40 Simple Hacks For Creating Content People Love To Read
No matter what kind of content you’re creating, you always have one goal: keep your readers reading. And now you too can hook and engage your readers using these 40 hacks for creating content that people really love.
Check them out here…
- Offer Tips
Instructional content is great. But what’s even better is when you offer tips on top of that content. Tips are useful. They help people take action. And they even make readers feel like they have insider information. All of that adds up to engaged, satisfied readers.
- Compile FAQs
If you pay attention, you’ll see the same questions in your niche pop up repeatedly on blogs, forums, social media groups and on sites like Quora. The next time you see these questions, collect them. Then compile a list of frequently asked questions with your very best answers. You can bet your readers will gobble it up.
- Share Resources
No matter what people are trying to do, they tend to spend a lot of time researching resources.
E.G., Which blog plugins should they use? What gear do they need to train for a marathon?
You can make your readers fall in love with you and your content by sharing your most trusted products and resources. They’ll save time, they’ll save money. What’s not to love?
- Provide Examples
Sometimes information just goes over your readers’ heads. You can help clarify concepts by providing specific examples. This not only helps engage readers, it also helps them move towards taking action since they now have a clear example of what to do.
- Compile Lists
People love lists. That’s why even comedians tap into “top ten” lists. You too can keep your readers engaged by sharing lists. For example:
- Top Five Ways to Lose Weight
- The 27 Best Marketing Blogs on the Planet
- 101 Car-Restoration Tips Every Enthusiast Ought to Know
- Take Screenshots
Are you explaining how to use software, taking a tour or a website, or even reviewing an online product? Then take screenshots. They provide visual interest to your content and keep readers’ attention.
- Create Templates
If you really want to provide something useful to readers, then give them the tools they need to take actions. Templates make a great choice for this purpose. For example:
- Sales letter templates for copywriters.
- Invoice templates for small business owners.
- Provide Step-By-Step Instructions
Not everyone knows what you know about a topic. So when you say something like, “Install a WordPress blog,” you readers might be scratching their heads. That’s why you can keep readers engaged and moving forward by providing exact instructions for complex processes.
- Create Infographics
Not everyone learns well from reading words only. That’s why you might consider creating an infographic, which is a visual representation of data and information.
For example: “How metabolism really works…”
- Inject Humor
People don’t just want to be educated; they want to be entertained too. That’s why you should inject some light humor into your content, which will keep people laughing and reading along.
- Tell Stories
Nothing draws a reader and hooks them on an emotional level like a good story. That’s why you’ll want to share inspirational, funny or even parable-type stories to help you get your point across.
- Provide Worksheets
Worksheets are another good choice of tools for helping readers take action on what they’re learning. For example, you might provide nearly bankrupt readers with a debt-management worksheet.
- Offer Checklists
Checklists do two things that readers love. First, they condense a complex process into a series of actionable steps. And secondly, they serve as a useful tool to use when it comes time to take action.
TIP: For best results, make sure your checklists are printable. And then encourage users to actually print and use them.
- Create Mind Maps
Creating mind maps for non-linear thinkers is a welcome addition alongside your regular content. It gives everyone a new way of looking at and consuming the information. You can start making mind maps by using software such as SmartDraw.com.
- Create Actionable Content
The idea here is to offer at least one thing that can be done quickly to get fast results. People love instant gratification, which is why readers will stay hooked to see how many other actionable tips you’ll share.
- Explain Complex Subjects In “Lay Person” Language
A lot of people hate combing through scholarly articles with a lot of jargon. That’s why you can thrill your readers by explaining complex subjects and articles in simple everyday language.
For example, if you’re catering to people who want to lose weight, then you can explain the latest article on metabolism (rather than linking to it and expecting your readers to slog through it).
- Break Big Subjects Into Bite-Size Bits
If you’re sharing “how to” information on a big subject in a place like your blog or newsletter, then break this subject up into a series of
posts or emails. Not only does this make the information less overwhelming, it also gets your readers excited about the next installment.
- Ask Questions
The idea here is to engage readers and make them think. For example:
- Have you ever lost weight and then gained it all back?
- Do you know the secrets of doubling your conversion rates?
- Are you tired of spending hours in the gym with nothing to show for it?
- Provide Strong Calls to Action
When people take action on what they just learned, they’ll overall be more satisfied with your content. That’s why you’ll want to provide calls to action to get people moving.
