We've all heard it a million times by now: “content is king.”
Content marketing is here to stay, and today, brands are rapidly becoming some of the web's foremost publishers. From SaaS companies, to affiliate-monetized blogs, to local service businesses, everyone's putting out content on a regular basis.
But just having content isn't enough.
You need content that your audience is actually going to read, share, and enjoy. That's much easier said than done.
Plus, content creation is costly. If you're writing your own content, you're paying with your own time and energy. If you're outsourcing it, you're paying with your budget.
Either way, good content is a major locus of cost. For this reason, it's important to make sure your content is going to strike a chord with your audience. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and money.
In a recent article at the Content Marketing Institute, successful blogger Joe Elliot reaches out to 21 leading content marketers, asking for their best tips on how to create content your audience will love.
Among their responses, Elliot found a few consistent running themes.
One of them pinpoints one of the most common content marketing mistakes: talking about yourself too much.
Focusing on your audience instead can make a big difference in your ability to capture people's attention.
Make it all about the audience
The biggest mistake I see is creating content that is focused on you, and not the audience. I hate to break it to you, but your readers don’t care about you! They care about solving their problems. The more you help your readers with what they care about, the more they’ll come back, read your posts, and become loyal readers.
Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging
It all starts with your ability to research your audience. What is their biggest struggle that keeps them up at night? And more importantly, how can your content help them?
The key is to engage with your readers and actually have a conversation with them. This can be done in the comment section on your blog (or a blog with the same target audience), by emailing them, or through social media.
Tor Refsland, TorRefsland.com
You can validate your content ideas in a Facebook Group, a Quora question, or even just by emailing people who are interested in what your new blog is about.
One of my favorite approaches to validate my content ideas is with an onsite survey carried out with Qualaroo. I put a quick, one-question survey on a Facebook group that says something like, “I’m working on a new blog post. Which of these topics are you most interested in learning more about?” Visitor responses help me separate the great from the good.
Sujan Patel, Web Profits
One of the best ways to create content your audience wants is to ask them. Here are a few questions you could ask your buyers:
- How would you describe yourself? (e.g., I am a 30-year-old male VP of marketing at GEICO that loves cars and poker.)
- What other (your niche) sites do you frequent? Please tell me the names.
- What interested you in joining my list?
Now you have qualitative data to give your audience more of what they want from you.
Jason Quey, The Storyteller Marketer
Read the comments on popular blogs in your niche. Listen to what people are saying on Twitter. Attend the Q&A calls and webinars other authorities are holding, and write down the questions people ask.
And then look for patterns. Almost always, you’ll find one or two questions everyone is asking over and over again, and it never seems to stop. That’s what you need to be writing about.
Jon Morrow, Smart Blogger
For more content marketing advice from industry experts, check out the full article at the Content Marketing Institute.
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