How to Produce Compelling Content that Connects to Readers

Content marketing is a powerful tool that can help you generate leads, build brand authority and increase sales. The key to creating effective content that drives results is knowing your audience: what they want, what they need, how they like to consume information and so on. You also need to understand what makes them tick. 

To help you create content that will make a difference, we’ve prepared the following tips. 

Make sure you know who you’re talking to.

It’s not just about getting the words right, but knowing how to say them.

A great way to get started is by writing a one-sentence summary of what you want the listener to know and remember. This is called an elevator pitch, because it’s the kind of thing you’d say when someone asks about your business during an elevator ride. You’ve only got a few seconds, so you only say what matters. 

Once you’ve got a one-sentence summary, break it down into its component parts. What are the three most important things that your customer should know about your business? Then write those down in a way that’s clear and concise (no more than 50 words). This is called an elevator speech.

Next, write the speech. Start by writing down the three most important things that your customer should know about your business in 50 words or less. If you have one or more customers, write a script based on what they care about and need to hear from you.

Know what they want and need.

Once you’ve got a clear picture of who your audience is, it’s time to figure out what they want and need.

This is where things get interesting–and tricky. You can ask people directly (via surveys or interviews), but if you don’t have access to an existing customer base, you may need some creative thinking skills here. Try doing some research on social media and forums where members of your target market hang out; look at what kinds of questions they ask and how others respond; pay attention to trends in the industry; consider their demographics (age range, gender). If possible, try talking with someone who fits into this category so that you can get an insider’s perspective on what drives them–but don’t forget that everyone has different needs based on their life situation!

Get to know the competition.

Once you’ve decided on your topic, it’s time to get to know the competition. The first step is understanding what they are doing well and not so well–and then, how you can do it better.

For starters, look at their keywords: what words are they targeting? How many links do they have pointing back to them? What kind of content strategy do they follow (infographics vs long-form articles vs short blog posts)? And finally, how much traffic does this site receive per month in comparison with yours?

Find out what your readers are looking for.

Let’s take a moment to consider the difference between what your readers want and need. It’s important to understand this distinction because, as we’ll see later on in this guide, knowing what your readers want will help you produce content that connects with them.

But first things first: it’s time to learn how to find out what your readers are looking for!

Speak to your readers’ pain points and their aspirations.

In order to connect with your readers, you need to know them. What are their pain points? How can you help them with those problems? Are there any aspirations that they have but don’t know how to achieve?

Your content should speak directly to these issues–the more specific, the better. If someone has a problem with their back and Googles “back pain,” for example, then an article titled “How To Get Rid Of Back Pain For Good” will be much more effective than one titled “The Best Methods For Treating Your Lower Back”.

You don’t have to know everything about marketing, but you should be able to understand your audience

Understanding what your readers are looking for and who they are will help you create content that resonates with them.

If you want to produce compelling content that connects with readers and drives sales, then knowing where else your competition is going above and beyond for their readers will help set yourself apart from the crowd.

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground here: from understanding your audience to writing compelling content that connects with readers. And while it may seem like there are a lot of steps involved in creating great content, the truth is that these tips aren’t difficult to implement. All you need is an open mind and some time on your hands!And if you ever find yourself in a pickle, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

Many business leaders make the mistake of relying solely on advertising and/ or direct sales to secure leads. These tried-and-true methods certainly have their place, but if they’re your company’s only form of customer outreach, then you could be leaving a lot on the table. 

Today there are new channels and media to not only distribute your message, but engage and interact with potential customers, all while building relationships and establishing your brand. And while it’s a bit more work up front, content marketing comes at a fraction of the traditional cost for running ads or hiring additional salespeople. 

Defining content marketing

What is content marketing? Well, it’s a form of marketing in which you create, publish and distribute content to attract, engage, and retain customers. Content is everything from blog posts to white papers and eBooks to videos—basically anything that helps people learn about your company.

