Table of Contents
- Know Your Target Audience Intimately
- Consider The Problem
- Brainstorm Your Ideas
- Collect Your Keywords
- Create An Outline
- How Long Should Your Article Be?
- Make Sure To Add Value
- Write Articles That People Love To Read
Getting into the game now can put you ahead of the other players in your niche. Despite the statistics that prove content is king, marketers aren’t making content development a priority. Your competition might not be producing engaging content or paying attention to what’s effective. If you create killer content, you can rise to the top of your niche.
Know Your Target Audience Intimately
The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to develop an essential content marketing strategy. Forbes reports that most content marketing departments are made up of one individual. You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing; you just need to do what works for your niche. Therefore, starting with a clear description of your target customer will help you tailor your content to your audience.
Consider this: you could be the most knowledgeable and persuasive expert on real estate out there. Every time you speak to an audience of real estate investors, you blow them away. You get a line of people signing up for your newsletter and buying what you’re selling.
Still, what would happen if you were speaking to a room full of people whose sole passion in life is surfing? You might convert some customers, but you’re not targeting the right market.
Your content has to speak to your audience. If you have a food blog, think about the topics that spark your customers’ interests. Ask yourself, “What does my audience care about?” They might want to know how to incorporate vegetables into their breakfasts, what condiments contain the least sugar or how to lose weight while eating delicious foods.
These would be great topics to include in your content marketing. Don’t put your time and effort into content that your audience isn’t interested in. It’s even worse if you develop content that turns off potential clients.
Even at the consumer level, be in tune with exactly what the reader needs or wants. For example, let’s say you ran a health business, it would akin to showing would be health seekers reviews of infrared saunas, when they just want to know the benefits of using a sauna instead. Most of this is common sense you already know, but very often we get caught up in marketing speak, and forget about the end user’s original need or state of mind. Sometimes, it’s as simple as helping them avoid scams that could cost them thousands of dollars.
Consider The Problem
What people really care about is usually something that will fix their problems. Therefore, you might want to think about your content as a solution to your readers’ obstacles.
For example, you might have written an article on how the right mattress can help relieve back pain. Your audience might not have considered that their mattress is the cause of their back pain. Therefore, you’ll need to touch on the problem before you propose the solution. You can do this in your title by using keywords that incorporate the problem and adding an element of surprise.
Potential article titles might include:
- The Surprising Cause Of Your Back Pain And How To Fix It
- Did You Know That Your Mattress Might Be Causing Your Back Pain?
- 5 Ways Your Mattress Is Causing You Back Pain
The keyword, back pain, is also included in these titles. We’ll talk more about keywords below.
As you create content, keep in mind the vision of what your reader’s life would be like if they had the solution. Establishing a clear image of the benefits of fixing their problem can help you come up with more specific content that provides useful advice. Show them how to get from point A to point B, but be mindful of little nuances that drastically affect what they’re actually looking for.
For instance, someone looking for the best 800 number service for their business, may not know some virtual phone providers only support call forwarding from your cell phone, and not physical office desk phones. This would be absolutely critical to separate for the reader, as the solution to the original questions varies greatly for someone starting a small business and trying to get their business phone system set up without a bunch hassle and expense. If you imagined just putting together a generic tutorial on how to get an 800 number without segregating the readers potential needs, you’d be signing them up for one heck of a headache in the long run! This is why I think it’s critical to have intimate knowledge of the potential pitfalls!
But what if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure what people are having problems with? Going to Q & A websites, such as Quora or Reddit, allows you to search for questions that people are already asking. You can tailor your content to solve their issues, but it’s always better if you have personal experience so you can speak as someone who has been through it before.
It would be like recommending an answering service for small businesses, but not knowing that medical offices need HIPAA compliant phone services, or that a property management company most definitely needs a 24/7 answering service for floods and leaks, but a physician’s private practice may not unless they’re an on call doctor.
Brainstorm Your Ideas
Coming up with fresh content that will resonate with your audience is key. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Start noticing the kind of posts other businesses in your niche are putting out. Use those topics as starting points for your own.
A productive brainstorming session can help you flesh out all of the potential topics that can be derived from one theme. Think sideways to come up with all of the possible content that you can provide about a given subject.
Perhaps you noticed that a competitor is getting a lot of traffic with an article on how to start meal planning. You can break that down into a number of sub-topics or branches that might appeal to your viewers.
You could give out specific recipes for each day of the week, provide grocery lists and give out tips for recording your meal ideas. You might even create content in different formats. You could write a blog post, make a video and offer a free PDF checklist that all have to do with the same theme.
Collect Your Keywords
You can do keyword research to gather appropriate keywords for a topic that you’ve already decided to write about. You can also use it as a way of coming up with new ideas.
If you already have a subject in mind, use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to come up with other keywords that are related to your topic. Use these keywords 2 to 3 times in the body of your content, and think about incorporating them into the headers. Your keywords and keyword alternatives can help you create an outline for your article.
You can also do this directly in Google. Search for your topic or keywords. Of course, you’ll see what other top-ranking websites are writing about your subject. You’ll also get two other resources to work with.
