In his book, The Dip, Seth Godin identifies the benefits of being “the best.” Vanilla has 3-4X the sales as the next most popular ice cream flavor. The #1 movie of the weekend routinely makes 4-5X what the second-best movie makes. The same is true for content creation.
The top 5 results in Google get almost 70% of all clicks, and the number one result gets the highest amount with 31% of all clicks. Content that truly differentiates itself and provides real value to its target audience can rise above the noise and really move the needle for your business.
In reality, it’s the only kind of content creation that can.
There’s no denying that content marketing is in an engagement crisis. While the output of content per brand increased 35% per channel last year, content engagement decreased by 17%.
With an increased focus on delivering more content, the quality of that content has decreased. Marketers are settling for “pretty good” more and more. Unfortunately, the “pretty good” content gets lost on pages 2 through infinity in the search results. Despite the time and money invested in them, they don’t end up producing any real results for your business.
By investing a little extra time and/or money, you can work towards creating “the best” piece of content on a given subject or for a given niche. This is the content that will produce real results.
There are three rules that every content marketer should remember when generating content:
- Think about the needs of your customers and not the needs of your business.
- Match your content with your audience and your brand’s goals.
- Don’t just demonstrate thought leadership. Leverage the areas where you and your writers are truly leaders in your industry.
Sources of Engaging Content
Those three ideas are great to get you into the mindset for creating top-tier content, but they still don’t tell you how. Positioning your content community to create engaging, high-performing content needs to be done at an organizational, strategic level before you can drill down and make each piece of content exceptional. Here are some ways you can enable your company to create the best content possible:
- Crowdsource Content Creation Ideation. If there’s constantly one person providing ideas for your brand’s blog, your content will, without a doubt, become boring. There’s only so much creativity that one person can consistently produce. By leveraging a content community of writers, numerous ideas can be heard from all team members, and new perspectives can be brought to the table.
- Leverage Expert Writers. The difference between a good writer and a writer who is an expert in your industry is abundantly clear. While any decent writer should be able to cobble together a few sources and produce a serviceable piece of content for your business – it isn’t going to truly engage with the industry professionals reading it. By leveraging subject matter experts, either inside your organization or through a network of freelance writers, you can ensure your content is not just technically accurate but contributes new ideas to the industry.
- Monitor the social sphere. I’m sure you’ve heard this numerous times, but the best way to learn what your audience wants to hear about is on social media. Listen to your audience and what they’re talking about. What interests them? What’s difficult for them? What do they wish existed?
- Track and analyze your marketing statistics. Not only can tracking social media trends help your business but so can your brand’s own marketing reports. These reports can show you which articles are being clicked through the most and on which outlets. Additionally, these click-throughs can more accurately tell your marketing team which topics intrigue your audience and entice them to read and share your content. Provide your team with a better view of which topics they should be covering in future assignments.
- Keep your content competitive. It’s incredibly useful for your content team to track what your competitors are publishing. What’s on their blog? Have they launched any new whitepapers or webinars?
Monitoring the news, social media, your competition, and involving numerous individuals in your brand’s content marketing strategy are all crucial factors in coming up with fresh ideas and putting them in the hands of writers that can execute those ideas. But as you know, an idea isn’t enough.
Guidelines for Engaging Content
Calculus textbooks have some really important ideas and are highly educational but painfully boring. Students read them because they have to. The same cannot be said of your company blog. While it should be educational – it cannot be boring – because no one has to read it.
To ensure that your company blog doesn’t become the online equivalent of a textbook, here are a few guidelines to provide your content community of writers to ensure they keep your content as entertaining as it is educational.
- Keep it short and sweet: Short paragraphs. Short sentences. Short words. Short everything (most of the time). Depending on the medium, the overall length of your content may be very long, but by breaking its pieces up into short, digestible words and sections, it becomes much easier to consume.
- Keep it casual and conversational: Use plain English and your own voice to avoid sounding cold and formulaic. No need to sound like a salesman or a scholar, regardless of the audience. Write like you are talking to a friend, and you will grab your reader’s attention and retain them much more easily.
- Form an opinion: If your content doesn’t have an opinion, is it really saying anything at all? If you can state your opinion, it will make your content that much more unique. And remember, the only thing worse than a very opinionated person is a wishy-washy one… in my opinion.
- Metaphors: Metaphors in a blog are like the croutons in your salad. Some people choose to do without them, but they add a different element to the whole meal and give it just a little more substance.
- Break your writing into headlined sections: Since people are usually looking for a brief review and not an in-depth analysis on the subject, headline the main points you want to make in your post. That way, when people land on your page, they can scan the headlines, decide if it’s relevant, and continue reading further if necessary.
- Use Keywords and Trigger Words: Boost your SEO by using keywords and trigger words that draw people in.
Final Thoughts on Content Creation
Content creation worthy of the top Google results doesn’t have to be boring. Learn how our content community of top-notch freelancers can help you achieve that goal. Contact our sales team today for more information!