Best Practices for Curating, Creating and Circulating Your Content
Your website is the central arena to market your business online. The content created on your website, especially within your blog has become the best way to market your business within the online ecosystem.
If you want to increase traffic to your website, you are going to need good content.
If you want to boost awareness of your brand, you'll need some quality content.
If it is more leads or customer loyalty and trust you are looking for - guess what? CONTENT.
However, with an estimated 150M blogs out there on the internet, trying to stand out can feel a bit like you are the needle, the web is the haystack, and your potential customer is somewhere on the farm trying to get to you.
Then there is the thought of:
- Generating fresh ideas
- Curating a backlog of content ready to be written about
- Actually writing high quality articles and blogs
- Which tactics to use to get your content noticed
If you are a small- or medium-sized business with a need to wrap your head around creating content for business, then read on.
GENERATING CONTENT FOR YOUR BLOG
As a small business owner, you know about your product or service. It’s why you started your business in the first place.
Since you have so much knowledge, why not write about it?
The first rule in blog writing is to write what you know about.
You are comfortable with the subject matter surrounding your product. You know pretty much everything there is to know about it from manufacturing, to shipping, to warehousing to the sales process.
All of these product characteristics make great content for blogs.
The same holds true is you are offering a service.
The main idea with generating content is to know who you are writing to and to solve their problem with your articles.
So how do you go about getting all this great content?
8 TRIED AND TRUE METHODS FOR CREATING THE CONTENT YOUR AUDIENCE WANTS
Read the articles and blogs of industry peers and experts - There are probably some in your inbox right now. There are plenty more out on the internet or in the circles you have created online.
Create a Monthly Feature - Tara Alemany, an expert writer for Business to Community reveals that creating a weekly or monthly feature is a great way in inspire content, as well as anticipation from your readers. Focus on what you know, create a Product Preview Monday that highlights a specific aspect of your product or service and keep it up. It might take some time, but you could be surprised at how readers come to anticipate the information you are providing.
Strike Up a Conversation - Use sites like LinkedIn or Quora to ask questions about topics you are thinking about writing on. These tools will allow to you perform research, ask industry experts or just take a poll on just about any topic. They are also invaluable for inspiring your writing ideas and answering questions your readers want to know.
Subscribe to Lists - Alemany also suggests adding lists to your Twitter or Facebook feed. These lists contain the posts of industry trendsetters and can generate topic ideas based on the keywords you choose.
Use the Visuals that Others Have Posted - Infographics, slideshares and other types of visuals are are highly shareable and with permission or proper attribution can be retrofitted to fit your blog. Just add a new introduction with your own thoughts about how it fits your reader and you’ve got a new blog. Readers love graphics of any kind.
Blog Smorgasbord - While you are reading the blog posts and infographics from other sites, make a note of which ones really stand out to you. Every month or so, put out an article on the Top 10 (or so) Blog Posts relating to your industry. You can also use infographics or blogs with lots of statistics to further segment the types of posts you are highlighting.
Curation Station - Keep a file of your favorite articles and posts. A good way to organize the file is by topic. When you have enough information and inspiration to write something new, pull out the file, pick your stories and begin writing.
Still having trouble figuring out what to write about? - Here is the Ultimate Guide to Content Guides that evaluates the latest content eBooks, articles and blogs out there.
Finding interesting material to write and post about isn’t really that hard, it just takes a little research and organization.
Now that you have an idea of what to write about, how are you going to make it STAND OUT?
4 KILLER WAYS TO CREATE CONTENT THAT STANDS OUT
Aside from just regurgitating old content with a few words of your own, how can you develop quality content that your readers need?
Solve Your Reader’s Problem - First and foremost in blog writing, you have a product to sell that is going to solve your customer’s problem. Make sure you answer reader questions and speak to their pain-points. Blogs that begin with a headline like “How to…” are a great attraction nearly every time. In fact, most of your blog posts should be answers to your readers’ problems.
Disrupt and Distract - Every once in a while, it is good to throw a curve ball at your potential customers. Pick a topic that is a bit controversial, that you know a bit about and write a blog about it. You would be amazed at the engagement and shares you might get.
