In our last article, I explained why content marketing is extremely valuable to use for your business.
But, just because you realize using content marketing to engage your audience is important, that doesn’t mean you know how to create that content.
This article focuses on how to create content that hooks your audience in and keeps your company top of mind.
1. Establish a Voice That Speaks to Your Audience.
Creating the “voice” of your company helps to connect to potential clients and customers that are ideal for your brand. Whether you’re the person doing all of the content creation for your business, or you have a team that works on that, it’s imperative that you’re very clear about the voice of your content, and consistent about using that same voice across all channels.
To start, it’s helpful to identify who your ideal audience is. One way to do this is by creating a customer avatar, which is the person who represents those in your target market. To create a customer avatar, you should answer as many identifying questions about your ideal client as possible. Digital Marketer has a great customer avatar checklist you can use to help with this process. Click here to access that checklist.
Once you’ve established your customer avatar, you need to understand how they speak and what they connect to. What other websites are they reading? If your ideal customer is a single mom who works from home, take a look at blogs she may read and start to understand the terminology and writing structure those sites use.
Another way to research this is to look at forums that your ideal customer would post in. Do they write very formally with technical language, or is it a bit more casual?
Based on this research you can begin to create your voice. Here are a few things to consider when establishing your voice:
- Do you write in first person or third person?
- Does your content include personal stories, or is it strictly professional?
- What vocabulary are you going to use when referring to things in your business? Are there some things that the terminology can differ on?
- What will your format be? Do you use bold, italics, or both to stress a point?
- How do you break up your blog content?
- What kind of images will you use?
- Do you use any slang, or is all of your writing more formal?
- What is the format of your social media posts?
2. Create Really Really Ridiculously Good Content
Derek Zoolander may not have understood how to create a center for kids who can’t read good, but he knew how to be a male model.
The same goes for content. You may not know everything about marketing and conversion, but you understand your product or service and when it comes to creating content about it, your content needs to be really good.
Make sure the articles, videos, and images you create have a clear purpose every single time. Ask yourself, “Why am I creating this?” If it doesn’t educate, entertain, or engage your audience you should probably rethink it.
3. Write Catchy Headlines
One my favorite movies growing up was the Disney musical film Newsies, starring a very young, pre-Batman, Christian Bale. The movie was all about the days of William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer and the use of yellow journalism. Basically, the newspapers of the time would put out papers with extremely catchy headlines, even if they had nothing to do with the truth behind the article.
While I definitely don’t recommend going to the extreme of yellow journalism, there’s no question that writing catchy headlines is key to producing good content. Your headlines should absolutely reflect what is actually in your article, but should do so in a way that makes the content sound enticing and lets your audience know that your article is worth taking the time to read.
Headlines that include numbers, address the reader directly (i.e. use “you”), and contain active word choices do really well.
For example, for the headline of this article I started with the title “Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing”. While this would have been a fair representation of what this article is about, it’s not very exciting.
Instead, I answer the question “how many ways” and use active verbs so readers understand exactly what the goal of this article is. “5 Ways to Energize Your Content Marketing” is a much catchier headline than the original, but still delivers on the promise of what’s included in the article.
4. Add Videos & Images
“A picture says a thousand words” might be one of the most cliché sayings out there, but there’s a reason it has hung around this long.
Photos and videos are hugely engaging when it comes to content, which is why platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have become so successful. It’s also the reason you can play videos directly from your Facebook feed.
Images can be created as standalone content or as a way to enhance a blog post or article you’ve written. According to Hubspot.com, not only does content that contains relevant images get 94% more views than content without images, but people also remember the content for longer. In fact, when people hear information they are only likely to remember 10% of that information 3 days later. But, if that information is paired with a relevant image, they’re likely to remember 65% of the information.
If you’re taking the time to create important content, you want to make sure that people read it and remember it. Adding images helps to make that happen.
The same type of statistics hold true for video content. An article from Insivia.com presents 50 stats about using video marketing. And one stat, from Unbounce, says that including a video on your landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
When it comes to livening up your content marketing, including photos and video is a no-brainer.
5. Switch Up Your Format
Nobody wants to read the same article, or type of article, over and over again. It just gets flat-out boring. That’s why varying the format of your blog content is extremely important for increasing and maintaining engagement.
Here are a few article formats that can help you change it up:
- Listicles – You’ve seen these. These are lists that are used to engage or educate your audience. Think, “10 Email Ideas: Use One of These When You Have Writer’s Block” or “10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch.” These types of articles are great because they’re engaging and shareable.
- Resource Roundups – These articles put together a bunch of resources in one place. Audiences love these because it saves them time on research. For example, our article on “The Top 10 SEO Tools Every Small Business Should Be Using” helps small businesses get started with SEO without having to research each individual tool themselves, which helps to save time.
- Stat Roundups – People love when ideas are backed up by numbers and that’s why stats roundups are so great– you’re able to back up why people should use your product or services. Our article “9 Stats That Prove Email Marketing Is Not Dead” showed the value of email marketing, and then we were able to finish the article with an offer for a $7 email marketing guide. The stats help people see why the guide is important.
- How-To Articles – Remember, a key goal of content marketing is to educate your audience with valuable information. How-To articles offer the perfect opportunity to do that.
- Quote Roundups – The goal of these types of articles is mostly to entertain your audience, but depending on the quotes you pick, you can also educate them as well. Some great examples are “101 Best Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs” or “51 Quotes to Inspire Success in Your Life and Business.” These types of articles are also very shareable on social media and drive a lot of traffic.
Want to Make Sure Your Content Generates Traffic?
Before you invest in content development, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re following SEO fundamentals. That way, you can ensure you’ll actually generate traffic from all of the content you’re creating.