By Lindsay Dicks
On the Internet, content is king. And it always will be.
Whether it’s pictures, text, video, tweets, status updates, or whatever…the content you create will in large part determine the success of your internet marketing efforts. That’s why I’m always telling you to work so hard at creating content that reflects your expertise and positions you as a CelebrityExpert® within your marketplace. That’s why writing a blog is so important. That’s why publishing articles is key. And that’s why great photos and videos are so valuable.
But… you’ve heard it asked that “If a tree falls in a forest, but there is no one around to hear it, did it really make a sound?”
I’d like to rephrase that. If you create a great piece of content, but nobody ever sees it, does it matter?
The answer is no, it doesn’t. So it’s not enough to create content – you must create content that gets noticed, gets read, gets watched, and gets shared. Social media means that content can travel all across the country or even the world in a matter of minutes… if it’s appealing enough. So today we’re going to look at seven tips for creating content that engages your audience– and that they want to share with others.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Yes, originality is a good thing. But when it comes to creating content for your internet presence, don’t out-think yourself. If you’ve been writing a blog or publishing articles for some time, you should have a decent idea of what works, and what doesn’t. (You can get this information using programs like Google Analytics which track traffic to your website and blog.) Take some time to analyze this data and figure out which types of content are most effective. Then, continue to create content that “fits the mold.” Once you know what your audience likes, just keep giving it to them!
Leverage emotion. Whether it’s fear, anger, hope, happiness, or something similar, studies have shown that content which arouses emotion is far more likely to be shared than content that does not inspire emotion. As a business owner, one of the best ways you can do this is to share stories about your industry and your customers. As a tax attorney, for instance, you could write a blog entry or film a video in which you describe a miserable situation that your client was facing – but that he was eventually able to overcome because of your assistance. Just keep in mind that you don’t want this type of content to be overly promotional, so keep it subtle.
Start with an engaging headline or title. For blog posts, articles, white papers, special reports, and similar content, coming up with the right headline or title is all-important. The headline needs to be provocative, descriptive, and engaging in order to arouse interest. But it also can’t be misleading, as it will leave your reader disappointed and highly unlikely to recommend the content to his or her network. Studies have shown that specific headlines, such as “Five Steps to Making More Money Online” are typically more effective than a general headline like “How to Create a Profitable Website”. Don’t let choosing a headline be an afterthought – it’s critical!
Remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Photos and videos are extremely powerful when it comes to online marketing. Sharp, high-quality pictures of your team in action give your viewers a chance to “get to know you” without ever meeting you. Take every opportunity you have to create strong multi-media content. But even when you are writing blogs or articles, look for the opportunity to insert graphs, photos, or other visual content.
Make your content easy to share. Online retail giants such as Amazon.com know that the easier they can make it for their customers to place an order, the more money they are going to make. The same is true when it comes to getting your content shared. If it’s easy for your readers to do so, they are going to share content at a higher rate. Make sure there are prominent “share” buttons on your website and on your blog. And encourage them to do so – sometimes a simple blurb like “Did you like this article? Share it with your friends!” is all that it takes to inspire action.
Make your content easy to read. You may have written the best, most-interesting blog entry in the history of the internet – but if it is laid out like a constitutional law textbook, good luck getting anyone to read it, let alone share it! It’s critical to create content that is visually appealing and inviting for your audience. You want reading your content to be an enjoyable experience.
Answer the questions that your readers are asking. What does your audience want to know? If you can identify the key questions that they are asking, you’re well on the way to success. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how visually appealing and well-written your content is… if it’s irrelevant to your audience, they’re not going to read it, let alone share it. Your job is to figure out the burning questions that consumers in your market are asking, and then to provide the answers. If you’re not sure where to begin, just ask! Call up a few of your loyal customers and let them know you’re thinking about starting a blog, publishing articles, or producing videos. Ask them what subject matter they would be interested in hearing about. Ask around until a consensus emerges… and then get busy!
Well-crafted content that positions you as a CelebrityExpert® within your market is valuable. But it doesn’t matter how great the content is, if nobody is reading it. So, as you create blog entries, articles, videos, etc., keep in mind this important question: “Is it sharable?” These tips will help you make it easier for your audience to spread the word about your business, ultimately translating into more exposure, more traffic to your website, more leads generated, and more money in your pocket. And that is a worthwhile goal!
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