The better the content, the better the story, the more provocative the message, the more successful your marketing and branding will be. But as we all know writing great content is not always as easy as it seems.
Especially, if you want to write authentic content with stories that are actually true, instead of lifted off of Wikipedia by some marketing “gurus” who know nothing about your industry and are simply writing content that will hold the right words for their SEO (sales engine optimization) efforts.
The best writing is genuine writing, and the best content is content that the customer wants to read because they feel they will get something valuable out of it. So, how do you create valuable content? How do you write, and publish content that your customers, and potential customers, will want to read today and look for more of in the future? Now that takes a certain amount of skill. That content has to be real, it has to be genuine and authentic, and it has to be informative, interesting, and most of all valuable enough to be worth the reader’s time.
Here are three steps to making sure that the content you write is always valuable enough to be read. Heck, not only read, but passed along by the reader to other readers.
First, you have to know your audience. Who is your customer/reader? What is she interested in? Why would she read this material? What is he going to get out of it? To make sure you get this right you have to create an ideal reader profile. You must know who your customers are and what they are interested in. If you are a customer-driven company, you should know this anyway. But if not…or just to be sure, study your customers, talk to them, ask them what they are interested in. This isn’t that hard actually because everyone is pretty much the same. They are focused on doing a good job and they will be interested in anything that will help them do that. If for example they are buying PC boards, they will be interested in content that talks about how to buy PCB’s. What to look out for when choosing a PCB vendor and how to save money when buying PCB’s. You can apply this same template to any other industry, or anything else for that matter. If a person’s hobby is model trains, he will want to read anything that pertains to his hobby of model trains. He will open any email that has terms related to model trains in the subject line. His “tribe” as they say, is people who love model trains. The same will apply to anything else from cars, to quilting to archery to the business the reader is in. So, no matter what you are selling, find the right customers, the right “tribes” and provide content that will be of interest and value to that tribe.
Which leads to the second guideline, which is why does the customer care about your content? This guideline digs a little deeper into your audiences likes and dislikes. Why is the customer interested in your particular content? Why will she read what you have written? This takes a little more study and specialization. In guideline one for example, we established that if the reader is a PCB buyer she is going to be interested in all content about PCBs. Now, if she happens to be an engineer, she is going to be much more interested in technology, than in how to save money buying PCBs. If he is a Quality Manager, then he is going to be more interested in any content talking about Quality and specs. To specialize even deeper you can customize your content based on the market your customers are selling to. In a sense how to make them better and more attractive to their customers.
And finally, try to establish exactly what would elate your customers. You have created the ideal customer/reader profile, you have established what they would find valuable, you have specifically focused on their exact informational needs. So now dig in deeper and find out what would make them especially excited about your content. What will make them look forward anxiously, to reading your content every time they see it. Or better yet make them start looking for your content. There are couple of ways of doing this. One is by gaining a complete understanding of your customers’ hot buttons: What gets them excited? What turns them on? What information will they go out of their way to read? Another way is to keep track of your writing, and develop measurements of how many people read your content based on the subject matter. What topics get the most readership? By knowing this, you will go a long way towards always delivering the best content possible.
But wait there’s more. One more thing. Increase your content readership by re-purposing your content. If you are writing a column for a publication such as I-Connect, then (with their permission) re-publish it in your own newsletter (after the publication publishes it of course). Then tweet about the column with a link for additional readers to be able to not only see it, but re-tweet it to others as well. And then you can also break the original writing down into blog sized bites so that even more people will see it. You
can also post the same content on your LinkedIn page and your Facebook page. Talk about getting a great bang for your buck! Remember great content is a terrible thing to waste use it, so re-purpose it as much as possible.
It’s only common sense.
this column originally appeared on pcb.iConnect007.com