When creating content for your online products, services, and marketing materials it can be easy to become stale, boring, and out of touch with your audience – to the point that they can no longer relate to you. If you keep in mind first your audience and then your goals, you will be able to overcome these common problems.
Tell Your Story
Starting from your customer’s perspective, tell your story with them in mind. You can speak to them from the voice of a customer yourself. After all, why did you create the products or services that you did? Did you do it because you needed them yourself? How did you discover the need for your product or service? Why you? Stay in the perspective of the customer during the story and they will relate to your offerings better.
Don’t Be Pretentious
Instead of using jargon and “corporate” speak, talk to your audience members as if they’re your equals and you’ll become more human to them. It will also give you a chance to show your personality to them. While you do want to be a thought leader and a teacher, you don’t want to appear as a know-it-all and boring.
Seek to Be Relevant
Stay up-to-date on your industry so that you can remain relevant. Don’t stick to the old ways of doing things long after it’s not being done any longer. Pay attention to what’s coming down the pike and you’ll always stay on top of your niche and be relevant to your audience.
Use Plain Language
Speak to your audience as if you’re talking to a good friend. Write how you talk. No need to use bigger words than you would normally use. If it helps, get some voice to text software and talk your blog posts and content. You can also try doing vlogs if it helps you avoid using language that is unnatural to you.
Focus on Your Audience
No matter what you are writing, blogging, vlogging, and doing, it’s always supposed to be about your audience. They need to know what’s in it for them, and to keep the focus on them over yourself. Instead of seeking to glamorize yourself and put yourself above them, put them on a pedestal and make it all about them at all times.
Make Each Word Count
Once you finish writing a piece of content, edit it for extraneous words. Pare it down so that your writing is concise and to the point. Try writing shorter sentences instead of long-winded sentences. In addition, don’t make paragraphs too long and keep each blog post to one narrow focus.
Keep One Voice across Channels
Regardless of which channel you’re promoting your content on, it’s important that you know what your voice is. The tone, voice, and feeling of what you put out to the world should feel the same whether they read it on your blog or read it on LinkedIn.
Include Appropriate Imagery
With any content, you can get your point across easier if you use images. Sometimes a concept is just easier to express with an image and other times the image just helps set the mood and tone for the entire post.
You can incorporate more humanity, humor and personality into your content by remembering who your audience is and who you are. Seek to be yourself, while also delivering great content to your audience.
Your website should provide information to your ideal audience in order to attract them to your offerings. But, it should also, without anyone ever having to make a purchase, offer some kind of value to the visitors. The great thing about focusing on value for your website is that you’ll end up with a better, more attractive website.
Make an Excellent Contact Page
Many people overlook the contact page as a way to provide value and make an impact. Due to that, the better you can make your contact page, the more people will trust you and want to do business with you. You can turn your contact page into a very important part of your conversion funnel by mentioning your value, giving a guaranteed response time, and then following through.
Be More Creative with Submit Buttons
The truth is having a button that says “submit” doesn’t actually convert that well. Having a button that says what the customers get when they click it will. Tell them what the benefits are right on the button. This means that in some ways you have real copy on the button. You may want to get help with writing it to ensure that it truly captures your audience’s attention and provides value.
Make Your Free Offers Awesome
Many people put together free offers to their audience without much thought to the value of what they’re offering. You must offer something of real value to them so that they think to themselves, “if this is free and this awesome, imagine how terrific their paid offerings are”. This is something that you can work on to ensure that everything you offer is up to par for your audience.
Low Prices Doesn’t Mean Value
When you set up your pricing, it can be tempting to offer your products and services at a low price because you want them to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. But, this can often backfire. People will perceive the value as lower when the price is lower. So instead, offer value-based pricing that prices any offering based on the benefits of the offering, not on the services you have to perform.
When you increase engagement on your website, the perceived value will automatically go up. Not only that, the more engagement on your website, the more likely people are to become repeat visitors. Those repeat visitors will help you promote your website and offerings due to their participation.
Understand What Your Visitors Want
Make an avatar or persona of your ideal website visitor or customer. Then, write all content, create all graphics, make all offerings appeal to that ideal customer. The more you write to, create for, and consider your ideal customer, the more valuable your offerings will become to them.
