as humanly possible. Many marketers even give their hypothetical customer a name, a family, and a backstory. All of this will help you to zero in on the kind of person you’re seeking to attract with your content, humanizing them and helping you to empathize with their unique challenges.

When you try to talk to everybody, no one listens. So lean into your niche. Don’t create content that tries to solve all the world’s problems. Provide solutions to your target persona’s very specific problem. 

3. Specificity

Even more than speaking with authority to answer the questions your audience has, expert content marketing moves beyond the realm of theory and high level principles into the practical and tactical.

For example, instead of only describing how to build better organizational systems, provide resources like checklists and sample spreadsheets. Instead of talking about better graphic design, provide  customizable templates.

Expert content marketers create resources that not only understand the specific challenges their customers are facing, but also help them solve their own problems. The better you know your audience, the more specific you can become with your content. 

When you offer free value like this, you equip your audience to become the heroes of their own stories. That grants you an incredible measure of influence with them. They won’t easily forget how they were scouring the internet for answers and came across your free content that helped them get the job done. 

4. Consistency 

It almost goes without saying that consistency is vital for expert content marketers. Providing fresh resources on a consistent basis keeps your organization top-of-mind. You may have provided a top-notch resource last quarter, but, as Janet Jackson says, “What have you done for me lately?” 

While quality is always more important than quantity, the goal is to provide content of excellent quality on a regular basis. So your organization should have standards of excellence that you never allow to be violated. But “perfect” is often the enemy of “done.” So set reasonable goals based on the bandwidth of your team, and stick to them. 

5. Personality

Good content marketers write with authority and specificity on the topics that their audience want to know more about, and they do it on a regular basis. Expert content marketers take it to the next level by allowing their organization’s personality to shine through. 

It has often been said that people don’t follow organizations — they follow people. The more you can make your organizational voice feel like a person, the better you will be able to connect with your audience. So spend some time crafting your organizational voice. Are you warm and sincere? Are you funny? Snarky? Inspirational? Don’t be afraid to sound too casual. It simply makes you more human. 

If you’re able to inject a personality that people connect with into your content, what you’ll find is that people will return to your content not only because it’s insightful and helpful, but also because they just like you. You might not know them personally, but they view you as something of a friend. 

So when you offer your products or services to them, they’ll jump at the opportunity to buy from you. After all, who doesn’t want to support a friend by purchasing their product or service — especially when they’re already convinced that it’s going to be top notch? 

Great content is table stakes.

In order for your organization to thrive and grow, you need great content. The organizations that understand that and execute on it are the ones that rise above the rest.