Writing your own web copy or venturing into the world of content marketing for the first time? Don’t be afraid — online content isn’t that scary ?
In fact, effective online content could be one of the most lucrative investments you’ll ever make as a business. Why?
Not only will effective content massively improve your search engine optimisation and rankings, but it can also be a great way to convert leads, build relationships with influencers and generate new organic customers online.
Your web copy and online content say a lot about you as a brand, and bad copy is an instant turnoff. (If you are writing copy for your own website right now — be sure to check out our other blog post all about on-page SEO).
Here are six tried and tested tips to help you maximise content creation — these six tactics will help you maximise content ROI and get more out of the process itself.
Get to know your audience
The number one content mistake is writing content that doesn’t interest anyone. It sounds obvious, but you have to start with defining your online audience and matching search intent of your potential customers. Creating content to keep senior management happy, or to prove to yourself that you can blog, is NOT a good strategy, and won’t yield the desired online results. Instead, try the following…
- Creating content buyer personas is a great place to start — this will help you clearly define who you are writing for, and why. Try to include all the different potential interested parties and industries you cater for, and be mindful that one organisation is likely to have many different buyer personas.
- Testing the waters with a new online content style and direction can be a great way to find out whether your audience are ready to see your more adventurous side. Playing it safe and being too formal and corporate doesn’t usually excite anyone, but if you want to go a bit left-field, you need to understand your audience. For example, before jumping into writing, you need to ask questions such as – Can we use ’emojis’? Shall we use sarcasm?
- Email marketing is a brilliant platform for having conversations with your audience (as is social media) — use surveys and questionnaires to help build a better sense of who is following, and reading, your online content.
Minimise distractions & make it important
Trying to write your latest blog post while other stuff is going on is a huge challenge for businesses of all sizes. Organisations often struggle to carve out the right mental landscape for content creation, lagging behind and letting campaigns stall and blogs die a silent content death. Don’t get caught making the same mistake!
- Create a content writing schedule, and stick to it. It can be really helpful to allocate a few hours a week to content creation, keeping your calendar clear of meetings and phone calls. A productivity technique like Pomodoro is perfectly suited to more intellectually challenging tasks such as writing.
- WordPress has a distraction-free writing mode — use it if your website is based on the platform! Don’t be tempted to check social media when writing – it’s only a downward spiral to getting zero words written.
- Realise that content creation is very important — it does impact your bottom line and will help build up your company’s digital asset. Just by acknowledging that something is important, you will devote more time to it. Investing in content should be seen as ‘paying forward‘ for leads and customers in the future.
Collective efforts beat solitary ones
The best content is content that features expertise: don’t rely on your own imagination when you’ve got a whole wealth of information out there. Go out and start interviewing interesting people, mine your own team for content ideas, collate research data, and ask your online audience for ideas.
Online content is community-led, so why not let the community help you write it too?
- Interview team members: everyone is an expert in their field, so you don’t have to hang your hopes on getting some quality time with the MD. There are loads of interesting stories lurking in your company — go and seek them out.
- Speak to customers and spend time listening to them. Are they saying the same things about your product or service? Do they all struggle with something in particular? Use this knowledge to your advantage and create content that is likely to serve their interests.
Repurpose & recycle to make the most of your time
Instead of investing time and money into five content projects, how about using one single project as a central spoke for dozens of content offshoots? Read more about the hub and spoke model here. Make the most of the time that’s been given to you, and embrace the principle of content recycling.
- Find your best performing content and update it for this year. You might want to add a few more examples or increase its length — just make it better than it was before.
- Think about how you can break blog posts down further, or expand them out into series. Tweets can become roundup posts, videos can become clips — it’s all about repurposing content within your organisation and making a little go a long way.
- Rounding up information and collating readily available resources for your audience is a great way to ‘cheat’ at content creation. In no time at all, you can create expert-level, engaging content! Use content curation tools such as Scoop to help you make discovering new and relevant content super easy.
Don’t always reach for the obvious
Comic strips for an accountant, online video for the HR manager — dare to be different in the game of online content. If you always reach instinctively for the same old formulaic email template or the same old list of blog ideas, you aren’t really innovating for your brand.
- Being more visual is a great way to change up a text-heavy content strategy — consider how digital illustration (readily available on Upwork) or video could replace some of your text content.
- Balance out innovative content with more functional web copy like user guides — you don’t want to go the other way and stop creating content that’s actually useful.
Think about your content’s commercial value
Content now lies at the heart of many businesses — from e-commerce brands to software service providers.
Start thinking about your content from a more strategic angle and embrace its role at the centre of your business. Balance content investment with potential commercial returns, and get to know the value of good copywriting.
- Approach content creation like any other business activity: it’s something that can be measured, improved, and tested. Get to know content metrics and KPIs in order to track your brand’s potential.
- Hire a content team, consultant, or agency if you feel the need to take your content operations to the next level. There does come a time when doing it all yourself becomes impractical.
- E-commerce sales are almost completely reliant on effective online content. You can create a store in a matter of days, but effective content can take months to perfect. Don’t underestimate the power of time and maturity when it comes to content creation — start thinking about content WAY before you think about making that first sale!
Ready, Steady, Write!
Writing doesn’t always come easy for business leaders, so make the most of your allocated content creation time. You’ve also got to admit to yourself when it’s eventually time to outsource — you could save yourself a lot of money and stress in the long-run.
If you are struggling to find the time to curate awesome content, why not contact our expert digital marketing team here at Marketing Labs to find out how we can help your business.