Creating new content may be one of the most time-consuming tasks on your promotional agenda. Even if you hire writers, you have to find time to edit and vet the work, post it on your site and promote it on social media. It might seem like easy work, but unless you’re highly organized and skilled, you may find your results a bit flat.
At the heart of any content marketing campaign is excellent articles your audience wants to read. You have to grab the reader from the first word and keep their interest until the call to action (CTA). Writing great content is about so much more than just excellent grammar and an opening hook.
According to Statista, approximately 97 zetabytes of data gets created each year. Experts predict the number will reach 181 zettabytes by 2025. What exactly is a zettabyte? A zettabyte is a measurement of storage capacity and is worth about one sextillion bytes. The massive amounts of content going online each and every day is almost immeasurable at this point.
With so much content going up each day, how can you stand out from the crowd? It all starts with worthwhile content and understanding your audience’s expectations. Your content should not only meet but exceed what users expect from you. Here are the best ways to ensure your posts are ones your users care about.
What are the pain points your users deal with? How can you solve those problems through your content? For example, if you sell wedding favors, a pain point might be that the busy bride is on a budget but doesn’t have time to create individual favors. Where is the balance between helping a bride without much money and getting them to order from your business?
You might write articles about making wedding favors on a budget, how you can buy some for the family table only or asking your family and friends to give you favors at your bridal shower. Think through how to solve the problem and answer the pain point via your content.
While it’s always smart to add a CTA to your content, every article doesn’t have to sell your products. Some can be geared toward other things your target audience cares about.
Community-driven content helps you gather excellent interaction from those who know your brand best. Around 93% of marketers believe user-generated content (UGC) creates more trust between brands and consumers.
Host an event for your VIP customers. Ask them to use a particular hashtag and share photos and posts to social media, video platforms and on their blogs. The more buzz your UGC creates, the more new leads you’ll gather.
One issue a lot of business owners run into is that they have deep knowledge of their industry. Every article turns into an ebook covering all the ins and outs of a topic. However, users tend to want the answer to a very focused question.
Remember the junior high report you had to write? Your teacher likely kept telling you to narrow your focus. Writing great content requires similar slashing. Keep reducing the title down until you have the exact thing you most want to talk about.
It’s better to write several smaller articles than a huge one that covers everything ever known by humans about your industry.
In journalism classes, they teach that the average person reads at around a sixth to eighth grade level. Keep your language concise and stay away from terms people might have to look up in a dictionary. Most people won’t bother looking up a bunch of lofty words. They’ll leave your site and find a writer who can get the point across without sounding overbearing.
Tools such as Hemmingway allow you to run your work through a wizard and find out the reading level and any issues you might want to fix to better engage your readers.
Testimonials and reviews may not be your go-to content, but they can be quite effective tools in selling your brand to others. Around 97% of online shoppers read reviews before they buy from a business for the first time. You can post testimonials on your website and even share on social media.
Utilize varying reviews, such as one about your great customer services and another about the quality of your products. Don’t be afraid to let your regular customers use their own language for authenticity. Focus on how you solved a problem for the client.
Most people use their smartphones to browse the internet at least part of the time. Others are simply in a hurry and want content they can skim quickly. Write for easy and quick access. Break big paragraphs into smaller ones, add in bullet points and use subheadings to set the topic for each section.
If someone skims over the article, do they have an idea of the main idea and several main points? While you want to dig deeper, understand that some readers will never move past the first few words of each paragraph. If someone only reads the first three words of each paragraph or even just the subheadings, will they understand the gist of your article?
While content traditionally involves posts and articles on a topic, don’t rule out videos as another way to share content and get your point across. The more topics you cover that are pain points for your users, the more likely you are to attract your target audience and make a sell.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.