The most important thing to keep in mind when creating content is that quality trumps quantity every time. It doesn’t matter how much content you’re churning out; if it’s not good, you will lose your audience. After all, they won’t have to go far to find something better to read! In a world where two million blog posts are published every day and copious amounts of content is readily available at the click of a mouse, how do you make your content stand out? How do you grab your audience’s attention over your competitors?
You’ve got to create high quality content. Here’s how:
1. Tailor your content to your audience
In my previous blog post I explained that content marketing has no value if you don’t understand who your audience is. It is absolutely critical you understand your audience before you even begin to think about creating content. You must identify why you’re writing the content and what purpose it will serve your existing and potential customers. Quality content should be relevant and answer questions your audience may have, and it should entertain them and inspire them to share your content.
If you don’t take the time to get to know your audience through research and creating buyer personas, you risk creating generic, ineffective content which does not help your readers or assist in moving prospects down the path to becoming clients. After all, how can you create quality content if you don’t know who you’re creating it for?
Once you’ve created your buyer personas it is essential that you continuously relate back to them to make sure you are always generating relevant content. A prospect goes through a journey, as they move from awareness about your company to the point where they decide to buy your product or service. It is important to create content for different stages of the buyer cycle to help create awareness, generate leads and convert leads into customers.
2. Keep your content compelling
One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is getting people to consume your content. People are bombarded by social messages, emails, adverts and alerts all day long, and most are used to ignoring the majority of it. And of those who do bother to view your content, 55% will spend fewer than 15 seconds on the page. So how do you get your audience to actually look at what you’ve spent time creating? You have to get their attention by keeping your content compelling.
The first thing you need to do is grab your audiences attention. We need to get our audience to click through to our content and stay there. Headlines are vital in getting people to read your work; they are what pulls your reader in and no matter how good your content is, if your headline is weak no one will read it. Almost half a century on, the famous quote by advertising legend David Ogilvy still rings true: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Remember this when you’re crafting your content.
Once you’ve hooked your readers in with an attention grabbing headline, you need to make sure your content is interesting, informative and easy to digest. For written content, you should avoid using large blocks of text that will appear inaccessible and put your readers off. Try different techniques like headings, bullet points and short paragraphs to break up the text and make it easier for your readers to find the information they’re looking for.
Primarily, you need to create content designed for engagement. You want your audience to read every word you write, listen to every word of your podcast, watch every second of your video, and you want them to leave comments and talk about you on social media. You need an enticing introduction, you need to tell a story and you need to leave audience wanting to know a bit more. Some industries crave a professional and authoritative voice but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun at all with your content; people enjoy the occasional sarcastic comment or light hearted holiday themed post and it gives your business personality.
3. Mix up your media and create content offers
Those who are new to content marketing usually begin by starting a blog. Blogs are easy to set up and maintain, and are a great way to interact with prospects and clients and drive organic traffic to your website. But there are many other ways you can present content, so try to mix it up a bit. High quality content doesn’t just mean a well-written article so don’t restrict yourself to blog posts; use multimedia like videos, infographics, slideshows, images, webinars, and podcasts. These are a great way to keep your audience engaged across a variety of formats and you can run content campaigns by promoting several different types of content around a given topic.
You should also consider the best way to present your content; for example, an infographic is a great way to present a snapshot of statistics in an engaging and shareable way, where as a white paper provides an in depth report providing new insight into a specific topic helping readers to understand an issue, solve a problem or make a decision. You should not only think about what content you’re presenting but also who you’re presenting it to. Preferred content types will differ from industry to industry, business to business, audience to audience as needs of readers differ. For instance, professional services firms should offer thought leadership insight so white papers or webinars are good ways of presenting this kind of content, whereas design agencies might prefer to create viral content that is widely shared, so engaging infographics and videos are more appropriate for their audience.
Different types of media have different purposes and you should think about this when deciding which type of media you are going to use to target specific stages of the buyer cycle. At the first stage of the buyer cycle, high level discoverable content such as blog posts and social media posts will attract visitors to your site. Draw them in by offering downloadable content offers like ebooks and webinars which are behind sign up forms, converting your readers into leads. Once they’re leads, they will be likely to be interested in more in depth content such as case studies and white papers, which can be used to convert leads into sales. Don’t forget to create content for your existing clients too, who will be interested in thought leadership pieces and updates or guides about your products or services that are relevant to them.
4. Tap into your expertise to offer real value
In order for your content to stand out from the cacophony of content that already exists on almost every topic, it is vital that you offer your audience a new and valuable take on a given subject. You should identify what has already been said about a topic you are creating content for and then also what hasn’t yet been said; this way you can make sure what you’re creating will be useful and unique. Identify and develop your topic and look at what industry experts have said and if possible speak to them to try and get new insight and a new angle for your audience.
Chances are, the best place to access industry experts is within your organisation. Make the most of the expertise within your business and use your colleagues’ knowledge to showcase them as thought leaders. The more you know about your products and services and the more you share that knowledge with followers; the more powerful your content will be and the more authority you will build with prospects and clients. Expose your thought leaders and you begin the process of becoming a social business; you are showing real people with real faces talking to real customers and buyers. You should also consider using curated content by sharing and reviewing articles by other thought leaders; sharing content that your audience will be interested in will add value to prospects and clients.
Remember: quality over quantity
So there we have it, four ways you can make sure the content you are creating is high quality. Quality content will look different for different businesses and different industries but all quality content should educate, entertain and deliver new information to your audience.
Quality over quantity is key to creating content that your readers love; it’s not about more content, it’s about more effective content. A commitment to high quality content means you will have less time to spend on individual pieces of content and so will be producing less of it but this is fine as long as you are still producing content regularly. You might think you need to post as much content as you possibly can but if that content is of poor quality, it won’t have the desired effect you are after; sacrificing some content quantity for the sake of quality is OK.