Keep the Information Flowing
People like going to websites where the information is in a continuous flow. The more blog posts and the more information you can provide that are relevant, the better. You do want to avoid updating for the sake of updating. But you want to update as often as possible with smart, relevant, creative and appropriate information.
Ask yourself before adding anything to your website, “How does this add value to my customer’s life?” If you can’t answer that, don’t include it.
Improving your page load speed can increase conversions and drastically improve the user’s experience using your website. Thankfully, there are some very simple things that you can do to improve your page load speed.
The More You Have on a Page the Longer It Takes to Render
These are called HTTP requests, and they bring in the components of all the things on the page – from images to style sheets and everything that makes your website look as it does. But there are ways to minimize the HTTP requests so that it doesn’t make it take longer. Even a few seconds of improvement will mean higher conversions.
Use the Information on Google’s Webmaster
Google Webmaster gives you all sorts of tools to use, including something called Page Speed Tools. This allows you to analyze the speed of your website, as well as gives you suggestions of what to do to fix it. You can also use Chrome to install various extensions that help you keep your site running fast.
Be Sure to Compress Where You Can
If you are creating very long, high quality pages, they are likely huge and require a lot to download to your visitor’s computer. When you can reduce the size of the pages, which also lowers the HTTP response, you can get the pages to load faster. There are many tools that you can use to help you compress pages, for example GNU Gzip which is open source software. However, if you’re not experienced you need to ask your web host to ensure that your server has the right settings.
Link to Gzip – http://www.gnu.org/software/gzip/
Ensure Browser Caching
If you don’t know what that is, it’s the way that a browser downloads parts of the website on the user’s computer into their temporary storage when you call up the website more than one time. This will make the page load faster each time they visit your website. It’s an important way to speed up a page.
Format Images Properly
On websites, the best form for an image is JPEG, which will load the fastest. Next is PNG, and finally do not use GIFs unless you must for animated gifts. Never use BMPs or TIFFs as they will not work correctly. You can change the type of image you have by using free open source software such as GIMP’s photo editing software that is a lot like Photoshop, but free.
Link to GIMP – http://www.gimp.org/
Optimize Your Style Sheets
It is thought to be better to use only one external CSS style sheet. Every additional style sheet will increase the slowness of your website. The more you can combine external CSS files, the better the speed of your website will be. If you’re not sure about how to do these things, you may need to seek out an expert.
Reduce the Number of Redirects on Your Website
Many people use redirects for affiliate programs and other reasons to make the link look prettier or to hide the affiliate link code. However, while these are great uses for redirections, try to keep them to a minimum. Redirects take more time to send the code to the user and will slow page speed.
Most people expect pages to load super-fast, so you want to do all you can to maximize the speed at which the page loads – especially if you’re hoping they will purchase the item you’re promoting.
Use Fewer Plugins
Many people use website builders like self-hosted WordPress to build their websites. These builders have little applications called “plugins” that expand the functionality of the website. These are great, but it’s important that you find or purchase themes with as much of the functionality already available as possible and use fewer plugins to accomplish what you need for your website.
Page speed is a very important part of your web design if you want to keep people on your website long enough to make a purchase. If the site loads even seconds slower than they desire, they’ll click away and not buy.
They say that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The same can be said for those who enter into content marketing without having a clear plan of action to follow. Knowing what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and when to do it is an essential component of any successful content marketing strategy.
By documenting what needs to be done and how you’re going to do it, you’ll be more likely to follow through. Plus, you’ll be better able to tell what is working and what isn’t working, as well as understand better how much you should invest in your content marketing plan based upon the value that you’ll receive from it. Without documentation, you’re just shooting in the dark.
Many areas are covered in a documented content marketing strategy, such as:
* Develop audience personas
* Flesh out your content plan
* Advance the story of your brand
* Decide which channels you’ll use to push out your content
Your content marketing plan can be as in depth as you need it to be. Exactly how much you document will depend on how many others you need to bring in on the plan and who you need to convince to invest in the plan. The more people involved, the more documentation you will need to explain and convince others to take part, as well as to keep a team on task working toward the goals you’ve chosen.
