I-Relevant Content: The I is about you, not about me

It’s not about what you want. It’s not about how easy or hard it is for you to formulate and maintain it. I-Relevant content is about placing the focus of your generated content on meeting the user’s needs by considering the context and time in which the user accesses the platform. It’s about putting yourself in their shoes.

Forget your company’s goals or product specifications. If I may be blunt from the outset, nobody actually cares about how much you want to help the world or how great your product is. No; they care about whether this thing will address the issue in their life that they’re trying to solve. They care about whether or not their questions and doubts are dealt with. Thus, providing the right content that addresses these questions and doubts can allow you to gain your user’s trust. From there, achieving your company’s goals is a much easier road to travel.

Now, what exactly do I mean by this? You’ve probably read and heard people chanting the same mantras hundreds or thousands of times. A google search for ‘relevant content’ yields 1.17 billion results. Content marketing comes in at 2.7 billion hits. Content is king takes the cake at 4.28 billion pages. This just goes to show that we can glue any tag we like to the word content, but first we need to figure out why content is so important for our online presence in the first place.

I-Relevant Content is the Basis for a Marketing Content Strategy

So that we can all be sure that we’re on the same page, let’s start at the beginning and work our way outwards. Let’s start with Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s most relevant definition of content: “The principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website.” It comes down to offering something with substance.

Let’s then turn our attention to an article from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) titled What is Content Marketing? They define content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

The key words here are valuable and relevant. This is what separates the spam that gets ignored from the content that leads to conversions.

The authors from the CMI go on to suggest, “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

There are two important takeaways here. First, isn’t it amazing that there is an Institute of Content Marketing?! Who knew? Second, and more important, is that this gives us a great idea about why content is important for our marketing goals. It helps us figure out what type of content we should provide to engage our customers and to bolster up our digital marketing strategy.

Now let’s look at an article that Josh Steimle wrote for Forbes in 2014 titled What is Content Marketing? He recites a definition that is, almost verbatim, the one provided by the CMI, and then stressed the fact that “they key word here is ‘valuable.”

The fact that the content is valuable is the thing that sets apart Content Marketing from every other form of advertising or marketing, but to make a content relevant, it would need context.

I-Relevant Content Needs Context

Context in the online world can be defined by several factors. The most important ones are the day of the week, the time of day, and the device used to access the content. By considering these factors, we can optimize our content to suit the context of the user. Let me explain this with a short example.

Let’s say that the user searches for “best hamburger” on a Tuesday at 6pm on a tablet. We can probably surmise that they are seated on their couch at home, wondering what to have for dinner. Based on this context, we want to drive the user to a delivery offer content.

On the other hand, if the same search happens from a desktop computer on a Monday at 2:30 PM, they probably don’t want to order anything right now. Instead, the user is probably searching for the best recipes and restaurants, which means that a content about the restaurant’s history and recipes would be the most I-Relevant to this situation.

Finally, if that same “best hamburger” search happens on Sunday at 8 AM using a smartphone and near the restaurant, the user is definitely hung over from partying the night before and is looking for some nice, hot takeaway food. Hey, don’t look so shocked—we’ve all been there.