Your Guide to Creating Content That Converts!
By: Renée Cormier
It’s hard to believe there was ever a time in history when people had to believe everything sales people and marketers told them about a product or service. The internet has completely changed the way people buy things. There are currently about 3.5 billion people who use the internet worldwide, so it makes sense that you should be directing a considerable amount of your marketing efforts there. Studies show that about 81% of retail purchases are researched online in advance of visiting a store and among B2B shoppers, 80% prefer to get their information from articles rather than advertising. Whether you serve a business to business market or a business to consumer market, people will look for information on the internet long before they make a decision to buy from you. That is why every business needs to incorporate a fair amount of internet marketing into their marketing plan. In order to do this effectively, you need to be able to generate the kind of content that connects with your target market and generates leads that can be converted to sales. This is what is referred to as inbound marketing. It is always easier to sell to people who contact you first. If you can be easily found on the internet, you are halfway to getting people to make that call. If your content gives people the impression that you can be trusted and have considerable expertise, then you are even closer to getting the phone to ring.
You might be sick of hearing it, but content is still king and will be for a long time. Generating excellent content will strengthen your brand and bring people to your door, but generating the right kind of content isn’t really all that simple. The first thing you need to understand is that there are many kinds of content that will speak to your customers and prospects in different ways. It is important to circulate a variety of marketing content throughout all of your social media networks. Be mindful of what kinds of content are most suitable for the platform you are using.
Here are five types of content you should be trying to circulate:
Affinity: This is content that creates a friendly bond between you and your followers. Using memes with inspirational sayings, short videos with a touch of humor, personal stories and curated content about non-controversial current events can be an effective way to create the impression that you are approachable and not only interested in selling to people. There are many social networks to use for your content. I find that beBee.com is an excellent social network that allows you to easily incorporate affinity content into your posts while giving you a tremendous amount of exposure and opportunities to engage in conversations.
Attraction: This is content that offers people something and brings people to you. A relevant tool such as a mortgage calculator, a free trial or a free downloadable e-book which can be shared freely around the internet are examples of this. By the way, eliminating barriers to sharing your content will increase the likelihood that it will be freely circulated on your behalf. That's just some food for thought.
Action: This type of content asks people to do something for you. It is meant to engage people in such a way that they participate in extending your influence. For example, asking people to comment, share, take a poll, buy something or attend an event is a way to incorporate action into your content.
Authority: This content establishes you as an authority/ subject matter expert and is a must in B2B circles. This post is an example of authority content. Authority content is typically educational in nature. Being featured as a guest blogger, having an op-ed piece in a trade publication or newspaper, giving people valuable information via blogs, etc. are great ways to develop authority content.
Curated Content: This content is already written and freely available on the internet. Sharing other people’s content gives you reach and establishes you as someone who continues to enhance your knowledge and skills. Share content about things relevant to your business but not from people who directly compete with you.
In case you are wondering what a meme is, it is one of those cute little pictures with inspirational quotes or some kind of writing on it. They look like this:
Writing your content can be tricky if you are not aware of some tricks communications professionals use. When you are developing your content keep the following in mind:
1. Make sure your content speaks to your customers. Before you begin creating content, you need to think about who your customers are and focus on creating content that will interest them. Creating customer profiles will help you accomplish that. Once you have a clear picture of your different types of customers, you can begin to develop material that is relevant to them.
2. Make sure your content is easy to read and contains no jargon. Never assume that your readers know all the terms of your industry. If you must use an acronym, explain it first. Clear communication is effective communication.
3. Quality content must make a point. Don’t just ramble on about whatever comes into your head. If your objective is not clear when you are writing, nobody will understand your message very well and they will not be inspired by your message at all. Before you begin, write down some points about things your audience may be interested in and then fill in the blanks.
4. Write engaging copy. I know this doesn’t come easily to everyone. If writing is not your forte, pay a professional to help you out. A writer like me, for example, could re-work your copy so the message is powerful, or could also just research and write on your behalf. There are many ways to skin that cat!
5. Your content should have some emotional appeal to your reader. I’m not talking about making people cry. I’m talking about how you touch people through your writing. Are you helping them solve a problem? Are you making them excited to start something new or change something? Will they be happy that they read your blog? Consider why they would come to you and address that need in your content.
6. Make sure that most of your content is informative. Given that most people are looking for information online, the bulk of your content should be authority content. Try to educate your audience. Don't worry about giving away your secrets. Your talent cannot be fully replicated. I freely tell people how to create great content, but I have yet to find a business owner without marketing communications expertise who could do it as well as me. That’s why I don’t mind giving it away. I figure those who can afford it, will pay me to do it for them.
7. Make sure you convey a clear message. Recently, signs went up in the city where I live saying that a particular street was going on a road diet. What the heck is that supposed to mean? It could mean many things. After some investigation, I discovered they were adding bicycle lanes and reducing the driving lanes. Why couldn’t they just say they were adding bicycle lanes? Cutesy language is creative and fun, but it will obscure your message. Understand what your key messages are and speak plainly. Nobody ever gets confused by simple language.
8. No typos! I know it is hard to catch them all, but the more typos you have, the less likely people will be to read all of your post. If it’s a short post, like a meme, then they may even question your intelligence. Do your best to avoid typos.
9. Include a call to action. Even if your content is not exactly action content, you should at least direct people to contact you. You are in business, after all.
10. Speak to your unique selling proposition (USP). Don’t be afraid to let people know somewhere in your content what makes you different. It may be hard to convey in a meme, but certainly a lengthy post like this could provide you with the opportunity to tell people what you are all about.
Remember, selling isn't telling! Avoid using your content to spew out one way messages about your products or services. Approach your marketing with an attitude of service and you will gain plenty of wonderful customers.
Renée Cormier is no ordinary public relations & communications specialist. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. Renée brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work. Her passion for business and her natural talent for business strategy and marketing communications makes her an important resource for her clients. Need affordable help with your marketing communications or public relations? Contact me through my website: http://www.reneecormier.com/
Want to know more about how to maximize your content marketing efforts? Download my free e-booklet!
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