I’m thrilled to have today Sarah from Creative and Coffee here on the blog, sharing this post with amazing tips on one of the most complicated tasks for all bloggers: how to creating content that people want to read.
Solve a Problem and Get Specific
The first thing we do to start creating content is to get into the mind of our ideal audience. If you haven’t got a good handle on that yet, you might want to check out this post first.
What Brings People To You?
Think carefully about what would prompt someone to come to your website? What are they looking for in the Google search? What about your social media posts would have compelled them to click on the link to the site?
Knowing this is important because when someone arrives at your site, you want to make sure that you can quickly deliver on those expectations. The easiest way to make sure you deliver is to have offered something very specific in the initial stages.
Offer Something Specific
For example, if your post is something like ‘5 Ways to Increase Your Instagram Following’, you are going to get a broad range of people coming through. You might have someone who wants to increase their audience in order to become a full-time influencer, whilst the next person might be interested in attracting a very specific type of coaching client through Instagram.
Five general tips to increase the audience might hold their attention for a bit, but it’s not immediately going to jump out at them. That might just quickly scroll through and then leave.
The best type of content gives a quick solution or action for your reader to take in order to get a small win. This increases trust, authority and will encourage your reader to keep reading, to explore other useful posts on your site or sign up for a lead magnet.
What If I Sell a Physical Product?
This goes for product-based businesses as well. Think about what struggle, problem or aspiration your product is designed to fulfill. For example, if you sell stylish flat shoes you might have a post: “How to Dress Up For Date Night – Without the Heels” or “Five Outfits for Tall Girls That Are Comfortable and Chic”
It’s Not Life or Death
A problem doesn’t have to be a life or death situation. It can just be an everyday annoyance or a common irritation. Whatever you choose, just try and make it as specific as you can to your audience member. The more specific it is, the more likely it is to be helpful.
Speak Their Language
Let’s take this to the next level. Still thinking about the problem or issue your potential customer/client is having – how do they express that worry?
What Do They Perceive As Their Problem?
For example, many small business owners are constantly looking for tips to increase traffic to their website. Without a doubt, some of the most frequently re-pinned and constantly asked questions that I see in Facebook Groups is “How Do I Increase Traffic to My Site?”. But, is this what they really want? On the whole, not really.
What they want is to make more sales and they see having increased traffic as the solution to this. More traffic might well be the solution, but I imagine if you had the choice between getting a thousand more people coming to your website and only one person buying something OR getting 50 people out of the one hundred people currently visiting your site to buy something – it’s a no-brainer, right?
So whilst you might, for example, be offering a solution to help business owners get higher conversions on their e-commerce sites – the initial content you might attract your ideal client with would be a post about increased traffic.
Use Your Words
This goes right down to the actual words people use to phrase their problems. If you hang out with your target audience long enough, you will see the same problems and concerns crop up again and again. However, you will often see the same kind of phrases used to express that problem again and again.
If you can find the problem your audience is struggling with, and also use the same language as them when talking about that problem – they are going to think they have a mind reader on their hands.
When your reader comes to your site you want them to think ‘OMG – me too!’ or ‘wow, this is exactly the problem I’m dealing with’. Again, it’s about getting as specific as you can in order to give the impression that your product was literally tailor-made for this one person.
Make It Interactive
All content, whether it’s a blog post, vlog, podcast or social media, is a form of communication. The best and most effective communication requires a two-part exchange, right? We don’t feel we’ve had a satisfying conversation if we did all the talking.
So, how do we open the conversation up? Well, of course, the obvious answer that is trotted out is to ask a question at the end of a blog post, or social share and interact with people in the comments.
We live in a brave new world of technology, where Facebook Messenger is now open to businesses. Where simple games, that would have rocked people’s worlds in the 80s, are little more than a click away from being installed on our websites.
Keep It Real
You don’t have to get high tech about it, you can very much use current methods but with just a little more sparkle.
I saw someone on Instagram run a Harry Potter House competition by encouraging people to leave their house after their comments and after three days she totaled up the comments to announce who had won the House Cup.
Does it take a little extra time and thought? Absolutely but, I promise you, your followers will see how much time and effort you have put into something and will respond accordingly. You don’t have to do these big blowouts all the time. Little and often works just as well.
The Final Test
The final test? Think, would I be excited to participate in this if I wasn’t throwing it myself? Would I share this without embarrassment on social media? Would I share it with my friends?
Make It Multi-Layered
As a small business owner, we’ve got a lot of balls in the air. Finding time to schedule posts to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc can be time-consuming enough. This is why people look at me in horror when I suggest taking it up a notch and using all these platforms together. What?
Each social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Facebook has got Live Video, Instagram has its beautiful images and Snapchat is totally down with the kids. I would encourage you to stop thinking about what to schedule to each social media platform, and start thinking about how you can communicate your message best on each platform.
I’ve just finished scheduling the content for the next month on Creative and Coffee. It happens to be centered around a challenge that I’m holding on Instagram called the 30 Days of Happiness Challenge which will start on 17th July.
I use Instagram as a microblogging platform and thought it would be the perfect place to be the hub of the challenge. Although business related (promoting the happiness of bosses) it’s not strictly, technical business advice and therefore ill-suited to my blog.
I could have stopped there. However, I will be using Twitter and Facebook during the challenge as well. You can see how this quickly becomes a system for delivering a message in a varied, interesting way and using multiple types of content. Quotes, gifs, videos and images. None of it is repeating the same thing, but building to one cohesive whole message.
What’s Your Message?
You don’t need to be running a challenge to do this. Every business has a message that it wants to communicate, how can you use your social media platforms to create little pieces of interlinking content, that builds to your overall message?
Provide a Logical Next Step
Finally, let’s move away from the substance of your content and talk about strategy. Creating the most readable, shareable content in the world is great but if doesn’t lead anywhere, then it’s not going to be helping your business.
In the initial stages, you might provide content that enables your reader a quick win, or to overcome a barrier that is preventing them from buying, such as their education level regarding your product or their trust in you as a business.
That content should always lead clearly and logically to the next step. That might be offering your paid product, or perhaps joining your email list.
Always Have a Purpose
From a business perspective, every piece of content you product should, in some way, be part of a plan to move the reader from visitor to buyer. Each time you produce a piece of content, ask yourself how it furthers your business.
Of course, your primary concern is whether or not your ideal reader will benefit from the content. However, just as content that benefits the business but not the reader, is a sure way to bore people, content that benefits the reader, but not the business, is just a waste of business time.
Is it educating my audience about my product? Is it helping to build a relationship of trust and authority? Is it motivating my audience towards taking action? Is it removing barriers that are preventing them from buying from me?
You might be asking, well, that’s great but how does this make your content more readable? Well, it might not, in a direct sense, but having specific goals and aims will allow your content to be more cohesive.
It will allow you to create a seamless customer journey from step one, to purchase and beyond. Which is what you want and what your customer wants – everyone is happy!
In the end, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite content quotes:
“Content is just….content unless it’s driving behavior change in your customers and prospects. Then it’s called content marketing”
– Joe Pulizzi
In order to really be sure that you are creating content that your readers will love, you really need to get into the mindset of your audience. Understand what worry, concern, event, query or thought prompted them to search within your niche.
Think about what you can offer them that can provide quick, to the point information, they can use straight away. Whether that be outfit suggestions, decor inspiration, cooking instructions or fitness ideas.
The most important thing you can do to create readable content? Know thy audience.
Sarah is a business strategist and coach at Creative and Coffee. Join her for a content mentoring session, get involved in the #ahappyboss movement or send her pictures of your cute office dogs on Instagram.