The term “content” has become so overused that sometimes it seems like every company is doing some kind of “content marketing.” But the truth is that there are only a few types of companies who can actually benefit from this strategy. First off, if your customers don’t already know who you are or why they should use your product or service (which will be addressed later), then chances are good that they won’t care about what kind of content you’re creating for them. You must have some brand visibility before even considering investing in content creation and distribution. So if no one knows who you are yet…it might be better left alone until later when things change for the better (and hopefully sooner). If this is the case, some traditional PR might be the more logical first step. 

What are the goals of content marketing?

In addition to the obvious ones—to build your brand and generate leads, grow your business and increase sales—you might be surprised to learn how content marketing can help you differentiate yourself from competitors.

It’s a fact that people trust recommendations much more than advertising. So if you want to stand out from other brands, consider creating helpful or entertaining content that gets shared by fans on social media. This way, customers can see that other people are getting value out of what you’re selling (and hopefully share it with their friends).

How to develop a content marketing strategy

To develop a content marketing strategy, you must first understand your buyer’s journey. This is the process that leads people who have never heard of you to become customers for life. Buyers’ journeys can be broken down into three main steps:

  • Awareness (What do they know about me?)
  • Consideration (Are they interested in using my services or products?)
  • Conversion/Purchase

Content marketing tactics

When executing a content marketing strategy, businesses often rely on a mix of written, graphical and video media to disseminate their messaging. These typically include:  

  • Blog posts
  • E-newsletters
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts

Measurement and evaluation

It’s not enough to just create great content. You have to track how it performs, and use that data to improve your strategy as you go along.

Measurement is key to success with content marketing, but what exactly do you measure?

The answer depends on your goals and objectives, but some basic metrics are useful for tracking the performance of all types of content:

  • Traffic: How much attention did your latest blog post or video get? How many visitors came from social media channels? This is a good place to start if you’re looking at overall performance of a piece of content—it’ll give you an idea of whether people are clicking through and reading/watching what they’re supposed to be reading/watching. Short-term traffic spikes can also be useful indicators that something went viral within the target audience (or outside it).
  • Conversions: Did any readers take action after consuming your latest blog post or video? If so, did they visit another page on your website after reading/watching it—and how many times did they return over the next few weeks or months? This metric is closely tied into SEM (search engine marketing) strategies like AdWords advertising campaigns because it shows how successful paid ads were at driving traffic toward certain pages on your site. You might also see conversions if someone filled out a form asking for more information about services offered by your company; this could lead directly into further engagement down the road (e-mail newsletters and other forms of direct marketing).

Resources for content marketers

Content marketing is a skill that can be learned and refined, but it helps to have some guidance along the way. Here are some useful resources for content marketers:

  • [The Content Strategist](http://thecontentstrategist.com/)
  • [Copyblogger](https://www.copyblogger.com/) – blog by Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media
  • [Contently](https://contently.com/) – choose this if you’re looking for an agency/service provider

Developing your own content marketing strategy

You’re probably wondering: “What are some of the most important things I can do to develop a content marketing strategy and execute on it?”

Well, let us tell you. Content marketing is a way for companies to build trust with customers, generate leads and establish themselves as an authority in their industry. It is not just writing blog posts or creating videos. It’s not just creating infographics or social media posts either!

It’s all of these things and more—a comprehensive strategy that encompasses any type of digital asset that builds relevance between your business and its target audience over time through consistent delivery of valuable information (e.g., case studies).

Conclusion

Content marketing is a powerful tool, and we hope you’re well on your way to mastering it. It can be difficult to get started with content marketing, but if you follow the steps above and use the resources we provided, you’ll be off to a great start. And if you need a hand, don’t be afraid to reach out!

The importance of quality content for your website

Content is an important part of any website. It helps build trust with your customers, attracts search engine traffic and generates business. But not all content is created equal. The quality of the content on your website matters because it can affect both your search rankings and how well your site converts visitors into paying customers. In this post, we’ll explain why quality content is so important and how you can start writing better copy for your own site today!

