Being a Content “Player” – Here’s how You do That
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere. Content is almost smothering us. Everyone has a blog; everyone one has social media platforms with more content; article forums are filled to the brim with it. Everyone’s email box is littered with messages from every company they have every purchased as much as a toothbrush from.
And many businesses are giving up their content marketing efforts because they just aren’t competing well. They are going back to outbound marketing, and making a big mistake. Unless you are Coca-Cola and have that kind of a budget, outbound marketing is costly and not going to appeal to millennials – a group that was responsible for $15 billion of Internet sales in 2014. You need to stay in this game, and you need to become a huge contender in this fight for consumer loyalty. Here are some proven tips to do just that.
Content Begins with a Blog
Yes, you have text on your other website pages, but they are not for content. They are to showcase products and services, to provide a seamless purchasing process, to respond to calls to action, to provide contact information, to capture email subscriptions, and so forth.
These pages are not to provide rich, entertaining, inspirational, or educational content to target audiences. That is the purpose of the blog. Your job is to make your content better than any competitor, so that when you drive people to it through your social media presence, they find exactly what they want and/or need.
Making Your Content Rock
Now that you’ve established that your blog is essential, consider the purposes for every post you publish on it:
- Engage your reader
- Keep your reader there, actually reading
- Develop a Relationship with the reader
- Build trust in your brand
- Have a medium for sharing
- Encourage and provide methods for conversations
This is a tall order. But you can fill it really well if you have developed a target persona, write for that persona, and use all of the tools and resources available to you. Here is your checklist of those elements of a blog post that will be read and shared.
Have you used media whenever and wherever possible?
Readers want information fast and they want to be engaged. Media satisfies a big part of those desires. Whenever you can substitute photos, images, infographics and video for written text, you must. Economy of words of important.
Can Your Reader Interact with Your Post and With You?
Giving the reader something to do within the context of a blog post. Interactive media is a huge new trend. Don’t just design an infographic; let the reader clicks buttons on that infographic which bring up more information; you can even develop interactive videos in which the reader can finish the “story” you are telling; quizzes, surveys, and polls are always engaging, particularly if the results are provide in real time. Contests are always shared. Ask the reader questions and encourage him/her to answer them in the conversation section that will be at the end of each post.
If you want to see a great example of an interactive video, check out Schick Razor’s website; if you want a great example of customer participation, check out ModCloth’s blog and Facebook pages where customers can vote on whether the company should stock a particular piece of clothing or not or participate in a contest to name a new item.
Can You Use Customers as a Part of Your Content?
Tell stories of your customers; ask them to submit photos or videos using your products. Feature them on your blog and also with “teasers” on your social media platforms. Jack Daniels has a great way to use customers. It asks them to submit funny or weird bar stories – stories it then features on its blog. It also solicits photos of the weirdest bar and has a contest to pick the weirdest.
Can You Offer Benefits and Value?
Write a single post that is just a small part of an e-book you have created. Provide a link to a landing page on your site for a free download. Offer discounts if readers will share your post before they are sent over to retrieve them. Value comes from the content itself. Does every post provide important information, a how to, great entertainment, or lots of inspiration? These are the posts that get shared and that develop a trusting relationship with readers; these are the posts that spread your brand.
Do You Have the Catchiest Titles in Your Niche?
The title and the first sentence are the most important parts of a post. There are lot of tools for generating great titles. Use them, even if you have to buy the premium package to get the better ones. Title can first lines keep readers where you want them – reading and then sharing. If your blog isn’t getting shared, begin to investigate why with the titles and first lines. You can have the most hilarious or most informative post out there, but if the title isn’t right, it won’t be read.
Does Your Content Beat Your Competitors’?
Use a tool like Buzzsumo for some good spy work. Type in competitors’ URL’s and it will provide you with their most popular blog posts. Access those posts, study them, and then write a post on the same topic that is even better. Check their Tweets that advertise those posts and get the followers. Contact those followers and tell them you noticed they were interest in that topic and they might want to link over to your post that has additional information on the topic.
Are You Posting Consistently?
If you don’t stay with the schedule that your readers expect, they’ll bounce and not come back. You have let them down, and their loyalty is not damaged.
Are You Keeping the Language and Sentences Simple?
No one wants to read long complex sentences during which they lose track of the point; no one wants to struggle with vocabulary. Write at an early middle school level, and check the age range with a tool like Read-able.com.
Do You Have a Cause that You are Promoting?
If not, get one that is near and dear to you and make it near and dear to your readers too. Offer a donation for every purchase they make. Get photos of you participating in events. Really push this cause on social media too. You’ll become a business that is not only doing good and thus a business that I trustworthy.
These are just a few items/tips for making your content desirable. Remember, sales come from people who know you and your brand, and who trust you. They follow your blog and social media pages because you engage them.