Why Content is important
You’ve probably heard the term “content is king” countless times, and it’s ever more important in today’s internet-centric business environment.
The aim of content creation should be to allow your business to stand out from competitors, and help prospective customers get to know, like and trust you, so that they will, in time, consider doing business with you.
In other words content should be used to build your brand!
If you try to transact your prospects every time they interact with your brand, you will find you have to compete with all your competitors doing the same thing, and that can get expensive in terms of advertising costs.
Using advertising to first grab attention, then trying to convert prospects via a landing page or over the telephone is a big ask, and prospective customers are very guarded against slick sales messages. They will only consider you if you make the right first impression and are able to build trust quickly.
Consider an alternative solution, which is a longer term strategy but can prepare the ground by building trust and goodwill with people that are not quite ready to buy just yet, but who might be in the next 30, 60 or 90 days. This is called content creation.
When it comes to creating content you should be looking to give visitors something for nothing, to provide value to them without asking for something in return. You should try to help your prospective customers get to know more about your brand, to get to like how you do business and allow them to build up trust in you.
So, create content that prospects want from the page they arrive at. Make sure your adverts or links from adverts or social media posts are clear, and informative and accurately reflect what you’ve promised them. Don’t promise something that you fail to follow through on, just to get them onto your website. That is the surest way to ruin your reputation and destroy trust.
Once they are on your page you need to understand who the prospective customer is, what is their desire? What solution are they seeking? What possible questions are they asking and wanting answered?
To provide value for them, you need to answer these questions effectively, thoroughly and as uniquely as possible. Don’t just regurgitate the same old information, that everyone else is doing. Instead do it in your own voice.
Some content ideas…
1. To build awareness on social media use ENGAGEMENT POSTS – any format, to get comments or a reaction (clicks) – this pushes up in news feed and can include questions, funny memes, photos with a question
2. To grow authority – Encourage testimonials, case studies, speaking engagements, you in action doing what you’re trying to sell – honoured rather than boastful
3. To get clients – leads (email list sign up or phone) and clients attraction. Questions, graphics, videos, gifs
To provide value;
- Be relevant – You must have content that interests your prospective customer, otherwise why would they be interested in what you have to say.
- Be contextual – formatted for each channel specifically. Try to reformat your content to suit where you want to be found. Vertical video works better on Facebook than it does on Youtube.
- Facilitate access,
- Be transparent – builds trust,
- Be authentic – be true to yourself,
- Inspire interaction – build community,
- Be current – so that you resonate with your audience today,
- Aim for connection – It’s better to be narrow and deep than wide and shallow- 100 loyal fans better than 10,000 none engaged followers.
Content should be made up of:
There are only 3 types of content when you boil it down.
Escapism and entertainment
Escapism – being removed from our mundane real life situation for a short time, to forget.
- interesting (aligned with audiences interests),
- create a knowledge gap and fills it,
- highlights a threat,
- challenge plot, creative plot, connection plot.
Information and utility
Providing information that will help prospects in some way to improve their understanding, increase their knowledge or make life easier or better in some way.
Core information your customers need to know about your products and company before they’ll include you in their consideration set.
- Product information,
- Customer FAQ’s,
- How – to’s,
- Customer ratings and review.
Ancillary content – This is the supporting and additional content. Think of ancillary content like the bonus tracks on a DVD.
- Take prospects behind-the-scenes,
- Let prospects get personal with your employees,
- Encourage customers to share photographs using your product.
Re-imagined content – Plan different versions of your content to ensure it’s contextually relevant to each specific platform. Again, this is best planned in advance to maximize resources and include it in your content creation contracts.
Provide Commentary – This is the related content and comments that your employees, customers and fans create in coordination or as a result of your core content.
Commentary works best when your audience creates it out their desire to share with their circle of friends and social connections such as Facebook and Instagram posts.
Internal content curation – This is where you maximize the value of your own previously published content by using it in the creation of new content and the re-promotion of old content, giving it new life. It has one or more of the following attributes.
- Make content contextually relevance,
- Extend content into a new format.
Some additional ideas..