Provide something useful

Make sure you’re providing something useful for your customers to digest. You can accomplish this by answering common questions, providing tips, or sharing stories and anecdotes. You can also share information about your products or services that will be helpful to the reader.

Write quality content

Good content is the lifeblood of your website. People are looking for information, and if you’re providing it, you’ll be top of mind. Writing good quality content is no easy task: there are so many pitfalls that can undo even the most meticulous writer’s work! That’s why we’ve created this handy list of tips to help you ensure that your copywriting never suffers from these common errors again.

Why is quality content important?

  • Quality content will help you rank in search engines
  • It will help your customers find you
  • Quality content is a good way to build trust with your customers, which is important for conversions
  • You’ll generate more leads if you have high-quality content on your website

How do I get started?

The first step to creating great content is knowing what your audience wants.

There are plenty of keyword research tools out there, but one of the best is [Google Keyword Planner](http://www.seomoz.org/google-keyword-planner). With this tool you can see which keywords people use when searching for products like yours or services that are similar to yours and how often they’re searched (the number of searches per month).

If you want to write about topics that other sites haven’t covered yet, one way to do so would be by looking at popular keywords for related content and then asking yourself whether there’s something different about what you want to say about it from other websites’ perspectives. For example: if someone has already written an article on “how dogs behave” on eHow’s website, maybe instead of writing another article on the same topic (which would probably get lost in search results), you could write an article titled “How Dogs Communicate Nonverbally.” This way, not only will people who are interested in learning more about dog behavior have access to more information than ever before but also those who love dogs might appreciate learning some new things as well!

What elements should I consider?

In order to better understand how to write effective content, it is important to understand the elements that can make a piece of content more engaging. These elements are:

  • Use of keywords
  • Images and videos
  • Lists
  • Headings and subheadings (h1-h6)
  • Bullet points
  • Bold text for emphasis
  • Italicized text for emphasis
  • Links/internal links/backlinks

Quality content helps build trust with your customers, attracts search engine traffic and generates business.

If you are looking for the best return on your investment, quality content is the way to go. It helps create trust with your customers and increases their confidence in you as a company. In addition, it attracts more organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs) so that people who are interested in what you offer will find you. The more traffic from search engines, the better chance of converting those visitors into customers or leads!

Conclusion

If you’re not sure where to begin with quality content, we recommend starting with your keyword research. By identifying the topics that are important to your audience and writing about them in a way that is engaging for both readers and search engines alike, you can create an online presence that will help bring in more business than ever before.

How to Breathe New Life Into Old Content

Content marketing is a great way to engage new prospects. But, constantly churning out marketing content is unrealistic. Leveraging old content, however, is free.

You spent a lot of time and effort to create your messaging, which you dutifully employed in your marketing. It’s all over your website and social media. You used it in email distribution to your network and perhaps even in a blog or white paper. That’s great, but do you realize fresh content doesn’t age well? Within weeks, the search bots have moved on, your customers have seen it, perhaps read it and moved on, and a prospect probably had no reason to read it to begin with. Why? Because a customer or prospect views content from a singular perspective: what’s in it for me?

Content marketing is one of the most important ways to attract a prospect to engage with your brand. Sadly, unless you have a dedicated team who understands the true purpose of content, and with a mandate to continually churn out fresh content and gain followers, simply distributing your elevator speech will not suffice. It’s expensive and time-consuming to build new creative. So, the odds are that at some point you’ll find yourself trying to figure out how to create marketing content on a budget. 

The 3 Rs of Creating Marketing Content on a Budget

Any marketing department with a content campaign running typically follows these steps:

  • Build a piece of content (white paper, video, infographic, etc.) that speaks to your audience with useful and meaningful solutions to their issues.
  • Add the content piece to your website.
  • Push the content piece out via your social channels.
  • Send the content piece out via email to your distribution list.

Then you quickly move on to the next piece of content or campaign for the rinse and repeat cycle.

