Sometimes we watch movie “thrillers.” They are full of suspense and mystery. The same goes for books we may read, and we are thrilled, because that is the type of literature we love. We can also be thrilled when we attend a concert of a music group we love or find the perfect Christmas gift for someone. There is a commonality in all of these situations. We are satisfying an emotional need or getting a problem solved. The “world” of content marketing may not be akin to a movie thriller, but it should satisfy a need or solve a problem. And it should do it in such a way that the audience really likes what it reads or views – so much so that it acts upon it. How do you “thrill?” Here are some suggestions.
Know Your Audience
If you are shopping for a gift, you try to put yourself in the place of the recipient and ask what would he or she really like or need? If you get it right, your friend or relative is thrilled. The same goes for your content. Put yourself in the place of your audience:
- What are problems you can solve for them? If, for example, you have a clothing line for career women, maybe they need reasonably priced items that they can mix and match and need help doing that. You can write some great content about how to do that with just 5-6 items they purchase from you. And you enhance that, of course, with great photos of the outfits they can create.
- What is your audience’s sense of humor? Part of your content should be entertaining, but if you don’t know what entertains your demographic, then you can’t write thrilling humorous content.
- The same goes for inspiration – what inspires your demographic? Millennials and other young audiences, for example, are inspired by companies that have a sense of social responsibility. Other audiences may be inspired by great quotations with photos to match.
Choose Your Topics Wisely
The purpose of content is to educate, to entertain, or to inspire. The ultimate purpose, of course, is for your audience to be so thrilled with your content that they take action – they share it with their communities; they provide an email address to subscribe to your blog; they take you up on a free trial or a discount.
Picking topics for your content is a result of knowing your audience, of course, but it is also a matter of finding out what topics interest them the most, when you are not certain. To do this, you should engage in some detective work:
- Get on your competitors’ websites, blogs, and social media pages. What are they talking about and what topics are getting the most “play?” Read the comments of the followers, and use those for ideas.
- Use any number of tools that will give you topic ideas based upon keywords related to your niche.
- Use a site like Buzzsumo. You can type in some keywords and access blog posts that were the most popular. Access them and read. How can you write on that topic but make it better? (Additional tip: You can also type in your competitors’ URLs and generate a listing of the most popular content they have published).
- Ask your current customers/followers what they most want to know about. Use their needs to make topic choices.
And when you are just out of ideas? Don’t write. Wait until you have passed through that block. No content is better than bad content.
Generate Killer Headlines
No one will be interested in reading your content unless they are captured at the very beginning. Think back to a time when a headline caught your attention and made you want to read the article. It probably had one of several features:
- It was intriguing – you definitely wanted to know what the heck the writer was going to say.
- It asked a question you wanted to know the answer to.
- It blew you away with some startling fact
- It hinted that you were about to read something really inspirational or humorous.
- It was promising a great “how to,” and you wanted to know “how.”
Upworthy, an online news/human interest enterprise has some of the best headlines in the business. It has accumulated over a million followers in the four years of its existence, and, according to the writers/editors, they spend as much time generating a headline as they do on the content of the post itself.
The other important thing Upworthy does is work to ensure that its content is found. If no one finds it, it doesn’t matter how good it is. One of their SEO techniques is to make certain that the right keyword/keyword phrase is in each title. They understand the 67% of content is found via organic search.
If you have difficulty with titles that will both grab immediate attention and improve your SEO rankings, then you need to get some professional assistance.
Have Fun with Your Audience
Content is created to build relationships with your audience. Of course, you do that when you solve their problems and educate them. But total seriousness will not build a solid and lasting relationship. Think about how you communicate with your friends. You are serious some of the time; you joke and laugh at others; you sometimes cry together. Relationships are built through emotional bonding. If you want a great example of a company that has fun while it explains its value to its audience, access the Dollar Shave Club site and view the explainer video on its landing page. It is hilarious and yet at the same time explains its value to the viewer.
Feature Your Customers, Your Team and Your Activities
Everyone loves stories and you have many to tell. Soliciting content from your customers is a great way to get “social proof” and show that you care about the people you do business with. The same goes for your team. They are all individuals with life and work events that make them unique and special.
If you have a special cause you support, you have stories to tell. If your company has sponsored an event or participated in a charitable activity, get a great video and post it. Millennials especially love to see a business being socially responsible, and they are a huge purchasing demographic. They want to do business with companies that work to improve societal conditions in some way.
Use Visuals as Much as Possible
Even the most creative writing can be cumbersome for today’s consumer to read. They are busy and want their content quickly. Anytime you can use photos, infographics, videos, etc., they will be much more inclined to open and have a look.
Hold Contests and Have Giveaways
Everyone loves the sense of getting something for nothing. Think of it this way. When you are driving to work in the morning with the radio on, how many times are you asked to participate in some type of contest and be the “20th caller” with the right answer? You can do the same. ModCloth, a women’s clothier, will purchase an item for sale, show a photo and asks its followers to “name the item.” The winner gets the item free. Participation is huge.
Inspiration Gets Shared
One of the most shared types of Facebook posts are those that are inspiring. Think about it. When you go through your feed, you stop at those stories and videos that show dogs being rescued and transformed, of handicapped kids and people overcoming the odds and doing amazing things, of couples who pay off a mountain of debt in a short time, or of everyday people doing random acts of kindness. A recent one that went viral was that of police officers stopping drivers and then handing them money for Christmas. We love to be inspired by others’ triumphs, and we want all of our friends to have those same “feel good” moments. So, we share.
Find ways to put inspiration into your content every once in awhile.
There are More
These are just 8 ways to thrill people with your content. You will find additional tactics as you become more knowledgeable about your audience/customers and you gain more experience writing just for them. It really is all about relationships, and your content should be a gift that lets them know you value that relationship.