Essential content: How to win likes and influence savvy audiences

OR: The Essential Content Hall of Fame

Blog posts, videos and social media posts are great implements for marketers to have in their toolbox.

But if you really want to boost traffic to your site, you’ll need to aim higher.

Essential content, as its name implies, isn’t just useful or helpful – it’s essential.

Essential content can be anything. But in most cases it refers to an interactive tool that is essential for audiences in completing regular tasks, learning a new skill or optimizing their work.

Looking for inspiration for your own essential content?

Then look no further than Banfield’s very own Essential Content hall of fame.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

What it is

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer allows you to input headlines you are considering for blog posts and other pieces of internet content.

The Headline Analyzer promises to “score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.”

It provides an analysis based on:

  • The type of words you use in the headline (common, uncommon, emotional, power)
  • The length of the headline
  • An analysis of the first and last three words of the headline
  • A keyword and sentiment analysis

For example: Here’s the result for the original headline on this article.

Headline analyzer result for the headline Essential Content Hall of Fame


Here’s what popped up when we came up with another idea.

Headline analyzer result for How to Win Likes and Influence Savvy audiences

But we still needed to get the phrase “essential content” in there, so we settled on this.Headline analyzer result for the phrase "Essential content: How to win likes and influence savvy audiences"


Why it’s great

The logic behind the Headline Analyzer is pretty simple.

People in CoSchedule’s audience – potential buyers for its social media and blogging scheduling tool – regularly write and publish headlines.

The Headline Analyzer is a tool that allows them to make those headlines better while, in the process, letting them know that CoSchedule exists.

It is also used as a key lead generation tool for the company.

Anyone who wants to use the tool has to fill out a form that contains information on the user’s company name, company size, role and important personal contact info.

CoSchedule then uses this information for email outreach and other lead nurturing tactics.

SimpleTax Canadian Income Tax Calculator

What it is

Have you ever tried to calculate how much tax you’re going to owe?

It’s next to impossible.

That’s why SimpleTax, a tax return software tool, has created a tax calculator.

All you need to do is input some key numbers – income, RRSP deductions, dividends – and SimpleTax will tell you how much tax you’re likely to owe.

Why it’s great

SimpleTax’s tax calculator is a great awareness tool.

Anyone looking to figure out their taxes for a given year are likely to stumble across it.

It’s particularly useful for self-employed people, since their tax won’t be automatically deducted from their paycheques.

The tool performs well when it comes to showing up in search engine results.

Punch “tax calculator” into Google and the SimpleTax tax calculator will be one of the first results.

But most importantly, it’s shareable. Anyone in the company’s massive target market – people completing their taxes – who finds the tool useful is likely to pass it on to their friends and family members.

CBSA’s Duty and Taxes Estimator

What it is

If you’ve ever ordered something from overseas or the United States, you know that duty charges will be one of the great unknowns through the entire process.

You know it’s coming, but you have no idea how much it will be.

That’s why the CBSA, the Canadian federal government department responsible for border security, designed the Duty and Taxes Estimator to help people calculate how much duty they’ll owe if they order something online.

All you need to do is fill out a few inputs showing where you live, what you’re purchasing and how much you’re paying.

Why it’s great

Think government departments can’t also create essential content?

The CBSA proves otherwise.

The Duty and Taxes Estimator is a piece of essential content that helps the CBSA’s target audience, Canadian citizens, calculate something that matters to them.

It also helps to show Canadians how the government can be more transparent by helping bring the inner workings of something like duty and taxes out into the open.

Google Trends

What it is

Google Trends is one of the original pieces of essential content , and it helped Google build its internet empire.

Users can punch in a phrase and see how frequently it’s been searched on Google, as well as how that trend has changed over time.

Why it’s great

Google Trends has become the definitive tool for anyone who wants to leverage some of the data Google collects on people via its search engine.

It’s an essential tool for anyone publishing content online.

However, it can also be useful for anyone looking to learn more about how interest in a topic has ebbed and flowed over time.

Moz Check My Business Listing

What it is

Ever wanted to know how your organization appears in local search results?

The Moz Check My Business Listing shows you what users are seeing when they search for you online.

Why it’s great

Search engine optimization specialists are always looking to see how their pages appear to users on search engine results pages.

That’s particularly true for local search, where businesses can appear on several listings.

TheMoz tool offers you a glimpse of how your page is appearing to local searchers.

It also offers important tips for how to improve your rankings in local search results.


Looking to supercharge traffic to your site and grow your leads?

Essential content is a great tool to have in your arsenal.

The above list should provide inspiration for developing essential content that will matter to your audience.

Mark Brownlee is a digital marketing strategist in Ottawa, Canada.

Illustration by Erin Watson

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