Content marketing is the idea of creating valuable, useful content that your target market will enjoy. This content is posted on your website or blog or on sites like Medium.com and shared to social media. Content is an article, video, podcast, radio program or any other medium.
Creating content can be very rewarding as you engage your creativity, but it can also be daunting and overwhelming if you don’t have a process. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating content:
Commit to a writing schedule
Consistency is the key to creating valuable content. That and quality. You’re objective is to write quality content on a consistent basis. These are important for a couple of reasons, first, it shows the robots at Google that you’re serious about your business (they like to see that a site is continually updated) and secondly, the best way to grow an audience is to consistently publish good content.
If it’s not consistent, then the audience loses trust in your reliability and goes somewhere else. It’s very difficult to re-engage with them later. I learned this from personal experience with this site. I spent 2 years creating content and building engaged readers before I made the decision to take 2 years off to focus on a startups and have kids. When I returned and began again to send emails to my list, the open rate plummeted. I don’t blame people for forgetting who I am or moving on. My job was to regain their attention and it took time.
It doesn’t matter so much when you write as it does when you publish. Sometimes the ideas flow and you can write a few great pieces of content in one sitting. Using a WordPress plugin like Editorial Calendar can help you schedule those posts to space them out. More on that in The Importance of an Editorial Calendar.
What to write about
The most effective posts are those that solve a problem, tell a story or connect with people. If you can do all 3 then you’re off to a good start. The content should relate to your product, service of theme of your blog. If I suddenly started posting articles about parenting or landscape painting my audience may not engage with it because it’s outside of my main topics.
Writing about 100 different things also dilutes your brand and makes it more difficult to be known for your specialty. Imagine if the marketer Seth Godin, who posts every day on is blog, started posting about UFOs instead of marketing. It would be very confusing.
How long should it be?
This is a common question when it comes to SEO. Everyone wants to write for Google. While it’s true that longer posts (1,000 – 2,000 words, vs. 200 – 300) may be more effective and help your rankings, the objective should be to write not for Google, but for your audience.
Make the articles well-thought out and original and written to help your audience. Stuffing it full of keywords just for the sake of Google doesn’t work as well as it used to (and your readers won’t like it either). In fact, Google has gotten so good with recent updates that it can tell if you’re writing for the search engine or writing an authentic article for your audience. So always write for people, before search engines.
Create an Enticing Opt-in
Of the websites that have opt-ins for a free offer, the majority don’t give the visitor something that will help them. The opt-in forms often says something like “Join Our Newsletter” or “Get the latest news”, which most people read as code for “Give us your email so we can advertise to you.” Those forms have very low opt-in rates.
If you have a call to action or an opt-in, be specific about what the reader will get if they opt-in. You don’t necessarily need to offer a free ebook or other type of download, but you do need to tell them what to expect, even if it’s just a weekly newsletter.
Authentic Connection above all else
The most important part of content marketing is connecting with your audience by providing useful content that they enjoy and can learn from. It’s not about just shooting out content on social media so it shows up in someones feed. You build an audience one person at a time by solving problems for people or entertaining them. So don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your personality come through in all your content. If you do, people will connect with you much easier and your content will do much better.