It costs a whole lot to create new content, and it’s far more economical to pull historic content off the shelf to give it a new lease on life. An easy way to think about how to accomplish this is with the “3 R’s” of content creation – Repurpose, Reposition and Reuse.

Repurpose

Let’s say the content piece is from last year. It’s a topic that’s worked and still has legs. However, your audience has seen this particular piece. It might be time to re-purpose the content. With this strategy, you take one piece of content and turn it into a bunch of other pieces using the same core content. Turn a single white paper into one or more blog posts, a slide deck, and a podcast. The expanded variety of media will engage with a new set of prospects, who may not have been interested in reading long-form content. To capture potential leads, direct visitors to the original white paper as a call to action in the introduction of the repurposed content.

Reposition 

Sometimes just changing up how the white paper is positioned with a few small edits to the body copy and a new headline will create something that looks and feels new. What has happened within your industry since the original white paper was published? Is there a new, fresh twist that can be included? This is probably the simplest way to breathe some life into an older piece.

Reuse

You’ve already shared this content. The whole world has already seen it, so why do they want it again? While I’d love to think that everybody reads each email, dives into every blog post, and absorbs all the points of the original content, it just doesn’t work that way. Your customers and prospects only care about your content if it is meaningful when they need it, and their needs don’t always align with your marketing calendar. What wasn’t of interest six months ago, could be the answer to their current problem. Hit re-send to the people that didn’t open the email or click on the original link. In addition, think of all the contacts you’ve added to your database since you first published the piece. They don’t know it’s repurposed. Remember, there is a lot of content out there. Your visitors are pummeled with messages every day. Use these strategies and engage people that have shown some level of interest and that will find it useful and relevant.

Need Some Extra Hands to Create Marketing Content?

Reach out to us! We can help you develop a strategy and create compelling content that targets your audience.

How to Interview a SME

Rob dives into 5 tips on how to properly interview a subject matter expert (SME)

As a content writer, a large amount of my time is spent talking with various subject matter experts, or SMEs, about their matters of expertise- and then writing a story based on my findings “by” the aforementioned SME for publication. Often referred to as “ghostwriting,” it’s a cornerstone of the marketing communications world. And rightly so. 

SMEs are often high-ranking members of their organizations, filling job functions that demand the majority of their time. They have great and valuable insight to offer potential customers, but often times, simply not enough time to compose their thoughts into content that can be used for marketing purposes. 

This situation is all too common in the world of content marketing. If you haven’t found yourself in something similar before, you’re likely the exception to the norm. But chances are, as a content marketer, you will have the opportunity to conduct many different SME interviews in your career. Following are five tips I have used over the years to help ensure I have a productive and successful interview every time that lets me craft a compelling piece of content

5 Tips for How to Interview a SME

(We couldn’t help ourselves)

Arrive Early to the Interview

I always try to give myself at least 5 minutes before the interview begins to settle in and prepare myself. As I said before, SMEs are often very busy people. You’re depending on their knowledge and cooperation to complete your work, so respecting their time is in your best interest. 

Prepare Your Questions

Before the interview begins, I prepare by thoroughly researching the topic and putting together some basic questions to loosely guide the interview. These help to make sure we touch on all necessary topics. My interview always begins by having the SME confirm that I have their correct job title and spelling of their name (forgetting this step could make things awkward down the road). 

Record the Interview (If Possible)

If you have the ability to create an audio recording of your interview, and if you have your SME’s permission to do so, it would be an excellent backup to your notes. Many SMEs you come across throughout your career could be fast-talkers, or perhaps English could be their second (or third) language. You might conduct your interview on the phone with a poor connection, or near a busy and loud work environment. Often, interviews are conducted on a tight schedule without much time to ask the SME to repeat themselves. Either way, few interviews ever happen under perfect conditions, and having a backup audio recording to refer to when your notes have holes could make all the difference. 