Your content marketing strategy should answer who, what, when, why and how of your entire strategy. With a documented strategy you’ll be able to track your progress, determine what is working or not working, justify the expenditures and define the value of your content marketing strategy to the business. In addition, you’ll have a mapped-out plan to follow to ensure that you reach success.
Your content marketing strategy should answer:
* What you hope to accomplish with content marketing
* Who your audience is and how large your audience is
* The content marketing channels you plan to use
* How you define your value
* Answer which strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats exist in the market
Then you need to match these answers with the sales cycle of the business you’re creating the content marketing strategy for. You’ll need to know what to say, when you should say it, and in what form you’ll say it, as well as what channel you’ll say it on. It helps to define the sales process before you develop your content marketing plan.
This process will enable you to turn leads into prospects and prospects into buyers. Using your product funnel and your audience personas, you can then flesh out the content you need for each phase of the sales cycle. Using the sales funnel with knowledge of the buying cycle of your audience as a starting place for creating your documented content strategy makes good sense, because you’ll be able to see right away where you are lacking.
If you can match up these aspects of content marketing with the why of your business, you’ll skyrocket your success in a way that you didn’t think possible.
Knowing how to scale content, or get the most out of your content, is an important idea that all small business owners need to understand. There is only so much time in the day, and only so much information that can be out there at any one time. If you don’t learn how to scale the content that you spend a lot of time, money and resources on, you’ll come up short.
Curate Compelling Content
Researching and finding content that your audience will find valuable outside of your own content is an important component of becoming a thought leader and getting your name into the discussion. Plan in advance to find the right content that relates to the information that you’ve created for the day, week or month. Share your thoughts on the content that you share, and link to the original source.
Use a Lot of Original Content
It is important to use at least as much original content as you do curated content. To craft content that speaks to your audience you need to always research your audience. Remember that while an audience may not change, e.g. “Housewives with children under 2 who stay at home,” their ideas change through the generations. You wouldn’t create content for the wife and mother who stays home with her young children today that has any relationship to content that you may have created back in 1960.
Craft Engaging Social Media Content
Remember that each social network has its own personality and values. You need to make sure the content you share on the social media matches this personality. You can edit and change it to make it fit. Share older evergreen content when it relates to a discussion on social media as an answer. Also, don’t be afraid to share everything more than once on the same social media. The people who are online right now may not be online later.
Repurpose Your Content Well
When you repurpose content, do not copy and paste into new formats. Truly change the personality of the content by using it as research and making it practically new for the different format. You don’t want it to look cookie cutter; you want it to look and feel new. All content should be housed on your website, so by making it new you avoid issues of duplicate content, and maintain the originality of the piece. Cross-link to all your content as needed to tie it in.
Tell Your Story
The best way to improve brand awareness is to find ways to tell your story. You’ll generate more leads and make more conversions by getting close to your audience, and letting them get to know who you are, why you are who you are, and what you stand for. Craft a compelling story that puts your audience front and center.
Plan in Advance
You know the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When it comes to content, nothing could be truer. You need to decide how much content you want to create, what formats the content will take, and how much curated content you want to add. In addition, you need to put it all in writing in the form of a publication calendar so that you can visually see how it all ties in with your product funnel.
Whether it’s curated content, content you’ve created in its original form, or repurposed content, it’s important to share it all. Promotion is at the heart of your success. Promote via social media, pay per click, email marketing and affiliates. The more ways you can find to promote the content that you want your audience to see, the better conversions you’ll see.
All of this seems like a lot of work, and it is. But, you can do it by getting help. You can outsource to individuals and manage everything yourself, or you can hire a company or a content manager or content strategist to help you with the process. You can be as hands on or off as you want as long as the content that is created and promoted fits your brand.
Your audience wants a continuous flow of information, and they want it in different forms and from different resources. You can offer them the best of all worlds by giving them the content you believe is valuable that other people create, and by providing them with your original content in many different forms for their use. Putting all that together in a cohesive form needs to be planned in advance to make it work seamlessly.