For example: “Now that you know exactly how to set up a WordPress blog, it’s time to get yours launched. So take the first step now by clicking here to download the free installation files – this won’t take long, so do it now!”
- Offer Illustrations
A well-placed illustration provides these three benefits:
- It breaks up big walls of text, which makes the content easier to read.
- It draws the readers’ eyes back into the content, which is always a welcome benefit.
- It provides a visual illustration to help explain the content. In other words, it adds value to the content.
For example, if you’re sharing information about how to do specific types of exercises, then you can really engage your reader by providing illustrations for each exercise.
- Provide New Twists on Old Methods
Our brains actually light up and we get a little pleasurable rush of neurotransmitters when we learn something new. This is why you’ll want to provide new ways of doing things and other novel information to your readers.
But remember, you don’t need to come up with something entirely new. Just presenting old information in a new way (such as via an infographic) might be just enough to kick those pleasurable neurotransmitters into gear.
- Share Analogies, Metaphors and Similes
This sort of language makes the content more memorable and engaging, which keeps people hooked.
For example, don’t just say something is slow. Instead, say it’s as slow as molasses in January. (Or, better yet, make up your own sayings to keep your content fresh!)
- Engage The Reader’s Senses
A lot of writers tend to describe something visually, but they neglect the other senses. Don’t do this. Instead, bring in as many as possible.
Let’s imagine you’re telling a story about failing to avoid temptation at a bakery when you’re on a diet. Here’s what you can describe:
- The smell of fresh-baked bread when you first walk in.
- The sound of the bell dinging above the door when you walk in.
- The sight of the delectable pastries.
- The taste of a raspberry-filled pastry.
- The feel of the raspberry dripping off your chin.
In short, bring your readers right into the scene with you!
- Arouse Curiosity
One very good way to keep readers reading is to simply make them curious about what’s coming up.
For example: “In just a few moments you’ll discover the fat-loss trick Hollywood celebrities use when they need to lose a fast 10 pounds…”
- Give Them What They Want, Slip In What They Need
Any content you create should be something that people really want (otherwise they won’t read it). But you can also slip in what they need, which will make the content even more useful to them.
For example, people who are looking for money-making information WANT tips for fast results. But they also need strategies to create long-term success. So you might create a report that shares fast ways to make money, while slipping in strategies for building a thriving business over the long term.
- Showcase The Benefits
In other words, let readers know the benefits of reading this content.
For example, “You’re about to find out how to double your conversion rates with a five-minute tweak!”
- Create Reader-Oriented Writing
Your content should be about the reader, not you. If it’s about you, other than an occasional story, your readers will quit reading.
So here’s a quick and dirty way to check whether your content is about your readers: simply look at how much you use words like “you” versus words like “me.” If you have more occurrences of “me” then “you,” that’s a sign it’s time to tweak.
- Use a Conversational Tone
In other words, keep it light and imagine that you’re writing to a good friend. This is much easier to read (and more fun!) than content with a stuffy textbook-style tone.
- Overcome Resistance
Sometimes as people read your content, they start thinking, “I don’t believe you.” You can help overcome this resistance and build credibility by:
- Sharing your relevant experience with the topic. E.G., You’re sharing your own weight-loss secrets.
- Sharing the results you’ve achieved for yourself or others. E.G., Tell readers that you’ve taught other copywriters, and talk about their successes.
- Sharing any relevant degrees, accolades or awards you’ve won. E.G., If you’re talking about how to write a good novel, then talk about any book awards you’ve won.
- Be An Authority
People are more willing to read and trust content coming from an expert or authority in the niche. That’s why you’ll want to establish yourself as an authority. For example:
- Share your best content so that people can see for themselves that you’re an expert.
- Share testimonials from people who refer to you as an expert.
- Be confident when you share your strategies, as this naturally helps position you as an authority.
And related to this…
- Borrow Other People’s Authority
If you haven’t yet established yourself as an authority, then you may want to borrow other people’s authority to boost your status.
One way to do this is to get quotes from authorities in your niche about you and your expertise. For example, if you wrote a book on back pain, then get several doctors to endorse your book.
- Empathize With Your Readers
Most people often feel like no one really understands or cares about their problem. If you can demonstrate this understanding, they’ll keep on reading.
