How to create compelling content
This month’s blog is a guest blog by Julie Waite from Julie Waite Marketing. She is a marketing expert with 16 years experience of all aspects of marketing including:
- Writing newsletters
- Advertising campaigns
- Managing events and awards
- Running websites
- Social Media
Take a look at this great article below and if you want more great tips head over to her blog
You’ve got yourself a beautiful website; it feels fresh, interactive and engaging – but how can you make sure that the content is just as enticing? Here’s some top tips for creating content that will wow your audience and keep them coming back for more.
Where to start?
The starting point for developing any content should be your target audience and your objectives. It’s not quite as exciting as jumping straight in and ‘creating’, but it will give you focus and ensure that your content is impactful and relevant. Think about your customers and what they want and like – what need of theirs can you meet with this content? Also, revisit your business goals and objectives to consider how this piece of content fits with them.
By now, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get stuck into your masterpiece, however, as many great minds have said, ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. Spending a little time planning the structure of your content, researching your topic and visualising how you want it to look and feel, will pay dividends when you start writing. It will also help you to avoid those awful ‘staring at a blank screen’ moments.
Headlines and introductions
You only get one chance to hook in your reader and it’s with your headline and the first couple of sentences that you do this. There is such a wealth of content available online that if people don’t instantly like what they see, they’ll just pop straight back to Google and search again.
Successful headlines and intros often use the following headline formulas:
- Tell a story – we all love a good story and using a relevant anecdote upfront – that then leads on nicely to what you want to say – draws the reader in as they want to find out what happens
- Problems – give the symptoms of a problem that you know your reader experiences and then tell them that you can fix it
- Questions – ask questions that your audience want answering
- Curiosity – we humans are a curious bunch and this can be used to your advantage when creating content. Be mysterious and hint at what is on offer
- State the obvious – sometimes it is appropriate to just succinctly say what you are going to offer e.g. ‘The beginner’s guide to Twitter’. Many people like that straight-forward approach and if it is the type of phrase that is used on search engines then that is even better
- Numbers and ‘how to …’ formulas – you’ll see a lot of these on social media and they often use grand claims and elements such as numbers (‘20 foods you can eat to lose weight’) and ‘how to …’ (How to save money on X). You can even use free online headline generators to come up with titles for you!
Deliver what you promise
Whatever topic you choose for your content, be it a guide, some useful information, an inspiring tale or simply something fun to entertain your audience, make sure that you deliver what you promised in your headline. Nothing will upset your readers more than finding out that they’ve just wasted their time and they haven’t got what they wanted.
Make it pretty
Try to use a variety of visual techniques to keep your reader interested and to give them a rich experience; consider:
- Relevant pictures/photos
- Embedded Tweets etc.
Find your voice
Don’t forget to use the right written style, or voice, for your audience. So, if you are creating content for a young, vibrant reader, use a tone that they will be able to identify with. It is equally important to bring out your business’ personality and keep it consistent with your brand.
Clear call to action
At the end of your content, ensure that you tell your reader what to do next. This call to action prompts them to engage with you; this could be by directing them to more content or perhaps a relevant product page, maybe you want them to connect with you on social media or join your mailing list. Whatever it is, finish with a strong message that will help to further develop the relationship with your reader.
Check before you click
Before you post your content, do a thorough proofread to avoid any embarrassing mistakes that could alienate your audience. (If you want to know how to proofread like a pro, have a look at these tips ‘How to proofread your blog’).
Keep practising and learning
Content marketing is a long-term commitment that will most definitely bring results in time. However, don’t be disheartened if your new creation doesn’t turn into a big viral hit overnight. Keep on creating useful, relevant content and learn from what gets a good response with your readers. Ask your customers what content they want you to provide and stick with it; they’ll thank you for it in the end.