4 Tips for Creating Compelling Content
It’s no secret that content is the key to marketing success – in fact, I think that’s the ultimate buzz phrase these days. What many brands (big and small) struggle with is the knowledge of what makes content compelling and the resources and ability to create it.
I’m constantly seeing brands that try to leverage their blogs as additional platforms to self-promote, and thus the only content you’ll find on here are press releases and company updates. I’m willing to bet that the traffic and viewership data on these blogs is less than impressive. What’s (arguably) worse, social sharing of these posts is next to nothing.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the allure that your blog is yet another channel to spread the good word about your brand, since it’s a platform that you have complete control over. But it is possible to make a long and lasting positive impression about your brand via your blog without generating content that’s all about you.
Here are four ways to help you create unique, compelling content to keep your readers coming back for more. These can be applied to all types of online content, such as guides and other resources, not just blog posts.
1. Rope them in with a catchy title.
Titles can make or break your content. When users are scanning their RSS feeds, email inboxes, Twitter feeds, etc., they’re going to click on content that catches their eye. With Twitter especially, limited characters force you to sum up what you’re sharing as concisely as possible – which is typically done by using the title plus a link.
Craft your titles based on how people search for things. For example, ‘How to’ posts work really well because people often search with phrases such as “how to create compelling content” or “tips for creating compelling content” (swap out ‘compelling content’ for whatever your post is about). Titles that let readers know up front they’re actually going to learn something from your content is a great way to grab their attention, because that’s the primary reason people read in the first place (to learn something, duh).
2. Add something valuable and unique.
At this point, nearly everything has been said and shared on the web. Even this post has likely been created and repurposed numerous times on countless blogs. Your own writing undoubtedly will be influenced by what you read. But this shouldn’t discourage you from trying to create content that’s valuable and unique in your own way.
Your posts should include your own thinking, point of view or thought leadership on the topic. Add something that perhaps hasn’t been said in a particular way before, or look at a topic through a different lens. When you do include information from other sources, cite it so it’s clear what your thoughts are versus others.
3. Make it relevant and don’t alienate your audience.
If your brand is in the B2B digital marketing space, your content should be about – you guessed it – B2B digital marketing. This is a broad space that encompasses marketing automation, email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing, among other things. So while the space offers lots of wiggle room, you also want to make sure that what you’re creating is relevant to your audience.
That said, you also don’t want to completely alienate parts of your audience by talking about subjects that aren’t very widely applicable. The best example I can give for this is focusing your posts on some sort of call-to-action to purchase your product or service. This type of content alienates not only your existing customers, but also those who are interested in what your brand does but wouldn’t use your product or service because it’s not exactly the right fit for their business (for any number of reasons). Also, it’s kind of spammy. This ties back to not using your blog as yet another self-advertising platform.
Content that is both relevant to your brand and widely applicable to multiple audiences will perform better and likely receive more social shares (+++!).
4. Add visual components.
Whenever you can supplement your text with visual content or data such as graphs, charts, screenshots or, my personal favorite, relevant Internet memes, you not only break up large blocks of text that can turn your readers off before they even begin, you also add a valuable component that helps your readers visualize what you’re saying.
Remember to always cite your sources if you’re pulling an image that you didn’t create or purchase the rights to (such as memes). It’s an extremely gray area when it comes to sharing images pulled from Google Images and other search engines, so it’s best practice to cover your ass by simply citing your image source at the end of your posts.
Have other tips for creating compelling content? Leave ‘em in the comments!