How to Create Content That Resonates With Every Reader: The 7 Rights of Content

7 rights of content marketing

Image from Scott Abel’s keynote slides at the Intelligent Content Conference 2015


Typically content marketing has worked to deliver the right content to the right people in the right place, and been very pleased with ourselves if we can manage it.

But in the emerging era of personalization, we’ve got to take it up a notch (or four).

Our audience now expects — and deserves — not three, but seven content marketing rights:


1. Right content 2. Right person
3. Right place 4. Right time
5. Right format 6. Right language
7. Right device

(originally outlined by Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler)

Realistically, delivering on all of these all the time may not be within reach for some of us right now.

But if your ultimate content marketing goal is to succeed in all seven areas, and you’re working to find solutions that let you do it, you’ll be constantly moving towards creating powerful content that will resonate with every reader every time.

1. Producing the Right Content

What it Means:

Regardless of your marketing goals or your business objectives, the right content puts its consumers first. It’s created with the genuine goal of helping its readers.

That may mean it shows them common industry mistakes and how to avoid them, offers a new tool, or just entertains them.

What it does not mean is stealthily selling a product while being superficially helpful. I won’t point fingers, but if you’re doing this, you know who you are.

How to do it:

Take off the content marketing hat and put yourself in your audience’s shoes as authentically as you can. Consider the problems, frustrations, joys, hurdles, milestones, and bumps they encounter as they go about their days, and then try to map content that will meet them at those points.

Then (and only then) consider unobtrusive ways you can make sure your content can lead them back to your business if they decide that’s where they want to go.

2. Delivering to the Right Person(a)

What it Means:

For most of your content you won’t have the luxury of knowing precisely who’s going to consume it, although that’s the holy grail of content marketing.

But at least you should know the kind of person who would most enjoy and benefit from it, and this kind of person should be one of your marketing personas.

How to do it:

If you’ve never created a persona before, or have no idea what I’m talking about, check out our Guide to Creating a Marketing Persona.

For those who are unwilling or unable to establish a handful of reality-based yet imaginary people to create content for, you can at least narrow your target audience down so it no longer includes “everyone in the world.”

Google analytics offers some basic insights via their Audience tab, and the trend seems to be that they will continue to expand the data they share:

3. Finding the Right Place

What it Means:

This is why you should be spending quite a lot of your planning time choosing places NOT to focus your efforts. The right place always trumps all the places, particularly when it comes to marketing.

Once again, knowing about your audience’s preferences is vital here.

You need to know not only what sort of information they’re interested in, but where they want to find it.

Do they like to search, or would they rather it come to them in their Facebook feed?

Are they regular visitors to LinkedIn Groups, or would they appreciate a weekly email?

Where they find your content (or where it finds them) has a huge bearing on their receptivity and response (or lack thereof).

How to Do It:

Your existing metrics can take you pretty far down this path.

A glance at your Referral traffic in your analytics will show you how often visitors are coming from different channels, and all the major social networks offer reasonably robust tracking so that you can quickly gauge your audience’s preferred places to consumer your content.

Google Analytics:

referrals from google analytics









twitter analytics



facebook analytics



linkedin analytics


If you’re just starting out and/or don’t have a presence on one of these networks, a cheap and quick ad test can be a great way to take a channel’s pulse without devoting hours to establishing a following only to find it’s not the right place for you.

Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all offer various ways to pay to engage with their audience, just make sure you have a solid campaign setup.

4. Determining the Right Time

What it is:

Once you know where people like to consume your content you can dial in the right timing. If there’s a preference for LinkedIn, you may have more luck with workday postings.

Twitter is becoming a 24-hour channel, so if your audience is here you’re going to need an around the clock presence.

Theories abound for when you should post content, send emails, and engage on social media, but the most important thing to remember is that your audience isn’t exactly like anyone else’s.

If you want to be 100% sure you’re reaching them at the right time, you’re going to have to do some good old fashioned science experiments. Post different content at different times and see what works.

How to Do it:

Articles and blog posts will be out on the internet forever, but you can make the most of their initial vitality by publishing during peak traffic hours.

For emails, you can experiment with send days and times to see which ones garner the best open and click rates.

Most email software will also offer to choose a time for you based on statistical probability of getting good engagement. This is a good way to start, but don’t be afraid to do your own tests too.

