Creating content is hard. That’s why most marketers outsource content creation, through agencies, freelancers, content creation platforms, or some combination of all of those. Creating content that truly delivers value to readers—value-added content—is even harder. Yet, in 2022, the ability to create value-added content is what distinguishes content marketing leaders from laggards, in a crowded content market anticipated to be worth $38 billion by 2030.
WHAT IS VALUE-ADDED CONTENT IN CONTENT MARKETING?
Value-added content is defined as any unique, original, or exclusive content or information your audience cannot get anywhere else that provides true value to that audience by being relevant and fulfilling their search intent. Examples of this added value content can be found across content types, including:
- Video content
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Original research and research studies
- White papers
- Promotional offers
Since value-added content provides actual value, it is more likely to engage audiences and be popular with readers and is thus rewarded by Google. Because it is more engaging, valuable content it is more likely to be shared and revisited again and again for its usefulness. While most content is more like McDonald’s—okay in a pinch, yet forgotten seconds later—value-added content stands out like a multi-course, thoughtfully presented meal from an award-winning chef. You remember it fondly for months, recommend it to others, and return to it as often as you can.
HOW TO CREATE VALUE-ADDED CONTENT
- Be specific in your content. According to Sitefy, there are more than 50 billion webpages on the Internet. That means the odds of content with basic or general information about a topic already existing are high. Instead, provide unique value by going deeper with your content, as this definer does for specific content marketing words, rather than generic high level definitions of content marketing.
- Make your content actionable. While educating content marketers on the value of ebooks is informative, providing straightforward step-by-step tips on how to actually create an ebook start to finish takes the content from just informative to useful, providing immediate value to the reader.
- Find ways to make formatting your friend. Paying attention to how you format your content helps make your content scannable, attractive, and easy to read. In doing so, it also makes it easier for audiences to experience the value your content is intended to provide.
SEVEN EXAMPLES OF VALUE-ADDED CONTENT
The best way to understand how value-added content can bolster your content marketing is to see it in action. Here are seven strong examples to give you a clear idea of what we mean by added value:
1. BLOG POSTS THAT INFORM, EDUCATE, ANSWER A QUESTION, AND MEET A SEARCHER’S NEED
Simply churning outA blog posts regularly won’t cut it anymore. Companies with successful content marketing strategies understand a blog must both be relevant and fulfill the searcher intent. Each blog post should answer a specific need with unique content that readers won’t find anywhere else.
Unique content isn’t limited to sharing data no one else has. You can create value-added content with anything from your company’s unique perspective to the expertise and insights of an industry veteran. Value-added blog content shouldn’t be promotional or self-serving. Instead, aim for blog posts that go beyond helpful and educational to delight your your readers. If they are actually glad they read them, they’ll be more likely to share.
- Value-added blog content example: Priceonomics
Priceonomics does a stellar job of using proprietary information to inform their audience. For example, this post focused on how much money you can save by cooking at home takes a popular topic and builds it out with their exclusive data.
Instead of learning some vague platitudes about how cooking at home is the responsible thing to do, the reader comes away with actual facts they didn’t know before as well as a compelling argument in favor of home cookin’.
2. VIDEOS THAT ARE ENGAGING AND RELEVANT
Cisco reports that, by 2022, over 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be comprised of online video. As video consumption continues to grow rapidly, including video as part of your value-added content is required to connect with audiences. With the proliferation of Snapchat, Instagram Video, TikTok, and Facebook Live, your video can now be less polished—and less expensive to make—than it ever has been in the past.
People are comfortable consuming more video that’s not professionally produced, as long as the content is enticing and relevant to the viewer—in other words, value-added. Plus, today’s phones practically double as HD video production studios, removing any excuse not to add some video to your content marketing mix. Alternately, use a video content creation platform like Verblio to turn your written content into short videos for you.
Even just posting Instagram Videos a few times a week can give your audience a more personal glimpse into your business and brand, building a sense of connection and helping you stand out in a crowded sea of content.
- Value-added video content example: Moz’s Whiteboard Friday is the “most famous video series in all of SEO” for a reason.
Made popular before video content “got big”, these videos, started by Moz Founder Rand Fishkin, do such a fantastic job of adding value that Moz states they have “grown to millions of views and helped train thousands of SEOs.” Thevideo/infographic hybrid format walks viewers through the entire whiteboard, explaining best practices along the way.
The combination of the whiteboard and a dynamic delivery style keeps Moz visitors interested, as they learn useful information like why paid ads often fail. Each whiteboard presentation is specific enough that you feel like you really learned something new that you can apply to your own SEO or marketing efforts, but they are also accessible even to newbies.
3. A THOUGHTFULLY PUT TOGETHER E-BOOK
While much has been made of how technology is causing all of us to develop shorter and shorter attention spans, the truth is our desire for long-form, in-depth content only continues to grow. An ebook can be your company’s pièce de résistance when it comes to effective content content marketing. The beauty of an ebook is its potential to go beyond e being informative and further promote your company’s personality, branding, and unique position in your industry.
Many brands are choosing eebooks as one of the main pillars of their overall content marketing strategy. Your ebook might mention a variety of topics tied together with a well-presented controlling argument. These ebook topics can be turned into complementary blog posts and social media updates. One well-constructed ebook can be repurposed into numerous value-added pieces of blog content
Another approach is to write an ebook for each topic you cover on your blog. The blog posts can be quick and easy to skim, while the ebook goes deep for those readers craving more information, context, and research.
