Are you interested in content marketing? If you want to run and grow a company blog, you need to know what kinds of content readers respond to. To really stand out online and attract a steady stream of visitors, you need to provide readers with quality content that keeps them coming back. The benefits of excellent content marketing are there for anyone who is committed to delivering what readers expect.

Content marketing is all about using content to generate leads and can outperform paid advertisements when done properly. Leads gained from content marketing methods are also much easier to convert into sales so let’s take a look at great ways to create the content you need to impact your bottom line.

Start out with a content plan

It’s important to do content marketing the right way so before you go rushing in with plans to conquer the world, take some time and think about the process of creating and distributing the right content. After all, sharing the wrong kind of content with your audience doesn’t do you any good at all.

Here’s what you need to plan to make what you have to share worthwhile:

Who is the content for?

To create good content, you need to know who its aimed at. The language, the details and the form of promotion all depend on the target group. Define who your audience is based on:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Profession
  • Social class
  • Interests
  • Income
  • Geographic location

This will all make it easier to create material that matches the profile of your customers and promotes in places where it will get noticed.

What information do you want to share?

Your content will not be effective if it’s unattractive to the reader. You can create all the lists and guides you want but if you don’t know what their purpose is you’re not helping readers and they won’t be converted into customers.

When planning your content, ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the reader need? (investment advice? Tips on keeping in shape?)
  • How can I provide it? (With articles? FIlms?)
  • How is this material supposed to help readers? (To get started on the stock market? To make the most of time in the gym?)
  • What problems should I solve? (To make it easier to understand the terminology or explain advanced concepts?)Jakie problemy ma rozwiązać?
  • What would I like to change in readers’ lives for the better? (To help them earn more? To be healthier?)

Remember that before you can do any of this you need to know who are writing for. Make sure you know the “who” before you start working on the “what”.

How do you promote this material?

You can plan your promotion on the basis of the two questions I’ve asked already. You know who you’re writing to, where these people and what you want to help them with.

Armed with this knowledge, you can place your content in exactly those places where you know they will see it. It could be discussion forums, Facebook groups, Youtube channeles, Reddits or any number of smaller sites. Remember, however, not to bombard anyone with links. Instead, focus on frequently searched-for answers to questions and problems that your subscribers have. When you find them, links to related articles won’t be regarded as being of a promotional nature.

Knowledge about subscribers is extremely useful for creating targeted PPC and PPM advertisements. It’s easier to promote material when you know something about the people looking for it. Identifying your target group is easier if you properly define who’s in the group right from the start.

After planning the process of creating and promoting your content, it’s time to move on to selecting the kind of content you’re going to create. I’ve grouped many of the most effective types here on the basis of how difficult they are to prepare.

Easy to create, but very effective types of content

Lists

  • After infographics, lists are the most frequently found type of online content
  • Putting a number in the title gets a great response

This kind of content is good for communicating many elements in one piece. Lists can be a guide in an introductory form, like when you outline a few necessary steps to accomplish some kind of goal. Because of their ability to gather and condense a lot of useful information and the fact that they easily go viral, lists are always a good choice for content. A downside is that they don’t keep readers on a site for too long.

Form and structure

Because lists are typically skimmed for particular information and not read from beginning to end, remember to format them properly. Use headers that stand out (h2, h3, h4) and make the list easy to visually navigate from one point to the next with distinct and separate entries.

What to watch out for

Don’t publish too many lists. They’re easy to put together and share but they’re also usually general and read for just a short time. If you want to make effective pieces content marketing and build your reputation as an expert in the field, you have to spend time and effort on creating more worthwhile content like guides, case studies and whitepapers.

Be sure to include good headers containing the number of elements on your list.

There’s a cool tool you can use to see how your headline rates. It also checks your ideas and gives suggestions on changes to make.

When and how best to use

  • If you want to present a lot of material, tools, links, etc. without an exact description of how they work or a guide to what they do
  • If you want to build traffic and lots of page views no matter how many bounces or how little time is spent on the page

Because of the tendency of readers to respond to lists, be sure to include a button for easy sharing on social media.

Guides for beginners

People just starting out learning something new look for guidance that presents basic information. This type of content therefore has to be oriented towards describing fairly simple and obvious concepts without using language or ideas that are too advanced.

To create effective guides, you have put yourself in the position of the reader and think about the best ways to present everything in an easily-understood way. Guides are read from beginning to end more often than lists are so pay careful attention to make sure that one part follows on from what is presented in the previous one. Use the introduction to make it clear what the guide is about and who it’s for and then use the inverted-pyramid principle and go from general to specific without leaving out anything in between. If you have to use specialized language, consider including a glossary of terms, ideas and abbreviations to make everything easier to follow.