Develop Top 10 Lists - Your list can have any number of bullet points in it. For some reason, a “number” and one or two galvanizing words in the headline makes the list a go-to for many blog writers. Listing between 5 and 15 points works best. Make sure the list reads logically (for example - from most to least, or step-by-step). If you have a top numbered list, then ensure that your bullets have numbers – just like the list title.
Diversify - There is more than one way to create content. The blog isn’t the only way to get your product information and your industry knowledge out there. Although the blog is the main way that you communicate and engage with your audience, there are other ways as well.
CONTENT DISTRIBUTION TACTICS THAT PERFORM
Standing out in the veritable bull rush of blog content available to your reader is imperative to the success of your website.
When you have your content ideas as well as different ways to write it, then consider the many ways you can leverage your blog to get more readership.
Here are some of the most popular content distribution ideas to circulate your fabulous content:
No, it doesn’t have to be as long as a novel, or even a short story. In fact, your eBook can even be visually based. An eBook is a great marketing tool for providing your website visitors with the interesting and question answering information they crave. Get more email list subscribers as your offer your new eBook as an incentive for signing up.
Make sure your eBook:
- Provides value to the reader
- Is visually stunning – farm it out if you have to
- Is easily digestible information; with short sentences, bullet points, stats and quotes
Here is an example of a great eBook:
The video remains the number one best way to engage and attract your audience. In an article recently written by Sarah Quinn for Business to Community, she stated that “a one minute video is worth 1.8 billion words.”
Videos are easy to remember.
Wondering what type of video to create for your business?
A short explanation of your product or service is a good way to start.
It can be animated, or recorded on your computer screen with music and good stock photography.
Keep your audience and the problems that your product or service can solve for them in mind when creating your first video.
What a great way to get a point across quickly using a well-designed picture that tells a story.
Use statistics and numbers, as well research you have done in order to make sure your infographic utilizes the latest information available.
Also, invite people to share your infographic.
There are plenty of great infographics out there to draw inspiration from.
Buzzsumo keeps tabs on the top infographics out there on a daily basis.
In addition, Canva is a great place to create your first infographic.
Here is an excellent infographic on the evolution of the logo. It is an interesting look at how companies have changed their branding strategies over the years as well as a look into how the top brands have changed as buyers have evolved over the decades.
Infographic by Ashley O'Connor
Get a SlideShare account and begin creating your own interesting and relevant content with this useful tool.
According to Quinn it is “actually the world’s largest content marketing platform”.
The site is easy to use. Readers can click through page by page, and you can easily upload documents, visuals and videos.
This popular method for distributing content can raise your brand awareness and create credibility for you as a leader in your industry.
Social Media Outlets
A listing of great distribution channels can’t go without mentioning the use of social media.
Social Media remains the perfect way to exhibit your brand, its personality and all of your content.
In addition, it is a perfect outlet for engaging with and getting to know your target audience.
Knowing which platform is best for your target audience is important, the types of content that the channel users prefer, as well as the best times to post are all important aspects to gaining some traction with your social media presence.
Sending an email to a reader to has signed up to receive it is still the most powerful marketing tool you have; these people want to hear from you.
Again, the content should be useful and include industry information and not just a sales pitch for your product or service.
When it comes to what information you put into your email you can include:
- Past Blogs
- Offers including eBooks or White Papers
- Invitations to Events You are Hosting
- Competitions like photo contests
In order to assemble your email list, make sure that you have a place for visitors to your website to sign up right on your homepage, as well as on other landing pages on your site.
Once you begin getting more and more subscribers to your email list, you can also begin segmenting your subscribers into lists like:
- Current Customers
- Potential Leads
- Qualified Leads
When it comes to distribution, your business has many ways to make sure your content is being seen and interacted with by your potential customer.
The content that you create and distribute for your website can be an exciting and valuable way to connect with potential customers, in addition to a fabulous way to increase your website's visibility.
Learning to generate the right kind of content, for the right buyer at the right time is a learning process that requires patience and lots of tenacity, in addition to a willingness to take a look at your results through data.
Also, making sure that you distribute your content across the best channels for your business is the best way to ensure that your brand is being seen by and engaged with in the most beneficial way possible.
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