- Value-added ebook examples: HubSpot, Verblio’s “Ignite Your Inbound Strategy with the Right Freelance Writers: A Guide”
HubSpot does a fantastic job using ebooks for lead generation throughout their blogs and newsletters. You cannot read a piece of content from HubSpot without being prompted to download an additional resource or ebook. This is enticing to readers who just learned something useful from the HubSpot blog and want to know more.
4. NEWSLETTERS THAT CURATE INDUSTRY INFORMATION YOUR CUSTOMERS DON’T HAVE TIME TO FIND
A newsletter without a purpose is useless and likely to go unread, making it a waste of precious time and resources. As the amount of information continues to grow, one unique way to position your newsletter is to curate the best articles and information in your specific industry. This is a newsletter that would provide value to your readers and benefit them by saving time. In fact, within your newsletter, you can include a link or two to value-added blog posts from your site.
- Value-added newsletter example: Benedict Evans’ newsletter
Benedict Evans works at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. His weekly newsletter cobbles together the tech news he finds most interesting. Considering Andreessen Horowitz’s influence in Silicon Valley, it’s great to see what one of their own is reading and finds particularly important.
Evans’ readers get the benefit of his wide weekly reading, distilled into just the interesting details along with links. Talk about content that adds value—by consuming this one newsletter, you get to feel like the most informed person in your office, without spending your whole life reading dry tech articles.
5. WEBINARS THAT OFFER INSIGHT INTO A PRODUCT, SERVICE, OR TECHNIQUE OR SHARE NEW RESEARCH
While webinars can still be an effective medium for providing your readers with value-added content, it’s important to make sure your webinars add enough value to attendees to make up for the time it takes to attend. Viewers typically tune into webinars to learn about your product, get a behind-the-scenes look at your service, learn a new technique, or access information that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Value-added webinar example: Content Marketing Institute (CMI)
CMI has a reputation for delivering webinars relevant to their audience. Not only are the topics relevant, the guests that appear are also well-informed, prepared, and insightful when offering advice and tips for content marketing.
The key to a good webinar is to put together something easy to follow and engaging and digestible, yet genuinely educational. To add even more value for more people, provide your webinars in more media than just one—think audio or video recordings to send out to folks who weren’t able to attend after the fact, or via Slideshare with all the major points. Luckily, many of CMI’s webinars offer tips on how to do just that.
Another way to add value to your webinar audience is to include a special offer that you’ll hand out at the end, like a special consultation or coupon code they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get their hands on.
6. INFOGRAPHICS THAT ILLUSTRATE INFORMATION BETTER THAN THE WRITTEN WORD
Some information is better communicated with images, diagrams, graphs, or charts. Infographics remain a compelling alternative—or complement—to text alone. As readers tend to skim more than read, an infographic is an effective medium for skimmers. One approach is to write a detailed blog post, then curate the main points or data into a simple, eye-catching infographic.
- Value-added infographic example: Backlinko’s on-page SEO infographic
On-page SEO can be a moving target with a lot of information for content marketers to digest. But Backlinko’s infographic communicates the best practices of on-page SEO in a succinct, easy-to-follow manner. It’s also updated regularly, adding even more value.
7. WHITE PAPERS THAT OFFER IN-DEPTH RESEARCH AND INFORMATION
Though white papers may not make sense for every company’s content marketing strategy, in some cases, they are just the ticket. A good white paper is authoritative, persuasive, and in-depth, helping to position you as a true thought leader in your niche. They are especially valuable to readers if you give them away as a free download in exchange for subscribing to your community or your email list.
Companies like Google use whitepapers to “explain the technology underlying…products and services or examine topics such as security, architecture, and data governance,” for which Google wants to be seen as a thought leader.
- Value-added white paper examples: Google Cloud whitepapers
Google Cloud’s comprehensive whitepaper selection is written Google employees, independent analysts, partners, and customers, leveraging a wide breadth and depth of expertise.
SHOULD I GATE MY VALUE-ADDED CONTENT?
If you’re providing this content that adds value to customers or prospective customers and it meets the criteria listed above, gating some of this content by collecting some information from visitors may make sense. When you’ve put time and resources into creating a piece that’s unique and valuable to your audience, gating content can be a way of continuing that conversation and deepening the value.. This option can turn more in-depth value-added content into true lead generators.
Keep in mind, however, that some readers will balk at the idea of filling out a form in order to receive your newest whitepaper or ebook, regardless of content value. We suggest a combination of gated and ungated content to truly reach and inform as many prospects as possible.
HOW TO USE VERBLIO TO CREATE VALUE-ADDED CONTENT AT SCALE
You can find much of our value-added content in our resources section. We offer advice on starting a blog as well as the best blogging tools for businesses to consider. As our blog has grown, we also continue to provide useful and unique content here as often as possible, like this post on blogging trends in 2018 as well as data-backed case studies, based on our own data and experience as well as industry expertise in content marketing.
We know our readers and customers trust us to provide them with information that is accurate, helpful, and broken down in a useful way, and both our blog and our resources section are ideal for doing just that.
Editor’s Note: This post about how to create valuable content in your content marketing was originally published in November 2016. This content was refreshed in 2018 and 2022 to continue to provide the most current answer to the question “What is valuable content?” along with relevant advice and examples of value-added content.