How To Create More Content (That People Actually Want)
Content, content, content.
It’s a word that has come into vogue with numerous examples of companies experiencing rapid growth through content marketing.
The stats are pretty compelling;
57% of purchase decisions are made before a customer ever talks to a supplier, and Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. (Target Marketing)
Trailing only retail and brand sites, blogs rank as the third most influential digital resource guiding consumer purchasing decisions. (Marketing Magazine)
But once you start there are some hidden challenges with content marketing and content creation.
“28% of corporate marketers cite the difficulty of frequent blogging as a top SEO challenge.” (MediaPost)
I’m surprised that stat isn’t higher.
Two of the most common questions that businesses ask me is:
How do we know what content to create?
How do we create more content?
I’ve complied a list of tactics that I’ve used myself and implemented in dozens of businesses of varying sizes and industries.
Creating Better Content
Often content creation feels like throwing ‘stuff’ at a wall and seeing what sticks. We look at vanity metrics like social shares and page views but not many businesses measure the impact further down the funnel unless they are committed to marketing automation.
So how do know the content you are creating or ideas your coming up with are actually useless to your prospects and customers?
Crowd Sourcing – The 5 Day Q&A
Your business comes into content with customers every day via multiple channels. Sales, customer service, support are all interacting with customers right now. The questions your customers are asking show the pains and gains that the customer is looking to fix in using your product or service. The 5 Day Q&A is a way for your customers to give you the topics that you can create content around.
This is how it works:
- Get every customer facing person in your business to write down the questions that prospects and customers have asked them during the course of a week.
- Collect them in a shared document (Google Docs is perfect)
- At the end of the week collate them and look for patterns and issues.
- Use these as headlines for your next piece of content
I guarantee there will be half a dozen questions that come up multiple times. Guess what? Your customers all also asking your competition and typing these terms into Google. Creating content around these specific issues will get you there first and you know these are issues that are helpful to your market.
Data Driven – Site Search
The majority of purchase journeys start with some type of search. That could be a general web search or search on a destination site.
All of the mainstream analytics offer the ability to track what search terms are being used on your site.
This data is a goldmine of customer intent.
It will show you what long tail questions are being asked, what gaps could be in your range or products and the most common key phrases you may or may not be covering in your content.
If you’re not already tracking it then start now.
Did you know there’s a place to find out what content is being shared and read by your prospective audience? It’s called Buzzsumo. and it’s free (premium options are available)
It’s a great place to validate ideas and frame content you intend to create.
Take the actual share numbers with a pinch of salt but the headlines and topics are a great source.
Creating More Content
A common frustration of marketing and communications teams is getting other people in the business to create content. From the C-suite down there is a wealth of knowledge in the business but often getting these people to produce content is challenging.
I love writing but know it’s not everyones cup of tea. There are large number of freelancers and agencies out there who can do it for you. In highly technical or regulated industries it can be challenging to find the right fit but I recommend you try it. Here’s two agencies that offer high quality work: Lingo and Away with Words.
The average person speaks at 7000 – 9000 words per hour. Imagine how many articles and pieces of content you could leverage out of that volume of words. A well structured interview can cover multiple topics. I’ve found this especially effective with senior executives and technical people who are often reluctant to produce written content. Framing these people as an industry expert is an added bonus to the business and them individually.
The amount of video consumed online doubled between 2012 and 2015.
You probably have a device in your pocket that can record HD video.
Video is a great medium as you can take one piece of content and turn it into multiple content types.
- Split the audio track and publish as a podcast
- Transcribed and turned into an article
- Take screenshots from the video for a presentation
- Edit into multiple short, bite sized videos
As brands become publishers in their own right and the value of marketing automation is realised the demands of producing high quality content are going to increase.
Experiment with different types of content and creation methods to make sure you ride the content wave.