3 Ways to Create Content that People Actually Want to Consume
I’m a massive consumer of content. Huge. If content were food, I would be that person who has to have the side of their house removed in order to get out of bed.
I read content before I get out of bed. I read content before saying good morning to my daughter. (I don’t even say good morning to my husband any more – I’m too busy). I listen to podcasts on my drive to work. I consume videos, blogs, ebooks all day at work. I watch how-to’s and attend webinars while I’m on the cross trainer at night, and wind-down with a TED talk in the bath.
Yet so much of what I consume is utter rubbish. Out of all this content fodder I’m chowing down on every day, I would guess I consume one good piece of content a day.
The reason? Relevance.
If it has absolutely no relevance and no benefit to me, my life, my work, and therefore my mind, I lose interest.
Where’s the Ah-ha?
The problem is, “4 ways to this”, and “7 reasons for that” are all interesting headlines, but when I actually read the content there is no “Ah-ha!” moment.
If I read “The secret to a successful and happy life” I am expecting to learn the secret, and implement it into my daily life, thus being eternally successful and happy. High expectations, you say?
When I’m consuming content I’m expecting digital generosity: tips I can use, links I can click, things that are going to make my life easier. And that one really useful, completely unique idea which makes me say “Ah-ha!”. It’s the realisation that you can really achieve THAT thing, with THESE simple steps.
The Top 3 Super-Helpful Secrets to Creating Amazingly-Relevant Content for Your Awesome Audience
OK, so my headline is definitely going too far, this is nothing ground-breaking, but it should definitely tick your “Ah-ha, I can use this in the daily implementation of my content plan going forward” box.
1. Targeting Content on where consumers are in the Buying Process
Surprisingly, according to a recent study from eConsultancy and the Content Marketing Institute, only 40% of UK marketers are using this tactic to decide what content they should be publishing. Yet to me, this seems like the most obvious:
- It keeps the content relevant – and that’s the goal!
- It helps to generate leads.
- Because it’s attributed to your sales process, its valuable, and therefore can quite easily be attributed with an ROI.
Here’s how it works (please forgive my terrible handwriting – I was delivering a workshop at the time!)…
So you can quite easily create a plan which targets each of these stages within the buying funnel, in a format suitable for your audience at that stage, and the result should be that your customers turn into promoters; talking about you, tweeting about you, and generally just saying really good stuff on your behalf, becoming earned assets which you can continue to reap the benefits from thanks to all your hard work you put in upfront.
Tip: Prioritise which phase needs addressing first. For instance if your problem is that you get leads but they don’t convert, focus first on some great testimonials – perhaps video testimonials, case studies, guides to your products, fact sheets and some bespoke tools for your sales people to use.
This goes hand in hand with my next point…
2. Translating customers’ problems into content
It is a fact that people love nothing more than a problem solver. Agony aunts still plague magazines and tabloids. Q&A sites are becoming increasingly popular and cover everything from medical problems to how to grow vegetables. Everyone loves a problem solver.
Importantly, problems are emotive subjects. They’re personal to the beholder and consume their minds, causing stress and anxiety when there is no solution.
Become the problem solver, and you’ll be talking directly to your customer, on their level, and to their emotions. Its a well-known fact that people buy people. So building a relationship and addressing your customers emotions with understanding, empathy and ultimately a solution creates a strong bond. (Note: This applies to B2B as well as B2C – honest!)
Don’t tell them stuff that’s just not relevant though, like how many widgets your gadget has. What they really want to know is how you are going to solve their problem. In their language – not jargon. They’re asking “Great, but how does this help me?”
Think benefits over features.
- Create a list of problems your customers have (you might have to actually talk to your customers to do this, and ask them what their biggest problem was that you fixed for them).
- Against this list, create a list of solutions you offer to counter them (but keep it benefit driven, not feature driven.).
- Begin to curate the solutions into broad topic areas; lists, how-tos, complete guides to… soon enough you’ll have a bunch of resources that you can begin to create, based on solving a problem for the customer rather than selling a feature-driven solution.
Tip: get into the habit of using the word YOU in your content. If you begin to say WE, stop, think about it, and turn it around to become a benefit for your customer. If you can’t, it probably wasn’t relevant anyway. Move on and come back to it later.
3. Personalising your content to who you are talking to
Again, we want to be relevant. That’s the aim. So talking to the masses isn’t going to cut it. It makes content too broad, non-specific, and therefore might as well be chip paper tomorrow.
There are many ways to personalise your content:
1. By industry:
- Create case studies by industry
- Produce industry reports
- Make good-looking infographics all about one industry and the effect of your product or service on it.
2. By profiling buyers or creating personas
- A marketing director wants different information and in a different format to a CEO. A Mum needs different content to a Dad. Whether its B2B or B2C, profiling who you are talking to in any one piece makes it super-relevant. Think about that person’s needs, what do they want from you? And how is that different to the other buyers you’re talking to?
3. By company size
- In most industries, if you’re targeting B2B buyers, their needs are influenced greatly by their size.
- Create bite-size pieces of useful, specific content for smaller businesses (they tend to be busy doing 5 people’s jobs!) but for larger businesses, create content which engages – like videos, webinars and in-person events.
Tip: The power of One. Keep your focus on one thing, for one person, one need, one objective. Even if it’s a short-but-sweet blog post, the point is it’s relevant and focused on a niche.
- Make sure your content has an “ah-ha”. Answer the question, give away at least one good tip, tool or link. It’s for the greater good.
- Make sure your content is relevant by targeting: the buying process, customer need or personalisation.
- Even if its B2B, try to create content focused on emotion. People buy people.
- Focus copy on “You” and not “We”.
Want to know more? We run targeted content campaigns for many of our clients and find its the best way to segment topics for successful content marketing. Contact us to find out how WMG can help you.