You’re bound to hear the phrase ‘content is king’ at some point in your marketing career. Whether you agree with it or not, content marketing plays a vital role in any marketing strategy and lays the foundations for other roles. After all, what would social media gurus tweet without content? What would SEOs optimise? Well, without content marketing – not a lot. But content marketing is more than just an amalgamation of words and images on a screen. It takes time, personality and a lot of creative flair in order to capture the attention of the audience. There are a few steps you can take to make sure your content gets all the right attention and help you to reach your targets.
First Impressions Count
How many times have you started to read an article, only to return to your original search after just a few seconds? If you don’t capture your audience’s attention quickly, chances are they won’t stick around for long. From a punchy headline to an intriguing introduction – you need to appeal to your audience straight away and persuade them to keep reading. If your introduction is boring and uninspiring, your audience will be bored and uninspired too. Think of your introduction like a shop window. If your display is colourful, fun and simply quite intriguing, then you’ll entice customers in. But if your display is drab and dreary, nobody will want to venture inside. You want to connect with your audience, so you should establish who they are – their likes, their dislikes and their tone of voice. You can then design your shop window to appeal to them and get those customers inside. Additionally, the layout of your article will have a massive impact on your bounce rate. The easier your article is to navigate, the more people will read it. For example, how often do you Google something and have to trawl through an entire article in order to find an answer?
Tedious, isn’t it?
A well laid out article will help to direct your readers to the answer for their question, allowing them to quickly find what they’re looking for and making them more likely to convert. Punchy headers are one of the best ways to do this – it makes your article scannable. Every time you address a new issue or topic, you should use a new headline – your readers will love you for it.
If you don’t get excited about what you’re writing, then your readers certainly won’t. Inject some of your personality into your writing, get enthusiastic about the topic – make your readers believe that what you’re writing about is the best thing in the world. Content marketing involves creating and spreading online material in order to pique the interest of your target audience. Whether you’re using blogs, social media channels or video content – it should grab the attention of your target customers and get them talking. Do you know what I do when I get excited about an article online? I share it. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – they’re all great platforms for sharing content and the more people who share your article, the more traffic you’ll get to your site. Think about the most popular TV series over the past few years. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black – they were all over the press, social media and everyone’s TV screens. But why were these shows so popular? Because they captivated the audience. The content gripped them, enticing them to continue watching, episode after episode. And that’s exactly what content marketers should be trying to harness in order to keep their audience engaged.
That’s not to say you need to set up your own lab or land yourself in prison in order to get your audience listening. But you do need to create an exciting and compelling story.
Always be original in everything you do. But most importantly, always make sure your content is original. Nobody wants to read the same hashed-out article over and over again – you need to offer something unique to your readers. Not only does duplicate content affect your SEO strategy, but it’s also really boring for your readers – resulting in high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Additionally, the more unique your article is, the more people will link to it – strengthening your SEO strategy. You need to inject your personality into every little bit of content you create, after all, you can’t get more unique than that! From your writing style to your tone of voice, you want to create content that your customers can resonate with while remaining personable and professional. Whether you include some of your personal opinions or anecdotes about your own experiences, you’ll be making your content original, relatable and, thus, more shareable.
It’s 2018 – if your content isn’t mobile compatible then you’re fighting a losing battle. In order to actually reach your target audience, you need to make sure that your content is optimised for mobile. The number of users accessing the internet on their phones is growing every year – with over 60% of users accessing the internet on mobile in 2017. If your content is not mobile optimised, then you’re losing a huge chunk of your audience before they’ve even started reading your article – why would you want to do that?
In order to make sure your content is fully optimised for mobile, you need to understand how mobile users differ from desktop or tablet users. The main things to consider include:
- Eye movements – The eye movements of a mobile user greatly differ to those of a desktop or tablet user. Mobile users’ eyes gravitate towards the centre of the screen, so that’s exactly where your content should be.
- Screen size – You have to consider the size of a mobile screen compared to a desktop when you’re creating your content. Mobile users don’t want to be scrolling through irrelevant content in order to find what they’re looking for. Your content should be both useful and concise.
- Button size – Your links should be easy to click on mobile – if the links are too small or too close together, your user experience will suffer.
Avoid Getting Too Technical
When you’re writing an article for your target audience, it’s important to remember that you’re not doing it to prove what you know, but to educate your audience. This means you need to avoid using – or not explaining – technical jargon. When you’re writing a blog post, you need to write for someone who might have found your article organically when they were looking for the answer to something. For example – ‘What is Content Marketing?’ If the reader knows what content marketing is, then, thanks to your well-structured blog post, they’ll be able to move on to find the answers they were looking for. By explaining things in detail, you’ll position yourself as an expert and your readers will come back time after time to find answers to their pressing questions. There’s nothing worse than an article full of technical information and no explanations.
Avoid the Sales Pitch
Of course the whole idea of marketing is to sell a product, but that doesn’t mean it should be your primary focus. There’s nothing worse (or more boring) than reading an article by a company who just want you to get in touch or follow them on Twitter, your content should be customer-focussed – not sales-focussed. If your content is natural and concentrated on providing your audience with valuable information, then you’ll generate sales. But when your content is too fixated on selling a product or idea, your audience will see right through it and lose trust in your brand – after all, nobody trusts a salesman. A sales-focussed content marketing strategy is the equivalent of a door-to-door salesman disturbing you during your dinner – it’s annoying and not the best way to make sales. And there you have it! By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging, shareable content that your audience will love!
Plan, Plan, Plan
Do you want to know the best way to captivate your audience? Write about things they’re interested in. Revolutionary, huh? First, you need to identify your audience – who they are, what they’re interested in and why they’ll be reading your content. This will help you to ensure that you’re targeting the right people and help to maximise your strategy.
Whether you write about events within your niche or tips and ticks – the more you target topics your audience are interested in, the more readers you will get. You should plan your content around three basic concepts:
- Engagement – You want to create content that’s shareable.
- Evergreen – You want to create content that won’t go out of date.
- Events – You want to create content that targets big events within your industry.