By Pam Dyer at Social Media Today:
Writing good content is crucial to delivering value and creating thought leadership for your brand.
Content marketing is a key element of today’s marketing landscape. It’s vital to create and share valuable free content in order to attract customers and turn them into repeat buyers and brand evangelists. The content you produce should be closely related to what you sell — your job is to educate people about your brand and products so they get to know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
Creating good content marketing material can be daunting. After all, it it only has a few seconds to capture interest. Producing high-quality content in and of itself isn’t difficult. The real issue is that most of the content we’re creating doesn’t answer the questions our customers are asking.
Part of a good content strategy is forming a content marketing team. It’s important to enlist key employees for the team who know your products in ways that others in your company don’t. The extensive knowledge and insights these contributors can share will address customer questions and develop a deeper relationship with your audience, ultimately establishing you as a thought leader in your industry.
The illustration below from the folks at Spundge, makers of an online collaboration platform, illustrates a simple, proven plan that you can follow to jumpstart a content marketing program.
Follow these 9 easy steps to create engaging content for your brand:
1. Think about what you know
Think about what interests you. Make a list of things you know about you brand and products, what other people want to hear about them, and the topics about your industry that get you excited. Update the list regularly.
2. Find good sources of content
Collect the websites, blogs, books, and other resources that do the best job of producing content about your niche. Track them and add new ones as you find them, and get rid of those that are less valuable over time.
3. Read, read, read
Set some time aside every day to read content about your topics from thought leaders, and analyze what works for them and why. It’s also important to read content that’s bad — that way you can determine what’s wrong with it and why it doesn’t work.
4. Save content that could help you later
Save pieces that resonate with you. When you read an article or blog post that sparks an idea or that you believe can be improved upon, it’s important to save the link and write some accompanying notes so you can revisit it as part of your content creation process. Doing this can ignite ideas later on.
5. Hold regular editorial meetings and refine ideas with your team
Meet weekly with your colleagues so they can share the great content they’ve found, the topics they believe are most important, and customer questions they’ve encountered. Next, come up with catchy headlines that are interesting to all of you and will attract readers. Assign one to everyone each week.
6. Set deadlines
Deadlines provide focus and motivation, but they must be shared. Put them on an editorial calendar and make sure that everyone sticks to them.
A natural extension of reading, keeping notes, and perfecting ideas with your colleagues, this is where the rubber meets the road. Share an anecdote with your readers to illustrate a point, write a brief case study about how one of your customers used your product to solve a problem, etc. Be meticulous about the language you use and how it will be received.
8. Get edited
Good content comes in part from good editing, so you need an editor to ensure that what you’ve written is clear and to the point. Discuss the changes your editor makes, and why, so you’re better prepared the next time you set out to write an article.
Follow these steps over and over again as part of your content creation process. The more you do it, the easier it will be.