- Target a new audience for old content,
- Provide access to a location, a person, an institution,
- Curation of other peoples content,
- Provide insight,
- Chart your own progress in some relevant endeavor,
- Your journey to build your business – moving your business online,
- Your progress in a new job,
- Learning a new skill,
- Put sales techniques into practice,
- Sell something different every day testing your sales skills.
- Current niche trends,
- Current trends/techniques,
- Software trends if relevant,
- Explore the topic more freely and in-depth,
- Cover local issues,
- Real estate – local amenities, history of area – reasons why it’s good living here,
- Local relevant events.
Connect people and community, to share ideas and stories.
Coming up with content ideas
Here are the 33 prompts that you can use to write just about ANYTHING… feel free to copy and paste them into notepad so you can use them every day when you sit down to write content.
- Ask a question,
- Reference current events,
- Create your own terms,
- Reveal news (new/introducing),
- Tell the reader to do something,
- Give stats,
- Make a comparison,
- Promise useful information,
- Direct offer,
- Tell a (quick) story,
- Make a recommendation,
- State benefits,
- Use a testimonial,
- Arouse curiosity,
- Promise to reveal a secret,
- Be ultra-specific,
- Target section of your audience,
- Time-based headline,
- Stress urgency,
- Scarcity of savings/value,
- Deliver good news,
- Challenge the reader,
- Highlight your guarantee,
- State the price (as benefit),
- Set up (seemingly),
- Address reader objection/concern,
- “As crazy as it sounds”,
- Take them to the promised land,
- Demonstrate ROI,
- Reason why headline,
- Stress cost saving and value,
- List / answer questions,
- State / deliver on reader’s goals,
- Highlight cost of mistakes.
Use this website for content ideas http://answerthepublic.com/ enter a keyword and it will suggest content ideas
Types of content
- List pages,
- Check lists,
- Resource lists,
- Lists of lists,
- News lists,
- How-to guides,
- Researched statistics,
- Did you know,
- Flow charts,
- Topical guides,
- Beginner overviews,
- Downloadable guides,
- Live Blogging,
- Event coverage,
- Covering fast changing situations,
- Live Q&A’s,
- Round ups,
- News round-ups,
- From around the web,
- Summing up events,
- Q&A session,
- Q&A for interviews,
- Q&A FAQ,
- Informal Q&A,
- Opinion pieces,
- Controversial posts,
- High level breakdown,
- Forecasting trends,
- Deep dive,
- New angle,
- Industry leaders,
- Innovative companies,
- Topical expert,
- How to’s,
- Content curation,
- Case studies,
- Email Newsletters/Autoresponders,
- Book Summaries,
- Tool Reviews,
- “Day in the life of” post,
- Mind Maps,
- Online Game,
- Helpful Application/tool,
- Opinion Post,
- White Papers,
- Videos – screencasts, talking heads, illustrations, graphics, film roll,
- Photo Collage,
- Original Research,
- Press releases,
- User Generated Content,
- Company news,
- Meme – Meme Generator and Quick Meme,
- Social equity – introductions, access to contacts (interview, insight) – Leverage status (fame), membership (masons), contacts, relationships.
- Guides – A guide is a detailed and fairly long piece of content. Think of it as an epic blog post. It goes beyond the length, style, and approach of an ordinary blog post.
- Book reviews – A book review is a simple discussion of a book plus your take on it. You recommend good ones, critique not-so-good ones, and share the value that you glean from them. Book reviews are great because they help to position you as a thought leader.
- Opinion post (rant) – This style of post is substantially different from your typical blog post, mostly due to its tone. You may be used to publishing a careful and researched discussion of a topic. The rant or opinion, by contrast, may be stronger and more expressive. The more vociferous your position, the more it’s going to get read and shared.
- Product reviews – Like the book review, a product review can help establish authority and leadership in your industry. Every industry has its unique array of products, software, and services. When you engage key developers, manufacturers, or service providers, you gain recognition and respect. All you need to do is share your experience with the product and provide your recommendation.
- How to.. The how-to is one of the most popular types of content, especially in my niche. On my blog, I write a lot of how-to guides. How-to articles have awesome long tail search potential due to these popular long tail query introductions: “How to…” and “How do I…?”
