November 20, 2011

Rachel Strella

Is Your Content Missing a Secret Element?

Many ask me how to create ‘good’ content.  The secret is simply generating content that’s valuable to your audience.

In order to do this, you’ll have to listen, ask, deliver and re-evaluate.  Here are simple 12 steps to help guide you through this process.

1. Listen first. Read what your audience is reading, monitor the buzz in your industry, and tune in to what’s going on in the world.

2. Ask and you shall receive.  Ask what your audience wants to know more about or what issues they are grappling with.

3. Create an editorial calendar. A content calendar will help you establish rhythm, help your readers keep pace, and assist in keeping content consistent.

4. Deliver. This is where listening and asking will come in handy! If you’ve done your homework, delivering should be a breeze.  However, this is where I see some miss the mark.  It’s tempting to develop content that’s important to you, but it’s much more effective to create content about topics that are relevant to the audience.

5. Spark interest. Remember, we are talking with our audience, not shouting at them. Create content that’s engaging and thought-provoking.  Some choose to push the envelope, but I recommend ending blog posts and updates with an open-ended question in order to solicit feedback from the audience.

6. Personalize it. While social media is about THEM, it’s also about YOU.  Let others get to know you and what makes you tick. You don’t have to ‘tell them what you’re eating,’ but you can tell them something that makes you unique, something that others might not know or simply something you rock at!

7. Offer VALUE. In addition to delivering what they asked for, offer tips and resources. If you’re in the health and wellness industry, offer some advice for staying fit during the holidays.

8. Share. As a leader in your industry, you probably know a few people that have been helpful to your growth or development.  Share resources and information that you’ve found helpful and would like to pass along.

9. Tell a story. Some of the best blogs I’ve read kept me engaged with a story. Try offering a real-life example then lead into the value. A story is a great way to keep your readers engaged and help them to finish your post.

10. Keep it short.  If you’re long-winded, try to keep the stories to a minimum. After you’ve written a piece, be sure to go back and decide what you could cut out. The shorter, the better. Say more with less.

11. Write a great headline. We have the attention span of a goldfish, which is about nine seconds. In order for your audience to even open your blog and read it (stories and all), you have to capture their attention. Try not to go too over the top and thus deviate from the topic. Rather, just keep it simple.  If in doubt, go with numbers – it’s easier for the reader to anticipate and quantify what they’re about to read.

12. Refine.  Do not get complacent. What worked yesterday, might not work today. Remember to go back to steps one and two and continually deliver value.

What content tips have you found effective?

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