The Four Pillars of Helpful Content in 2024

Even if you missed my recent conference talk on helpful content at SEO Estonia this week, this post equips you with the key takeaways! We explored the secrets of crafting helpful content that can not only rank high, but also build trust with both users and AI-powered search engines to ultimately strengthen your brand and drive more conversions.

The 4 Pillars of Helpful Content

Remember the 80/20 rule – focusing on a high-impact 20% of efforts can yield 80% of the results. This translates perfectly into how you can create a killer helpful content strategy. 

Here are the four key principles that form this powerful 20%, inspired by characters from the story of The Wizard of Oz:

HEART: Empathy & Audience Resonance
(The Tin Woodman’s Longing for a Heart)

In The Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodman desperately yearns for a heart. He believes a heart will allow him to experience emotions and connect with others.

Similarly, understanding your audience’s needs and desires is crucial. Create content that resonates with their challenges and aspirations. Craft content that resonates with their struggles and goals. Build a strong emotional connection that keeps them coming back for more.

BRAIN: Expertise & Knowledge
(The Scarecrow’s Quest for a Brain)

The Scarecrow sets out on a journey to find a brain, believing it will grant him intelligence and the ability to navigate the world effectively.

Just like the Scarecrow, your content needs a strong foundation of expertise. Dive into data, explore unique perspectives and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche. High-quality content demonstrates your knowledge and authority, making you a trusted resource for your audience.

COURAGE: Diversification via Multi-Channel & Multi-Modality
(The Cowardly Lion’s Journey to Find Courage)

The Cowardly Lion embarks on an adventure to find courage. He overcomes his fear and discovers that bravery already exists within him.

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to content creation! Tackle new topics and explore uncharted territories. Diversify your content formats (text, video, audio) and channels to keep things fresh, relevant and attract a wider audience. Stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to content that resonates with new demographics and positions you as a versatile creator.

DIRECTION: Information Gain & Value
(Dorothy’s Journey to Find Helpful Information)

Dorothy’s journey through Oz is a quest for knowledge and self-discovery. She encounters new experiences, learns valuable lessons and ultimately finds her way back home.

Similarly, strive to create informative and insightful content that offers unique, high-value add perspectives. Don’t simply rehash existing information. Provide valuable insights and takeaways that help your audience (and Google’s knowledge graph) learn and grow. By consistently delivering value, you can become a trusted resource in the search landscape.

The 2024 Helpful Content Toolkit: Put Your Knowledge into Action

These four principles form the foundation of helpful content that converts. But how do you put them into action?

We’ve created a free downloadable toolkit, The 2024 Helpful Content Toolkit, packed with practical checklists and worksheets to help you implement actions from the four pillars easily:

  • EPIC Chat GPT Prompt: This powerful one-click prompt will help you generate content ideas that resonate with your audience’s needs and aspirations. Use this as a starting point to create a funnel-driven content strategy for any given topic, including suggestions across a variety of formats, perspectives and user goals (all you have to do is provide a seed keyword list for it to do its magic 😉)
  • Multi-Modal Optimisation Checklist: Optimise your content across different formats (e.g. text, video, audio, voice) to improve user engagement, enhanced learning and deeper engagement.
  • Multi-Channel Optimisation Checklist: Streamline your multi-channel optimisation efforts with clear guidelines to optimise for different platforms.
  • Multi-Channel & Multi-Modal Strategy Worksheet: Develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure your content is seen and heard on the right channels and in the most effective formats.
  • Information Gain Worksheet: Dive deeper and evaluate your content’s true value proposition to your target audience.