The better the story and the more provocative the message, the more successful your marketing and branding will be. But, as we all know, writing great content is not always as easy as it seems—especially if you write about true stories instead of having marketing “gurus,” who know nothing about your industry, lift stories from Wikipedia to write content that will hold the right words for their sales engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
The best kind of writing is genuine, and the best content is what customers want to read because they feel they will get something valuable out of it. So, how do you write and publish valuable content that current and potential customers will want to read today and look for more of in the future? Creating content that is authentic, informative, interesting, and worth the reader’s time takes skill. Here are three steps to making sure that your content is always valuable enough to be read and passed along.
1. Know Your Audience
First, you have to know your audience. Who are your customers? What interests them? Why would they read this material? What are they going to get out of it? To make sure you get this right, you have to create an ideal reader profile, and if you are a customer-driven company, you should know this anyway. But if not, or just to be sure, study your customers, talk to them, and ask them about their interests. This isn’t that hard because everyone is pretty much the same; they are focused on doing a good job, and they will be interested in anything that will help them do that.
If, for example, they are buying PCBs, they will be interested in content that talks about how to buy PCBs, what to look out for when choosing a PCB vendor, and how to save money. You can apply this same template to any other topic or industry. If a person’s hobby is model trains, they will want to read anything that pertains to that, including opening emails with train-related subject lines, and their “tribe” will be people who love model trains. So, no matter what you are selling, find the right customers, and provide content that will valuable to that tribe.
2. Customize Your Content
Second, why should customers care about or be interested in your content? This guideline digs a little deeper into your audience’s likes and dislikes by customizing your content, which takes more research. In guideline one, we established that if the reader is a PCB buyer, they are going to be interested in content related to PCBs. If your reader is an engineer, they are going to be much more interested in technology than in how to save money buying PCBs. If they are a quality manager, then the content that will interest them most will address quality and specifications. To specialize even more, you can customize your content based on the market to which your customers are selling; this will help them become better and more attractive to their customers.
3. Excite Your Customers
Third, try to establish what would elate or excite your customers about your content. What will make them look forward to reading your content every time they see it, or better yet, seeking it out themselves? You must gain a complete understanding of your customers’ hot buttons. What information will they go out of their way to read? Another way is to keep track of your writing and develop measurements of how many people read your content based on the subject matter. What topics get the most readership? By knowing this, you will go a long way toward delivering the best content possible.
Share Your Content
In summary, preparing great content involves creating an ideal reader profile, establishing what they find valuable to customize the content, and figuring out what excites them. Once you have done that, it is important to increase your readership by sharing your content. If you write a column or article for I-Connect007, for example, share the link to the publisher’s hosted page once it has been published. You can then share this link on your social media pages—including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter—for additional readers to see and share with others as well. Talk about getting the most bang for your buck! Great content is a terrible thing to waste, so share it as much as possible.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.