- Lists – Lists have endless appeal. We’re wired to love them. Chance are you’re going to see or read an article today that involves some sort of a list — “5 Security Breaches You Need to Know about,” “17 Ways to Rank Higher in Google in One Month.” Hey, you’re already reading an article with the title “15 Types.”
- Link pages – link page is simply a post that provides links to great resources around the web. The great thing about link posts is that they spread link love to other sites, provide your own site with authoritative SEO signals, and assert your thought leadership within your field.
- Ebook – An ebook is long content packaged in a different format, usually as a PDF. Ebooks are often a downloadable product, available for free in exchange for joining a mailing list. Producing an ebook helps to strengthen your authority within a field, and it makes for a powerful method of sharing your knowledge with others.
- Case study – A case study explains what your product or service is and how it helped a client. The case study basically says, “here’s what we do, how we do it, and the results we get.”
- Podcast – Podcasts had their phase of popularity, and they’re still a great form of content. Plus, they’re not hard to create. Many people listen to podcasts during their commute or exercise. You have a chance to spread your message farther and better using this format than a lot of other formats.
- Interview – Every field has its leaders. When you’re able to interview a leader, you can garner a lot of respect from others in the field, not to mention huge amounts of traffic. Interviews are unique. No one else has this information — only you.
- Research and original data – Most of us work in data-intensive fields, where numbers and metrics hold a lot of value. Sharing your findings with others is a powerful way to drive traffic, build trust, and establish your authority. When you do the research, which is hard work, people respect that. What’s more, people share it.
- Digesting info and regurgitating/repackaging and presenting it to your audience in a new package,
- Content curation and Content aggregation, where you filter good quality content for your readers, this adds value for them and saves them having to troll through low quality content,
- If you don’t have anything to say, DOCUMENT! – easier than having to create new content,
- If you’re not an expert in your niche you can become a well informed commentator (share stories from niche – curate content made by others and add your own commentary).
Look after your readers
- Always reply to comments or messages,
- Say thanks,
- Use names and tag people,
- Share things – if you come across something you like share it,
- Be an investigator – Google Alerts – gives you news about a chosen keyword(s),
- Check out the results, go to a page and leave a comment as a nice gesture,
- Make navigation around the site easy,
- Decrease page load times,
- Get rid of annoyances on site such as pop-ups and distracting ads,
- Surprise audience – give something for free,
- Include transcript with podcasts or video,
- Use high quality audio and video,
- Skip the sales pitch – the best sales pitch is no sales pitch at all,
- Reply with a video,
- Invite participation – reader challenge, ask for opinion, calls to action – get people involved,
- Be honest,
- Be passionate,
- Get personal – infuse your personality and life to get deeper connection,
- Provide unique content such as provide case studios, experiments, income reports etc
- Proof read content before you post it,
- Remember who you are and who your serving,
- Always over deliver,
- Write post which is potential vehicle for income. Good quality, unique, have affiliate links in sidebar so on every post and in text,
- Create a visual representation of the information you are talking about to help you and your audience remember it,
- Transformation – what’s the transformation you want your audience to go through. Another way of putting it is what’s the purpose of your article. What’s the goal,
- Start with in this episode we are going to talk about x. by the end of this you will be able to Y using your Z,
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them, Tell them what you told them,
- Reverse engineer the transformation. Work backwards. What supporting content do you need to include to achieve the transformation,
- Write down all possible objections and include a reply to each of these in the supporting content,
- Tell stories (more memorable) or Include case studies or Research and data. Always include the professors full name and qualifications include accurate data to the penny,
- Subdivide the article so that it is easier to understand and follow. Subdivisions could be steps, tips,
- Make the beginning and end memorable,
- Ending should have a call to action, get audience involved, show how what you have talked about actually works, surprise audience in some way (must be relevant),
- Beginning should have a video or high impact beginning,
- Aim for Consistency,
- Talk like a human being,
- You shouldn’t be vanilla – take a point of view,
- Don’t talk at your audience, talk with them. connection, interaction.
So as you can see there is a lot to consider with regards to your content. The best advice I can give is get stuff out there and see what works best for your audience.