Businesses often have difficulty with creating content. It takes time and effort, and or a marketing department or even a content creator to justify the expense to management is often challenging at best. Entrepreneurs and others make some common statements about content:
- I don’t know what to write about.
- I don’t understand the purpose of content not directly advertising our product.
- Our industry/product/service is too complex to be explained in blog posts.
The problem is that none of these statements are true when carefully analyzed. The simple truth of the matter is people are paying less attention to paid ads, Google is paying more attention to content, and readers are leaving websites that don’t answer their questions or offer the information they need.
In this article, I will go through how to create great content.
Table of Contents
Content is King
Content marketing and therefore content creation is key to meeting these customer needs and keeping them on your website. Internet marketing trends reveal that the central statement “content is king” is increasingly true. Because for mobile optimization to work, you need content to optimize. To build a relationship with your customers, you need more than just press releases and announcements: you need content that starts a conversation.
With Google Panda now a permanent, real-time part of the Google algorithm, black hat methods for building backlinks will not only be ineffective, it will get you penalized more quickly. It can even affect individual pages rather than just your whole site, so some of your content could disappear from the SERPS entirely.
Tell Your Story
There is a reason you started your business. Most marketing involves telling at least a part of that story. Why are you different than everyone else in your industry? Why did you start this particular business?
Relationship marketing is about building trust with your customers, and the best way to do so ib to be genuine, open, and honest. Recently when MOZ, a company that specializes in SEO tools, had to rethink their direction and laid off a large portion of their staff the founder Rand Fishkin posted a very honest and raw article detailing his feelings.
That article was commented on by consumers and employees. Not everyone applauded the decisions that were made, but most respected Rand for being real. We can learn from this and other situations, but the primary takeaway is that you do have something to say.
- You don’t always have to toot your own horn. Show you have learned from your mistakes.
- Write about your industry, and give away information to your site visitors. Offer something of value for free.
- Share relevant information, but not only information targeted at your specific audience.
If you feel you do not have anything to say, or have a hard time coming up with content ideas, there are hundreds of articles and lists of strategies. It may take you a while to find the ones that work best for you, or you may need to hire a professional content creator.
Content has Many Purposes
Sharing only narrowly focused content pointed directly at your target audience is a mistake. For the most part, long form content draws more traffic and earns more views, links, and shares than short form content. Just as important as the length of the content is the subject matter and purpose.
You want to create content that directly converts customers; reaches a broad new audience; earns press, amplification and links; and that grows your brand’s awareness and authority. It is very difficult for content to do more than one or two.of these things at a time.
However, focusing on content that only does one of them makes your content marketing strategy ineffective. To accomplish all of these goals, you will need some short form content, some long, and on a broad variety of subjects. It’s important to have an understanding that not all content will lead to conversion, and you’ll need to look at different metrics for each piece of content to determine its effectiveness.
No Industry is Too Complex for Blogging
There is a quote often misattributed to Einstein that essentially says
“You don’t understand something well enough if you can’t explain it simply.”
When it comes to high scientific concepts that can’t be broken down into digestible parts, often scientists will admit it is because we don’t understand it well enough.
It is fairly likely that your business does not deal with complex scientific concepts. Even if you are an accountant or deal with tax law, you can explain what you do on a fairly simple level without including all of the detailed concepts. The complexity of the details also works in your favor.
A tax lawyer can explain in simple terms How Tax Laws Vary by State. In a short blog, the details of the tax laws and policies in every state do not have to be described extensively. Longer pieces can be created around the simpler piece with those details, should readers be interested. However, the complexity of the tax laws may help customers understand the need for the services of someone who understands them in detail.
Even content marketing is an example. SEO, Google algorithms, and reader habits are constantly changing. Keeping up with the industry and having the skills to respond is a full-time job. As much advice as a content marketer might offer to you about how it works does not mean that you will have the time to run your business and do these tasks yourself. Free detailed information leads to conversions.
Content Showcases your Expertise
No matter what your industry, you are an expert in it, and there is a need for the products or services you offer. You are likely knowledgeable in your field, and have specific tips that may or may not be shared by your competition.
For instance, a company that offers data recovery services may have tools or software their competition does not share. In order to let potential customers know this, they may have to share some of their “secrets” and expertise. More than likely the customer does not fully understand or have access to the necessary tools to do the job themselves.
Your competition? You’re probably not giving them any information they don’t already know, and unless they can duplicate your proprietary software, retool with your equipment, or essentially copy every aspect of your process, they won’t be able to offer the exact same service.
Your uniqueness also lies in your personnel and your business model. Your competition will never be you, no matter how hard they try to copy what you are doing. Sharing your expertise shows you have confidence in your brand, your people, and your formula.
Breaking Down the Complex: How To Create Great Content
There is no doubt that many fields are more difficult to simplify than others. So here are some simple tips to make your complex subject simple and understandable.
1. Keep it top level
The average person only needs to understand the surface of your expertise. Beyond that are details you customer likely does not need to understand what you do, the concept you are trying to get across, and develop a relationship. Remember, your content is not designed to answer every customer question, but rather to inform them enough to raise questions. It should start a conversation, not be a one-way megaphone.
2. Avoid Acronyms and Jargon
Keep your language simple and free of things the reader may not be familiar with. Industry jargon and acronyms should be avoided or explained. In most cases you are introducing your readers to something they are not completely familiar with. You’re not speaking to your peers, and you are showing off your knowledge and expertise by your ability to explain it simply rather than by throwing around big words and abbreviations not in common use.
3. Don’t be Condescending
While you don’t want your content to be too complex, it is also wrong to err on the other side and present things too simply. While the readers of your content may not be experts, they are also professionals and not elementary students. Be sure the tone of your content comes across as respectful.
4. Keep it Practical
Your web visitors and future customers don’t necessarily want to know the theory behind what you do, or your product, or your service unless it directly relates to their lives. They want your advice and information to be something they can put into practice right away. Incentivize them to take action of some kind, even if that action is to look for more information.
No content is too complex to break down to an understandable level. If you can’t do it, you don’t understand your own business that well. Tell your story. Know the purpose of your content. Showcase your expertise, and break down the complex concepts associated with it into simple, understandable language. Because informative content is key to your marketing success.