Social media is probably the easiest kind of content to fiddle with time, because you can use scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to post on your behalf any time of the day or night.

5. Identifying the Right format

What it is:

Does your audience like visuals? Research heavy, text-driven content? Something in between? All of the above

Any content marketer worth their Twitter handle knows the content their audience is looking for, but you also need to figure out what format gets them most interested.

Right Format works closely with the Right Place, because if you’re interacting with people on Pinterest you already know you’re going to be producing beautiful, original, visual content.

Your audience on LinkedIn isn’t going be as impressed with your board on flowers; give them a nice SlideShare and they’ll be much happier.

How to do it:

Become fluent in multiple formats.

I’ve never been a PowerPoint person, but I’m doing my best to learn so I can transform my MarketerGizmo posts into something more visual learners can consume easily.

Artsy types who can design circles around me are going to need to pull out a keyboard and get comfortable writing.

Alternatively, you can also hire to fill gaps in your team’s expertise, but this is often cost-prohibitive.

However you wrangle your people and skills, make sure you can create top-notch content in all the formats that your audience desires.

6. Translating into the Right Language

What it is:

This part is pretty straightforward: people want to consume content in their native language whenever possible.

The right language won’t always be the same for everyone, and that’s why the “How” of this Right gets complicated.

How to do it:

The simplest (and most astronomically expensive) way to do this right is to hire a translation service to immediately create multilingual versions of every single piece of content that you create.

That would be awesome. Raise your hand if you’ve got the budget for that.

Ok, that one person can skip the rest of this section.

Everyone else, we’ve got to get a little creative.

First, you should be 100% sure that your audience wants to consume your content in another language. If you’ve got mostly bilingual customers who aren’t having trouble with the original content, you can get away without translations.

If your product/service is preparing an international push that you need to support with content, make sure language is part of the conversation from the beginning.

Once it’s clear you need some translation, you can pull in some local university students majoring in your chosen language to get a rough version done. Then you can ask your existing international audience to check it for you piece by piece.

This can be done relatively unobtrusively by showing them a sentence or a paragraph of your content in a popup and asking them to translate it (or indicate whether the existing translation is accurate).

Once you’ve got a majority who agrees on the translation you can mark it complete and move on to the next snippet.

For high-volume projects this can be time consuming, and it’s certainly not a quick fix by any means.

It can be a “good enough for now” measure for your most valuable content, however, that can help you get things into the Right language until you can pay for a full translation.

7. Behaving Well on the Right Device

What it is:

Desktop, tablet, phone, phablet, watch, or whatever crazy new thing the kids will be wearing next year — your content needs to show up very nicely and be fun to consume on them all.

To be clear, it can’t wander in with unkempt hair and forget to wipe its feet.

Your content needs to be perfectly pressed and on its best behavior regardless of its location.

Remember, you’re always doing mobile marketing even when you’re not, so make sure your content has the right appearance for all occasions.

How to do it:

A quick way to identify flaws in your content’s behavior is Google’s mobile check, which they’ve setup in advance of their upcoming mobile algorithm update. Your webmaster tools will give you a similar overview.

This check assures compatibility with common mobile devices, and between that and a responsive website design your onsite content should be able to behave well in a mobile environment.

Keep in mind, however, that you’ve got content living out in the world of social media and email too.

You don’t have total control over how it behaves when it’s not under your roof, but regular reviews and tests can give you a reasonable level of confidence in how it looks in all your popular formats in all your Right places.

You Can Get Some Rights Wrong and Still Succeed

Seven rights of content marketing is, admittedly, a lot to take in. For most of us, if we can hit four out of seven we’re doing well.

And in reality, that’s just fine.

We do the best with what we’ve got because we’re marketers, and that’s how we roll.

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Andrea Fryrear
About the Author:

Andrea Fryrear

Andrea loves to dissect marketing buzzwords and fads looking for the pearls of wisdom at their cores. Her favorite topic is agile marketing, which she believes holds the key to a more fulfilling (and less stressful) marketing career for individuals and a more powerful marketing department for business. When not scrutinizing the latest agile methodologies, Andrea can be found on the volleyball court, at the park with her two delightful kids, or baking “calorie-free” cookies. Connect with her on Twitter @AndreaFryrear, or on LinkedIn.

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