Posted: 12:45 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013
By Kevin Daum
Content marketing can be extremely effective, but only if you know how to create compelling content. Here are six tips.
The great thing about marketers is that they love to write about themselves. So you can just imagine how happy they are now that content marketing is the hot trend for success. For those who still don't understand what it's all about, here is a simple explanation.
Instead of advertising, you become your own publisher of powerful writing, pictures and video, all with the purpose of attracting and maintaining a loyal following who will hopefully buy your products or services someday.
It sounds easy, but there is a lot of competition for people's attention, so unless you are creating truly interesting and engaging content for people who actually want or need your offering, you're simply wasting time and effort.
Here are six suggestions on how to create content that will engage loyal fans who will buy.
1. Identify Patterns
People find value in reading content that helps explain what they already see but can't necessarily articulate. They will see you as a sage if you can take seemingly random events and make sense of them. The familiarity of what they see coupled with a new perspective and understanding gives them an AHA! moment that excites them. If you can tie it directly to your product or service, you can move them closer to the sale.
2. Address Their Pain
Empathy is a great way to take first time readers and covert them to loyal followers. In fact it's the first step in any sales process. If you identify the pain people have in your industry, you appear as a knowledgeable expert who can help resolve the situation. If your tone is academic, people will respond as if you are teaching rather than selling. And if you can provide solutions that are not specifically your product or service, you will gain credibility as an information source that is willing to help first and sell later.
Companies should be concerned about their image, and should take care not to present one that is dull and boring. People have lots of choice when it comes to reading content and they will subscribe to content that makes them laugh, cry and feel engaged. They love stories that take them away. I'm not suggesting you have to sing and dance (although it's been known to help in some cases). But find ways to add charm and let the information unfold with copious amounts of storytelling and humor, even when the subject is serious.
4. Include the Obscure
If your content has the same information as everyone else in your space then why would anyone make the effort to follow you? Find interesting and unusual angles and facts to put in your blogs and white papers so that people get excited while reading your material. You need to give your readers the awesome experience, which meets their need, is entertaining and has the unexpected. Anything less is pure mediocrity and is a waste of time.
5. Leave 'em Wanting More
Don't try and do everything in a single piece of content. Regardless if it's a blog, video or white paper, go for a single message. Pick a single aspect of information you want to communicate and build the content around that one idea. The more information you crowd into the piece, the less your reader or viewer will remember. The idea is to give them one or two really valuable nuggets so that they will come back for more later.
6. Give People Something to Do
The surest way to give someone value is to provide them with an actionable takeaway. It's even better when people can take action on your suggestion immediately and see results in short order. If you get people in the habit of taking your advice on a regular basis to improve their process, whatever it is, then they will be much more receptive to following your instructions when you ask them to check out your offering.
Remember that Content Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. But with consideration, planning and a little creativity, you can gain a following that will grow your business with loyal and avid supporters.
Like this post? If so, sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.