batman_417950370_c7f323ab09_mWhether you’re a Batman fan or not, you may have heard about his famous utility belt. What’s in it? Whatever you need. Batarangs (Bat boomerangs, I think), Bat-lasso, Bat-Tracer, Bat-Darts, Bat-aid kit, night vision bat-goggles (Do bats actually need those?), Micro bat-camera, Bat-Heater. The list goes on and on. Seems like there isn’t any need Batman can’t meet with the tools on his belt.

So, how do Batman and his utility belt apply to content marketing? You can probably guess, right? Content Utility is the idea that you should step in with the right information, at the right time, in the right way to help your audience. Be the Superhero! Swoop in and save the day with content that’s informative, easily comprehended, and actionable.

If you want something more formal, here’s my working definition:

Content Utility is timely, targeted value and
practical usability delivered to your audience
through the substance, composition, design,
media, mechanics, and accessibility of your content.

In other words, not only should your audience be able to easily understand and retain valuable information from your content, but they should be able to easily work with it, use it, and share it.  That’s particularly important for B2B, for example, when a contact at a potential client may like to share the content she’s found on your company website with others during the decision process. For ideas on how this can work and examples of how one company is creating utility with its content, read my post at The Content Marketing Institute.

As I share in that article, “Content marketing is moving toward much more graphic, sensory-oriented and multi-vehicle usability. People will be looking for content which is not only informative and easy to absorb, but usable and presentable across various situations and platforms as well. In other words, they want content utility.

In a MarketingProfs post, Ann Handley also mentioned the importance of creating utility saying, your content should be “high value to your customers, in whatever way resonates best with them.” 

That’s exactly right. Content Utility is tailored, thoughtful, purposeful, valuable, useful, and useable.

You can think of your content marketing as a utility belt — offering a variety of useful tools with various functions, allowing an individual to choose what best fits his or her needs at the moment.

As we move into the new year, I’ll dive deeper into this idea of Content Utility — offering insights, case studies, examples, and practical ideas for how to implement it in your content strategy.  We’ll cover topics like:

Content bundling

Readability and retention

Multi-vehicle adaptation

Localization

Audience discovery

Developing Content Toolkits

And lots of other things I’m just starting to explore.

I’m looking forward to sharing these ideas as I work to improve my own content marketing. So, join me for some open conversations on Content Utility. Let’s learn together! For now, click over and read the CMI article — and please leave a comment with your own thoughts on Content Utility.

Image Credit: FAO Schwarz’s LEGO Batman Sculpture by adjustafresh, on Flickr

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Have you ever attended a class or seminar that taught you everything you wanted to know about a business concept except how to apply it in real life? By the end, your head is swimming with theories. You know why you should do it. You just have no idea HOW to do it.

CMI HomeWell, if content marketing is high on your priority list to implement in your business, there’s good news. Joe Pulizzi, author of Get Content, Get Customers, and his team at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) have purposely built their site around practical, how-to information and advice.

In their own words: “We launched the Content Marketing Institute in May 2010 as a meeting ground for the brightest minds to give you real-world how-to advice about content marketing in any venue: online, mobile, in-person and in print. No fluff, just practical insights.”

The Content Marketing Institute blog is at the top of my reading list so when Michele Linn, CMI’s Executive Editor and co-founder of Savvy B2B Marketing, asked me to become a CMI contributor, I was thrilled to say the least. What an honor to write alongside the brilliant contributors CMI has gathered. And how exciting to interact with and learn from the global professionals visiting CMI daily.

If you haven’t already discovered this gem, take a few minutes today to browse through the Content Marketing Institute blog. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, before you go, tell me:  
What are your top 3 “how-to” questions about using content marketing in your business? 

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