Guides like this demand an understanding of the needs of beginners but they are great material from the point of view of their viral potential. Also, they rank well in search engine results if done properly. .

Form and structure

When formatting your content, be sure to separate text into paragraphs, use headers to describe sections and use examples. Use practical information to illustrate theories and walk readers through basic ideas. Present important ideas visually, like in the form of an infographic or screenshot to make things clear and more engaging.

What to watch out for

During this process, don’t leave out any facts or information that can lead to a dead end if left out. Don’t use expert terminology with meanings readers have to look up for themselves. If must use such terms, explain them.

When and how best to use

  • For beginners looking for information your business, product or service
  • This is not content for specialists or advanced users that need experienced and detailed advice using the appropriate terminology

Dictionary of concepts, guides to terminology

This type of content, like the guides mentioned above, are often aimed at beginners or those who are refreshing their basic knowledge. Dictionaries don’t have to be prepared according to academic standards, especially if they’re related to purely practical subjects like email marketing. It just has to explain terms clearly and precisely.

Form and structure

If there are lots of concepts to explain, think about grouping them together alphabetically. If the entries are quite long, it might be necessary to divide them into different pieces in the table of contents. If you have fewer entries, it’s enough to list them with clear headers, definitions and descriptions for each one.

What to watch out for

Use simple terms to explain ideas. If you must use more advanced terms, use links for further explanation or add parenthetical notes. Don’t make assume that even beginners are already familiar with the terms you use.

When and how best to use

  • When your field requires specialist knowledge
  • To generate traffic to your page, especially when the technical knowledge is more advanced than can be explained elsewhere
  • To introduce beginners to a subject

FAQ based on questions you get

Questions that you get from readers, customers and fans will surely be repeated over time. You can use them to create a FAQ section with the answers to these questions in order to save everyone’s time. FAQs based around certain subjects are a valuable source of information and engage readers because there’s a chance they are looking for the answer to a question that’s listed there.

Form and structure

FAQs usually take the form of a list of questions (with headers) paired with answers. It’s a good idea to make the questions clickable and linked to their answers. If there are lots of questions and answers, group them according to subject to make searches for particular subjects easier.

What to watch out for

Be careful not to include highly specific questions unless they really are received frequently. FAQs are typically about general subjects so stay away from too many details if possible. You’ll always get emails with specific questions, which is a good thing because it gives you a chance to engage with customers, so don’t try to answer everything in your FAQs. Remember that FAQs are part of your content marketing strategy so the text has to be useful for potential customers and not just answer questions about your company.

When and how best to use

  • If you get the same questions about something over and over
  • It’s great support for your customer service, since it helps to keep simple questions from backing up while more complicated issues are addressed
  • When you know the questions that pop up frequently in online discussions, add a link to your own FAQs

Our example:
[FAQ] What is CTR?

Multimedia presentations

Multimedia presentations are relatively easy to prepare and they serve well as an element of content marketing strategies. If there’s a lot of value in it and it’s clearly presented, you don’t even need a host or narrator.

When planning your presentation, consider posting it on SlideShare, a great place to get attention from potential customers.

Form and structure

Multimedia presentations must be adapted for display on projectors and big screens so pay attention to image quality and whitespace. Limit the number of graphic elements to a minimum and use large, clear fonts. Try to place a maximum of 8 lines of text on a slide and make sure they contrast with the background.

What to watch out for

Be sure that your presentation is easy to follow and understand even without a presenter. This means you have to carefully and precisely present ideas in the context of limited space and use graphics, charts other visual tools to get your point across. This will help you to use your presentation as a wider element of your content marketing strategy and share in social media like SlideShare. It’s a good idea to expand the content into a full-length article and share specific slides on social media.

When and how best to use

  • When you want present a subject in an accessible and introductory manner
  • When you want your readers to easily remember information you share
  • When you operate in B2B, since forums like SlideShare and LinkedIn help to build your reputation as an expert in your field

Graphics

  • Research shows that graphic extras increase the likelihood that your text will get read by 80% compared to a text with no graphics
  • 46% of marketers say that pictures are an essential element in their content marketing and telling the story of their brand online
  • 55% of marketers surveyed plan to focus on creating more engaging visual content in 2016

Graphic material can be harder to prepare than text but you can't avoid its strategic importance in content marketing. The fact is that our brains simply process and remember visual stimuli much better than text.

You don’t need to have expert graphic skills to create great visuals. It’s enough to have access to sites like PicMonkey, Piktochart, or Canva. Everything you need to make outstanding visual presentations is online and almost always completely free.

