Getting Started with Creating Irresistible Content
If you are a small or medium business owner you have probably already heard how important it is to create content. Content builds credibility for your brand, helps develops relationships and creates interest in your brand. Providing compelling content is a great way to get noticed by potential clients.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer” by profession, this guide will help you with the basics when it comes to content creation.
Know Your Audience
First and foremost, you need to know who you are speaking to. At every point in the writing process, you should write for your personas or target audience. This means writing content that interests them and writing in a way the resonates with them. Take for example a 12-year-old boy and a 45-year-old billionaire – you can imagine the not only their interests would differ, but the tone and voice you would use would differ as well.
Write for Humans First, SEO Second
SEO techniques are important to incorporate into your writing in order to better rank in search engines such as Google. However, if you really want to drive traffic to your site, write for people first and SEO second. If you write for people first, that is automatically going to drive traffic to your site because it’s creating interesting. People respond faster and better than Google does with SEO. Let SEO guide you, give you direction, but not dictate. After you first write content for humans, go back and review the content and see how you can incorporate more SEO without it killing the human aspect. SEO overload kills human interest and that kills traffic.
Maintain Your Brand Tone & Voice
The purpose of content marketing is so that people think of you. By writing with the same “tone and voice” people can recognize your brand. This is just one element of your brand identity.
you have a casual tone and humorous, using simple words that are easily
understood or do you perhaps you come from a very professional
Writing with various voices can confuse users, making it difficult for them to distinguish your content from others. By using a consistent brand tone and voice, “shortcuts” are created for users and it helps them know what they can expect.
Create Interesting or Helpful Content
There are 2 reasons people read content:
- They are bored and are looking for some form of entertainment.
- They want to learn more about something. With content marketing, it’s usually going to be number two. Also keep in mind that people might not know what they need to learn. Maybe they don’t know they need a new car until you provoke the idea. Even if someone is looking to learn something, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. We are human so try and make something enjoyable, something people will WANT to read.
Create a Goal for the Content
Create a goal for your content based on where your reader is in the sales and marketing funnel. Are they already familiar with your brand, are they almost ready to buy but need to feel more confident in your expertise? HubSpot shows a great example of the type of content you want to consider based on where your users are in the buyers journey. Always ensure your writing is coming back to the point you’re making – don’t go off track. This is great to keep in mind especially when doing a review content. Did you go off track? or do you keep going back to the main point for the piece?
Creating a Compelling Headline and Title
Now we get to the actual writing of your content piece. If your title doesn’t capture the attention of your reader, then you might as well not even bother creating content. Some say that you should spend just as much time on your title as you do on your content. That’s how important it is. To create something that captures attention, your title should be:
- Short: Titles should be no more than 50-60 characters, as Google typical cuts a headline off after that.
- Unique: No one wants to read a boring piece that is written everywhere. Make it unique.
- Emotional: People are emotional beings and emotions can be triggered subconsciously. Try and trigger some sort of emotion. CoSchedule has a great list of emotional words to consider using:
- Powerful: Use words that command attention and action.
Second guessing yourself? Make sure to use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer which ranks your title on the 4 factors listed above and more. This will give you clear insight if you are headed in the right direction or not.
10 Types of Headlines and Titles That Tend to Perform Well
Here are some types of titles that perform well to help get you started.
- # of [Something Useful or Interesting]
- Top # [List]
- How to [Do Something Useful or Interesting]
- How [Brand Name or Celebrity] [Does Something the Reader Wants to Do]
- Best of [Category or Type]
- Why [Something] Is [the Way It Is]
- Interview with [Celebrity]: [Interesting Topic or Title]
- Breaking News
- Secrets of [Something We’re Dying to Know]
The First Few Sentences
People online don’t have time. They aren’t going to read through a few paragraphs before “things get good”. You need to capture their attention and interest right away and make it so they want to keep reading. Create something compelling and concise. Try starting with:
- An interesting story
- A fact
- An opposed viewpoint
- Valuable/rare information
- Breaking news
Make Boring Topics Interesting
Your business could quite frankly be as boring as hell but that doesn’t mean your content has to be. This is where you need to get creative and making a boring business fun and interesting. A good example of a company who has done this is Troy-Built, FLEX Lawn Mowers in Mashable. Let’s be honest lawn mowers are pretty boring, so you’d think it would be impossible to come up with fun and interesting content that people actually want to read. However, FLEX Lawn Mowers and Mashable thought outside of the box by creating a fun piece of content for lawn mowers by writing about how groundskeepers use lawn mowers to create giant emojis in fields. How fun? 5, 300 shares fun.
So you can get there – you just have to get a bit creative.
Consider the Psychology of People
People are emotional beings, and neuroscience shows that emotions often trump logic when it comes to decision making. Not that you will always be trying to sell something in your content, but the idea is to keep in mind how people “are wired” when you write. Here are few tips to get you started via CoSchedule:
- When skimming content, most readers tend to read the first and last three words of a headline
- Headlines that convey strong positive or negative emotions tend to perform better
Create Concise Content
Time is the most precious thing we can give someone. Understand that about your readers and make your writing as efficient as possible. If and when you can simplify content, do it. And guess what? You always can! So, what are some ways you can help someone quickly digest your information?
- Use simple and familiar words: Simple and familiar words also help someone digest your content more. Sure, maybe you want to sound smart and through in some fancy words, but people aren’t going to read that, that is unless of course, it’s the words your target audience uses. How can you be sure? You can do a quick Google keyword research. Test a common simple word and a more complex word. Chances are people are searching the more simple words. This will also help for your Google rankings.
- Re-read and cut down/out some more: Once
your post is complete, re-read it and cut out some more content. Less
is always more when it comes to content marketing. How else can you make
content easy to digest?
- Avoid repetition: if at any point you are mentioning the same thing, cut the repeated section out.
- Play around with formatting: from highlights, bold text, CAPS, or italics to draw attention to specific parts
- Break up a long headline into a headline with a sub headline
- Change paragraphs into bullet points
Format Content For “The Eye”
How you present your content is just as important as your writing, if not more. If you writing piece looks overwhelming to the eye, people are likely going to drop off. For example, take a blog post that simply has a headline and paragraphs upon paragraphs of copy. Now, think of a blog post that is broken down by sub-headlines, lists, and charts. It will be much easier to digest.
Link to Related Content
Have you ever been on Facebook and soon snap out of it realizing you have just spent an hour and are now looking at your friends, cousins, sisters baby? how on earth did that happen?! Well, that’s what you want to do with your content except you want to lead users through more and more of your content. If you provide a compelling part of information but don’t have time to go in-depth (because you are being concise, remember?) then provide relevant links to other content you have written on the topic.
At the close of every piece of content, summarize your main point, then tell your readers how they’ll benefit from the information you provided. If at all possible, go full circle by tying it back to the main point you made in the lead.
Make it Easy to Share
The best way to get your content out there is to make it easy to share and you’ll be surprised how willing people are to share content when it’s easy to share! Take a look below! Would you look at that, wonderful ways you can easily share this post! Make share options easily accessible and you can even request shares by simply asking. For example, “Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to share!”… well did you? go share!