Most marketers are good at packaging products and services but not as adept when it comes to packaging information and providing compelling content creation practices.
Nowadays, it’s commonplace to use high-quality content as a way to attract inbound leads.
Below, I share with you insights that keep people reading, sharing, subscribing and passing along my e-newsletter. All of these actions are important for attracting advertisers.
1. Create Personas
Most marketers write to a faceless audience. There is no such thing. You must vividly define and picture exactly who you want to reach.
Chances are, you’re going to have multiple segments within your audience. Identify each segment by way of a persona. Give each persona a name and identity. Define what they want to know and what motivates them.
Ask yourself these questions about the various personas:
What are their job titles?
Are they influences or the actual buyers?
Are they consultants or on staff?
What makes them look good in front of their bosses?
Figure out the level of sophistication of all persona’s and what they want to know. Assume these people are at least as smart as you are and maybe smarter. After all, if they’re in a position to spend money with you or influence spending, then they must have something on the ball.
2. Speak From Experience
Readers and viewers want your expertise and not someone else’s regurgitated content. Sharing case histories and results from your own experience informs the reader about what exactly you do for a living and the products and services you vend.
I have been subscribed to a firm’s RSS feed for years, having enjoyed its content immensely, but I had no idea how it makes money until recently. Remember, your audience wants to know where you’re coming from and what your agenda is. Tell them. It’s transparent; it’s honest and forthright. It gives them an idea of your style and what they can expect if they begin a client relationship with you.
3. Optimize Your Content with Cross-Channel Promotion
Many marketers who generate content only promote it within the delivery channel of that content. If you’re going to go to the expense and effort of creating quality content, you might as well amortize it by promoting it across as many platforms as possible.
We billboard what the next issue of Web Digest will be in our Twitter feed. We ask for suggestions. We typically tell followers which firms will be covered in the next issue. Various parts of each issue are posted to different blogs and posted to our Facebook page.
If you produce podcasts, make sure your show notes go into detail about exactly what is covered in each podcast. There are SEO as well as UI reasons to do this. You can easily imagine people may just read the show notes instead of listening to or viewing the actual podcasts. I’ve done it myself. Be sure to post links to upcoming events and “share” buttons in those show notes.
Within your podcast, don’t be shy about asking people to Like you on Facebook, subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, and even consider buying your products and services. Be sure to give them solid reasons why they should do each. Tell them what goodies await them should they Like you on FB.
4. Look for Content Holes
Yes, you might get ideas from others about what to write about, but your primary mission is to look for what’s missing…what is not covered that is of significant importance. This is how you ensure that your content is exclusive and stands out from the rest of the blah-blah blogosphere, which, more often than not, is just a reverberation chamber of what everyone else is bloviating about.
In short, don’t create “me too” content. There’s too much of that already, and you won’t differentiate yourself by adding to it.
5. Give ‘Em Tools
Some of the most clicked-on issues of Web Digest contain short reviews of useful tools in a tightly defined niche. In this age of “go and do this now,” tools that give fast answers are always in high demand.
You might not want to review tools in your niche since they might be offered by competitors. But, you could create your own useful tools that dovetail neatly with your product/service offerings. Think of tools as content packages in their own right. HubSpot’s various tools have gone viral such as Marketing Grader.
6. Map Your Content
This is obvious for folks in the publishing business, but many marketers do not project out beyond a few weeks what they’re going to create.
I know a number of sophisticated marketers who plan their pdf collateral a year in advance. For such deep studies, there is no other way to budget and prepare quality products.
But, if you’re on a weekly, monthly or daily schedule, have something roughed in for each date you publish. However, if at all possible, keep it flexible until a few days or weeks prior. Why? Because in this fast-moving world, things change on a dime. Something you thought of six months ago could be old news or replaced with something hot and happening.