According to one study, 72% of marketers say that relevant content creation is the most effective SEO strategy.
Yet another study (same link as above) found that only 30% of marketers feel their organizations are effective with content marketing.
Marketers want to create great content, but it’s also a struggle.
That’s totally understandable.
Some people just don’t have an easy time writing or filming a video or recording a podcast. They have great ideas and knowledge in their brains, but they struggle getting it out.
This could be a big reason why your content isn’t hitting the mark with your audience.
Let’s go through some key steps to creating better content no matter what channel or channels you’re using.
Step 1. Redefine Your Audience
One of the biggest issues I see with online content creation is a misunderstanding of the audience.
I’ve seen web designers writing articles that would be interesting only to other designers.
I’ve seen business owners writing content that’s only interesting to other business owners.
That’s fine, but only in certain situations.
In almost all situations you aren’t writing content for yourself or for people like you.
You’re writing content for your audience or your target customers.
So if you’re struggling with your content then take a step back for a second and define your target audience.
Who is the person that will give you money for your product or service.
All content creation begins with the target audience.
Step 2. Switch Perspectives
You’re not writing for your peers in most instances.
This is a big issue I see with lots of organizations.
Let’s take a dentist as an example.
The dentist wants to look smart. He wants to write content that is very in depth and smart and all those things.
The dentist wants to impress other dentists.
But are other dentists the target audience?
The target audience has important questions, but they may seem like basic questions to the dentist.
How do I brush my toddler’s teeth?
That’s basic to a dentist, but very important to a potential patient.
A key to writing great content is to switch perspectives and focus on what really matters to your target audience.
Step 3. Separate Ideation From Creation
This is a big one.
The #1 reason, from my observation, that people struggle with content marketing is they don’t separate the ideation from the creation.
They might have a schedule, like one blog post per week, and that’s great.
But they sit down each week with nothing. No ideas. No nothing.
That’s nearly impossible for anybody.
It might be a good thing once a month or whatever, but if you want to create content consistently you have to create a schedule and create multiple titles or ideas at once. Fill out the schedule.
Then you can come in when you need to write and the ideas are already there.
Better content starts with a better approach even to the creation process.
Step 4. Answer Questions, Don’t Sell
Let’s say you’re a dentist.
You might want to create a post about how to pick the best dentist. You might want to create a post about the types of services you offer.
This content is more for your main website pages.
Content marketing is not for selling.
Content marketing is for answering questions.
Content you create for a blog or video or whatever is the first interaction between you and your potential customer.
Let’s say that dentist runs into someone new at the super market. The first thing the dentist says is probably not:
I can clean your teeth for you…
That would be weird, right?
But maybe the person and the dentist happen to be looking at fruit together. The person asks if the dentist knows if the fruit is healthy.
The dentist says something about how the acid is known to stain teeth.
That’s a helpful piece of content. And it can build a trusting relationship.
That’s how you approach content marketing.
Step 5. Stick To A Schedule
I’ve started listening to this podcast called This Nashville Life. It’s really good and recently the host had a song publisher on the show and she asked what separates a good songwriter from a great songwriter.
And the publisher said that good songwriters write great songs when they’re feeling inspired.
Great songwriters do as well, but they also write good and great songs when they’re not feeling inspired.
The publisher said they always pay attention to the writers that get up and say they don’t have inspiration and need to get away.
The great ones stick it out. They stick to a schedule and keep writing no matter what. Some days they have it and other days they don’t, but they always stick to a schedule.
This is true with any content.
Blogging, video, podcasts, whatever.
The key thing is sticking to a schedule. It’s so easy to leave it be when you’re not feeling it, but that will lead to eventual doom.
Step 6. Forget Optimizing For SEO
This is another type of trap with content.
You’ve probably read content online that you know is “optimized” for SEO.
A keyword is mentioned over and over. It doesn’t read right. The title is probably generic and exactly what the “keyword” is or whatever.
That’s never a good approach, but people still do it and the audience can see right through it.
Always start with your target audience and the question they’re asking.
Forget SEO and do the best you can to provide the best answer.
For the most part, Google is really good at finding the best answer to the questions people are asking.
That’s all Google wants because that’s what people want.
Focus on the people, not the SEO.
Step 7. Forget Distractions
Another thing that drives people crazy with online content is a distraction.
All those things are distraction.
When I’m searching for how to train a bird dog I want to learn how to train a bird dog. i don’t want to subscribe to your newsletter or get your free offer or any of that BS.
When you create content, forget about the distractions and present the content.
Help someone first and once that’s done you can think about asking for something in return.
Step 8. Repurpose
Sometimes the best content comes from simple repurposing.
Let’s say you created a blog post that has been a hit for months or even years.
Take that blog post and create an infographic, video, podcast, etc.
Take your best content and use it as inspiration for your new content.
Step 9. More Promotion
It’s fine to create regular content and share it once on social media and in email and all that. That’s totally fine for the long run.
But you can juice your content even more by doing more promotion.
And promotion can be a lot of things.
It can be sharing it 20+ times on social media over a month or years.
It can also be outreach via email to influencers asking them to check it out.
It can be mentioning more influencers and their work in your content so they notice and share it.
It could be doing more guest posting or being a guest on more podcasts.
More promotion can help you create better content because more people will discover what you’re creating.
Step 10. Content Is The First Interaction
We touched on this a bit earlier, but it’s worth its own point.
I can’t drive home the point enough that just about all content marketing is the very first interaction between you and your target customer.
You wouldn’t ask a girl that you just met this moment to marry you would you?
Okay, maybe you would. Maybe that would work one out of a thousand times.
But you can’t count on it and you could get into some serious trouble too.
Your reputation wouldn’t be very good.
No, you ease into things. You ask questions. You learn. You answer. You engage.
It’s the same with creating content.
Focus on your very first interaction with customers.
Your customers are only in buying mode 3% of the time. Content Marketing is about the other 97% of the time when they’re not thinking about buying what you’re selling.
That’s where you focus on the questions they’re asking about their life or job and provide the best answers.
You earn their attention, their trust and eventually their business.
Marketers know that content marketing is a great strategy today. But they also know that it’s a struggle to create the type of content that attracts customers.
The steps above are things that will allow you to create better content. Some involve changing your mindset and others are specific things you can do to craft better content.
It’s good that you want to create better content. Use the steps above to achieve it.