For example: “I know what it’s like to get winded and then embarrassed when you climb even one flight of stairs…”
- Be Honest
The idea here is to tell the good, the bad and the downright ugly of everything. For example, if you’re reviewing an affiliate offer, then be sure to list both the pros and cons of the product.
This absolute honesty draws readers to you and builds their trust. In turn, they’ll keep reading – and they’re much more likely to buy what you’re selling.
- Flatter Your Readers
Almost everyone like flattery, even when they know it’s intentional flattery.
Try this: “I know you’re a smart [type of person] because [insert something they are likely to do or not do]…” J
Example: I know you’re a smart marketer, because you spend time reading blog posts like this on a regular basis to stay in the loop… J
- Capture Their Imagination
If you can get people thinking about how they’ll feel when they use a product you’re promoting or the information you just provided, the you are one step closer to getting them to take action.
For example: “Imagine how you’ll feel when you open your email to see dozens of sales notifications filling your inbox…”
- Provide Variety
People get bored when they’re faced with the same ol’ type of content every time they visit your blog, read your newsletter or go to your social media page. That’s why you’ll want to provide variety. Give them short tips today, a lengthy “how to” article tomorrow, and an inspirational post the day after. This will keep people interested and coming back for more.
- Share Your Best Stuff
A lot of us don’t like it when they feel like an author is holding back the best bits for later. So don’t do that. Share your best stuff to keep people engaged. Share your best stuff to build trust. Share your best stuff for free, because it will give people an honest taste of what your paid content is like.
- Create a Slippery Slide
Every time you sit down to write content, keep the “slippery slide” concept in mind. This is where every word of your content hooks the reader and brings them to the next word… which brings them to the next word… and so on. They start at the top of your content and slide all the way down to the bottom, effortlessly.
You can do this by:
- Arousing curiosity.
- Showcasing the benefits of the content.
- Using emotionally laden words and imaging.
- Being sure the content is about your reader and his problems.
Make the content relevant to the reader in every way, and you can bet he’ll keep reading.
- Ensure Content Is Accessible
The idea here is avoid $100 words when a $2 word will do. Don’t try to talk above your readers’ heads in an attempt to look smart, because it will likely backfire and get readers hitting their back buttons.
- Format For Easy Readability
No one likes to read never-ending walls of text. That’s why you’ll want to break up big blocks of text with:
- Enticing headlines.
- Bulleted lists.
- Johnson boxes.
And anything else that breaks up the monotony of the text and engages the reader. Just look at this report as a good example of formatting text for easy readability.
Look at this – you read right down to the end! You know why? Because this report utilized many of the hacks you just learned about to keep you hooked and engaged.
So now it’s your turn. Put these hacks to work for you to create better content that your readers will absolutely love!
10 Types of Blog Posts You Can Create In 10 Minutes
No matter what kind of business you run online, there’s a good chance you have a blog. And if you have a blog, then you need a lot of content. But here’s the problem…
It takes a lot of time to create that content. If you outsource it, then it’s going to take a lot of money. Either way, creating content is a big investment.
If you think you can’t create great content fast, think again. That’s because you’re about to discover 10 types of blog posts you can create in 10 minutes or less. Take a look…
- Create Articles Out Of PLR
Sometimes you might purchase PLR (private label rights) articles that you can minimally tweak and post right to your blog. In other cases, you might take excerpts out of PLR reports or ebooks, and then post these excerpts on your blog. Either way, it takes just minutes to create something unique and post it for your readers.
Here are some other tips for using PLR to create content:
- Use the transcripts from a PLR video to create an article for your blog. These transcripts may be included with the package, or you can create your own.
TIP: This is particularly easy if the video includes slides, as you can simply create your article from the content of the slides.
- Compile multiple pieces of PLR content to create something entirely new. For example, you might take excerpts out of three or four PLR articles to create an entirely new article.
And speaking of excerpts…
- Take Excerpts From Your Products
Obviously, this is a super-quick way to create an article. But the other bonus of this particular strategy is that you can quickly insert a pitch at the end of the article to promote the full product.
Now, there are two ways to use these excerpts:
- One way is to simply pull the excerpt directly out of the product, create an introduction and conclusion, and post it on your blog.
For example, let’s suppose you have a report that lists ten strategies for cutting calories. You can excerpt out three to five of these strategies to create your article. Then at the end of the article, you can pitch the paid report as the place to get more of these great strategies.
- The second way is to cut some of the meat off the excerpt so that people will want to buy the product to get all the details.