Let Them Talk

This is a simple, yet often overlooked tip. Obviously, SMEs know the subject you’re there to discuss with them (this is where the “E” in their acronym comes from). But sometimes, we as writers prepare so much for the story (visualizing the points that we’ll make along the way to create a successful piece of content) that we rush along to the next question when we feel the source has provided a sufficient answer. Don’t do this. If your time with the SME allows, let them talk until they feel they’ve fully covered a point. Listen for opportunities to ask follow-up questions. If they reference an anecdote, be sure to ask them to tell this story and capture it as best you can. It might provide a great example to help bring one of your points home.

Bring Backup

It’s a luxury that most working situations can’t afford. But if you’re able to, bring a member of your team to help with capturing notes (perhaps a junior level or intern who could benefit from the experience). To heads are better than one. And this might also help ease your stress over missing any important tidbits, letting you focus more on the story being told. 

Do You Have Additional Tips on How to Interview a SME?

Hopefully these tips help you on your future SME interviews. Do you have any additional tips for conducting a successful interview? If so, let us know!

50 Years of Content, Fact-Finding and The Internet

Dan reflects on 50 years of the internet and discusses how it has changed storytelling and news over the years.

Two amazing things happened this year that have caused me to reflect heavily on my life and career as a public relations professional, content marketer and storyteller. I turned 50, and the Internet turned 50. Why then do I just keep getting grayer and grayer every year while the Internet appears to get more and more colorful by the day?

Reflecting on 50 Years of the Internet

My self-reflection kicked off Saturday night, October 26, at an annual event held by The Mercantile Library, a historic library in downtown Cincinnati that promotes history, reading, enrichment and community engagement. The event was the Library’s 32nd annual Niehoff Lecture, which featured Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward (one of the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Watergate story on June 19, 1972). As the guest of my good friend and fellow former journalist Carolyn Pione Micheli, I had the great fortune to meet Mr. Woodward. That evening, a dream I never thought would come true was realized.

Back to the Beginning

Growing up, I remember studying about Watergate, which led to Richard Nixon’s resignation from office. Of course, I also was mesmerized as I watched Robert Redford portray Woodward on the silver screen in 1976’s All the President’s Men. I knew that Woodward’s and Carl Bernstein’s reporting was at the center of this national scandal, and as I grew older and began pursuing an education and career in journalism, I came to better appreciate the process the two journalists pursued to uncover the facts, apart from rumor and partisan politics. I was inspired to pursue and then obtain a degree in print Journalism.

I emphasize “print” for a reason. Because as I was making my way as a newspaper and magazine reporter, editor and eventually public relations consultant, a game-changing technology was slowly percolating within the halls of academia and government that in the mid-90s would begin to turn the world of journalism on its head. On October 29, 1969, just a few months after I entered the world, the Internet was born. And just three days after I met a bona fide living legend of journalism, the Internet celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The irony of these two occurrences happening around me within days of each other is staggering. The person who epitomizes investigative print journalism in its most ethical and objective form stands contrasted in my mind against the very platform that enables so many to share information in its most raw and unverified form, causing chaotic firestorms of misinformation and rhetoric on a daily basis.

Amidst the chaos, I believe we must look hard for meaning. Since the beginning of human existence, information has been communicated and shared as stories. Over the eons, the vehicles by which that information was shared has evolved and advanced with one consistent objective at play—to communicate facts. Yet, today, the facts are relegated to a supporting role in telling stories, and those trusted to convey the news that we trust to inform our decisions are…well…you and me. We no longer depend on newspapers and magazines or the once modern mediums of television and radio to deliver our news. We seek it out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, on blogs and subscription news feeds, and of course the websites belonging to those news outlets that used to only exist in print and on our air waves. And each one of these outlets and platforms is competing for clicks, impressions and unique users. The rush was always on to break a story, but never until the facts were collected and verified. Today, we’re simply in a rush to be first, as he or she who gets the most visits wins.

What Does the Future Look Like?

