The rise in content marketing in recent years is well documented across a number of industries. With the volume of content continuing to soar, it's easier than ever for your message to get lost in and amongst the busy cyberspace.

To avoid this happening, I recommend you turn to the CARAT acronym. This states that your content should be:

  1. Concise. Your content must be waffle-free and reasonably brief. People's attention spans are ludicrously short online, and there are myriad distractions (YouTube, Facebook, to name a few personal favourites) that readers can turn to if your content doesn't get straight to the point.
  2. Accessible. Avoid jargon - at best it sounds impressive, at worst it obscures your message, makes your reader feel unintelligent and drives them elsewhere online (either to look up the word or seek solace in the form of a distraction website). Accessible content is easily digested - content indigestion will deter readers!
  3. Relevant. Your content must be on-message and relevant to your audience. If 100 members of your target audience were walking down your road, you wouldn't lean out of your window and shout something irrelevant through a megaphone. In cyberspace, that road is tenfold busier, and the volume of your voice is vastly lower. Relevance is paramount.
  4. Authentic. If your content is about a niche area that you/your organisation specialise in, do NOT outsource the creation of that content to a ghostwriter. They are not the expert, they are not the thought leader. Your content must be genuine and thus expert-led. Inauthentic content is the fools gold of content marketing.
  5. Timely. If your content takes ages to create, the author(s) will inevitably fail in sustaining a steady stream of it over time. This likely explains why the professional services blogging standards are so woeful. Additionally, if it takes ages to create, it probably takes ages to read (this of course feeds back into the C and A of CARAT).

Ensuring your content follows these criteria is the best way to maximise the likelihood of your target audience absorbing your message.