I’ve been publishing content on a daily basis for well over a year now, and by being so active I’ve learned a few things. Content marketing is in theory easy, all you have to do is create content, publish it and sit back and reap the rewards, however in practice it’s not quite so easy and its hard work, real hard work if you want to succeed at it. Creating engaging content on such a regular basis can sometimes feel like a chore that never seems to get done because as soon as you finish and publish new content, you already need new engaging content. It never ends, however it doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be interesting, fun and something you look forward to, after all, a strategic and solid content marketing plan is going to produce some serious value for you and your business.
Know Your Why
You most likely know why you create content in general but do you understand why you’re creating this piece of content. What is the point of this article, blog post, white paper, info-graphic, etc.? What are you trying to convey to your audience, and why do you want to convey this? Where does this content fit within your content marketing sales funnel? If you can answer these questions for each piece of content and know what you want the results to be from publishing this piece of content, you’ll be able to stay much more focussed.
Understand Who Your Audience Actually Is
Everything needs to focus on your audience, they are the center of your universe so to say, and you should know who they are, what they want, what problems they have and how you can solve them. Each piece of content you produce needs to be focussed on who exactly it is intended to engage so that you can word everything in a way that resonates with them.
If your content marketing plan calls for regular content you need to plan ahead, take it from me there is nothing worse than trying to create content by the seat of your pants. Instead, if you plan and work ahead of your schedule you’ll find that the pressure of producing consistent content is much less, because if you get caught up doing something else, or need to take a day off you can. Knowing in advance what types of content you need to produce will actually aid creativity, not stifle it.
I actually use an editorial calendar within WordPress and this helps keep me on track, it allows me to work on content days, weeks and sometimes months in advance and with scheduled posts I never have to worry about publishing content on time, as this is done automatically… all I do is create lots and lots of content.
Craft Compelling Titles
Once you know the topics you need to produce content for to meet your schedule, you can create titles to work with. You can use the titles yourself or send them on to your ghostwriter to do the content creation for you. But, having the titles gives you the keywords and subject matter that the content should be about, to help you get started when it’s time to produce. As you’ve guessed it, as soon as I get ideas about content and titles off I pop to my editorial calendar to add them.
Mix It Up
Don’t think of content as just articles, or just blog posts or even just short or long blog posts for that matter. Content can be in any number of forms, by creating many different types of content you will keep the creativity flowing. Some types of content are best suited for a blog post; others are best suited as a podcast or video.
Whenever you’re unsure about what to do, ask a question and then answer it. Often you can use questions that your audience is asking on social media and in discussion groups to frame your content to be something they want to consume. I’ve even used questions that I’ve encountered at networking events, because you can bet if one person has asked the question, more than one wants the answer.
When you produce content, from blog posts to videos, lists tend to work well. Each point in the list gives your audience a chance to digest the information, and then the next list item drives them forward to consume more. Titles that have numbers in them also generally get a lot more views than other types of titles, although test this out with your own audience.
Nothing can ruin a compelling piece of content more than lack of editing. One misspelling or misused word can ruin your credibility and reduce the trust the reader has in you as an expert, although with blog posts people are generally more forgiving as they like to read it in a conversational manner. Not only that; check your facts to ensure that the information you pass on to others is accurate, this is very important because believe me, no matter how small your audience someone will check your facts for accuracy.
Stick to a Laser-Focused Topic
When you decide on a suitable title for a piece of content it should act as a guide to what to discuss in the content you create. If the content doesn’t relate to the title or it starts to go off in a different direction, pull it back to ensure that every word of the content relates to the title. Your audience expects the information they’re reading or watching to relate to the title.
Show Instead of Tell
This is a composition principle you may have learned in high school English classes. All it means is to employ action words, to evoke thoughts and emotions to convey the message you want to get across to your audience.
Use Words to Evoke Emotions
Copyblogger.com has a list of 50 trigger words. If you can find a natural way to use these words, you can trigger the right feelings in your audience to make them act in the way that you want them to act. Think about that and then consider how emotions affect purchasing decisions, pretty powerful isn’t it?
Curate Content Creatively
When curating other peoples content, don’t just make lists of other people’s contents, add your thoughts and opinions about the content you’re sharing, too. Add new insights to the content subject matter that bring something new to the table. Remember people might like curated content but they come to read your content because of your opinions and insights.
Include Relevant Images
An image, as they say, is worth a thousand words I actually think it says an awful lot more. When you can put an image that relates to the content and pushes the story forward, it will mean a lot more than any words you can write about a topic. My rule is simple, don’t publish anything without an image and make it relevant and of course, make sure you have the rights to use it.
Finally, consistently producing engaging content requires you to adhere to a schedule of some kind. Many people think they can’t produce creatively on a schedule. But the truth is, you can train yourself to be creative by doing it consistently, even when you think you don’t feel like it all it takes is practice, seriously I write now a lot quicker and find it a lot easier and more fun than I used to, simply because I have a schedule that enables me to work ahead of my publishing dates, thus relieving all self-imposed pressure.
Your content marketing plan of action that you create, based on the products and services you want to promote, along with the titles, will help you move forward creating consistently engaging content every time.