Let’s take the example of the report with ten strategies again. This time you excerpt out all ten strategies, but you edit out some of the details. So readers will get an article that tells them what to do, but they don’t get the exact instructions of how to do it. They’ll need to purchase the product to get those exact instructions.
- Make Link Lists
A link list can come in a variety of formats, including:
- A gear list. These are tools you use that you’d recommend to others. It saves beginners a lot of time and money, since they don’t have to do as much research.
For example, you might list all the plugins you use on your blog. Or if you’re writing to bodybuilders, you might make a list of all the “must use” supplements.
- A list of free resources. Here you might link to blog posts, reports, videos and other free sources of content to help your readers achieve some specific goal.
- A list of paid resources. In this case, you’d write a short review for each resource to let people know who can use it and its benefits.
- A mix of paid and free resources. For example, “The Top 10 Resources Every Aspiring Copywriter Ought to Read.”
Again, the point is to save your reader time by doing some of the legwork and research for them. It’s much easier to get recommendations and content all in one place from a trusted source, rather than having to find products and sources yourself, and then have to separate the wheat from the chaff besides.
- Recap Your Recent Posts
The idea here is to create an “in case you missed it” list of your best posts in the last couple weeks or months. Of course you don’t need to just list blog posts. Instead, you can curate your own content across platforms, including your social media accounts and newsletters.
Another way to do it is by curating your best (recent) content around a very specific topic.
- Five Blog Posts That Will Change the Way You Think About Dieting
- The Three Posts Every Beginner Marketer Ought to Read
- The Five Keys to Improving Your Golf Score
All you have to do is write an intro to the post, list the resources along with a short explanation of why people should read each resource, and then wrap it up with a quick conclusion.
- Interview Someone
Here’s a great way to create content fast: let someone else create the content for you. In this case, simply work up a list of questions by email and let your interviewee’s answers become your article. In exchange, your interviewee gets a byline with a link back to their site.
Here’s an example email to send to land these interviews…
Subject Line: I’d like to feature you on my blog, [name]
Hi [First Name],
My name is [Your Name], and I run the popular [type of] blog over at [domain]. The reason I’m writing today is because I’d like to interview you and feature this interview on the blog.
The interview is just [small number] questions, so it would only take about [small number of minutes] to complete.
In return, you’d get a byline and link back to your site, along with exposure to my [number] of readers and visitors. I’ll also send out the link to my [number] of newsletter subscribers and [number] social media followers.
If you agree that this sounds like a great way to showcase your business to a targeted audience, just reply back and I’ll send over the questions right away.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Remember this: the easier it is for someone to comply with your request, the more likely it is that they’ll say yes. So don’t make your interviewee have to spend hours answering questions. Instead, shoot a couple quick questions their way that they can answer in just minutes. Then if you want more info, send a couple follow up questions.
Once a person has answered your initial questions, they’ll feel invested and committed to your project. So if you ask for 10 more minutes of their time to answer a couple additional questions, they’re very likely to say yes.
- Tweak A Previous Article
The next idea is to comb through your existing content, find popular articles, tweak them, and republish the new version.
- If you previously published a list of ten tips, then excerpt out five of those tips, expand on them, and republish the new article.
- Update an old article with new information, such as new research that has come on the scene since you originally published it.
- Have you changed your mind about a product, idea or other topic? Update an older article with your revised opinion.
Those are just three ways to take your existing content and turn it into something new. Be creative, and you may be able to create dozens of new articles from your old content.
- Turn Existing Content Into an Infographic
Another good way to quickly create content is to simply change your existing content into a different format. And one way to do this is by turning an article into an infographic.
Here are examples of articles that would make good infographics:
- An article discussing multiple ways to boost conversion rates on a website.
- An article explaining how metabolism works.
- An article that talks about different garden pests and how to get rid of them using organic pest control methods.
Just be sure your infographic includes social media buttons next to it, because this is the kind of content people really like to share.
- Ask For Content From a Vendor
Are you an affiliate for a product or service? Then one great way to quickly get your hands on some free content is by asking the product vendor to supply it for you.
Your first stop is to check the affiliate center, if one is available. That’s where the vendor has likely supplied affiliates with all sorts of content, including blog posts.
However, you want unique content, right? So don’t go straight to the blog post category, as all the other affiliates are likely copying and pasting those articles to their blogs. Instead, look at other content such as reports, emails and similar. Find something suitable, and then ask the vendor if you can modify it for your blog, such as taking an excerpt out of a report.
