One of the first lessons we learn in life is the Golden Rule to treat others how we’d like to be treated. You don’t like your time wasted, so it’s logical others don’t either.
Time wasters include just about everything from waiting in line for a coffee, to be being put on hold. From sitting through a stale seminar to painfully trying to get to the point of a dull blog post or article. The common thread of these situations? People tend to want to escape as quickly as possible.
For content creators, having a grasp on how people want to engage online is crucial in securing your brand as an interesting and exciting entity.
If you’re trying to gain new readers and viewers, your content must provide value – do this by meticulously researching your competition, assessing existing content, developing new topics and formulating a unique opinion.
If you’re trying to sustain your brand’s following, prepare to push the envelope consistently to continually engage your readers to the point they want to share and promote your content to others, thus building your relevance, reach, and influence.
The key to remember about creating excellent content is how you’re communicating with people. Catering to the people in your ideal market is a great place to start – utilize the knowledge in your buyer personas.
You don’t have to have the gift of gab, but you do need to remember that you’re speaking to people – not robots. Engage people with depth and creativity in mind, and they’ll continue reading, watching and clicking.
Bore them, and they’ll get their fix elsewhere.
There are a lot of metaphors that can be used to describe the importance of creating amazing content – asking for seconds of Brussel sprouts comes to mind. Like that happens. Wanting more chocolate (aka amazing content) is a far more likely outcome.
Blow the minds of your audience away the second they click on your content with these tips:
- Lead in with your most powerful, jaw-dropping statement and try not to overuse dry statistics or drawn out introductions.
- Complete a review of your post and experiment – try using more powerful language.
- Avoid diluting the quality of your posts with irrelevant facts.
- Use your trusty thesaurus to boost the impact of your ideas.
- Inspire your audience to comment and engage with your post. This type of action will often result in people signing up for your email newsletter, your blog, or they’ll make a purchase outright.
- Proofread. Everyone makes errors, but a blog full of spelling mistakes and grammar ‘whoopsies’ interprets as rushed, poorly planned and removes people from the experience.
- Less is more. A long article is not always better, concentrate your words into a succinct, digestible post, rather than a small novel – you’ll see engagement increase as more people finish reading your content.
- Always provide value – it’s ok to offer your knowledge. You want people to keep coming back because you’re known for providing extra quality in your content.
Start Conversations & Listen to the Results
We are in the age of information – and the age of conversation. People have the opportunity to engage in conversation with brands from around the world. This wasn’t available even to the extent it is now, even a mere 20 years ago.
Take advantage of this desire to communicate and create ideal conditions for people to debate, contribute, analyze ideas, and share opinions.
By breeding some loyal brand recognition through this dialogue, you’ll be inadvertently creating precious data on your ideal target demographic. Listening to the thoughts and opinions of the people who engage with your content is critical in understanding how they tick, what got them involved, and how to keep them engaged as time progresses.
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Every audience has diverse tastes and opinions, and consume different types of media and content at different times, different channels, and for different reasons.
Expand the exposure of your brand by delivering your content through a variety of different channels including:
This variety will help you reach different niche markets within your existing audience, and help engage new readers by leaving your comfort zone – including how you distribute your content.
Embrace the new kids on the block. A great website and Facebook page are pillars to any self-respecting content strategy. By repurposing your content to additional channels like Twitter or Instagram engages an entirely new audience.
Similarly, video platforms like YouTube have over one billion users – more than half of which stream from mobile devices. Vimeo caters to high-quality content creators and has 715 million views per month. Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ all have their specific audiences as well, together reaching diversified markets in different ways.
Don’t dilute your efforts by using every social media channel available to distribute your content – let research help you target your efforts. Only focus on the channels best suited to your brand, product, or service so you can ensure you’re reaching your ideal customer where they spend their time.
Stop Paddling Upstream
If something isn’t working – stop doing it. If your audience isn’t engaging with your content, take a pause and review your research.
Repeating a process that’s failing to meet your standards and expectations is detrimental to retaining and engaging your existing audience. And it definitely won’t win over any new hearts.
Liken this struggle to paddling upriver – you can probably avoid it by asking the right questions, finding a different route, or portaging around the obstacle.
Finally, some content doesn’t perform well – but there’s usually a reason. Does the content add value? Does the message resonate with the intended audience?
Listen to the Experts
Listen closely, take notes, and look for cues from the experts in your field. Read, watch, and expand your understanding of their processes – draw upon their experiences as well your own.
Why not quote them in your work? If you admire someone’s approach or knowledge – let them know with that reference. Use their influence to help shape your content creation and possibly lend to your credibility as well.
When you understand what works for others, you’ll soon find a way to take your content to the next level, having the ability to creatively and critically expand your universe and help you create more meaningful content.
As a content creator, ask yourself if the content you’re producing is interesting to you. If it takes you more than few hours to draft a 1500-word piece, you may not be that engaged in your message.
Having higher aspirations and planting seeds of motivation and creativity are paramount to enjoying the content you create. If you’re not enjoying your work, how is somebody on the other side of the screen going to enjoy it?
Maybe this means shifting your focus away from blogging and into colorful infographics or working with some of your colleagues to create your brand’s first podcast.
Planting these seeds of inspiration for yourself helps you create more critically enjoyable pieces that in turn engages your target audience. Being bored in your approach to content makes it difficult to inspire and light a fire in others. Help yourself grow!
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Nearly all great content creators actively collaborate with others. Seek the opinions and thoughts of employees, colleagues, industry leaders, partners and customers.
Collaboration is incredibly liberating creatively. There’s a good chance that the ideas that stem from a solid half-hour brainstorming session will result in a variety of topics, and ideas that you can develop.
When we seek the expertise of others without holding our pride too close, we reap the benefits of cooperation, innovation, and construct valuable communication tools within our workplace, market, or industry. Collaboration doesn’t have to be limited to content creation.
The same simple aspects of collaborating and communicating with positivity and motivation in mind are traits of good networkers. Getting involved with your audience, industry, and even competitors from time to time, is beneficial in learning how to work with, for, and alongside other people.