You may never know what results come from your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result. – Mohandas Kanamchand Ghandi
Welcome to Day 17 of the 20-Day Business Startup Challenge! Today we’re going to learn how to create killer content your audience can’t get enough of.
To attract new customers to your services or products, you need to get them to your website. After all, this is where they will register for your email list, engage with you and others, and buy what you are selling. But how do you get them to your site in the first place? Better yet, how can you keep them coming back and bringing their friends?
The answer is not complicated, but it will take some work. The trick is creating killer content that serves your audience. More often than not, this takes the form of a blog or vlog on your website. But, depending on your industry, this could also be something else, such as a community forum, members area, or tools and resources.
Since most people today start with a blog, this is what I talk about here. But, these rules can be applied to other types of content as well, so it will be helpful if you choose a different route.
What is quality content? What will keep your audience coming back for more?
Here are eight rules to create killer content:
1 – Find out what your customers want and then give it to them. This is simple but somehow missed by many new entrepreneurs.
We’ve been programmed to follow our passion, so we think it’s all about us. It’s not. It’s all about your audience. Take the time to learn what they want. In your industry, how can you serve them? This is the path to quality content.
2 – Choose 1-4 topics to write about and stick to it. Too often new entrepreneurs use their website to talk about anything and everything on their mind. One minute it’s a current event, the next it’s about a movie they saw, and the next it’s a how-to article. This will only confuse your audience. Why would they want to subscribe to your site if they never know what they are going to get?
The key is finding 1-4 topics that interest your audience. You want to establish yourself as an authority on these subjects. Keep them focused, helpful, and original. That way, readers will keep coming back for more.
3 – Create original content. We all know we can’t plagiarize, but this goes beyond that. Don’t simply regurgitate what you read somewhere else. Create your perspective and ideas and offer that to your audience. This doesn’t mean you can’t research and quote others if it is relevant. But you need to make it your own.
Also, don’t keep rehashing the same topics over and over. Google wants original ideas. They will punish websites that talk about the same concepts over and over.
4 – Create killer headlines. Copyblogger found that 80% of people will ONLY read your headlines. Of those, 20% will continue to read your content. Yikes! This means you need to make the best damn headline you can. But how do you know what a good headline is?
Here are a few resources to help:
- The book, Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich by David Garfinkel
- 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines by Jeff Goins
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Copyblogger
5 – Give your readers something to do. Once they’ve read your fantastic and helpful content, don’t leave them hanging. Give them something they can do today to gain a small victory.
For instance, if you are starting a personal finance business, is there something you can give them to make progress today? It may be a tip for lowering their taxes or saving money on their cell phone bill. Something to help them win a small victory will show them you can help and entice them to come back for more.
Items you can offer include checklists, resource lists, and mini ebooks. You want to help them take action on whatever topic you covered. Help them achieve some small win that day. If you can do that, you will gain a loyal follower for life.
6 – Add images and interesting items. The sad truth is that we pour our heart and soul into writing the best content we can, only to have it read fully by about 10% of our audience. In reality, most people just scan the content for the nuggets of information that appeal to them.
In our scan-crazy world, it’s best to make your post visually appealing. Adding photos, colors, bold, and italics (tastefully), will help add visual interest to your post.
Also, leave more white space than you would if you were writing an essay or book. Smaller paragraphs are better so the reader is not daunted by the prospect of reading dense material. Try to make it as easy as possible for them to catch the information they need.
7 – Write consistently. Decide how often you want to post content and stick to that schedule. If you are inconsistent, people will forget about you. You want to keep your audience engaged and learning with regular posts.
This doesn’t have to be daily, but I do recommend at least once per week (ideally more if you can). Don’t leave the audience (whom you worked so hard get) hanging.
8 – Edit and proofread. I would say this goes without saying, but it’s more difficult to achieve than you think. Often we write, read it through for some basic grammar editing, then post it. To provide quality content, you want to take this a few steps further.
Many professional writers have the following process:
- Write a first draft. Don’t edit as you go, just write anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense or flow, just get your ideas on the page.
- Take a break from it. Don’t edit immediately, get your mind off of it for an hour or a day before moving forward.
- Rewrite your post. Now that you’ve had a break, you’ll see things you’ve missed or items you want to say differently.
- Edit big items. Edit the flow of your writing, move paragraphs around, and make sure the concepts link together. Also, if you can say it with fewer words, do so. Don’t be overly verbose.
- Fine tune the editing. Edit grammar, spelling, and usage.
- Read it out loud to yourself. This sounds silly, but reading it out loud helps you catch mistakes you wouldn’t normally catch reading in your head.
- Have someone else read it. Have a friend or family member take a quick read through to help catch anything else you’ve missed.
- Post your article.
This seems like a lot of work for a simple post, but it’s key to providing quality content.
I also use two resources to help me catch as many errors and issues as I can:
- Hemingway Editor. This program scores your writing and highlights problem areas such as difficult sentences, use of passive voice, and more. It’s a great tool, but it is not the end-all-be-all. You can still go against its rules if you desire.
- Grammarly. This is a newer program that aids in catching spelling and grammatical errors.
If you are new to writing, don’t be afraid. You will learn and get better with each new post (another reason to post regularly).
In today’s marketplace, content is king. By serving your audience with great content, you will build a tribe of loyal followers eager to hear more. Take the time to craft your content carefully, and you will set yourself up for tremendous success.
Determine what your ideal audience wants to hear. You can do this by asking any friends and family interested in your industry or by looking through websites such as Quora, Facebook groups, and Reddit. Write down the top two topics your audience is dying to learn about and share them with us in the comments below.