No telling what the future looks like, especially as technology continues to advance. My hope is that we can find a compromise between our voracious appetites for information and minute-by-minute updates to that information and the ability of professional storytellers to once again be afforded the time and resources to tell their stories with all of the facts in tow. Until that time, we must embrace one of the many pros the Internet affords us today—the ability to research for ourselves the facts, and the boundless ways in which we can tell our stories.

Looking back on this past year, especially with respect to these recent milestones I’ve just shared, I see 2019 as neither the end to my first 50 years nor a new beginning. Rather, it’s like the fold in the newspaper I still read every morning. In Journalism school, having a story appear on the front page was never enough. It had to appear “above the fold.” That was the money shot, because…in theory…that story always got read first. The funny thing is that it didn’t really matter where a story landed on the front page, because it was only the beginning, and often was only a couple of paragraphs in length. You still had to open the paper to get to the meat of the story and digest all of the details. That’s where you decided your opinion of the story and those in it.

After 50 Years of the Internet — What Now?

For my next 50 years, I will continue to follow Mr. Woodward’s example of doing the hard work, resisting the urge to be first, and focusing on getting it right…whatever “it” happens to be in my case. I’ll use the Internet as a resource for achieving my objective, not as the objective. I’ll search for the truth, and do my best to encourage those around me to do the same. And as a storyteller, I’ll strive to shed light on all sides of those stories, and hopefully encourage those after me to do the same.

4 Myths About Content Marketing

Myth #1: “Content marketing is just a fancy word for advertising.” Content marketing and ad campaigns aren’t the same, and if you treat it as such, you will fail.

The oft-misunderstood world of content marketing is a living, breathing, evolving space. It’s in a constant state of flux to meet the changing demands of buyer personas and search engine algorithms. And being the moving target that it is, there are lots of misconceptions around content marketing.

Here are four myths about content marketing, and why they simply aren’t true.

1. “Content marketing is just a fancy word for advertising.”

This myth is a serial offender and lead culprit of many a failed content marketing campaign. If you approach your content marketing campaign like an ad campaign, you will fail. While ads involve (mostly cleverly concocted) sales messages and slogans, they’re allowed to be outright self-promotional because they’re appearing in a paid ad. Any editorial that you create for content marketing purposes must be of genuine informational value to its intended audience. After all, your goal is to position this content so that your readers will find it as a result of their own research. If you lead them down a tunnel to a crummy commercial, they will feel tricked and will leave your site posthaste. Hear that? That’s the sound of your bounce rate spiking.

2. “Anyone can write content.”

You wouldn’t ask your doctor to do your taxes. Ideally, let the writers write the content. Find someone adept at collecting the appropriate information and producing quality content that engages with your target audience on a meaningful level.

Are you a small company with limited resources? By all means, assign your content creation jobs to the appropriate subject matter expert. Whether it’s a product manager, engineer or someone from sales. But for the love of all that is good, make sure they know how to write well, and how to write for the web. Be sure they are writing objectively, and at a level appropriate for your intended audience. Do your research and identify the keywords people are searching on that relate to your content themes. Providing these to your writer upfront will help focus their efforts to produce the desired results.

3. “The rewards of good content marketing are instant.”

While I wish this was true, it just isn’t realistic to post a single piece of brilliant, award-winning content to your website and expect all of Google to read it the same day.

Your mantra here should be “steady does it.” Set a realistic but regular goal date of creating, posting and promoting new content. A steady stream of quality, relevant and engaging content, updated regularly, will gradually start to find its way to your targeted audience. From here, the relationship builds. Viewers become subscribers. Subscribers become leads. Leads become conversions.

4. “The only good content is long content.”

Hogwash!

While there is truth that search engines give preference to the longer forms of content, we’re not talking about War and Peace here. More important than exact word count is taking the appropriate amount of time to effectively communicate your message. Don’t drone on simply to enhance your word count. Remember that while you’re using search engines to help get your content in front of readers, your primary objective is to write for the readers themselves. Do your research, take the appropriate amount of time to formulate your story. And if you can shoot for 1000 words (or more), then more power to you.

