Without a good idea of why you're writing your website content, it can become a chore that you try to avoid at every turn. And, of course, without fresh content your website will become less of a destination and more of a no-go area for your audience.
TRUST is a simple model I came up with while working with organisations to help them see their content in a different way. It helps fine-tune your approach to content marketing and really does contribute to a consistent approach to your website and your audience.
What is TRUST?
TRUST is a holistic model that depends on always considering the big picture as opposed to ticking off each part on a checklist.
Let's get into it:
T for Targeted
Who are you writing for?
If you don't know who your audience is, then why are you sitting there typing? Consider your target audience and aim the content at them.
It doesn't have to be really fine-grained. In fact that can be a drawback. Making it too targeted could mean your only writing for a fraction of your true potential audience. And don't make it too broad. You won't catch everyone in the same net. Just make sure you know who your target audience is and that they can see themselves as the intended audience for your content.
R for Relevant
Is the content really for your audience?
There's no point targeting a particular audience if you aren't actually writing content for them. Ensure your content is actually relevant to the target audience. Is it something that they really will find relevant? Don't try and squeeze an idea to fit an audience you're desperate to reach. Be honest. It will benefit you in the long run.
U for Useful
What can they do with the content?
Content marketing benefits from content that the target audience can actually do something with. Look at a site like Lifehacker. Every article is useful and actionable to the core!
If the content isn't something that your targeted audience will find useful, why are you writing it? What are the next steps for your audience once they have read, watched or listened to your content? (Yes, always think 'multimedia') A call to action, either direct or indirect is essential.
S for Specific
What is your content really about?
Your content will work best when it's about one thing. This point benefits three things: SEO (your content will be easier to find), Creation (it will be easier to create if you have a specific bit of info in mind) and finally, it becomes much more Targeted, relevant and Useful to your intended audience if you're specific. see how it ties together?
Writing specific content also means you can create more content from a single topic by breaking it down to specific bits.
for example, consider some new legislation that will affect your industry. You want to inform your audience about it and how it will affect them. Writing one big piece could be a good idea, but what if you broke it down into more actionable articles? Such as, 'What are the changes to the privacy law?', 'How will the changes to the privacy law affect my business?' and 'What do I need to do to comply with the new privacy law?'
See what I mean? A series of specific articles could be more effective than one long artice that covers everything in one go.
T for Timely
When should you release your content?
This point impacts on all the others and can make or break your content strategy. Let's take another look at the previous example about some new legislation. when would be the best time to launch those articles? As soon as possible after the new law comes into effect or when it's first announced?
That could be a decision for your particular industry, but the answer will make your content more targeted, relevant, useful and specific by arriving when your audience most needs it. Consider it as Just in Time Content.
Too soon and it may be missed, too late and it won't be in time to be useful. Just right and your content will be fresh and ready for the audience to find it and to find it actionable.
The Big Picture
As I said earlier, this model is intended to promote and support a holistic and strategic approach to your content creation and online marketing. It's best applied as a whole and each component feeds into every other.
It's just a model, but something that can start you thinking about how to plan and implement your content. And that's exactly what we all need to do in today's crowded marketplace.