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Getting Back to the Basics in Writing Engaging Content – Reminding Ourselves of its Purpose
Content marketing has two purposes – spike and keep reader interest and spread a company brand. This is largely accomplished by writing content that is easily accessible, readable, shareable, and actionable. If we keep these things in mind, no matter how much things may change, we can still be successful.
Let’s take a look at the basics that make content engaging:
- Having a website that is user-friendly, fast, easily navigated, and engages visitors with great color, design, and opportunities to get information and to want to follow calls to action
- Having a business blog that users want to access because the content is interesting, entertaining, and solves problems for readers – posts that users want to share
- Having a social media presence that is continually updated and that provides readers with opportunities to engage with the company and its brand
Now, do you have to adapt for changes in the content marketing industry? Of course you do! Consider just two recent but extremely important changes:
- Google algorithms have changed, and keyword stuffing will come with punishments. Just a few years ago, keyword stuffing was one of the best SEO strategies out there.
- New devices are added all the time, and, while you content may be extremely well done for current mobile devices, how about Google Glass or the Apple Watch? Each time new devices come on the market you will be adapting content for them.
Listing the Basics That Will Never Change
So given the unchanging purpose of content, here are the things that you will always need:
- Great Topics: You have to know your audience and their pain points. Who are your typical customers and what are their questions, their needs, and their issues? You discover these things by listening to them, by surveying them, by accessing competitors’ sites and blogs, and by hanging out where they hang out. Analytics and metrics are doing a great job of providing huge amounts of information that help you identify your target market’s needs and the content that most engages them.
- Readability: The reading levels of your customers and potential customers have not changed. Your text should continue to be at about the 8th grade reading level. You can easily check each piece of content you write through a free tool, Read-able.com.
- Getting attention and keeping it. Again, little has changed. You engage readers by telling stories, by posting photos of your team and your customers, by solving problems, by entertaining, and by appealing to their basic psychological needs, emotions, and resultant behaviors. You provide opportunities for them to interact with you through surveys and contests. You have the tools that let them comment, respond, engage in conversations with you and other users. In short, you build relationships. Great titles and catchy sub-headings still work!
- You have a strong and pervasive presence on all social media and offer readers great things – videos to share, discounts, and things for free.
- You use media rather than words. A video, an infographic, a photo, animation – all of these things attract attention and keep users coming back.
- You maintain a blog and your social media pages with constant updates and new information so that users return to discover “what’s new.”
- You provide the means for easy sharing of your content – buttons on your posts are critical
- You have CTA’s that are compelling and that get you information you want, such as email addresses
- You use email campaigns that are effective because you use catchy subject lines or offer an amazing “deal.”
- You use keywords/keyword phrases that naturally fall into what you are writing – you don’t force them. And when you look for alternative keywords you use good tools to find them.
- You show social responsibility by taking up a cause – large or small doesn’t matter.
- You break up your text with media, sub-headings and bulleted points
Content Marketing Does not have to Expensive, but There is Some Cost Involved
If as an entrepreneur, great creative writing is not in your skill set, then you will need to find one or more individuals who do have those skills. It cannot be emphasized enough that good content writing works and bad content “kills” you. And I you are looking for how to save on content writing, here are a few suggestions:
- Re-purpose content that was popular. If it was primarily text and pictures, make a video or produce an infographic with the same information.
- Ask your users to contribute – photos and stories that you can use in your content.
- Contract with an outside content marketing company that can provide your content. It is much cheaper than a full-time employee for that purpose. In fact, you can find very reasonable writing help on this page.
So, adapt to the changes that are inevitable. At the end of the day, however, your users have needs, and meeting those needs great content will never change.