If you’re not finding what you like within the affiliate center, then write to the vendor and request an article. The vendor is more likely to give you content – especially exclusive content – if you’ve already proven yourself to be a good affiliate.
TIP: Here’s a powerhouse combo you can use to promote affiliate products while getting unique content for free: ask the vendor for an interview. Most vendors will be happy to get the exposure and extra sales. You can post a text interview, or you might even consider doing a short webinar or podcast.
- Do Multimedia Posts
So far we’ve been talking about how to quickly create text articles. However, you don’t need to write a single word if you don’t want to.
Instead, pick up a camera to do a quick video on the topic of your choice.
TIP: You can also simply turn on a microphone to do a quick podcast. You don’t even need expensive tools, as a simple tool like Audacity will let you capture and edit audio for free. You can get this tool at http://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/files/.
- Turn the camera on and just spend five minutes talking about your top five weight loss tips.
- Film yourself trying out and reviewing a new product.
- Give a demo on camera, such as how to teach a dog to sit.
- If you’d like to demo something on your screen, such as how to set up a blog, then use screen-recording software such as Camtasia.
Then all you have to do is upload the video to YouTube.com (for greater exposure), and then post the embedded video on your blog.
- Copy And Paste Your Emails
One very good source for articles and other content are your own emails. Here I’m talking about two things:
1. If you broadcast an announcement, article or other content to your mailing list, then put this content on your blog as well. TIP: Let your newsletter readers know you’re posting the content on your blog, and then encourage them to click through and discuss the topic.
2. If you reply to a customer’s question and you realize it would make a good post, then use it. Naturally, you won’t use any of the customer’s identifying information. Instead, you might say something like this at the beginning of the post…
“Just about every week, the same question tends to pop up in my email from people just like you. Take a look and see if you’ve wondered about this topic too…”
As you just discovered, you don’t need to spend a lot of time creating great content. All you need is ten minutes or less, and you can have a blog post ready to go out the door. In fact, I bet you can create one of these posts right now and get it up on your blog right away. Go ahead and see for yourself just how quick and easy it is to create content using these tactics.
Five Essential Tools Bloggers and Content Creators Must Have
Building a successful blog is more than just writing and creating content about topics your audience enjoys. Behind every successful blogger is a list of tools that they rely on to help them and make their lives easier.
There are many tools, free or paid, out there available designed to make your life as a blogger or digital content creator easier, and make you more effective. But which ones are really worth investing in? In this article, I gathered the top essential blogging tools to help you on your blogging journey.
These are a combination of paid and free tools that are best suited to those who are just beginning their journey into the world of blogging.
Images are very important to bloggers and digital content creators. You need images for your blogposts, social media content and even for your videos. Blogposts that have images are proven to be more effective to receive more website visitors, keeping them on your website longer and increase the number of shares. Infographics, social media images, featured images are just a few of the visuals in your posts that you can make with Canva.
You definitely need a project management tool, and there’s none other I would recommend or suggest than Trello. It’s focused in improving your workflow- super perfect for creating an editorial calendar for your blogs.
With Trello, you can basically create tasks, set due dates for it, add team members, share files and almost everything you need for managing your blogging processes. Again, there are plenty of project management tools available, but Trello is great for content creators and bloggers because it is streamlined and without clutter. You get so much for a free account.
A poorly-written content includes bad grammar. Unless you are an English major degree holder, grammar can be tricky, especially if English is not your first language.
Grammarly is a very easy app to use. You simply copy and paste your written content and the app will perform spelling checks, sentence structure, punctuation, style and subject-verb agreements. A paid version provides a plagiarism check.
This is a great tool for those who can’t get access to a proofreader and gives you peace of mind that your content is grammatically sound.
If you’re using WordPress, you’re in luck because there’s a plugin to help with your site’s SEO. Yoast SEO is a one-stop-shop for all SEO needs. Once you have your focus keyword, the plugin will guide you through different elements that makes sure that your blogpost will rank on Google for the keyword.
Yoast helps in editing title tags, meta descriptions, to providing a score on your blogpost’s readability. Some of the settings could be a little overwhelming if you’re new to SEO and WordPress, but Yoast has a complete tutorial to help you set up everything.
