Content marketing is more important than ever, and some would argue that it’s the most efficient way to boost your SEO these days. Content is also an excellent engagement vehicle. Furthermore, creating good content for your website, blog, and newsletter is key if you want to continue to attract customers to your digital assets.
How so? It’s because if you have something worth reading, it’s worth spreading and your readers and customers will be the ones bringing people to your site. Plus, amazing content makes your site more valuable to them and they’ll return to it time and again – ensuring that you keep mindshare with them and thus indirectly adding to your bottom line.
While everyone understands the importance of content for blogs and newsletters, the challenge – and question I often get asked – is always, “What should I blog about or put in my newsletters?”
What are the essentials for continually being able to produce successful and high quality content for blogs and newsletters? While no one can provide you with all the answers you need, below are ten tips that will hopefully help get your creative juices started in the right direction:
1. Know Thy Audience
If there’s anything stopping you from writing high quality content, it would be not knowing who exactly you’re writing for. In addition to content selection itself, the tone of voice and style of writing will depend on your target audience, so keep in touch with them by friending and following them in social media, asking them for feedback whenever possible, and generally engaging with them. Look inside your Google Analytics for keywords from search engine queries that brought them to your website. If you’re included on Twitter Lists, look at the names of the Twitter Lists for which you’re included as hints for potential content ideas as well. Use Google Suggest to get an idea for what people are searching for. Do keyword searches on Twitter or Google Plus and see what comes up for ideas as to what your audience might be interested in.
2. The Art of Reposting
While original content will help increase your site’s traffic, reposting other’s content will make things easier on your part. Don’t copy though; add value by posting your own take on a blog post, condensing a particularly interesting article or asking your audience what they feel about the news you want to spread. Don’t underestimate the value of reposting: With the democratization of information, content curation is more valuable than ever!
This, for instance, is a prime example of a list post and it certainly got your attention, right? This might be old hat, but if it’s tried and tested, why not use it yourself? What’s even better is that the nature of your post makes it easier for you to come up with an interesting headline that is sure to grab your target audience’s attention. Windmill Networking contributor Judy Gombita blogged about making conscious choices with your information diet, so if you are going to go the list route, add some depth to it and make it an original, authoritative work, as I have tried to do with this post.
4. Photos & Images
It’s no secret that photos are one of the most engaging types of content to post. It’s easy to consume and easy to spread as well. If you’re a brand, photos will reveal what your company is truly about more than any press release. If you’re a creative company, sharing your work will serve as your portfolio for potential clients. Before uploading the photos however, you need to make sure that these are free to share based on a Creative Commons license. If you’re not sure, subscribe to a stock photo service such as iStockPhoto or 123RF. Want to take it a step further? Why not create an infographic? It’s easier than ever by using a tool such as infogr.am or any of these recommended infographic creation tools. You don’t even need to create your own infographic – you can head over to Pinterest and simply search for infographics to share in your newsletter or blog!
The same principle for photos and images works as well for videos; it makes your content more interesting. YouTube, the most popular video sharing site, is home to thousands (millions?) of videos where you can pick and choose videos related to your blog post or just your company in general. Embed the video on your site or include it as part of your newsletter, describe it in a few sentences and explain why it harbors a brand of magic that you find hard to resist.
6. Answer Questions
A Q&A type post is a perfect way to tell your customers that you’re listening to them. Since it zeroes in to questions that your audience is bound to ask (or has already been asking you), it’s easy to create (provided you craft quality answers) and it also marks you as an authority in your chosen field. If your content is useful enough, your readers might even share it with other people.
7. Become a Reviewer
You can try writing reviews on specific products which you think will tickle the interest of your readers. You should make the post valuable to your audience so that they will have an easier time trusting you. When making a review of the product or service, make sure that you include all the pros and cons to make it more convincing. Oh, and it goes without saying that you should avoid reviewing products from competitors and focus on complementary ones (if you sell dresses, review handbags for instance).
8. Hire Professional Writers
Coming up with content for your site can eat up your time, patience and effort. If you really can’t write interesting blog posts and newsletters (or simply have no time), it would be better if you hire a social media writing service that can do the job for you. Although this will cost you money, every cent is worth it since it can help you more effectively connect with your audience – and allow you to do more potentially high value-added activities for your business!
9. It’s All About the Title
Having interesting and useful content won’t matter if you can’t come up with a catchy title for your post. Since it’s the first thing people see when they come across your article when searching or while scanning Facebook, Twitter, or their InBox, it has to be interesting enough for people to click through. It’s up to you on which one to work first, since there are some people who can write content based on the title they’ve come up with, and vice versa.
10. Be Trendy
Posting on hot and trending topics that are relevant to your customers can do wonders for your website and newsletter. Even boring companies should be able to find exciting industry trends to write about.
I’m sure all of you readers have other ideas for generating content for newsletters and blogs, so please contribute by commenting below. Thanks!