Write Content Your Audience Wants to Read
Connecting with your audience online is vital for successfully marketing your business, and you know you have to fill your website, your blog and your social media pages with content your audience will read.
Why is it so difficult to create customer-centric content that people will actually read?
As the amount of information competing for your customers’ attention increases, the likelihood of them reading your Facebook status decreases. So instead of simply hoping that your audience takes the time to interact with your brand, give them a compelling reason to read what you write.
It is more important than ever to craft messages your audience wants to read. In other words, , something educational, interesting or entertaining. By providing value, content builds trust and establishes lasting relationships with your audience.
Grab Readers' Attention
Since creating content that teaches and/or entertains can be difficult, we’ve put together some tips that will help you with your content creation struggles.
1. Use Analytics
The analytics provided by various social media platforms can tell you which of your content is getting read. Examine your posts, determine which performed well, then look for a pattern among them.
- Is there a common topic?
- Does content from one source perform better than others — your blog, videos on YouTube, pins on Pinterest, articles on LinkedIn?
- Does a particular content type — text, image, or video — perform better?
- Did people leave any interesting comments on those posts?
Take your cues from this research for new content creation. If it worked well before, it may work well again. Re-write, re-organize and re-create successful posts.
2. Conduct Market Research
To get valuable information from your existing customers, conduct some market research using surveys, interviews, and/or feedback polls.
The simplest method is to post a question on your Facebook page: “What content would you like to see from us?”
If you want more detailed information than a simple question provides, you can place a feedback poll or survey on your website. You can add the poll manually or you can use a tool like , which will also provide analytics on the browsers’ behavior while they are on your website.
Surveys or questionnaires should be short, direct and to the point, with five questions or less. If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the information you need to create content your readers are looking for.
Here’s some suggestions for questions you can ask:
- What was going on in your business that caused you to search for a solution?
- When evaluating products / services, what was most important to you?
- Why did you feel our service / product was the best solution for you?
- What about our brand made you feel confident enough to give us a try?
- What other solutions did you try and what didn’t you like about them?
- What can you do now or what can you do better than you could before?
Notice that none of these questions can be answered with a yes or no. Instead, all of them hit the customer at a more emotional level, which will hopefully solicit more honest answers from responders.
3. Learn from Your Competition
There’s a lot you can Look for general patterns and ideas that seem to be working well for them that you can adapt for your own brand. .
While it’s great to learn from and get ideas from your peers, you don’t want to copy what they are doing. After all, your business is unique, and you want to stand out from your competitors with what you’re sharing on social media, not simply be a “me-too.”
4. Use a Research Tool
A content research tool like , which lets you search shared content, can be a gold mine of useful ideas for content creation. Type in any keywords, like “social media marketing”, and Buzzsumo will show you the most shared content relevant to that keyword. Then look through the results and see if you can identify the popular topics around that keyword.
5. Create a Buyer Persona
A ou need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.is a composite representation of your ideal customer, based on market research about and data collected from your existing customers. Your buyer persona should include demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, needs, wants, lifestyle and goals. Y
A buyer persona can be a great benefit for your content creation efforts. Because you’ve done the research, you know what types of content they want and the topics they find relevant and interesting.
Without personas, you are probably only guessing what your audience wants instead of creating content around the information your audience is actively seeking.
6. Share Your Expertise
Showcase what you know about a topic, offer insights, react to the current news/environment and engage in discussions that move a topic forward. If you do this well, your audience will build trust in you and your products and services, all without “selling” them.
People search for content because they want answers. Since they are not in a buying mood, sales pitches are unwelcome. You are an expert in your field, and someone somewhere is searching for your knowledge.
7. Write Like You Speak
There's nothing more impersonal than writing content in a cold, sterile voice, in a way people don't actually speak.
Good content comes about when you communicate your message as if you were having a normal conversation with your readers. This doesn't mean the writing should be sloppy – far from it -- but it should be genuine.
8. Follow Trends
Follow general trends in social media to help you get a sense of the types of content to post. For example, the top content format now is video. In , it was pointed out that “video posts have the highest average engagement … of other post types…”.
To take advantage of this trend, it’s possible to create simple videos without a big budget using tools like and .
Building content that talks about trends in your industry and how they may impact your target customers will certainly get read.
9. Capitalize on Voice Search
To tap into the increasing popularity of , use your blog to answer commonly asked questions, ones you frequently get asked by customers. Searchers are looking for "who, what, why, how", so use your content to answer in-depth questions about your company, product, and service.
10. Study Your Target Audience
Whatever books are trending in your industry – whatever books your target audience reads – should be the books you read (or at least look through) to find topics for content creation. Every chapter is a . Amazon is a great resource and will lead you to the books you want to know about, with their “customers who bought this item also bought” feature.
Then there are podcasts. Listen to the podcasts your audience listens to for inspiration. Jot down keywords and blog topic ideas while you listen.
Read more, learn more, listen more and come up with your own interpretation of the same subject matter.
11. Always Be Looking for Topics
Keep a list of the questions customers ask you, recurrent problem areas, and interesting facts about your industry. Use the discussion forums, Q&A sites, social media, and blog comments to find topics and discussions that inspire questions, curiosity, and need.
12. Repurpose / Reuse Old Content
Psychology studies dating back to the 1960’s determined that . Meaning the content you created in the past can play a role in determining what content your readers want to read in the future.
Blog posts that have generated the most social shares, traffic and conversion rates in the past may just be what your readers are looking for today. What do you think it was about those posts that made people want to share them? Figure it out, then do it again with a new twist.
13. Share Content Across Multiple Platforms
To get the most out of your great content, you need to share it across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Post it to your Google My Business page. Ask to be a guest blogger on an industry website. Create an e-book. And be sure to include a call-to-action that asks your readers to engage with your further.
14. Be Yourself
Be transparent. Be inviting. And most of all, be yourself. Instead of trying to sell with your content, use it to build trust. If you are open and honest in your approach, readers will want to hear more from you.
Some Practical Suggestions
- Listicles. . There’s a listicle for every topic and every industry, so think of a few things relevant to your brand and put them in a list.
- How-To’s. How-to’s give people instructions and guidance about the actions they should take to complete a task.
- People Profiles. People like to hear other people’s stories. Profiles of people connected to your company help to humanize your brand.
- Reviews. Online consumer opinions and are the . Consumers today don’t buy much of anything without checking online reviews and recommendations first. Use this trend to your advantage.
- Problem-Solving Posts. Like how-to’s, problem-solving posts provide people with content they can use. Problem-solving posts help to put an end to the pain a reader is experiencing.
- Life Improvement Advice. Articles and blog posts that claim to improve a person’s life in some way or another are always popular.
- Try infographics. Infographics can provide educational, step-by-step lists and flowcharts in a pleasing format that pops.
- Incorporate your own photos and videos. Visual content attracts people. Try video testimonials, photos of behind-the-scenes planning, and whatever else you care to share.
Try a few of these ideas to see if your readership increases. Always keep topics relevant. And continue to ask the questions, “what is my target audience interested in?” and “what is the biggest problem my target audience has and how can I help?”
Content may be king, but to rule successfully, it must be something your audience wants to read.
Sources used in this article + information for further reading