Content marketing seems so simple, doesn’t it? Once your strategy is set, all you have to do is write. And writing is easy – we learned to do it in third grade. Everyone can do it.

But here’s an obvious truth to which many people turn a blind eye – very few can write well (or as they might say, write good).

It’s a significant challenge that stops many would-be content marketers dead in their tracks; it’s one of several hurdles identified in the IDG study on content marketing that came out last week. Creating a steady stream of engaging content is not easy, but there are definite requirements for executing a content strategy.

Here are the ingredients your audience is looking for:

Compelling storytelling

We start at the highest level; this can be very difficult even for seasoned marketers. Facts are important, but the ability to bring drama and emotion and to weave a story in a B2B business article is what ultimately breaks through. Real life examples and analogies to current events and pop culture can make a story jump. More importantly, they make your story memorable.

Originality

Content curation has its place, and is a valuable service for your audience; by becoming a clearinghouse for industry-oriented information, you let your audience know that you want them to have the best information and that there’s no pride of ownership. But simply curating content is limiting. In order to position your organization as a thought leader, you must put forth some original thinking.

Relevancy

A lot of organizations fill their social media feeds with what they think they’re supposed to be talking about – weekend plans, the Big Game, or the latest movie. If you’re a B2B organization, talking about weekend plans is off-message. If your blog is focused on your thoughts on tangential topics, you’re off-message. Provide value to your audience by being relevant to their business.

Professional writing

you need someone who understands story structure, who understands journalism’s inverted pyramid and understands the basics of grammar. These seemingly antiquated notions are important to effectively deliver your message.

Written for SEO

In this day and age, there’s no reason to write about something just because you feel like it. It’s easy to use Google and other tools to figure out what the audience is interested in. To avoid this critical component of editorial research is just willful ignorance.