Scheduling posts to your social media accounts has never been easier. Buffer is easy to use and lets you integrate your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
After you have written and published your blog posts, it’s now time for promotion and you can set up an easy sharing schedule with Buffer. Here’s a tip: Schedule your posts to your social channels multiple times at their optimal times with different headlines or images attached for variety.
There are a lot of tools out there that you can choose from, but the ones listed above are what I have personally used for my clients and have yielded positive results.
Which tools will you be using for your blog? Do you use other tools aside from these? Share in the comments below.
Using The Right Blogging Platform For Your Needs
Choosing which blogging platform to use is one of the most important decisions that you can make as a blogger. The right platform can make blogging a breeze, and the wrong platform can make blogging a chore. Because the program that you use to blog with is such a powerful part of your blogging experience, it is well worth putting in the time to find a platform that provides your ideal balance between a user-friendly interface and a flexible framework that allows you to make your blog look and feel unique. Finding the right platform isn’t always easy, but with a little bit of contemplation and a little bit of research, you will be on your way to finding the perfect blogging platform.
There is no such thing as a blogging platform that is objectively the best platform, because every blogger has unique needs. The blogging movement is very much about individuality, so it makes plenty of sense that there would be many different platforms available that are designed to meet the needs of different kinds of individuals undertaking different kinds of projects. This diversity is a good thing, because it means that you will almost certainly be able to find a program that suits your level of technical aptitude.
However, the fact that no two bloggers need the same thing from a blogging platform can make your search for the right platform a bit tricky. When you are reading reviews of different platforms, try to keep your priorities in mind and do your best to take into account the position that the reviewer is coming from. For example, a negative review written by an accomplished software designer who complains that a popular platform is too limited may tell you that the platform in question is ideal for a beginning blogger. There is no such thing as the perfect platform for everybody, so instead of looking for the “best” platform, look for the best platform for your specific criteria.
You can start learning how to use WordPress here.
Photo by Fikret tozak on Unsplash
A Great Idea For a Blogging Web Site is No Longer Enough
Because there are so many blogs and web sites about blogs on the internet, it can be tough to distinguish your blogging web site from all of the others. Whether you are starting up a new web site aimed at bloggers or whether you are looking to make your existing blogging site more distinctive, the key to building and maintaining a site that will capture the interest and attention of the blogging community is finding your niche. If you can fill a unique need in a way that no other web site does, you’ll be able to build a lasting readership among web surfers. Once you have discovered a niche, you will still have a lot to do, but finding your place in the blog-o-sphere is the place to begin.
Every great blogging web site starts with a great idea, and you can’t build a successful site that will last without one. There are many great sites aimed at today’s bloggers, and competition for the attention of this growing demographic is fierce. To make your blogging web site stand out from the pack, you will need to offer something that no other site is currently offering, or you will need to do the same thing that an already popular site does but in a more impressive or valuable way.
One way to discover an ideal model for your blogging web site is to look at the sites that have successfully captured a blogging audience already to determine if you can appropriate some of their strategies to help realize your vision. Of course, you will also need to add a unique flair to your project in order to stand apart from your competition. Many people agree that the web sites that do the best in today’s market are the sites that have the most personality. The fiercely individual surfers who are bloggers are a demographic that responds especially strongly to personality, so consider how you can give your site a unique and attractive feeling by lending your own voice and sensibility to your site’s design and content.
Once you have a great idea for your site, have pinpointed a special niche that you are well equipped to fill, and have infused the site with personality, the next step is figuring out how to get the word out to bloggers. In the long run, a great idea just isn’t enough to propel your blogging web site to success. You will need to draft a smart and realistic marketing plan in order to draw readers to your site. Once you hook a blogger, your great content will keep them coming back, but it is vital to get that first glance or your site won’t have a chance to shine.
Blogging For Business Owners
If you run a small company, you may find that the world of blogging for business owners is a world that you want to be a part of. Blogging is a great way to get the word out to consumers about your product or service, and it can even be useful for inspiring employee loyalty and helping you keep your workers at peak morale. If you are looking for a way to take your business to the next level, consider what starting a blog might be able to do for you.
Blogging for business owners has a lot in common with all other types of blogging, but it has its own unique pitfalls and strengths. The key to having a successful blog as a business owner is keeping your goals clear and concrete at every step of your blogging adventure. It can be all to easy to get sidetracked, especially if you are just learning about the exciting possibilities of blogging technology, but if you want your blog to succeed you need to stay focused. Write up a plan for how often you will update, how you will promote your blog and retain readers, whether you will feature
photographs or video, and other aspects of your blog, and then stick to it with the same kind of determination that you used when you built your company.
