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7 Steps to Creating Content That People Want to Read

An estimated 60 percent of content produced by B2B marketers goes unused. This means that much of what content marketers produce ends up being, by definition, a waste of time. Producing content that does not get used can be frustrating for marketers and an extremely inefficient means of using brand marketing budget.

Success in content marketing requires dedication. Eighty nine percent of organizations reporting success from this form of marketing also say that they are highly committed to their content development. This doesn’t mean throwing just time and money at the strategy. It requires taking the time to learn and understand the latest best practices associated with content creation.

If you struggle to get the engagement you want to see for your content, these steps will help you turn your content strategy around.

1) Know your audience

Before you begin any content development, you should know precisely who you are writing for. Your buyer persona will determine the types of content you develop, the topics you cover, and how you promote your material. Without a strong buyer persona, it will be a massive challenge to find topics that people appreciate.

Develop your persona to give you valuable information such as the job of the individual in their organization, their industry, their budget, and their main pain points. You can gather a lot of this information by looking at past customers. Bring together the data you already have and combine it with surveys of your customers. Ask them what inspired them to buy specifically from your business, uncover the pain points they wanted to resolve and look at your ability to meet these needs.

Your content must appear relatable to this target audience. You must clearly demonstrate that you have the answers they want to find. Focus on producing quality content that customers need, rather than producing sheer amounts of content.

2) Research content topics and keywords

Once you know who your target buyers will be, now you want to dedicate your efforts to finding topics that interest them. Keyword research can provide valuable insight when used appropriately. This research will let you know about the topics that your target audience searches for and where their interests lie, which can then guide your content development.

Keep in mind that keywords should never be stuffed. When you write your content, you want to use the words naturally throughout the piece. You also want to use related keywords, known as ‘semantic keywords’. These terms have a strong association with your main keyword, and thus using them in your content demonstrates depth and understanding to Google.

Remember as you create your material that you want to write content for people first, not algorithms. The goal of using keywords should be to make your topic discoverable and clear to users.

 

3) Design your content to be easy to read

Write your material so that people can easily read it. Econsultancy reports that people only read about 20 percent of the text on your web page. You want people to be able to easily find the parts of the content that interest them. To accomplish this, use features such as:

● Bullets

● Lists

● Headlines

● Short paragraphs

● Quotes

These features make the content easier to scan. Readers can absorb the information faster and find the portion that pertains to their needs. This boosts their engagement.

Consider also the importance of helping search engines ‘read’ your content. Just like you want your readers to quickly grasp its importance and topics, you also want to help the search engines do the same thing so they know where to display your results. Remember the importance of using a keyword in your meta descriptions, URLs, and headlines.

4) Use images

A few well-placed images can boost engagement and interest. Posts with images about every 100 words will have double the number of shares of those that do not. Images help people absorb the content, drawing the eye and encouraging people to read.

To boost your content’s success, find some relevant images that can complement the material. Stay away from stock images as much as possible, using original images that pertain directly to the material.

5) Remember mobile marketing

Mobile has become an essential part of engaging people online. Fifty seven percent of the traffic on your site comes from mobile devices. Google has also begun shifting towards a mobile-first index. Not using mobile optimization with your content will hurt your visibility and make it more difficult for many readers to engage with your content.

Your site design should be responsive. This makes it easier for people to interact with the material, regardless of the device they use. When optimizing material for mobile, focus on these characteristics:

● Remember mobile users when selecting fonts and text size

● Check compatibility and load times of images and videos

● Verify that clickable buttons work well for people using touch navigation

6) Use cross-channel marketing

Your customers live on more than one platform, and so should you. Promote your content across different platforms to reach more of your audience.

● When you write fresh material that you think your social media followers will appreciate, promote it on your platforms.

● Use your email lists to let people know about helpful material. Segmented email lists will help you send the right content to the right people at the right time.

● Create complementary infographics and videos to bring in more attention. Different people prefer different types of content. Popular topics can be turned into infographics or even videos for YouTube to build readership and link back to the original content.

7) Measure everything

As you create material, make sure you measure your progress every step of the way. Before you develop a single piece of content, get a baseline describing how your site performs now. Look at:

● traffic rates

● what people do after they finish reading a piece of content

● your conversion rates

● any other statistics that provide insight into how users engage with you.

As you develop your new content, measure how this impacts site performance. When you find content that performs particularly well, you can use this to guide future content production. You can see the types of content and topics your customers seem to like the most, gauge your ability to use content to move people through early conversions– such as submitting an email address– towards larger, financial-based conversions, and how often you attract new and repeat readers. This will guide your future content development strategy.

Final thoughts

Your content creation strategy will improve if you follow these steps. You will produce material that will interest your readers and encourage them to learn more about your organization and what you have to offer. Above all else, however, you need to make sure you understand your audience. Without a strong understanding of your buyer personas, you will struggle to properly use the rest of the tips. Use today to start outlining your personas and see how you can give your content a boost.

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Nicole Hudson is an engaging thought leader in marketing strategy development, branding, demand generation, content marketing, social media, marketing technology and lead generation. Her firm, Inbound Lead Solutions, focuses on sales and marketing alignment with B2B companies, franchising, professional services, keynote speakers, authors, and consultants. Hudson’s marketing strategies have been recognized by Franchise Media Group in two consecutive years with Star Awards for social media lead generation, and by a Dbusiness Magazine award in 2016 for Marketing Consulting. Her work has been featured in a LinkedIn case study on Franchising Search Engine Optimization and Lead Generation. She published a book collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom), The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook. Hudson has developed social media strategies for two national television appearances, Be the Boss and Undercover Boss. Nicole is a member of the International Franchise Association and sits on its Marketing & Technology Committee; is a board member and marketing chair for Community Home Supports, a Detroit non-profit; and is a regular speaker, content contributor, and trainer on digital marketing topics.

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