6 Keys for Content Creation

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.

Finding Your Blogging Niche

Finding your blogging niche should be one of the aspects of blogging which the blogger carefully considers before starting a blog.

This is especially important if the blogging is being done for the purpose of financial compensation. Ideally a blog owner should select a blog subject about which they are passionate and knowledgeable.

However, bloggers should also carefully consider the direct competition as well as the purpose of the blog before starting their blog.

This message will discuss these considerations in greater detail in an attempt to assists bloggers in choosing a subject for a new blog.

This information is applicable to both bloggers who are completely new to blogging as well as experienced bloggers who are considering starting a new blog.

Isolating Your Interests

One of the first considerations for a new blogger is his personal interests.

This is important because a blogger who is passionate and knowledgeable about a particular subject will not only have an easy time coming up with ideas for new blog posts but will also likely be highly successful.

This success will likely be attributable to the fact that blog visitors can sense his passion for the subject matter and greatly appreciate the knowledgeable posts which are informative and accurate.

The interests of the blogger may run the gamut from subjects which are widely popular to subjects which are of interest to only a small subset of the population.

However, there will likely be interested readers regardless of the subject of the blog. Therefore bloggers are not discouraged from opting to blog about even the most obscure subjects.

However, bloggers who are seeking financial gain through high blog traffic should consider selecting a topic which appeals to a larger audience.

Evaluating the Competition

Once a blogger has selected one or more subjects he is considering for a blog, it is time to begin evaluating the competition.

This includes viewing other blogs covering the same subject matter. This will not only give the blogger a good indication of whether or not the market is already saturated with blogs on this subject and the quality of the existing blogs on this subject.

Based on this information the blogger can make an informed decision about whether or not he feels capable of competing for blog traffic with the existing blogs.

Considering the Purpose of the Blog

Another important consideration for bloggers is the purpose of the blogs.

Blogs can be created for a variety of reasons including financial compensation, personal use or to promote a cause. Bloggers who are starting a blog for personal use may only wish to consider their own interests when starting a blog because they are not likely seeking high blog traffic.

However, bloggers who are creating a blog for purposes of generating a profit or promoting a cause do have to consider factors such as the ability to generate blog traffic. In these cases the blogger should choose a subject which appeals to a large audience.

Additionally, the Internet should not already be saturated with blogs on this subject because it will likely be difficult for the new blog to garner a share of blog traffic.

Finally, blog owners should consider the quality of the blog they are capable of creating on a particular subject. The blogger should choose a subject where he is confident he can not only make regular posts but also ensure these posts are original, informative and interesting.

Blogging For High Traffic

Optimising Your Blog for Search Engines

Building your brand and blogging for high traffic to their blog and maintaining a successful blog should pay particular attention to search engine optimisation techniques which can help to improve the search engine rankings of their blog.

Search engines all employ some type of ranking algorithm which is used to determine the order in which websites are returned when an Internet user searches for information on a particular topic. However, not all search engines use the same algorithm for this purpose.

As a result there is no simple solution to optimising a blog for high rankings on all search engines. There are a few tips though which can be useful with most search engines. These tips include using relevant keywords, generating back links to your blogs and using image tags in a beneficial way.

The Importance of Keywords

The use of relevant keywords in blog posts is one of the most common and also one of the simplest ways to optimise search engine rankings. However, not all bloggers agree on the best ways to use relevant keywords to optimize search engine rankings.

Some bloggers believe keywords must be used often to create high keyword densities while others believe using keywords at lower densities of 1%-3% and paying attention to placement of the keywords is the most worthwhile strategy.

Still other bloggers argue that simply using relevant keywords as they come naturally in the flow of the blog posts is sufficient to ensure search engines understand the content.

Regardless of the keyword strategy a blogger opts to employ all bloggers can benefit from researching relevant keywords. They may have a blog which pertains to a general subject such as gardening but may not be aware of the search terms typically used by Internet users when researching this subject.

Fortunately there are many programs available which generate related keywords for a particular time which provides the blogger with other keywords they should consider incorporating.

For the example of a blog pertaining to gardening the blogger may want to use additional keywords such as container gardening or home gardening to attract more interest from search engine users.

Generating Favorable Back Links

Back links are also another common factor used in search engine ranking algorithms. Many search engines consider the number of back links pointing to a website as well as the quality of the websites which provide these back links.

This means the search engine rankings of the website which points to your blog could influence the amount of weight the back link contributes to your own rankings. This is because some search engines consider higher ranking websites to be more valuable than other websites which do not rank well and therefore reward websites receiving back links from these high ranking websites quite favourably.

Some search engine algorithms also consider whether or not the back links are reciprocated or not reciprocated. In these cases non reciprocal links are usually considered to be more valuable than reciprocal links.

Also, back links which come from link exchanges or link farms are typically not considered to be very influential to search engine rankings.

Images Can Improve Search Rankings

Bloggers should also be aware that any pictures used on their blog can be used to improve search engine rankings with some search engines.

This aspect of search engine optimization is often overlooked because many believe the pictures are not viewed by search engines.

While this is true the search engines do crawl the code of the blog in addition to the content on the blog. This means the search engine will view the information provided in the image tags.

Bloggers can take advantage of this by using the image tags to provide relevant keywords which can bolster search engine rankings.

However, care should be taken to ensure the keywords used in these tags also accurately describe the image because blog visitors will often see the text included in these tags when they scroll over a picture on the blog.