So there you have it. With all the hype around content marketing, I hope these four myths help you realize that it isn’t exactly rocket surgery.

Have you conducted your own content marketing campaigns and have some additional myths to share? If so, or if you’d like to talk about how O’Keeffe can help with your content marketing campaigns, let us know!

Content Marketing Versus Copywriting

Dale shares the difference between content marketing and copywriting, and explains what to keep in mind when developing content

Simply stated, content marketing is creating and sharing valuable free content to attract customers seeking answers to questions about a product or service. Think explaining the category rather than selling.

Copywriting creates copy with a specific call to action and seeks to compel the reader to initiate a trial of a product or service. Think advertising.

If you don’t know the difference between content marketing and copywriting, chances are very high your content marketing is missing the mark, or worse, being dismissed as totally self-serving. So, what is the difference?

Big difference. Content is blogs, thought leadership whitepapers, podcasts and email autoresponders. Copywriting is sales pages, website copy, ads and direct mail.

Content Marketing does require good copywriting. This may seem contradictory to the statement above that differentiates between the two. In reality, it’s not.

Content marketing without good copywriting is a waste of words.

To write good content your copywriting skills will be invaluable. Here are some things to keep top of mind when writing good content.

Your headlines might be too dull. 

When your headlines are boring, they don’t give people any reason to click through to the rest of your writing.

Your headlines might be too cute and clever.

If this is the case, you’re simply showing how smart you are without communicating any reader benefits. If your headlines are too dull or too clever, take a step back by making great communication your primary goal. Leave the jokes for late-night talk show hosts.

You haven’t explicitly thought about how your content benefits readers.

Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers or they won’t come back to your blog or podcast. Always consider your audience, and make sure you have created a good content development strategy that outlines these goals and objectives.

Your content isn’t building any rapport or trust.

You can always get social media attention by espousing your political position or ranting about a social issue, but attention does not translate into followers.

You don’t have a clear, specific call to action.

“Wait! You said earlier a call to action is the domain of advertising!” Yes, I did, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you have crafted a well-written thought leadership article that clearly demonstrates industry-leading innovation, your readers are going to want to know what to do with this information. Tell them. Give them a path to the next step, not a sales pitch. Remember, copywriting is the art of convincing your reader to take a specific action. And yes, it’s still copywriting if it takes place in content marketing of a podcast or video.

Keep these principles of great content marketing in mind:

  • Be generous. When your free content is so valuable that it makes you a little uncomfortable, you know you’ve got it right.
  • Produce enjoyable content. If your content reads or sounds like an ad, it will be overlooked or thrown away. Make your content too valuable to throw away by wrapping it in wonderfully beneficial, readable content.
  • Write for people. Don’t make the mistake of writing for search engines. Always write for people first, and then make your content search-engine friendly so new readers can find you.

Need help crafting your content? Totally lost on creating a content development strategy? Let’s connect!


Developing Content: 5 Things to Know

Rob shares his best tips for developing content. Our favorite? Make time to procrastinate. Read the rest on the blog.

Just the other day, Dan described me to a client as one who salivates over a good piece of content needing to be written. For whatever reason, that description stuck with me (am I that slobbery?)- But the more I think about it, the more I realize he wasn’t that far off! I do get pretty excited over crafting a good story for readers, with all the juicy details arranged just right for maximum impact and “a-ha” moments. And I love digging into a new topic that I haven’t written about before- reading what other people have to say about it, speaking with established experts that know it all too well. Then there’s that moment when you finally dare to think you know enough to pull off a story. I still get a charge every time all the pieces suddenly line up.

If you too are a content creator like me or looking to dive into developing content for your business, here’s a few things I suggest you consider before you make that leap.