Step Two of Your Content Marketing Funnel – Get Them on Your List
The money is in the list. You’ve heard this a lot, I’m sure. The reason you hear it so much is because it’s true. It’s been true since the advent of email, and it’s even truer today. Email is not dead and using content marketing to get people on your list is the best way to accomplish building your list so you can nurture your audience with more content and convert them to customers and eventually turn them into brand advocates.
Choose the Right Platform for Your Needs
When you choose email marketing software, it’s imperative that you understand the terms of service of the platform. For example, if you plan to engage in affiliate marketing, some platforms don’t allow it, and some encourage it. Read the fine print but pick software that has room to grow, that you find easy to work with and understand, and that has the features now and in the future that you will use. Pay for the platform instead of using free versions. You need the features, and you need ownership.
Provide Many Opportunities to Enter Your Email List
To move more people to your email list, you need to have as many entry points as possible for your audience. Studies show that websites with 100 landing pages or more do a lot better than those with fewer landing pages. Make specialized landing pages for each product directed toward each member of your audience.
One product may have five or more landing pages, due to the audience you want to attract. For example, if you guest post on a guru’s site, you should create a specialized landing page for anyone who clicks through to your site from the article you posted.
Try Active Campaign for creating your first list.
Create Low Price and Free Entry Level Products and Services to Try
Your audience needs to build their trust for you, and one way to do that is to give away freebies or promote low-cost products that grab their attention. These products can be in the form of workbooks, checklists, cheat sheets, video tutorials, discount codes, PDF guides, trials, and more.
Plan Your Autoresponder Content
It’s not enough to just get people on your list, you must be prepared with autoresponder content in advance. You’ll need immediate welcome, thank you, and educational info to go out upon registration. Beyond that, you’ll need to plan for autoresponder content for pre-purchase information, during purchase information, and post-purchase and beyond information to go out to your list members based on how they signed up, so that it’s complexly personalized and relevant to them.
Promote Your Information
It’s not enough to create the landing pages, the freebies, or the low-cost and entry-level products, you must promote them too. Promote your freebies the same way you promote your highest-priced items so that they get the attention they deserve. You can promote on social media, in your profiles and bios, on your website, within the content you create for your blog, in certain Facebook groups, in your own communities and groups, where your audience hangs out, within your bio on guest posts, and within emails.
Check the Numbers
Once again, we’re to the point where it’s becoming redundant to mention it, but it’s so important that you always check the numbers and mind your data. The data you gather on your audience, on their behavior, and through the various platforms you use matters greatly. It’s the only way to be sure you’re using your time wisely and getting results from your actions.
The truth is, even more important than directly focusing on sales, you should focus on moving interested audience members to your email list. Most people just don’t buy these products simply by browsing a website. Instead, they buy based on the fact that they trust and believe in the person promoting the product. This can only happen if you help them get to know you better, and the best way to do that is your email list.
Step One of Your Content Marketing Funnel – Get Their Attention
The first thing you need to do for any type of content you’re going to develop for your business is to know why you’re doing it. Every single piece of content needs a reason that is tied to a very specific and measurable goal.
When you’re focused on getting your audience’s attention, there are a few goals that you can work toward that work well in the attention-getting phase, or the awareness stage – such as building your reputation, getting to know your audience, and more.
Establish Your Expertise and Legitimize Your Reputation
Find ways to build trust in your expertise and reputation by publishing the right educational information that demonstrates your knowledge. You can also collaborate with experts by interviewing them a la Oprah Winfrey. When you surround yourself with other experts who are well thought of, you will be thought of as reputable too.
Types of content to use:
- Expert Interviews
- Long-Form Blog Posts
- Educational Blog Posts
- White Papers
Where to publish the content:
- Your Blog (Always)
Get to Know Your Audience and Let Them Get to Know You
Your audience is real human beings with problems and lives. Get to know them as much as you can by creating buyer personas for every single stage of the buying journey. For example, you might want to build a community on one of the social media platforms or by installing your own forum and message board on your website. User-generated content on forums and message boards is very important when building a community.
