Not all content is created equally. You can’t just start writing and see what happens if you want to create successful content.
To make the most of the time and money you invest in creating resources to attract your customers, make sure each piece of content you create hits the mark on these 10 points.
1. Speak to the Right Audience
Before writing a single word, make sure you know exactly who you’re writing for.
A solid understanding of your ideal customer ensures you know why they need your product or service, what they’re already using, why they’re reluctant to purchase or switch, and so on.
You can use this information to appeal to your audience while also highlighting features and benefits of your product compared to your competition.
Take the time to develop a customer avatar or buyer persona for each segment of your target audience.
If you’ve already got an existing customer base, use your analytics software to learn as much as you can about the people who are visiting your website and the people who are buying from you.
If you find they aren’t who you’d thought they’d be, make adjustments to your content strategy accordingly.
2. Be Optimized for Search & Social
While it’s true your content should be written for the reader first and search engines second, any content you produce – except for something that’s gated – needs be optimized for search and social media.
You can spend thousands on paid ads, but wouldn’t it be lovely if you didn’t have to pay for every single lead?
When crafting content, weave keywords in naturally where appropriate to increase the likelihood that your prospective customers will find you from the search engines and on social media.
Remember, Facebook is a search engine in its own right.
3. Provide Value
Give your readers something of value with every piece of content you create.
Do more than use content to promote your own products and services.
Even when you curate content to share with your audience as part of your content marketing strategy, you can add value with your own commentary.
If your readers don’t see value in what you’re sharing, they’ll ignore you.
4. Tell a Story
Telling a story isn’t always possible with every piece of content, but the more you can do it, the better.
Not only does it add value because it provides the reader with context and meaning about why you chose to write the content, but it gives you a way to connect with your readers on a human level.
Even though most, if not all, of your clients will never see you in person, we all still crave that human connection.
Tell your readers something they need to know, whether it’s about your product or service directly, or related to your industry.
You can do this with virtually any kind of content imaginable, including:
- Blog posts.
- White papers.
- Case studies.
Teach your readers something they want to know.
Show them how to use your product or service.
Explain how your offering solves a problem.
Education doesn’t have to be front and center of every piece you create. However, you want your audience to learn why you are the best and why they should choose you – without constantly being promotional.
Engaged readers are those who pay attention to your content, and are actually “listening” to what you’re saying.
How can you engage your readers?
- Speak directly to them.
- Ask questions.
- Use a consistent voice across all your content.
Sure, you’re not going to engage every single person who reads your content because some will jive better with your style than others, but aiming to grab and hold attention is essential.
No matter what stage of the funnel your reader is in, your content should be positioned to persuade them to take some kind of action.
If readers are in the first stages of connecting with you, the content should persuade them to learn more about your brand, and if they’ve been interacting with you for a while, it should persuade and perhaps even motivate them to convert to a customer.
All the content you create should be targeted toward a certain stage of your sales process, but especially pieces at the beginning and end.
Using a technique known as “pre-suasion” in your content primes your audience to convert.
With this technique, you’re getting your audience to agree with your message before you even convey it – through the power of positioning. You do this with the visuals you add to your content, the phrases you use, placing the most important detail directly in front of your reader, and understanding your appeal.
If you want to make someone feel more comfortable, use light and cheery imagery.
Avoid evoking fear. People are naturally risk averse. It’s important to do everything you can to appease prospects.
Using phrases such as: “money back guarantee” and “free trial” let people know that they can try it without any financial risk, which reduces fear associated with making a purchase from you.
9. Be Optimized for Conversion
Persuasion is part of the conversion optimization process, but there’s a bit more to consider.
Your content should always include a call to action that tells your readers exactly what you want them to do next. The most obvious CTA should be to make a purchase, but it’s not always appropriate.
- For a blog post, instead of asking your readers to make a purchase, you use a CTA to encourage them to visit other resources, or leave a comment on your post.
- For a video, encourage readers to like it and subscribe to your channel, or to watch another video in the series.
Conversion optimization is about creating a positive user experience and making it as easy as possible for your visitor to become a customer.
In terms of content that means:
- Using a readable font size.
- Formatting the content so that’s easily scannable.
- Using a contrast that makes the content easy to see.
If the content is hard to read, do you think your visitors will make it down to the CTA to even convert?
10. Be Distributed Correctly
Content marketing relies on the proper distribution of your content.
If you aren’t using channels where you know your audience can be found, or using methods you know will get your content in front of them, then what’s the point?
Your content can be perfect, but if it doesn’t get seen by those who need to see it, is it really the investment you think it is?
What’s great about content marketing is you can use a story to add value, inform, educate, and even persuade.
Writing content that aligns with your strategy doesn’t have to be an overly complex endeavor.