When I first began blogging, I did it in order to get my experiences, thoughts and opinions of entrepreneurship out of my head and into the world. I wanted people to read about my views on entrepreneurship and small business, with the intention to create engaging conversation around what I had written. What I didn’t understand when I started blogging was the concept of content, and how businesses would truly need content in order to prosper in the changing world of business/ consumer interaction.
Nowadays, a business with no content is a business that will find it very hard to gain attention in today’s competitive marketplace. The marketplace is constantly moving, which means a producer must be able to stay ahead of the demands of the consumer. Therefore, engaging content plays a vital role in keeping a business present in the mind of the consumer. But does just any piece of information qualify as valuable content?
No it does not!
Knowing how to create great content that produces value for your business, is a huge advantage when it comes to marketing your business. What you must know though, is that more goes into the process of content creation, than just the action of putting words together.
Content is not powerful if it does not reach its intended audience and create a feeling of inclusion and familiarity. These feelings being produced means that a connection between the reader and your content has been established.
But there is nothing worse than thinking that you have put together great content that only gets looked over. It can be deflating, making you question if producing content is actually worth the time and effort.
In order to avoid this frustration, you must understand the process of content creation and content marketing. This is: the value you are imparting and the method in which it reaches the masses. Without the two actions being merged together, you will not produce the rewarding results which you seek.
Why Content is Important!
Back in March, I had a conversation with Carey Ballard, Director of Content Marketing at Infusionsoft, discussing the importance of content. It was a great conversation that helped reinforce the importance of how content creates a huge advantage for a business that leverages it well. You can find the interview below.
Marketing your business via content can be a challenging and frustrating process. You may have heard that content is KING when it comes to marketing, and that great content can significantly help elevate your business. I find this to be true, but you must know what you are doing in order to get the most out of your content.
I gave you the process of content creation… provide value & find channels to market your work. But that might not fully help all those who are reading this piece of content. So I will make it truly VALUABLE for you! Use the following advice given below in order to truly maximize your content.
How to Structure Your Content
Know Your Audience!
Who are you writing for?
What are their problems?
What solutions do they seek?
What blogs/ websites do they already follow?
These are questions that you must know the answers to in order to know how to write to attract engagement. You must know the mind of the intended reader in order to understand their motivations when they seek knowledge. Your content is your product. You must absolutely know the target market who needs what you have to offer. So who needs your content?
Write to Educate/ Entice Engagement!
The mistake many of you make with your blog, is that you refuse to give out anything of value. Maybe you do not know how to create value. You create filler blog posts just to have something new posted on your blog every day. In return, your content is not good and becomes redundant. It lacks purpose and it has no value. This mistake denies you the ability to direct people to follow and act upon what they have read, which is supposed to be the primary focus of your blog.
People visit blogs to either be educated or entertained. When you can do both with your content, you position your blog as one with authority. So how do you write to make your content compelling? If you read, Know Your Audience, then I would say that you have all that you need to answer your question. I will cut you some slack though, and give you a little insight into how content really works.
You absolutely must combine valuable information with enjoyable entertainment. Include audio, photos and videos within your content. The reason being is because people today have very short attention spans. You must capture their attention quickly and have measures in place that help to keep them focused on your content. An important thing to remember is that a large number of visitors to your website means nothing if they are not actually engaged with your content. This means that your goal is to focus on ensuring visitor engagement is achieved. Real engagement leads to comments, shares and the development of opportunities. Make producing great content and content engagement your #1 priorities.
How to Market Your Content
You have produced a great piece of content and now it has to been seen in order for it to gain some much-needed attention. Your vision is to be admired for your knowledge and have people specifically seek you out when they need information about the subject you claim expertise within. Trust me, I completely understand your desires. If you put time and effort into producing information for the purpose of being consumed by others, you want that consumption to actually occur.
So how do you effectively market your content?
There has been an argument that guest blogging is dead but that is very far from the truth. Guest blogging is great source for exposure, branding and the development of authority. As with anything else though, it has to be done so wisely and with a purpose (a designed strategy in mind).
Guest blogging works best when you identify those blogs/ websites that specifically serve your target audience. Many bloggers make the mistake of reaching out to those blogs that have good traffic, with the attempt in mind to divert that traffic to their blog. The problem that usually arises is that there is no actual strategy in place which leads to those desired results. The decision to be a guest blogger is merely based on the hope that readers enjoy your content so much, that they rush towards your blog with extreme enthusiasm.
When I am pursuing to be a guest blogger on someone else’s blog, I am doing so with a call to action in mind. A call to action’s purpose is to actually lead people to your blog, e-book or products; rather than just have them reading your content on a site that doesn’t belong to you. With this purpose in mind, you must write an amazing piece of content that entices the reader to take your call to action into serious consideration. Example: If you would like further information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur, click on the following link for my e-book 10 Laws of Power for Entrepreneurs.
Your content is supposed to be the reel and your call to action is supposed to be the bait that the reader latches onto. You must guest blog with a specific initiative in mind, rather than with the intention of just trying to be “seen”. Being seen does not actually lead to results if no specific strategy is outlined. Do you actually want engaged fans or do you want frequent browsers, who peak and dash? Your choice to make.
When most people think about blogging and producing content, they usually think about a free or very low-cost opportunity that produces an abundance of rewards. While this happens on rare occasions, it is not 100% guaranteed to come into fruition for you. Creating content not only requires an investment of time, but it also will require some monetary investment in order to increase the chances of visibility.
Paid visibility = Advertisement
Facebook and Google are the 2 giants when it comes to receiving a decent ROI on your advertisement dollars spent. You can also advertise on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. The key to doing effective advertising on any of these platforms, is knowing exactly the people who will click on your content ad. In other words, know your target market. You must be as detailed as possible when it comes to the criteria that you want set for demographic targeting. Everybody is not interested in your content, so only direct your ad towards those who actually care about what you have to say.
People make a lot of mistakes when it comes to blog commenting. Writing a basic comment on a popular blog/ website, while providing a link from your own website used to be a favorite tactic for people looking to grow their readership. Nowadays that tactic is not as effective. Leaving a generic comment that is followed up with a link to your blog is now viewed as spam. You are basically seen as looking to promote yourself off of somebody else’s work.
The most effective way to comment, is by adding more substance to the information already provided. This means confirm or deny what has already been written, by adding your own perspective based off of your real experience with the subject at hand. When people can see that you have real knowledge about the subject, they may feel inclined to learn more about the knowledge you possess. The author of the post may even respond to your comment, creating a conversation that validates your opinion to other readers.
The purpose of commenting these days is to demonstrate your knowledge, rather than act as spam leaving links to your blog. It takes patience to gain a following through commenting but it will provide a more involved readership, since they were initially attracted to your authenticity on another platform.
Content is a must have for anybody operating a business, but it is important to actually understand how to create content that delivers results. If you have made mistakes with your content in the past, or are presently doing so, identify them now and immediately correct your errors. Crafting powerful content can position your business amongst the top of your competition…. if it is actually seen.
Follow the advice given in this post in order to create content that actually works for you. If you need a little more information regarding content, click on the links below. For any questions, leave a comment below or send me an email.