Creating Content with Integrity: Key Takeaways from Authority Rainmaker
Card tricks. Stage slides. Some of the most brilliant minds in Content Marketing. Henry Rollins.
Copyblogger hosted an awesome conference in Denver, Colorado last week, and I’m still processing the exciting two-day experience (and also slowly recovering from the shaky flight home).
It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Authority Rainmaker left with an overwhelming amount of takeaways, and I won’t try to attempt to cover it all.
But I will talk a little about one of the overarching themes: Creating content with integrity.
What It All Means
Let’s take it back to the basics. Here’s the definition of integrity, à la Merriam- Webster:
Integrity |inˈtegritē| : The quality of being honest and fair
Now it’s easy to think how the concept of integrity applies to a person, but how can you infuse integrity into your brand’s content, too?
Creating content with integrity means understanding what your business stands for and why it exists to improving the lives of others, and making sure every piece of content your audience interacts with fulfills that vision.
In this way, it becomes essential to creating content that truly connects with your audience.
Take a minute and think about the purpose of your business. What do you stand for? How do you help others?
Once you’ve identified those answers, try to think of it in terms of content. How can you convey that message in your website copy, your blog, and your emails?
Here at AWeber, we’re committed to helping entrepreneurs (like yourself) grow their businesses with email marketing. So in addition to creating products and tools to get your messages out to your audience, we also create content in the form of blog posts, guides, videos, etc. that educates you and others as you continue on your email and digital marketing journey.
By doing that, we’re able to stick to our values and connect to our audience in a way that aligns with our purpose and mission to help others grow their businesses with email.
Authority Rainmaker speaker and content marketing guru Ann Handley summed it up nicely when she said, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing; it feels like something you want.”
And to create content that people want, you have to stay true to who you are and what you represent.
So how can you maintain your integrity in your content? Let’s take a closer look.
How to Add Integrity to Your Content
Many of the speakers at Authority Rainmaker touched on this idea at some point in their presentations. Here are the key lessons I took away from some of them.
When creating content, the most important thing you have to consider is the value you can bring to your audience. How can you enrich their lives in a way that’s relevant to your business?
Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, talked a lot about how to build an audience with content. Two key points that stuck with me: The importance of identifying your knowledge and passion, and discovering what makes you stand out from the competition.
If you’re a small business owner, you probably have some level of passion and knowledge about your industry. Whether you’re a personal trainer, restaurant owner or consultant, you created this business so you can help others in some way.
And once you’ve acknowledged that, it’s also important to discover what makes you different. What can you teach your clients or customers that your competitors can’t? Or how can you teach them something else in addition to what they might already be learning from others?
Once you’ve identified that, it becomes a lot easier to figure out what to write about.
Accept Your Imperfections
Nobody is perfect, which means no business can be perfect, either.
But if you do mess up, handle it with integrity by acknowledging the mistake, apologizing if needed, and moving forward.
Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, is a firm believer of embracing imperfections, and he didn’t shy away from it during his presentation. In fact, if there were repeat slides during his session, he laughed it off and moved on. He didn’t try to cover it up. He didn’t blame it on anyone else. He made a joke about it and moved on.
And guess what?
Everyone in the audience loved him all the more for it.
Being honest and authentic means being real with your audience. So if you mess up, own it and move on. Or try to find some humor in the situation (because as we’ve all learned, humor in business can be a great way to show off your brand’s personality).
If you want to create valuable content, you have to understand who your customers are, as well as their struggles, needs and daily habits.
When you can look at the world from your customer’s perspective, you gain a unique advantage in the content you create. Not only does it show your customers that you genuinely care about them, but it also forces you to consider how they perceive the value of your content.
Plus, it can also help inspire future content ideas, which is always a plus!
When talking about informative content, Authority Rainmaker speaker Pamela Wilson summed up the importance of empathy perfectly: “It helps people to meet their challenges, answer questions they have; shows your empathetic to the things they’re going through. Informative content shows empathy.”
And when you focus on how your content can inspire your audience and help them to grow, it becomes a lot easier to connect with them.
Stay True to You
At the end of the day, if you’re not staying true to who you are and what your brand stands for, it’s going to become extremely difficult to create content that is both valuable and empathetic to your readers.
And if you lose sight of that, it becomes impossible to maintain your integrity.
Speaker Ann Handley put it simply when she stressed the importance of “Doing you.”
It’s not all about what you sell, it’s who you are and what that means for your customers. When you’re honest about your brand’s story and share it in all content (blog, website copy, emails, etc.), you’ll attract the right audience.
Creating Content that Connects with Readers
Content isn’t just another way to get your message out to your customers and prospects – it’s a bridge that allows you to connect with every individual on a deeper level.
And with that, I’ll leave with some parting words from Henry Rollins:
“Don’t put any distance between you and what you make, because that is you… Stay honest, and make good things for people.”
In the end, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Want the inside scoop on Authority Rainmaker? Listen to this podcast hosted by Clark Buckner of TechnologyAdvice, who interviewed attendees, presenters and sponsors live from the event!