Creating engaging content can be a difficult task for any marketer. However, there are several steps that you can take to ensure your content experiences the most success possible. To get the best return from the time and resources invested in an attempt to attract customers, try to create each piece of content with these nine points in mind.
Before you even begin writing, you should know WHO you are writing for and center the content around a topic that will peak their interest. Having a comprehensive understanding of your target audience will allow content to speak to their unique needs and interests. By targeting content at a particular group, you can highlight specific benefits and information that will be relevant to them.
One can target content at their audience by utilizing buyer personas for each segment of their target audience. Also, website analytics can be used to see who is visiting your site and viewing your content.
Half the challenge of content marketing is getting an audience to consume the content. In addition to writing directly to a specific audience, you can use search optimization to make your content more discoverable.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy to have your original content rank higher in search results. It is used by individuals and organizations to increase the visibility of their content. It has become so common that an industry of “growth hackers” and “SEO gurus” has developed to help businesses rank higher in search results.
SEO has proven to bring results. Keywords, the quality of the content, how much activity the website that hosts the content experiences, and several other factors contribute to the success of SEO efforts. Another form of optimization is Social Media Optimization (SMO). SMO deals with increasing your business’ visibility and improving your reputation using social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Successful content needs to be written for the audience first, with optimization in the back of your mind throughout the process. You put in the effort to create valuable, high-performing content. SEO and SMO will make it easily discoverable by members of the intended audience.
Perhaps the most important question to ask about content is “Does it provide value to the intended audience?” You can provide value in many ways. To provide value, you should educate, entertain or solve a problem your audience might be having. Your content should not only be used to promote your services. It should be created to benefit your audience. If the target audience does not see value in what you are sharing, they will ignore you.
To learn more about providing value through content, take a look at our article: The One Thing You Need To Include in Your Newsletter. Newsletters are just like any other form of content; they need to be a valuable use of the reader’s’ time.
Tells a Story
Storytelling is among the most effective methods for communicating information. The way stories speak to the human brain is unique, effectively motivating action centers within the brain. This phenomenon does not occur with any other methods of communicating information. It might not always be possible to tell a story through your content, but the more you can do it, the more value you can add to your content marketing efforts.
To learn more about how to tell engaging stories in your business, our article: The Power of Storytelling in the Business World examines why storytelling can be a great tool for businesses to communicate information to their audience.
Your content should be somewhat educational for your audience. There is little point in simply rehashing information that the user already knows. Content should have the purpose of informing your readers about something they need to know about your product, service, business or industry. You can educate your audience with any content imaginable.
Content written well below your audience’s level of knowledge may offend them, pushing them away from your website and towards your competitors.
Capturing your audience’s attention is a difficult task, something that many content marketers struggle with on a daily basis. You want to captivate the attention of your readers, so they become engaged with the message. Engaged users are members of your audience who actively pay attention to your content. Those users are “listening” to what you are saying.
How can you captivate an audience? Some tactics go a long way towards engaging your readers. By speaking directly to your audience, asking them questions and using a consistent tone of voice, you can engage and captivate your readers. Content should always aim to grab and hold the attention of an audience.
Your content needs to find a way to get in front of the of members of your target audience. One way for that to happen is by creating highly shareable content. You need to distribute content through channels where you know you can find your audience. At the very least you should use digital channels where you know your content can get in front of the users with interest.
If your content is flawless but doesn’t get seen, is it as valuable as it should be? Writing content that aligns with your business strategy does not have to be an overly complicated endeavor. Just create a website that can host your content (a blog or resources section) and share that content across various social platforms, email and other relevant forums.
If your audience can find your content, and that content is high-quality, then they will share it with other individuals. Thus, spreading the reach of your content.
Regardless of which stage of the buyer’s journey the reader is in, your content should aim to motivate action. If the reader is in the early stages of the purchase cycle, your content should convince them to learn more about your brand (or products/services). If they are in the later legs of the journey, it should persuade or motivate them to take that next step, finally becoming a customer. Target every piece of content towards a particular stage of the sales process with a focus on the beginning and ending stages.
A technique exists called pre-suasion, which means priming your audience to convert to customers using content. This method positions your message so that before you even deliver it, the audience already agrees. “Pre-suasion” involves using visuals, phrasing, how you order details in the content and understanding why your brand (or content) appeals to customers. The book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert Cialdini, examines how effective persuasion does not lie in the message itself, but in the critical moment right before the delivery of that message. Persuasive content can lead to conversions, helping you gain customers and grow your business.
What’s the end goal of content marketing? It’s likely to attract profitable customers to your business. That’s why it’s important for your content to contain a call-to-action CTA. That CTA does not have to motivate a purchase, that is not always appropriate, but a good marketer will always include a call-to-action.
That might mean asking your audience to like, comment, share or retweet your content on social media. The CTA might encourage the audience to visit other resources or to subscribe to your newsletter or Youtube channel. Regardless of what you want to motivate, your content should nudge the audience into the next step of the journey. For more information on creating CTA’s, read our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action for Financial Advisors.
If your content has these nine characteristics, and you aim to consistently create content that engages and converts your audience into customers, your content marketing efforts can lead to fantastic success.