Content is the fuel that drives our marketing efforts, but constantly looking for new topics that are both informative and engaging is one of the biggest marketing pain points we experience here at our agency. It's not enough to just write and publish content on a regular basis. Your content needs to be targeted and solve your audience's problems as well as give them a reason to keep coming back.
By leveraging a combination of tools, research and empathy, finding the right type of content to create doesn't have to be such a hassle. Good content should flow naturally and not be forced. It should be grounded in sound research and meet the user's expectations. So let's break down each one of these "musts" and some tools and tips to help us deliver the goods!
Like any other form of communication, how you deliver your content is just as important as what you are communicating. If you have great information but share it in a way that is choppy and disconnected, your audience will struggle to engage with you.
When many people sit down to write, they struggle to find flow. This comes from fear. We believe we don't have anything to say and that no one wants to hear what we have to say. I've struggled with this fear myself. But as I continued to write, I began to find my voice and my confidence rose. I saw that people did care about what I had to say and this gave me more of a reason to invest in my writing skills.
The key to getting into a flow is learning to be yourself. Authenticity can take ordinary content and make it extraordinary. The difficult thing about learning to be authentic is that you have to be OK with you. You need to embrace your voice and be bold enough to take a step into the world with it. For some helpful tips on learning to write with authenticity, check out this article.
Grounded in Research
Content that is backed by research is trustworthy. Building trust is key to earning and retaining your audience. In a world full of data, a simple Google search can reveal tons of information that you can use to verify your content.
Now, just because you read it online doesn't mean it's true. Take your time and make sure that you find reliable sources. Google has even rolled out a fact-checking tool to help fight fake news and information in search.
One thing I have done when researching content is to look at content I read and trust and see where they go for information. I typically try to stay with sites that have a good reputation and are known for getting the facts right. To learn more about developing good fact-based content check out this post.
Creating content your users want to read begins and ends with them. You are creating that content to educate, entertain and engage your audience so everything you do should have them at the center. This means you need to start by defining and getting to know who you are writing for.
Creating buyer personas and then using what you learn to connect empathetically will lead to more connected and user-centric content. While there are many tools out there to help you create personas, I created a template that goes much deeper than demographics and gets the emotional level as well. You can download your copy of our buyer personal template here.
After you get an idea of who you are writing for, you can then turn your attention to what you should write about. Coming up with topics can be hard, but there are some great tools out there that help you uncover real questions from real users across the web.
Bloomberry is a great new tool from the team that brings us Buzzsumo. What sets this tool apart is that it is focused on sales-related questions. This tool can help you learn and uncover users' pain points during the sales process. These insights will help you create content around those pain points and solve real world problems.
Another great tool is Answerthepublic.com. With this tool, you can search your target keyword or phrase and it will pull questions that users have typed into search. Again, this tool helps you find and answer questions from real users. When a user has a problem and you can solve it with your content or service, you'll have something people actually want to read.
Content marketing isn't rocket science, but it does require planning, strategy, research, and empathy. By learning who your audience is you will be able to create content just for them. Make sure that you base your assumptions on facts and don't be afraid to be yourself. You have a voice, all you need to do is use it.
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
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