Surprise People with Unexpected Content and Bonuses
If you become too predictable, sometimes people tune out. Try to make the experience your audience has unique, regardless of the platform they’re using on which to engage with you. For example, if someone downloads your free eBook, why not give them a nice coupon or make a bonus offer to incentivize them to make a purchase – without telling them about it in advance. Or, you could host a spontaneous “live” event on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube to show your audience behind-the-scenes action.
Be Disruptive but with Caution
One way to grab attention has always been to be disruptive. Studies show, unfortunately, that negativity gets more engagement and views than positivity. This doesn’t mean that you need to be nasty. Poke the pain points; disagree with a guru. But always ensure that whatever you do that is disruptive isn’t painful or hurtful but instead ultimately helpful to your audience.
Mind Your Data
Everything you do must be data-centric. The only way you know why about anything you do is because you check the numbers. For example, you cannot assume a new blog post or interview is directly responsible for all your conversions unless the data supports that idea. When you set up the metrics based on your goals and really use them, you’ll improve your success with content marketing exponentially.
As you’ve learned from studying the buyer’s journey, as you build your content marketing funnel, the first step to connecting with your audience is to gain their attention. You can do this by focusing on content that informs, instructs, interacts with, and inspires your ideal audience to learn and act on the information you provide to them. To do this, you must get their attention. That is the first step in the buyer’s journey (awareness) and the first step in your marketing funnel. The next step is to move them to your email list, and you’ll learn about that next time.
Mapping Out a Marketing Funnel from Content to Sale
Content marketing follows the same process as any type of marketing. You need to know your audience, your products and services, and when, where, and how to get your audience’s attention. The marketing funnel consists of the three or more steps that also covers the buying journey.
A marketing funnel includes:
- Awareness – This is when your customer may or may not know yet about the problems they have, that they can be solved, and that you can solve them.
- Consideration – This is the time when the audience now knows that they have a problem that can be solved, and you need to give them exclusive content that helps them pick your solution over others.
- Purchase – They’ve made the purchase, and are now your customers, so now it’s your job to keep them and delight them by sending them the right content.
Understanding this cycle and what it means for the buyer is important because it also means something for you as the content creator who wants to attract and serve their ideal customer in a very customer-centric way. A content marketing funnel seeks to map the content you’re going to push to your audience and customers to the place it needs to be within the marketing funnel.
I think it’s helpful to make this funnel more in-depth to get even more specific about the content you need to develop and publish. Creating a mini funnel at each stage can be very helpful for keeping it straight in your mind.
The main reason is because even though the existence of the funnel makes it seem like the audience moves through the funnel the same way each time, the truth is, any entry point to your funnel works. So, whether they get on your list in the awareness stage or after they make a purchase, the process is the same.
Awareness can consist of many levels of your funnel and not just one. Some people in the awareness stage know about their problems, some don’t. Some know about the solutions available, some don’t. You’ll need content for all the levels you identify. The types of content you can create for the awareness stage includes:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Updates
- Images and Photos
- White Papers, eBooks and eReports
- Web Pages
- Print Magazine or Newsletter
- Primary Research
When people are in the consideration stage, they’re trying to evaluate the problem and the solutions that they have discovered. Think of this also like an evaluation. The types of content that are needed to navigate this part of their journey include:
- Educational Resources
- Surveys, Quizzes, and Interactive Content
- Other Types of Resources
- Case Studies
The purchase stage of the buyer’s journey and the marketing funnel includes making a purchase or sometimes called conversion. After all, sometimes conversion isn’t about making the sale, but about getting someone on your list. Also, remember that purchase includes getting them to make the purchase or convert, as well as a time you can delight the customer too. The content that works great for ideal customers in this stage of their buying journey includes:
- Customer Stories or Case Studies
- Compare and Contrast
- Spec Sheets
- Thank You Notes
- Exclusive VIP Offers
- Events and Masterminds
- Bonus Information
Loyalty and Advocacy
I like to add this, which should go under the purchase designation of the buyers’ journey and the marketing funnel. The type of content you can use at this stage is a combination of the content used at every stage, and then some, because you really want to delight your customers so much that they become brand advocates. The content you can use here includes:
- Loyalty Programs
- Exclusive Emails
- Exclusive Events
- Exclusive Access to You
- Case Studies
- User-Generated Content
- Content in Groups and Communities
Of course, for all this to succeed, you need a clear vision first. You need to know who your audience is, what they want and need, and why and how you can provide it to them. The more understanding you have of them and yourself, the easier and more effective your content marketing will become.