The Difference Between Normal & Delightful Content

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What makes one article, image, video or podcast delightful and another fall flat? While it often seems like some mysterious touch of divine inspiration separates the two, the answer is actually pretty simple.

Delightful content is content that knows its audience. It’s content that understands what its audience expects – and then delivers a relevant and helpful message that goes above and beyond that expectation.

To quote Moz wunderkind Rand Fishkind, it’s “10x content” or content that’s ten times better than anything else on the subject.

To skin the cat one more way, delightful content is stylish and sleek. It doesn’t just get the job done – it gets it done well. It’s James Bond compared to anyone else in a tuxedo. It’s, well, delightful.

A few of my favorite examples of content that delights, in no particular order, are:

  • Whiteboard Friday – I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I hear the words “Howdy Moz fans and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday.”
  • The Hustle – a daily email for young entrepreneurs with just the right amount of sass.
  • The Middle Finger Project – a wonderful blog and project from Ash Ambirge about copywriting and life in general. Also contains large amounts of sass.

Just How Do You Create Delightful Content?


While the answer can be summed up by saying figure out what’s missing in a particular content vertical and fill that gap, that’s not too helpful, right? It certainly isn’t actionable in any way.

Creating delightful and surprising content can be as simple as the following three-step process: brainstorm, creation and data-driven insight. Let’s take a brief look at each step and, in doing so, create a template for producing delight.


This is the hardest part of the content creation process. It’s sitting down, researching, thinking, banging your head against the keyboard, coming up with an idea, thinking you’ve struck gold, realizing something better already exists, falling into an existential crisis, and on and on and on.

The point here is to:

  • Figure out what your content looks like (is it written, visual, video, interactive, audio?)
  • Figure out what form it’s going to take (list, quiz, meme, podcast?)
  • Figure out what it’s about (marketing, sales, customer service, elephants?)
  • And finally figure out what makes it delightful (length, depth, style, production?)

To put it another way, the brainstorming phase is all about research. Find out what content already exists for whatever vertical you’re aiming for. Find out what form that content takes. Find out who’s already producing it, what their link profile looks like and how trusted their brand is.

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After you’ve done your brainstorming, it’s time to get creating. Often this means sitting down and writing, designing, or recording. Sometimes it means consulting with an agency or freelancer.

Whatever form the creation stage takes, it’s important to remember that this is just that – creation.

You can create something amazing…and it may still flop. That’s where the final stage of crafting delightful content enters the picture.

Data-Driven Insight


You’ve produced your content and distributed it. Now let’s look at some numbers. The key players here are going to be Google Analytics and a third-party social media monitoring tool.

Google Analytics shows you exactly how much traffic your content is generating, how users are interacting with your content (how they found it, how long they’re spending on that particular page, where they’re going after, etc.), and so much more.

With social media monitoring, you’ll be able to see on a granular level how your content’s performing. You’ll be able to see who’s liking it, sharing it and commenting on it.

Depending on which tool you use, you’ll even be able to segment audiences and share different content to different audiences. Pretty cool, right?

More importantly – you’ll be able to see who’s clicking. After all, social chatter is nice, but if your goal is to produce delightful content, you’re going to want people actually reading it!

Whichever tool you use, you’ll get a detailed look at how your content’s performing on social. Through this type of data insight, you’ll be able to figure out if your content’s really delightful.

Not only will delightful content capture the attention of your audience, but they’ll be rabid for more. It’s an investment of time and energy, but it doesn’t take all that much money to pull off.

Simple to talk about and much harder to execute, delightful content is a smart move whichever way you look at it.

David Greenspan is the Creative Director at TM34 Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency. Prior to starting TM34, he worked for years in the addiction treatment industry, helping to build and grow several brands including the oldest private alcoholism treatment center in the country, Malvern Institute.


Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3


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