Well-designed content is targeted marketing at its best. With a good content management plan, you can ensure that your customers will get the information that they need without them having to even ask. Well written and SEO optimized content brings in customers from various online avenues, including social media, search engines, and content aggregators. The most important thing is to be both creative and informative so that you can keep your readers engaged and coming back.
Your niche is what you offer to your customers, whether that be a service, product, or area of expertise. It shouldn’t be too hard to identify what it is that people come to your business for, however, creating content around that niche is the hard part. You have to consider what it is that you bring to the table. For example, if you sell dress ties and bowties, you could create a plethora of content just around how to tie different types of knots, which is the best for different occasions, color matching, proper length and width, etc.
The key here is to get creative with the content topics, just be sure that the content is in some way relevant to your target market. And this goes for any industry you are in. Content is the lifeblood of your website and will help bring in readers that are interested in what you have to say far after you have exhausted your marketing budget and ad campaigns.
Try doing a brainstorming session where anything goes, jotting down every specific topic that you can think of that relates to your business. Once you have a big list of topics ranked in level of importance and relevance, you can start creating content until you have run out of ideas. Chances are you will come up with more topics as you go through the list, which is great. Jot them down too.
Internet readers are naturally attention deficit. Most likely people are going to be reading your content on the bus, while watching TV, in the bathroom, etc. And what this means is that your readers aren’t necessarily vested in solely reading your content. The younger the generation, the more distractions they have. This doesn’t mean they don’t care what you have to say, rather, you need to find a way to spark their attention as quickly and effectively as possible.
A simple and easy way to emphasize the importance of a particular section is by separating quality tidbits from the rest of the text.
The start of a paragraph, a sentence on it’s own, bullet points and numbering, bolding and italics, etc., are all ways that to separate text that you want your reader to see. Just be careful how much you are emphasizing - the more you highlight, the less important everything else you highlight becomes. Too much is jarring, and too little is difficult to read.
Visuals are key to getting people engaged. A picture should typically be used with every blog post, and other visuals like infographics and high quality videos helps people interact with the content on different levels. Pictures are appealing and help the content be more aesthetically pleasing. Infographics are great for branding and spreading information. Videos are useful for showing readers what text or still photographs fall short in explaining. Depending on what you offer your customers, you can leverage visuals to help not only bring in more customers, but make them stay and engage with your content.
It doesn’t hurt to experiment with different types of visuals as well to see what your customers like and don’t like.
While SEO is a top priority when writing content, you want to be sure that you sound natural when plugging in top keywords. Search engines are quick to recognize keyword spammers, so start by writing the content how you typically would and then go back and add in SEO keywords if need be. For example, if you are an attorney writing content for your website, you obviously want to mention legal keywords, but if you use attorney, you typically don’t have to use lawyer as well since search engines recognize synonyms. Chose topics that focus on one area so that you can stay focused in your writing, bring readers in from a specific target area, and don’t have to list out a bunch of keywords just to explain the topic.
Also, every writer has their own style, and it is fine to write how you would normally speak if you were telling a story. Style is how the content is written, your word choice, sentence fluency, and how you present your information. While you want to be natural, you also want to make sure your sentences connect with one another and are easily readable. Additionally, keep in mind who your audience is. If you are writing to teenagers, for example, you don’t want to use a bunch of technical jargon that your readers will have to look up in order to understand.
Another consideration is your natural writing voice. The voice of your writing is how you and your company perceive the world, how you interact with other people, and the ideas you have about the past, present, and future. When you are first starting to write content for your website, you want to be sure that you establish a clear voice for your company and stay consistent. This can be a struggle and take time and practice to develop, but it will be worth it in the end. An authentic voice will help the content stay appealing and keep the reader from getting bored.
Editing and revising is one of the most important steps to creating content. You don’t want to publish a blog post and send it out to your followers only to find out that you misspelled a bunch of words, have sentences that don’t make sense, or any other mess-up that might happen on your first draft. Make sure that you edit and revise everything you plan on showing other people.
Plan on going through three drafts. The first draft is just to get your ideas out legibly. The second draft should be mainly for revisions, which means adding anything in to help make your message more clear and deleting anything that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t belong with the rest of the piece. And finally, the third draft is for copy editing to ensure that the content is free of any grammatical errors. Another good trick is to have someone else that you trust read the post and suggest revisions or edits. Having an outside perspective other than your own is great for removing any bias that you have about the writing. This may seem tedious, but it is very important and doesn’t take as long as you would think.
It is important that you recognize the reason why your readers are coming to your website. How did they originally come to your website? What are they engaging with the most? What sort of comments are they leaving? What links are they clicking on within your website? How many and which readers are converting into actual customers.
A good idea is to check your website and social media analytics to see what content your followers are engaging with the most. Each social media platform has their own analytics built into their business pages, and a good social media management tool should also have this built in. Use Google Analytics to see an in depth analysis of your viewers. This data can give you great insight into why your followers are actually following you and help you give them more of what they want.
Unless your niche is specifically in a controversial topic, it is never a good idea to be derogatory, offensive, or confess specific political or religious views in your content. The second you do so you are pigeonholing your whole company. You could lose out on potential customers if you give them any reason to dislike you or your company. Because word of mouth, i.e. social media, is so powerful, you can find yourself making the wrong person mad and causing a PR disaster that will be hard to overcome.
Technical jargon can be useful if done correctly. However, too much jargon or lengthy words that people don’t understand tends to make people uncomfortable and not want to keep reading. Depending on your niche and who the majority of your readers are, limit the use of technical jargon as much as you can.
And if you do use technical jargon, be sure that you explain it. It never hurts to have a little bit of explanatory advice mixed in to help people understand, and therefore, connect with your content.
Linking to outside websites can be tricky. Google does and will dock your website’s search ranking if you are found to be spamming links that don’t necessarily need to be in the text. Linking to outside resources so that the reader can find out more information about the subject you're writing about is fine, just be sure that the link is credible.
Also, too many links in text is unappealing to the eye and can make viewers instantly back out of your website if it looks like there are too many. It is too easy to lose readers online, so you don’t want to give them any reasons to back out before they are given the chance to hear what you have to say.
What is the point in writing content for your website if you aren’t going to show it to anybody? You can’t expect people to read what they don’t know is there, and SEO won’t do it all for you.
Sharing your content is just as important as important as writing it. Post it on your personal and business social media platforms. Get your friends and family to share the content with their followers. Reach out to like-minded companies and share the content with them as well. As a business, you should be using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media that you feel will benefit you the most. It doesn’t hurt to experiment with the not-so-well known ones either, such as Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Reddit.
Creating engaging and effective content is essential for every business with a website. Great content gives a reason for people to become customers and for customers to share why they like your business. Listen to your followers and give them what they want, write naturally, and create a content management plan to ensure you keep writing about interesting topics.
More expert advice about Sales and Marketing
Photo Credits: Rawpixel/bigstock.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com