This is a guest contribution from Kenneth Waldman.
Online marketing can be an impossible task without quality content. There is so much content online to start with, and social media algorithms are making that content harder and harder to see. The question we are all asking ourselves is how can we provide quality content in a quality way online? How can we create that content? What tools are there to help?
The process of building a marketing strategy can be complex, and involving various analytics. It will depend on what kind of strategy you have, whether you are a niche blogger or a full-blown entrepreneur, but the basic creed remains the same: there’s simply no point in starting without a solid foundation on which to build. Readers won’t stick around for crappy content. You want to build your audience, not push them away.
Getting Noticed Online
According to a NewsCred study, 62% of Millennials stated their brand loyalty is directly related to a brand’s online content. This is incredible news for marketers – your viewers are willing to build loyalty and trust. They are out there and within reach your reach. They are begging for some quality content, so why not give it to them?
Creating quality content can be difficult, though. You are writing for an audience that is constantly on the go and connected. Content needs to be clear, short and to the point. But it also needs to be informative, entertaining and eye-catching. In many cases it needs to be in-depth, lengthy, and full of facts and research. This can be an overwhelming and challenging process for even the best content marketer.
The Content Creation Formula for Successful Online Marketing
The good news is that technology has evolved along with the marketing industry. Help is here! There are now countless tools and resources that can aid you in building better content. Check out the rest if this guide for details, reviews and tips on how to succeed in marketing your own content.
Great content begins with a great idea.
The first step in creating engaging high-quality content is brainstorming ideas. This process begins by knowing and keeping track of your niche and target audience. What are thought leaders talking about in your niche? what’s happening in discussion forums? what are the hot topics being shared and discussed online? what type of information is your target market searching for?. Once you and your team have good insight into what is happening in your niche and with your target market you re ready to begin brainstorming content ideas.
Make a list of ideas that lend themselves to content pieces. There are several tools that can help you zero in on great content ideas:
- Google keyword planner that lets you research keywords and concepts related to your core ideas.
- Google Trends can help you identify current events, celebrities and cultural memes that are engaging world attention.
- Delicious is another tool that will help you find fresh ideas based on recent news that is being discussed on social media and the web. You can check out lots of interesting links from around the internet.
- Quora is a question and answer site that connect you to the intent of your target market by providing insight into your target audience’s pain points. You can review the most popular questions your target audience is asking and the types of information they are seeking.
Curate and Finalize Your Ideas
Go through your list and narrow it down to a just a few ideas you are sure will connect with your target audience and make for great reading. Ensure there is ample opportunity to focus in on your audience’s pain points and be really useful. From these ideas choose one idea to create your content piece. Save the others for future content articles.
Research Your Idea
Once you have your idea you need to research it to get the latest facts, and figures that support your point of view. Check out various information sources such as podcasts, news sites, forums, magazines, surveys, infographics and videos.
Choose Your Format
What format you use to deliver your content can be as important as the content itself.
Depending on who you are marketing to and the type of content you are creating, the format of your content will be different. The format’s success is also dependent upon your audience – so do some experimenting. Do they prefer video? Would a slideshow more accurately represent your point? Perhaps you could make yourself clearer via podcast rather than plain posts.
Some formats generate more leads than others so it is crucial you understand your target market and the types of formats that are most effective in generating those leads.
Types of Content formats that Work Best for lead generation:
- Blog posts and articles
- Enewsletters and online magazines
- Community forum
- Animated explainer videos
- Branded videos designed to engage your audience
- Mobile engagement tools
- Industry or consumer research reports
Define Your Structure
Create an outline or a content wireframe that lists all of the important points you want to cover in your content piece.
Once you have the list, arrange it in a way that provides the best journey from point to point. Add in your research facts and figures that support each point so you do not forget any crucial data as you create your content piece. Your structure will vary based on the type of format you are working with.
Finally: Create It!
Every piece of content must have a headline that grabs the attention of your target audience. The title must also be searchable and worthy of a click because that leads to viral sharing.
Quicksprout is a website that offers tips and advice on writing content and headlines. It provides links to several useful tools such as contentforest.com’s headline ideator to help you come up with headline ideas and the advanced marketing institute’s emotional headline analyzer that analyzes the emotional marketing value of your headline.
Once you have a great headline you can get down to fleshing out each idea or point you want to make in your article. Write with confidence and include key data points and real world examples. Make sure you cite your sources. That will add to the credibility of your article, and earn trust from your followers and readers.
When you create content you are creating valid arguments that support your position.
Editing and Proofreading
Once you complete the writing of your content you need to proofread it and edit it so that the grammar and spelling are accurate. There is nothing worse than trying to read an article with poor grammar and lots of spelling errors. That type of content has a habit of degrading the any trust or credibility you have built with your readers. You must also edit for flow and readability.
You should not begin proofing immediately after writing. Put it away for several hours or days. Once you have some distance, then you can begin the proofing process (unless you have a separate proofreader). It is often good to proofread in short blocks of time, and this is especially true if the content piece is long. It is difficult to concentrate fully for long periods of time.
When you proof, check for all of the following:
- Content: does the piece include everything in the outline or wireframe? Are your claims accurate and supported by key data?
- Does the content have the correct overall structure including an introduction, body and conclusion?
- Does every paragraph have a clear topic sentence?
- Does every paragraph address only one main idea?
- Check that every sentence is clear in its meaning
- Are the words you use easy to understand?
- Are important terms properly defined?
- Does the content piece have the appropriate tone for your audience?
- Is the piece written in an active voice?
- Are sentences short and easy to digest?
- Are all sources properly cited?
- Is the content grammatically correct
- Are there any spelling errors?
It is best not to totally rely on online grammar and spellcheckers, but they can be useful tools in helping to identify problems you may have missed or overlooked. Using a spellchecker, grammar service or writing service to proof your work can be helpful as well.
Writing great content starts with a great idea and it takes both time and effort. Thankfully, there are a plethora of tools on the market specifically designed to help create epic content that engages, educates and satisfies your target market making the job is easier than ever. With the formula given today, you are well on your way to successful online marketing.
Kenneth Waldman is a freelance writer and copy editor. You can get in touch with him on Linkedin.