Wouldn't it be great if all the hard work you put into your content paid off?
All the prep. All theTLC. The reward comes from seeing it devoured, receiving positive feedback, and knowing your customers will surely tell their friends where the tasty stuff comes from.
So today, let's look at content like a meal. I'll give you some of the ingredients to use when the goal is to compel people to eat it up.
Munch on the numbers
The massive heap of numbers Google Analytics (or your favorite metrics machine) collects and reports might make for nice ego food, but it should also be a major key to feeding the needs of your audience.
Data that reveals page views, time-on-page, and time-on-site indicates the tastes of your audience. Conversion rates for gated content such as eBooks, guides, webinars and videos also strongly suggest what is and isn't satisfying the appetites of your patrons.
In addition to extracting lessons regarding the topics with the most appeal, realize your user data can help inform you of:
- Popular writers/contributors
- Style preferences (e.g. lists vs. opinion pieces)
- Media preferences
- Preferred time of day, week, or year
- The most effective calls to action
Serve the Kool-Aid
Marketers are coming around to understand content that best serves the interests of the company is the content that best serves its prospects and customers. As fundamental as this may sound, far too many content creators feed themselves. They bake what they want, which is often self-serving and self-promotional.
If we're talking about a plate of food, it goes largely uneaten. Make the content tasty and "good for you" and it will not only be consumed-it'll be shared. And your customers will keep coming back for more.
One great way to figure out what pleases your customer's is to ask. And when customers' call for Kool-Aid, don't drink it, serve it.
Let's hash this stuff out together. Use #CMMinds anytime to make comments or counterpoints, add your ideas and ask questions.
Make it fresh
In content marketing, "evergreen" is the term usually used to describe content intended to be timeless. It can be consumed the day it's baked or years later, because it won't get stale.
But then there's the timely and topical stuff that must be served fresh. Like bread, the fresher, the better. Consumers crave it.
As a content creator, if you're capable of being nimble and responsive, you'll draw a crowd with content that connects to current events and the conversations happening now.
Decorate the plate
There's no denying our eyes send signals to our brain before we dig in. Take a lesson from a delectable looking plate. Notice the attention to detail. Savor its color and visual sex appeal. Typically, you'll find some negative or white space on the plate leading your eye to the good stuff.
These principles apply to the content you create. Make it look delicious and you'll gain a great advantage.
Heard this one from the restaurant biz? "TIPS" means "to insure prompt service."
The user experience is all-important in content marketing too. Make your site quickly serve everything customers have come for and they're far more likely to hang around and eat it up.
Keep the place clean
Just as no one wants to dine at a dump, no one wants to be bombarded with clutter and junk at your website. Streamline your site by extracting the distractions and focusing on the content that matters most to visitors.
Give it flavor
Oh sure, you can serve the bland stuff no one dislikes, but the ho-hum you get won't compare to the reaction you get from the spicy stuff. To get remembered and talked about, you have to do something daring.
Don't let it bother you your dish isn't for everyone. The people whose taste buds you excite will be excited enough to tell their friends, which will ultimately more than make up for the customers that balk.
Here's an eBook called "Strike a Chord," which features a feast of content marketing ideas.
Content Marketing Minds is a weekly Social Media Today column written by Barry Feldman about content marketing at its best and its worst. Conversations take place on Twitter at #CMMinds. Look for the future installments on Thursdays.