Creating content is not for the faint-hearted. It takes guts and a keen understanding of what people want to be effective in driving traffic to your business. All content creators have asked themselves the same question, often more than once: How will I engage my audience, so they will keep coming back for more? In fact, if you haven’t asked yourself this question at least once, you aren’t taking your job seriously!
It isn’t easy to create content that excites and entertains. A recent study by Zazzle Media found that 65% of companies surveyed found producing engaging content a challenge while 60% admitted to struggling to produce content consistently. So you are in the same boat with more than half of the companies trying to keep up with content demand.
However, there are some tips that can help you start to create an online persona that will appeal to your target audience.
Know Your Channels
Today, many companies make the mistake of focusing too much on one content channel. In fact, you need to address a bevy of content channels. Figure out which ones suit your needs and create content that works across all of them.
Your basic content channels include:
- Blogging: Blogging is essential because it helps with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts while providing important information that you can share across other channels, especially social media.
- Social media: You need to use social media because it can help create a community of followers where comments can actually lead to further content ideas. Also, the all-important ‘social share’ enables you to find more followers and helps improve your SEO at the same time as a bonus.
- Video: Video marketing can put a face to your brand. It can also drive awareness and generate sales leads by offering a personal way to engage with potential customers.
- Ebooks and resources: Providing more in-depth informational content works in two ways. First, it helps showcase your expertise. And second, you can use it as a lead generation tool with a call to action (CTA) to contact you in order to receive a free ebook or white paper.
You should have a number of things in common with your audience. One of the most important things is curiosity. Obviously, the reason people are seeking out information is to learn, and this learning is often driven by curiosity. As a content creator, you have to remain curious about not only what is happening in the industry but what is happening to your audience. We live in a far more dynamic world where opinions change at the drop of a hat.
Also, social issues continue to be brought to the forefront of the business world. Consider the impact of the #MeToo movement and the challenges that companies face to remain socially and environmentally responsible.
You have to continue to research and read every day, so you don’t miss out on any opportunities that might present an idea to create a unique spin on a tired old story your competitors are telling. Subscribe to industry newsletters, follow thought leaders on LinkedIn, and pursue other leads that will provide you with inspiration for the content you create. Staying curious keeps your content fresh, organic, and unique.
Choose Some Champions
Finding inspiration should always be on your daily list of to-dos. Getting to know the thought leaders in your industry helps you understand what content will attract people. You can also go beyond your industry and look for companies that are in general doing things right.
When it comes to blogging, you can ask others to help you build your online presence. Guest blogging can prove to be an excellent way to keep content interesting by introducing a new voice and perspective occasionally. Buffer, a social media management company, has been gaining new audiences using guest bloggers. It also features blogs about success stories for clients, industry updates, and tips. And it is active on social media with more than one million followers across all of its channels.
HubSpot, a leading content provider, is another excellent example of content done right with an estimated 25 million visitors each month. It uses a number of tactics, but its win is that its content is high quality with useful, in-depth information. It also doesn’t just focus on blogging but provides an entire list of resources on its site, including:
- Free courses and certifications
- Research and reports
- Ebooks, guides, and more
People doing it well also have shortcuts that save themselves time. For example, Glossier leverages user-generated content from its followers and customers on its social media pages. By posting comments about its company on its social media pages, Glossier looks good, makes the customers who are featured happy, and reduces the need to be writing its own content. With one million followers, Glossier is certainly onto something!
Influencers in your own industry and community can really boost your social media efforts, especially on Instagram. Because Instagram is built around like-minded people, it enables you to leverage relationships with followers. In fact, it is not surprising that Instagram itself is the number one Instagram account. By sharing the best of the best, Instagram has forged relationships, providing it with a never-ending line of posts that are almost self-generating.
In the B2B industry, General Electric (GE) has also done very well in its wind turbine, jet engine, and locomotive markets using the influencer strategy. It worked with six Instagram influencers and several superfans who toured its manufacturing facility. The pictures they uploaded, along with hashtagging, created astounding results with 8 million views and 3,000 new followers. This mini event is also a good example of how using experiential marketing can contribute to creative approaches that generate stories and news to share on social media.
If you feel you have created a winning piece of noteworthy content, look for influencers who are likely to share that sentiment. BuzzSumo is an excellent tool that you can access by setting up a free subscription. The site enables you to find people who:
- Tend to share content similar to yours.
- Have a good-sized audience following content like yours.
Include Visual Content
Images are essential across all channels as they attract attention and have been proven to increase views, shares, and ‘favoriting’. According to content expert Jeff Bullas, including images as part of your content offers the following benefits:
There are 94% more total article views.
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.
- Engagement rate on Facebook for photos translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text.
Also, a study conducted by Stone Temple found that a tweet with an image or video has 68% more chance of being retweeted and a 74% chance of being favorited. Get creative with your visual content and look for images that might amuse, inspire, or excite viewers. Aspirational photos have proven to be just the ticket for Intrepid Traveler, which posts a combination of its own aspirational photos and Facebook travel images. This constant display of happy wanderers has gained the company close to half a million followers on Facebook alone!
Top Killer-Content Tips
Creating unique content that thrills and entertains is hard enough, but don’t forget about your business goals. Here are some general tips that will keep you creating cutting-edge content, without losing focus:
- Stay the course: Make sure everything you write is first and foremost focused on your business goals, and then give it some personality. Humor goes a long way to keeping things interesting while remaining relevant. Personality makes your business human and relatable.
- Become a teacher: If your content is entertaining but not educational, it really will miss the mark. Make sure that what you say provides useful information that is accessible while also allowing your expertize to shine through.
- Keep up with your customers: Constantly learn about your customers, so you don’t lose them. As mentioned, we live in a dynamic society with changing moods, views, and technology influencing your audience every day.
- Expand your channels: By using different channels, you can speak to your audience in the way they prefer. Some like video while others just need a quick image and some text. Leverage your blogs by posting links on your social media pages with clever insights to encourage further reading. Video is often overlooked because not everyone wants to be a YouTube star. However, nothing allows you to bring your business to life more than a chatty video offering genuine personality and a face to your brand.
- Get disruptive: Sometimes you have to go against the grain to get conversions. By challenging common thoughts and perceptions, you can start conversations and get people thinking about new ways of doing things.
- Include interviews: Don’t get stuck in a rut! Use your creativity to dig deep and find a story to tell, even if it’s about HVAC repair. Interview customers or your cleaning team to add more human elements to your blogs.
- Mine jump-off content: Look back at your own blogs and find information that might be outdated. Mine this content to bring new thoughts while encouraging readership of older material.
Remember, creativity is at the core of good content! Creativity does not just mean finding the right words for your content but using channels in unique ways and using unique ways to take advantage of all the resources at your disposal.