Competition for attention online is intense. There are now more than two-million blog posts published daily, 350-million Tweets posted a day and 1.8-billion Google searches performed daily as well, so rising above that tide is the biggest challenge for any business’ content creation team.
The good news: many company blogs, content marketers and copywriters aren’t doing a good job of connecting with their audiences. They’re making mistakes that drain their readers and drive visitors away, giving the rest of us creative creators, savvy marketers—even CMOs—a chance to win their attention.
So, how do you achieve that content sweet spot, as it were, each and every time you create content for your visitors, customers or users?
Three Ways to Increase the Chances of Your Content Connecting:
1. It’s the topic that matters
The first “miss” is the most common: the topic. If it’s not aligned with a concern of your audience, all else will fail.
There are plenty of tools to help you find topics that your readers crave.
- Use listening tools to find out what your readers are asking about on social networks and use KeywordTool.io, to get clues as to what your readers are searching for.
- Explore what your readers are engaging with most on your website with Filament. Understanding what causes your readers to bounce, or which articles they skim versus reading, and what they’re sharing on social media can help inform your on-going content strategy.
- BuzzSumo.com can show you which pages are popular online via a keyword search. It also allows you to see which articles on your competitors’ sites are doing well.You’ll love the capabilities of this app and the low-cost subscription.
2. It sparkles at at glance
Even if you do everything else right, you must cover the basics. Otherwise you’ll hear crickets in your analytics.
That means that every piece of content on your site should have the following:
- Headline: It should clearly explain the benefit of clicking. Use headline best practices by asking a question or using a number. Great headlines make a promise, but don’t give too much away. Write many headlines before choosing one.
- Image: It should stand on it’s own with the title of the post included in it, if possible. This will help it travel farther and faster in social streams.
- Formatting: Visitors do sometimes read a page from top to bottom, but mostly they scan. We all do it. Love it or hate it, it’s a fact. Connecting with “the skimmers” means careful and thoughtful article formatting. Use subheaders, bulleted lists, bolding, internal links, short paragraphs and multiple images to boost the “scannability” of the article.
3. If you build it (for traffic), they will come
Never publish a piece of content without promotion in mind. This means strategically thinking about traffic while you’re writing. Promotion tactics should be built into the article since it’s a lot of work to add them in later on down the road. An article without a promotion plan is like a letter without a stamp: It’s not really going to go anywhere.
An article without a promotion plan is like a letter without a stamp: It’s not really going to go anywhere.
Promotional tactics to consider:
- Search: Align your article with a popular keyphrase. Try to add the phrase in the title, the header and the body text for the greatest effect.
- Social: Collaborate with influencers on your content. Whether you actually interviewed the influencer or merely mentioned them by quoting or linking, let your source know and create a plan to promote the post together. Or, if your topic was aligned with a popular subject or written for a specific community, reach out to them and ask if they’ll share your content, as well.
- Email: Is the headline (as in subject line) clear? It should trigger curiosity and stand-out against other subjects in your subscriber’s inbox.
Empathy is Essential
Each of these tactics shares the same principal: Empathy. Understand this and you’ll realize it’s not about you. It’s not about what you want to write or how you want people to discover your content or your product. It’s about them. The most empathetic content marketers win when writing for their audience’s needs and behaviors.
Content connects when it is aligned with the audience’s hopes, desires—their psychology. In the same way that customer feedback can boost results, content creation is all about empathy.
Do it right and your content will connect every time.