Content Creation that Gets Results
The key to getting positive results from your content marketing efforts is to create content that gets consumed and moves the consumer to take action. Creating content that gets results is a simple 3-step process.
1. Find out what's interesting
Finding out what your audience is most interested in is actually pretty easy to do. You can quickly and easily conduct market research to evaluate what kinds of content is being well-received in your market.
Visit competitors' websites and social media sites like Facebook and twitter to look for articles, videos, images and other content pieces that have received a lot of engagement – a high number of likes, retweets, shares and comments. A high level of interaction is a clear indication that a particular type of content or subject matter is in demand by your target audience.
It's also a good idea to make note of any content that has very low interaction to see if you can spot why it may have performed poorly. Look for differences between poorly received content and information that the target audience loved. Many times it isn't about the content itself, but about the “type” of content. For example, on some sites, images get much better results than text articles, even if the content is identical.
Blogs and social media properties give you an instant snapshot of what content is being shared and what content is ignored, making it easier for you to create content based on what has been proven to be successful in your market. Investigating these properties can also reveal specific information you might want to include in your own content marketing campaigns to answer burning questions in your market.
Even though you should create content that you personally find interesting, it's important to make sure the content and the content type are right for your audience.
2. Create quality content
If you want your content to be consumed, you have to make sure it is to quality content. So what the heck is quality content?
Here is a checklist you can use to evaluate everything you create:
The elements of quality content:
- □ Interesting. You can deliver the most important, helpful information ever conceived, but if you present it in a boring way, no one will care. It will never get consumed. Be creative in your presentation and do your best to invoke emotion. It doesn't have to be exceedingly entertaining, but if it's not educational, it should be funny, inspirational or exciting.
- □ Useful. If your content is not specifically designed to be entertaining, be sure it adds value in some way. Provide tutorials, tips, resource guides – anything that will be useful to the people in your target market. As a side note, educational content has been proven to increase authority to both audiences and search engine rankings.
- □ Accurate. Your content must, of course, be accurate – factually and grammatically. Invest the time to research your topic well, and reference multiple sources when possible. Also, be aware that errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation are sometimes enough to chase away a potential prospect. You do not have to communicate like an English major; just put in the time to be sure your content is clear and leaves a positive impression.
- □ Thorough. In the past, many marketers set up websites with a lot of very short (150- to 300-word) articles that were specifically designed to gain higher search engine rankings. These “spammy” websites did not offer any value to real people, and search engine companies like Google made changes to their algorithms to combat those attempting to “game the system.” As a result, companies that thoroughly explore a topic in their written content, often resulting in articles of 1,000 words or more, are generally favored by the search engines. And, of course, the more complete your information, the more you are appreciated by your readers!
- □ Diverse. Publishing your content in a variety of formats is a great way to engage your audience. Many people prefer to watch videos rather than reading articles, and others enjoy listening to audio content. Sharing helpful tidbits and motivational messages on social media sites is often most effective when the text is overlayed on eye-catching images. Even when your content is primarily written, incorporating graphics on the page helps the reader to consume the information by maintaining their interest and reinforcing the ideas being discussed.
3. Include a compelling call-to-action
When you follow a solid content marketing strategy, one of the principles you're likely to incorporate is using a call-to-action in every piece of content you publish.
Most people think of a call-to-action as an explicit instruction to the audience explaining to them what you want them to do. Explicit calls-to-action are those that start with a verb. Sometimes, though, a call-to-action can be implied. For example, if you share a motivational poster on Twitter, most of the time your intent is to make the content so compelling that your followers automatically re-tweet it.
Before publishing a piece of content, think about your goal to help you determine what call-to-action you might want to include:
• Fill in an opt-in form to get a lead magnet
• Click a link to purchase a product
• Follow you on a particular social media property
• Leave a comment on the content
• Share the content with others
The call-to-action should support the goals of your campaign – to grow your traffic, sell a product, get more subscribers, etc.
High-quality content that draws people in and holds their attention helps you build a solid foundation in the market so that your audience comes to see you more and more as a trusted advisor. This trust greatly increases the likelihood that your target prospect will take the action you desire whenever you publish something new.