No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve probably heard that when it comes to your content, quality is far more effective than quantity. For example, writing five daily blog posts that below average may sound like a solid plan. But, it would make much more sense to write two outstanding blog posts each week because your audience is going to get more use and value out of those two quality posts.
Even though you’re aware that quality content is essential, how can you make your content go above and beyond? Start implementing these 12 tricks and you’ll be on your way to creating content that your audience will love, share, and find priceless.
1. Give the People What They Want
This is probably the most important task that you can achieve if you want to take your content from good to great; create content that your audience actually wants to read and share. That may sound like content marketing 101, but that’s because it is!
Identify your buyer personas. Look at their demographics. Dig into your metrics. These are the basics in knowing your customers and what type of content makes them tick. Beyond that, listen to them and ask them what they want on social media or with surveys. And, don’t forget to get out there and converse with them.
As David Germano, vice president, Magnetic Content Studios, told the Content Marketing Institute, “Be the audience—empathize and put yourself in the shoes of that audience. Talk to them and gain first-hand perspective in what they’re experiencing every day.”
2. Put Your Own Spin On a Topic
I’ll be honest here. There are so many original ideas that you can come up with when planning your content strategy. What will make you stand out from the competition is by putting your own spin and personality into your content.
Erika Napoletano is one of the best examples of this. She’s an award-winning, twice-published author, TEDx speaker, and contributor to Entrepreneur. Her firm RHW Media, Inc. helps businesses get UNstuck and discover their brand’s voice. A lot of firms are offering those services. But Erika has one of the coolest and unique voices out there. And, she has a love for certain four-letter words that most professionals would steer clear of. But, Erika has found success because she’s not only excellent at what she does, but also because she’s been doing it her way.
3. Have A Second Set of Eyes
Grammar and punctuation not only make you come across as a professional, it can actually scare visitors away from your website. According to a study conducted in Britain, 59 percent of Britons “would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material.” Additionally, 82 percent “would not use a company that had not correctly translated its material into English.”
However, we’re all human and make mistakes. While having solid writing and grammatical skills is a perk, it wouldn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes. Whether it’s an editor or colleague, it’s incredibly easy to have an error here and there. Having someone else proofread your content is just a safety precaution.
As for the translated material, that can be an issue if you outsource some work to someone overseas. If working with a new writer, give them a trial piece to see if their English and comprehension of the topic is on the up-and-up.
4. Include an Attention Grabbing Headline
Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said “It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money…” When creating ready to publish your amazing piece of content, don’t forget to include a snazzy headline that’s going to grab the attention of your audience.
QuickSprout suggests that you follow the ‘four u’s’ when developing a strong headline:
- Your headline should be unique.
- Headline should be ultra-specific.
- Your headline should convey a sense of urgency.
- Every headline should be useful.
5. Keywords, Meta Data, ALT Image, Etc
Not always the sexiest part of content creation, but performing some basic SEO is going to not only make your copy stronger, it’s also going to make it easier for your audience to find on search engines.
Conduct keyword research so that you know which topics and trends are relevant to both your industry and audience, along with making sure that you’ve optimized your title, meta description, and URL. And, don’t forget to throw-in those ALT text to your images.
6. Make it Interactive
Arnie Kuenn asked “Is Interactive Content In Your Future?” in a great article for Marketing Land. According to Arnie,
“Interactive content allows users to engage with a business or brand on a deeper level. Instead of just downloading a piece of content from a website and ending the engagement there, interactive content prompts users to share personal preferences and data in order to receive some sort of tailored result.”
Instead of just publishing the same, old content, sprinkle in some content that can give your audience a more personal experience. Quizzes, calculators, timers, apps, and even interactive infographics and whitepapers are just a handful of suggestions for interactive content. Familiarize yourself with this area because it’s going to be the future.
7. Add Visuals
Did you know that 60 percent of people are visual learners? Tap into the majority of people by producing visual content like infographics or videos that are relevant to your brand. It will make this content more memorable for your audience since it will be easier for them to consume. And, people love to share visual content.
8. Spy on Your Competition
What keywords are your competitors ranking for? What’s their traffic like? Why type of content are they perfecting? You can use sneaky tools like SEMRush and Searchmetrics to uncover this information and use it to your advantage when planning out your next piece of content.
9. Partake in Some Trendjacking
Despite its illegal sounding name, this is actually a common technique that content marketers have been using for years. Basically, you just create content around a trending topic. For example, Star Wars is all the rage right now with the upcoming release of “The Force Awakens.” You could build content around Star Wars, like maybe creating a visual of industry experts dressed as Star Characters. Or, maybe even get more creative and temporarily redo your logo like when Hootsuite reimagined their logo as R2-D2.
You see this happen a lot on social media, mainly Twitter when a brand taps into a trending hashtag. If you do go this route, make sure that you do your homework and not jump onto a controversial trend that could backfire, you don’t want to pull a DiGiorno. Also, you want to make sure that it’s a fit for your brand’s voice and your demographic. If you’re a law firm working primarily in elder care, do you think that the latest pop culture hashtag is going to help you discover new content ideas?
10. Consider Going ‘Evergreen’
If you’re an entertainment publisher, an article like the “10 Worst Celebrity Breakups of 2015” would probably get a lot of attention and bring in a fair amount of traffic. But, will that content be relevant in the coming months and years? That’s when evergreen content can be useful. In a nutshell, this is content that won’t become outdated. So, that entertainment site could publish the “10 Worst Celebrity Breakup of All-Time” to keep it fresh for its audience.
As WordStream notes, evergreen content is not:
- News articles
- Out of date statistics or numerical reports
- Holiday or seasonal content
- Content on current trends or pop culture fads
The most common types of evergreen content include:
- Top Tips
- Instructional “How To” Tutorials
- Encyclopedia-esque Entries
- Product Reviews
11. Effective Content CTAs
What was the purpose of writing an article or creating that infographic. It wasn’t just to waste the time of your audience. You actually want them to do something, right? That’s why all of the great pieces of content contain an effective call-to-action.
Examples could be signing up for your newsletter, making a purchase, leaving a comment, sharing it on social media, or downloading your latest eBook.
12. Make It Stick
Finally, if you really want to take your content to the next level, you have to make it memorable. What good is your content going to do if it’s not remembered and shared with your friends and family. Remember that now legendary “Our Blades Are F**king Great” video that introduced the world to Dollar Shave Club? I can’t tell you how many times I shared that with my friends. And, after 3 years, I’m still talking about that clip.
If you want to create content that won’t be forgotten, consider building content around case studies, repeating your message through multiple channels, and being descriptive, creative, and unique.
How have you taken your content from just alright to most-excellent?
By John Rampton