When it comes to generating leads for your business, creating engaging content is a must. Content creation is the most direct and effective way to demonstrate the value of your services to potential customers. However, many business owners struggle with this vital step. Is it really so hard to create relevant content for your business?
Understandably, you may feel intimidated by your first attempts to generate content. After all, it’s only one piece of the puzzle that is your business, and you have a lot of tasks to complete to keep operations smooth. Or maybe it comes from another place: perhaps you don’t know what makes helpful content, or you’re unsure how to generate new ideas.
In this article, we’ll go over some simple but profoundly important tips that can help you easily and (eventually) quickly create valuable online content for your business. Streamlining your content creation process requires little time and even fewer resources, but the rewards you can reap are endless.
1. Know Your Audience
You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it’s no less true here than it ever was. You probably know your intended target audience already and have geared marketing efforts towards them. However, have you put yourself in their shoes and thought about what content they are interested in? What short- or long-form content would you actually sit down and spend several minutes reading or watching and why? Finding out what your target audience is seeking online and what they respond to is the cornerstone of building valuable content.
When most customers search for a product or service online, they search with precise terms. Someone who is looking for roof repair services, for example, may use words that refer to specific roof types or causes of damage. Writing content that caters to the broader term as well as particular terms within a niche allows you to use SEO to your advantage to find your target audience’s problems and provide meaningful solutions.
Determine the subjects your target audience wants to know more about. Are there conflicting opinions on the best choice for a particular decision? Is there a rivalry between competing brands in the space? Fanboyism? Controversy?
Each of these elements likely has engendered endless conversation on message boards and in chat rooms, so don’t miss your chance to weigh in on the topic. Establish your voice and your authority as a player in your niche and provide meaningful input on the most engaging topics in your niche.
2. Keep Your Content Relevant and To The Point
Content creation is rarely a one-time occurrence. Companies choose to make posts on a regular or semi-regular basis because it helps build visibility. However, they also tend to keep their content brief, rarely over one thousand words. While you may think this is a natural consequence of creating content so frequently, it has other benefits.
Pieces that can be read and processed quickly have a strong advantage over long-form content. Any content, be it a Facebook ad or a company blog, is competing with a reader’s attention span. Shorter pieces force you to try and hook the audience as quickly as possible, address their problem, build trust and convert them to customers.
In fact, attention spans are only decreasing. Recent studies indicate that you have roughly 8 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention and convince them to stick around on your page. Whether that is via a catchy and engaging hook or headline, or cleverly crafted imagery, engaging your audience benefits your brand and your bounce rate.
Of course, you need balance between the length of the piece and the value of its content. Sacrificing value for the sake of brevity defeats the purpose of creating customer-facing content. You’re the subject matter expert — cover the important stuff and cut out the fluff.
3. Research Content from Other Companies
If you’re struggling with new ideas for content, it’s worth your time to see what others in your industry are writing about. It’s likely their posts may have subjects or focuses you hadn’t considered or reveal aspects of your audience that you didn’t think to address. You can use their ideas as a starting point to build your original content and cover ground they may have missed.
On a similar note, you can glean inspiration from industry news and trends. If you’re already staying abreast of your industry’s latest changes and challenges, think about how those stories may affect your target audience and write from that perspective. Content written in this way may eventually date itself, but it will still hold value in the immediate term.
In addition, if meaningful advances are made in the future, you have free real estate to write new content that addresses these changes and provides you with increased SEO value by referencing your previous content with internal links, bolstering your rankings with reputable external links, and doubling down on relevant and timely keywords that address your subject matter and industry.
In either case, being aware of what’s happening in your industry beyond your own company is key to generating ideas for content. Even if your company is small, keeping an eye on the broader scale helps lend credibility to your content.
4. Write-Ahead of Time
Content production is most effective when it occurs on a regular schedule. Whether weekly or monthly, recurring updates show your audience that you are proactive and give them an incentive to keep coming back. However, creators sometimes feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having to write new pieces regularly.
To take some of the difficulty out of content creation, one strategy is to draft new content ahead of time. If you get your ideas down quickly, you can build a backlog of pieces pending publication and leave them until it’s time to publish. Using this approach also grants you more time to edit and otherwise refine pieces before they go live. It also gives you the chance to supplement your posts with more timely content that addresses current events in your industry or niche when you need to.
Overall, giving yourself more time to focus on the quality of your content increases the odds that your audience will react to it positively. However, rushing for the sake of getting content out on time has the potential to cause more harm than good for your business. Instead, be consistent, but allow yourself to take time when building your content.
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