by Zoe Huden on January 29, 2013
One of the hardest parts of creating content, i.e. blog posts, eBooks, White Papers, etc. is coming up with a topic to write about – I know it’s the longest part of the process for me. Not only are you trying to come up with a topic that interests you (it has to interest you in some way or why would you write it?), but you also have to consider what your customers are looking for.
And so, the first question you want to ask yourself when creating content is: what purpose will this content that I’m creating, serve?
If you’re writing a blog post the odds are you are doing so because you want to drive traffic to your website, the more content you create the more likely it is that someone will be able to find you online.
If you’re creating an eBook or white paper that requires a download, you’re most likely creating that content as a lead-generation tool and so that content needs to be compelling enough for people to actually want to take the time to download it.
If you’re writing copy for a webpage you’re writing to provide visitors with information as well as to make it as easy as possible for search engines to recognize your content.
Once you figure out what the purpose of the content is, you can begin to start developing it. Here are 5 tips for creating content your customers want:
Content is important, however if your customers are unable to locate your content online it’s useless. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO can be done after content is created, but you can also create content with SEO in mind from the beginning. By using the target keywords you want your site to be found for online as inspiration for your blog posts, you will automatically be optimizing your content as you’ll be writing content that will require you to use those target keywords.
Keep track of all of the questions you receive from customers and readers. These questions are valuable because they are telling you exactly what your customers/ readers want to know, and give you insight into the types of content they’re searching for online. If people aren’t asking you questions yet, check out some online forums, like Quora, to see what questions are being asked about your industry.
Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry and use news and events to create content that will keep your community informed. For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, and you hear about a new Google or AdWords update, you’ll want to keep your readers informed about what’s happening in your space.
You’re not the only one creating content online, not only can content elsewhere online help you come up with content ideas, but you can use content you find elsewhere online and respond to it. For example if someone releases an opinion piece about the new Facebook Graph Search that you don’t necessarily agree with, you can respond to that piece in your own content.
All content needs to be providing SOME value; otherwise why would anyone read it? Lots of people have asked me, “If people can find this content elsewhere online, what’s the point of me writing about it?” Well the point is that, while people may be able to find this information elsewhere online, you want people coming TO YOU to find it. Own your space, become a resource for information and establish yourself as an expert. EARN your readers’ trust. You’ll find that more people will want to do business with you when they feel like you know what you’re talking about.
Blog posts are different from other types of online content in that they can be more informal and should be designed to be easy-to-consume for readers (meaning the format of the blog posts, use of subsection titles, links, and white space). eBooks and white papers are great for pieces of content that are longer and provide tons of valuable information and resources. Remember, blog posts can be reused to create other content (like eBooks and White Papers) for your site as well.
Now that you have a few ideas of where to start, get started!