Know Your Sources

I have built an entire career writing about industries, products, and processes about which I know very little (at least at the get-go). Over time, and through years of work, I familiarized myself with each of them. Sometimes enough to be able to pull off a piece of content without much research. But having a good source I could refer to for information about the topic was always absolutely crucial to my success. Whether it’s a website, person, or collection of documents, without a good source, it can be very hard/ impossible to ever get a piece of content off the ground.

Know Your Audience

This step will help you develop the right tone in your content. Before you begin writing, be sure you know very well the target audience to whom you’re writing. What is their knowledge of the topic? Are they an informed, long-time client looking to keep up on industry best practices? Or are they a new customer searching to solve a problem they’ve never dealt with before? If your topic is technical or advanced in nature, and your intended reader is uninitiated, it might require some skillful distillation of information so that your content hits home. Or, if you’re writing to experts, doing your homework to learn the appropriate industrial phrases and jargon can make your tone sound like it knows what you’re talking about.

Know Your Keywords

Before you start writing, it’s essential to know your keywords for several reasons. First off, it helps you organize your content- making sure you touch on and address all the necessary points. Second, what good is a piece of digital content if your intended readers can’t find it?

Know Your Word Count

How long do you have to establish your credibility, develop your ideas, make your case, defeat the counterpoint, or educate your reader about the topic? Long-form content lets you take your time, easing your readers into the subject, going off on tangents where applicable, providing several examples to back up your arguments. But with shorter pieces of content, you might be required to adopt a news style of writing- getting quickly to your point and cutting out the fluff.

Know Your Deadline

I’m convinced that procrastination is an essential component of the creative process. Letting an idea bounce around in the back of your mind as you work on other projects until it’s fully formed can help your writing exponentially. But even a perfect piece of content is useless if you miss your deadline. Knowing how long you have to complete your work can help you strike a balance between letting the idea marinate and doing the writing. And if you don’t have a deadline, set one. Sometimes it takes a sense of urgency to help force your idea out onto the page.

So there you have it. Hopefully, these tips help you develop the content you’re looking for. But if you need more help, don’t be afraid to reach out to us!

If Buzzfeed Wrote a Digital Content Guide

We all know Buzzfeed. But what if Buzzfeed wrote a digital content guide? Jocelyn digs into what makes the viral content producer so successful.

Let’s Get Engaged

I think it is safe to assume that we all know what Buzzfeed content looks like. If you have been on Facebook in the past 10 years, you have likely seen a family member, friend or distant acquaintance – who is technically your Facebook “Friend” – share a piece Buzzfeed content. But what would a digital content guide created by Buzzfeed look like?

Buzzfeed creates content to make it viral – meaning they want it to become as popular among the broadest audience possible. And whether you are a fan of its content or not, you can admit they know how to make their blogs, videos and posts sharable across a mass audience.

But how can you apply this to your business’s social media content or blogs? We’ve pulled together three tricks you can steal from Buzzfeed for this digital content guide.

Lots of visuals

Law of life: People like to look at stuff. So, make sure the content you are sharing has quality and engaging stuff to look at. When sharing a post on social media, adding a photo can increase Engagement Rate by 2.3X when compared to a post without a photo – and Engagement Rate increases even more when paired with a video.

digital content guide

What’s going on now

Buzzfeed creates topical content that relates to mass audiences. To increase engagement on your social media posts or blogs, make sure you tie your content in with a current event. The current event could be events in pop culture, in the news cycle or recent happenings in your company. If it is recent news, your audience will be excited to hear it!

Consistency is key

Say it with me now, consistency. Buzzfeed is a powerhouse of content and continuously churns out videos, blogs and images. If your business does not have the time to produce content consistently- don’t worry, that’s okay! If your business does not happen to be a digital media corporation, and only has the capacity to develop one blog every two weeks, don’t be discouraged. Start there and begin developing relationships with your audience.

By taking these three tips into account when planning your next content calendar or getting your fledgling content strategy off the ground, hopefully you too can enjoy the success and increased visibility of a piece of your content going viral.

Want some help with your digital content strategy? We can help!