With the advent of digital marketing, organizations today are investing more and more of their time and money in creating and disseminating content. However, like most things that become popular so quickly, not many understand why content, and what kind. For most of them, investing in content means hiring a freelancer off Upwork and giving them a few articles to write in a week.
Which doesn’t work.
“Because good content is not written for mysterious Google bots to increase your SEO, but aimed at a more human-to-human connection.”
So how do you write the right content? Here’s a quick check-list I have compiled for you.
1) Know Your Audience: Who are you writing the content for? Understand your target audience in terms of geography, demography, and characteristics. Lipsticks aimed at 16-year old teenagers will have a different tonality from the software aimed at CTOs of Fortune 500 companies.
You can accomplish this by using social listening tools to understand behavioural patterns, use surveys and calls to take feedback. Most importantly, use content analytics tools to analyze competitors’ content, and see if there’s a pattern in their most popular content. Find out what people like. Tools like Buzzsumo let you find out the most popular content in an industry.
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2) Is your content solving your customer’s challenges?: Messaging today is focused on why the customer should pick you, and why you are better suited to serve his needs as compared to your competitors. But the real question you need to answer with your content is why should they change? Why should they do anything different from what they’ve already been doing?
This is called the Change dialogue. As per research, 74% of a survey responders said they’d give their business to companies who create a buying vision for them. The companies that disrupted their status quo. The ones who could create the “Why Change” dialogue.
3) Use Keywords:
You might have written great content, but it’s useless if people can’t find it.
The general rule of thumb is that if it takes you one hour to write an article, you should spend four marketing it.
For those of you who don’t have that kind of bandwidth, increase your visitors organically by helping people find it. You can do that by finding your industry-specific content, and using them naturally in your content.
Make it a mix of short-tailed and long-tailed keywords, and help search engines crawl your content so that people who need it can find it.
4) Stand Apart: It goes without saying, but writing generic, advertisement-style content doesn’t cut it anymore. It might be full of keywords that bots would lap up, but they’re not your audience.
- Write short sentences, use bolds, and italics
- Use bullets, tables, charts, graphs wherever possible
- A picture is worth a thousand words! Be visual.
- Don’t restrict your content to text: be creative and use infographics and videos to convey your message
- Keep a cap on the technical jargon. We know you know those big words, but keep it simple, stupid! (KISSmetrics, we’re looking at you!)
- Have a call to action at the end.You’re a marketer. Don’t let your reader go, convince them to take the next step in your relationship. Get them to share the piece, download that whitepaper, or subscribe to your newsletter.
- Have a distinct voice – if you have a sense of humour, don’t be afraid to use it!
4) Create, Analyze, Measure, Adapt: Don’t ever put a halt to your content strategy. Continuously measure results, analyze them, and refine the strategy. Free tools like Google Analytics, for example, can tell you which of your topics are most liked, where your audience is coming for, and provide other crucial data that can help you significantly improve your outreach.
Today, content has become an incredibly powerful tool for lead generation, if not the most important. Companies like Hubspot and Shopify are multi-million dollar businesses built on their inbound marketing content, and everyone else is scrambling to replicate their success. This article is my attempt to help you do that.