The most successful organizations have spent 40% of their marketing budget on content in 2017.
And they were right in doing so.
Content helps you gain better exposure to prospective clients, make a name for your brand, as well as provides your audience with tangible proof that you’re an expert capable of solving their problems.
Once you understand why content is an effective business tool, all you need to do is ensure your own content is useful and effective enough to engage the right audience.
And here’s how you can do that.
Write for your audience, not for Google
Being positioned on the first page of Google because you’ve pleased the right algorithms is great - but, you’ll also want to please the target audience that clicks on your links, by making sure the links lead to quality content.
Quality content is original and puts an attractive spin to a well-known topic, in order to retain the audience’s attention. It’s informative, in order to educate and answer all the important questions positioned by the topic. It’s verifiable, by being backed up by in-depth research and statistics that give merit to your claims. It includes examples, that help the audience better understand and relate to what you’re saying.
Consider what drives and motivates your target audience - and then choose the topics that feed this drive and motivation. If your small business sells homemade lavender soaps, your target audience is most likely interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, or in the benefits of lavender - so you should write about that.
Consider the type of content
The most popular forms of content include How-to guides, list articles, white papers, but also eBooks, Instagram videos, and short tweets.
So, written, audio and visual content are all viable options.
Writing posts for your blog with backlinks is a relatively easy way to get more exposure. Writing guests posts for other websites that attracts your target audience, with links that lead back to your websites, is another.
You should always spice up your written content with the right visuals - screenshots, images, infographics are all great ways to keep your audience interested throughout the text.
YouTube videos and short vlogs are great to reach a larger audience - when looking for a solution, people are more likely to watch an effective 3-minute video, then spend the same amount of time reading an article.
Audio content is much less common - though, depending on your field, you should consider writing and setting up a podcast that people could listen to during commutes.
Whatever you choose, make sure to include a call to action that’s enough to inspire your target audience to convert to users of your service.
Consider the content’s length
When it comes to the mystery of the best content length - once again, variety is key.
Blog posts tend to be on the longer side, considering that their purpose is to be in-depth, informative and educational. Posts on Twitter and Facebook tend to be shorter, in order to effectively convey your message for an audience skimming through feeds.
So, anything from 2,500-word blog posts, to 100-character tweets is ideal, as long as it engages and keeps the interest of the audience.
The length of content on your website’s landing page is crucial - after all, this is what people who click on your website view first. Here, shorter content tends to fare better than longer content - because it explains the gist of your website faster.
If content is king, simplicity is its most trusted advisor.
No matter the actual length of the content, make sure to strive for punchier messages - informational enough to interest the audience, but short enough to keep their attention.
Explaining the subject in 1,500 words is great, but perhaps you could trim down the word count, for a more effective and polished 1,200 words.
Use simple words, shorter paragraphs, effective sub-headings, and avoid passive voice - it makes for an easier read.
If you find yourself chunking out wordy and complicated posts, impose a limit on the amount of time you’ll spend writing - the right timesheet calculator will motivate you to streamline the time you spend writing.
In the end - share
Writing great content is only half of the work - you’ll also have to take further steps to expose your target audience to your content.
If you share your quality content on Facebook, Twitter, Medium regularly, you’re likely to gain a following of people who’ll share your posts, and increase your social proof.
And, when other prospective clients see the number of shares, likes and retweets your content is getting - they’ll feel encouraged to visit your website as well.