by Martha Spelman
Successful content marketing compels the viewer to take action — to make the call, send the email, buy the product or service.
If your content is more sell than tell, it’s a pitch, and it’s probably not working. In fact, it might be more repelling content than compelling content.
Instead, create your content with your customer in mind — what is it that he, she or they want to know and how will you attract them to the content you provide?
Compelling Content Tips:
1. Know your audience.
Before you create content, you’ll want to know who will be viewing the content and where. Create a client profile that describes the industry they are in, what product or service they provide, how they get their content, what wants and needs they have, what questions they ask, how your offer would benefit them and most importantly, are they potential buyers of your product or service?
2. Don’t sell.
If readers smell a pitch, they’ll flee. Remember that “it’s not about you, it’s about them.” Customers don’t really care what you do or how you do it, only what you can do for them. If you’re writing blog posts, sending an email newsletter or posting on social media, the reason is obvious, you’re hoping for business. No need to be more obvious than that. Remember to include testimonials in your content…let others sing your praises.
3. Don’t be boring.
You may think that others might find your industry uninteresting and that no one wants to hear about it. If you’re in business, there are people who buy from you and need what you have to provide. How you write about what you do, construct your story, describe the problems you’ve solved or list helpful hints for potential customers can make you seem like Superman…in the eyes of your clients.
4. Provide helpful, relevant content that is of interest to your audience.
Think about the articles you read; the blogs you follow or the videos you watch. Besides being entertaining, they address issues you find important; they teach you things about your business or about life that you need to know. Take that approach with your own content. Answer the questions you’re most often asked, talk about the problems you most often solve; when you help your audience, they’ll appreciate it and they’ll respond by sharing your content and giving you business.
5. Write an attention-getting headline.
If the headline doesn’t grab them, you’re done. We all get too many pieces of information every day to bother wading through content that doesn’t engage us right off the bat. Same goes for email subject lines, web pages, a PowerPoint presentation, an article, press release or brochure. Get creative here or you’ve wasted your time.
6. Grab them with visuals.
There’s a big reason that platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and even LinkedIn are so popular…people like to look at images. A great photo, conceptual illustration or video conveys a message far more rapidly and effectively than words.
7. Make sure your content is well-written.
Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence composition can’t be stressed enough. One typo may be enough to send your reader hitting delete.
8. Structure your content to make it easy-to-read and skimmable.
Every piece of content should have a beginning, middle and end. At the beginning, make a promise to your reader; tell them what you’ll deliver. Support your promise — or premise– with copy that explains, substantiates or supports your main point. Then conclude by restating, in a different way, the point you set out to make at the beginning.
To make the content easy-to-read and skimmable, break up copy with subheads, use short sentences and paragraphs; bold words, bullet points, numbered lists and italicized phrases help move the viewer through your piece.
9. Keep it simple — address one issue.
Many people embark on creating content as if it were their masterpiece. This presents two problems: 1) you’ll never be happy with the outcome and 2) it will take so long, you may never finish. Pick one point you’d like to make, one story you’d like to tell, one topic on which to focus. Your reader will thank you.
10. Evoke a response.
You actually want to solicit two responses from your content: the first is that your reader finds the content engaging; it’s educational, entertaining, inspirational, surprising or provoking…some emotion that keeps them captivated. Secondly, you want them to take action…with a call, an email, a meeting…that results in business.
11. Be find-able.
Attract new viewers who find you on the internet through search engine optimization (SEO). Use your businesses’ defined keywords and keyword phrases in your headline and several times throughout your content. Include links back to other content on your website and to other articles and posts you’ve created as well as to other sources you’ve referenced. SEO is really important, so if you are struggling with it then it is probably worth approaching a marketing company for help. Why not check out some SEO Packages to see what’s available to you?
12. Include a call to action.
Tell your viewer what you want them to do once they’ve experienced your content…call or email you, post a comment or share on another social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+. Incentivizing viewers — with a downloadable article, contest entry or free offer is a good way to add names to your mailing list.
Compelling content engages viewers and spurs them to react and respond. Incorporating these 12 tips will give your viewers a dozen reasons to give you the business.