Form and structure

Graphic material sometimes means just pictures but sometimes you need a bit more. Placing text over the picture or editing it in one of a hundred ways might be better depending on what you want to do but, again, the tools you need to it are online.

Graphics also work well in social media. Create microcontent, small pieces of content that can be read in a few seconds, to get your message out. It’s a great way to make the most of your online reach.

What to watch out for

Remember that pictures found on Google aren’t always free and you can’t just use anything you want. Be sure to check the source and if you’re unsure, go to any number of free online graphic libraries for pictures that don’t require reference to ownership.

Try to add your own visual identification to graphics you create - logo, brand colors, slogan, etc. Every graphic, especially those you make shareable to social media, should contain some reference to you and your brand.

When and how best to use

  • To make signing up for anything more attractive
  • As microcontent on social media
  • To visualize information you share

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Screencasts

A screencast is a recording of actions on a computer screen. A narrator or music are typically added as a soundtrack. Screencasts are often used in e-learning and guides for systems and programs. This tool is especially useful in field like IT where graphic work or programming is much more easily explained with video and a narrator than with text.

Form and structure

Because video is harder to search than text, you should divide the content into chapters or make smaller separate films. Don’t make your screencast too long because it can lose focus and the attention of viewers.

It’s important for the narrator to explain exactly what’s happening on-screen and include all important details. Also, remember to use a narrator with the appropriate voice and manner - you don’t want someone who gets attention for the wrong reasons.

What to watch out for

As an experienced specialist, you can have the tendency to rush through information that you present. When creating a screencast you have to avoid that and remember that people learning from you can get lost if you go too fast. Pay careful attention to keyboard shortcuts, which aren’t seen on-screen, and other actions that aren’t explained.

When and how best to use

  • When you present work done on a computer
  • Creating webinars, if your connection allows you to share the screen from your computer

News recaps

News recaps are an interesting type of content for anyone who doesn’t follow current news in the field or wants to be updated. You can create a cyclical series that runs, for example, weekly or monthly in order to keep a finger on the pulse of readers interested in the latest news. Remember to add your own opinion or comment to everything and don’t rely only on linking to news from other sites.

Form and structure

If the list applies to news, keep things in chronological order, otherwise things can get confusing. If there are lots of headlines and stories, group them alphabetically. Collections like these contain lots of links so describe each one carefully to make everything easier to find.

What to watch out for

From the point of view of content marketing, it’s important to create summaries and draw links to the field in which you operate and make your own opinion known.

When and how best to use

  • If you want to build the image of a brand or person who closely follows developments in a particular area
  • If you have access to definitive information on a particular subject

Checklist

Checklists are tools that make accomplishing tasks easier. They usually consist of a collection of stages in a process and comments on how best to get them done. This form of content can be used in just about any field. Like a to-do list, they’re a valuable bit of help in time management.

Checklists are good for creating a kind of roadmap for completing any task and let readers chart their progress from one step to the next. Every process that includes a list of things to remember can be turned into a checklist.

Form and structure

Organize checklists chronologically from beginning to end with all important steps and reminders clearly delineated. Numbering the steps often helps so you can put things in terms of “After Step 4…” etc.

What to watch out for

Don’t use long, complicated ways to describe steps and stages. Get to the point in as few words as you need to make everything clear.

When and how best to use

  • When you want to make a kind of cheat sheet for various processes
  • When you want to break a process down into its most important steps

Reviews and testing

  • 92% of internet shoppers read reviews before making a purchase
  • 40% of consumers form opinions about products and services on the basis of reviews
  • 48% of consumers will visit an online store after reading positive reviews

Shoppers often look for reviews for products they are considering buying. You can collect reviews as well as publish the results of tests you conduct yourself to help shoppers make decisions. Use reviews and testing in your content marketing strategy to educate consumer and help in their decision making processes. Always remember that credibility is crucial to reviews and misleading or dishonest recommendations can permanently destroy your reputation.

Form and structure

When creating reviews, always remember that you want to address what readers want to know about the product. Keep it focused and stay away from unrelated tangents.

If it’s a written review, use proper formatting and the right headers and visual cues to make it easy to navigate. Include as many relevant aspects of the product as possible and highlight both positive and negative aspects.

Consumers expect reviews to begin or end with a number score or a star rating so it’s best to keep with convention and use one of them. These ratings are often a useful shortcut for those who don’t want to take the time to read everything.

What to watch out for

Be careful not to get too nasty or offensive with negative reviews or in your comments about products and brands. Keep it professional and informative.

When and how best to use

  • If your subscribers ask about the products you use
  • If you want to earn from sponsored reviews
  • If you sell something and you want to show how it works to promote it

 

 

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