One is the box that tells you what else people are asking about in relation to the subject. The box looks like this:
Each of those questions could be a separate blog post. You could also make each one a header in your article.
Scroll to the bottom of your search results to see searches related to yours. That looks like this:
Those can further fuel the information that you include in your article. You can also incorporate these related searches as keywords.
Evaluating the keywords that other people are ranking for can help you come up with new ideas. Use a website like Similar Web to find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Those may or may not be associated with the topic that you’ve decided to write about. If you’re faced with brand new themes when you do your competitor analysis, you can add those topics to your brainstorming process.
Create An Outline
You should never start writing without making an outline first. You don’t have to follow the outline structure that you learned in grade school. Instead, write down the title of your piece, and elaborate on it by adding headings and subheadings.
These act like placeholders. You can determine how to expand on each heading or subheading by adding value, which we’ll talk about below. When you create the framework for your article in this way, you will also clearly see what you need to research or find more information about. Writing an outline will ensure that your article flows smoothly.
How Long Should Your Article Be?
Experts have a variety of opinions about the ideal blog post length. People have short attention spans, so you might do well if you keep your articles short and to the point. However, Yoast explains that a blog post should include at least 300 words to rank well. The best strategy is to include both long and short articles on your blog.
Posts of 1,000 words or more rank higher in Google than shorter articles. Longer texts give Google more to work with when it’s trying to determine what your content is about. You’ll tend to naturally include features that improve your SEO, like pictures, hyperlinks and keywords. Your content might also cover more topics, which gives it a chance to turn up in long-tail variants of your keyword.
On the other hand, you might lose readers before they reach the end of the article. Adding value throughout the post can prevent that from happening.
Make Sure To Add Value
No matter what you’re talking about, make sure that you’re adding value to your content. You may be sharing your ideas and opinions or giving advice. Is it useful to your readers? As you create your outline for your content, think about implementing these tactics to make it valuable.
Cover What Other People Have Missed
By now, you know your target audience, you recognize their problems and you know that you can provide them with a solution. So can thousands of other bloggers and websites.
You may have brainstormed some topics to write about and keywords to incorporate. Chances are someone else has written an article on the very same topic.
If you’ve done your research thoroughly, you’ll already know this. That other article that covers the same subject might rank very well for your competitor. That’s why you want to write about it too.
Add value by providing information that the other article may have missed. To do this, you can use your own knowledge and intuition. Does your competitor’s post leave you with any unanswered questions?
You can also look at the comments that other people have left for the author. If they’re asking for clarification or more information, you can provide that information in your article. When you do that, you know that you’re giving away valuable content that people want.
Most small businesses overlook this for local too, as many just think Yelp, YP, etc… takes care of all that. When in fact, this is rarely the case. A good example would be getting local bloggers to review your (or your client’s) service. Take something super obscure like hypnosis, and get them to review the business in a manner that closely resonates with why a customer would go there… something YP and Yelp cannot do! A live example of this, would be my review of Orlando Hypnosis Center, here in Orlando, Fl.
Provide Tips For How To Implement Your Ideas
Explaining the theory behind your ideas is helpful to give your audience a good understanding of a concept. Now, make it useful for them by telling them how they can apply the theory to their own lives. This involves teaching your readers how to take action on your ideas. Break it down and make it simple to help them succeed as they take your advice.
Give Them Resources
You’re a great resource for your readers. They’ll see you as even more helpful if you give them additional resources to turn to. You can provide your audience with:
- Links to other posts on your site
- Links to helpful information on other websites
- Free worksheets or tools that will help them solve their problem
Linking to your own website is a great SEO strategy. Connecting with other websites in your niche can help you build relationships with other bloggers and demonstrate your expertise. Providing tools is a great way to add perceived value for free.
Provide Next Steps
If someone reads and loves your content, you want to keep the momentum going. Continue to engage your reader. You can do this by including a call to action. Encourage your audience to:
- Subscribe to a mailing list
- Leave a comment
- Share the article
- Read a related blog post that you wrote
- Email you with questions
Although this technique might just seem like it benefits you, it helps the reader by guiding them. They don’t have to think twice about what to do next because you’ve just taken the guesswork out of it.
Write Articles That People Love To Read
You can further tailor the format of your posts to satisfy your audience. Social Media Examiner says that the following types of posts are the most effective:
- Lists that link out to resources
- Cheat sheets or checklists
- Controversial perspectives
- Podcast scripts or notes
- Guest posts
- Series that break big ideas into smaller parts
- Case studies
- Breaking news
HubSpot claims that 43 percent of people admit to skimming articles instead of reading them in depth. Therefore, you’ll need to break up the format of your article with plenty of highlights that make it easy to read. This includes:
- Bulleted lists
- Bold text
- Short paragraphs
If you use a template to create certain types of articles, they’ll be easier to pump out in the future. You’ll have a consistent presence and help your readers understand what to expect from your amazing, valuable content.
Huffington Post says that your articles must entertain, educate or inspire. If they do all three, you can really master the craft of writing and reel in traffic. Just make sure that the content isn’t all about you. Although you can infuse your blog with personality, your readers want to know what’s in it for them. Make sure that you add value that helps them solve their problems, and you’ll create a loyal following.