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Welcome to the 10th episode of Smart Brand Marketing with Tom Libelt.
In this session of The Smart Brand Marketing Podcast we go into what works and doesn’t work when it comes to pumping out content. Our guest, Dan Norris, used massive content creation to build up a mailing list that launched WP Curve which is now very successful.
Mastering the Basics of Content Creation
“Content is King”
That’s probably a phrase that you have gotten so sick of hearing since, well, it’s uttered by every marketing expert and self-professed online guru out there. Sometimes, you wonder if that phrase carries some truth in it or is just 100% manufactured hype.
The truth of the matter is that IT DOES. Content has so much impact in the marketing industry right now that nearly every strategy out there has to do or revolves around content creation and marketing. This is why creating and distributing content that is engaging, thought-provoking, and arresting is as effective as any marketing strategy that you can think of.
What Exactly Does Content Have to Offer?
Content, at least the best made ones, can help your online business improve on several ways. These includes:
- 1. Name RecognitionThis one’s quite simple enough. The more content you put out, the more you allow your brand to get known in the market. Just ask any blogger who instantly became a hit with one post or a Youtuber that became a celebrity after one viral video. The content you push out should, at least, have qualities that make it identifiable as your own creation and allow your audience to know you more with each content you publish.
- 2. ValuePeople right now are looking for value. Online, value translates to any information or idea that people can use to solve whatever problem they are currently facing. For instance, when a person is looking for information about cleaning products, they are not exactly looking for what is the best cleaning product brand in the market but how to use cleaning products in various areas around the house.
Google has taken notice of this and have made updates in their algorithm that allow for problem-solving content to be pushed more than promotional ones. In other words, brand loyalty in the online world is worthless now. What people are looking for is a company that can help them with whatever issue they are facing through providing effective solutions.
- 3. Building RelationshipsSo as long as you constantly push content, you allow your customers to know you more. If you take things further and provide them with valuable information, that recognition turns into trust.
The reason for this is simple: when people feel they know you, they would trust you more and would have little to no resistance to consuming whatever you offer. On the flip side, pushing a series of poorly received content can also hurt your brand and you will have to make more effort in rebuilding that trust with your audience.
- 4. VersatilityThere are many ways to say one message without making it derivative or repetitive. Content, in this instance, can be re-used some time later on and introduced in another format. For instance, you had a podcast several years ago that you want your new audiences to listen to. Aside from providing them with a link to the old podcast, you can also reuse the ideas discussed in your podcast and make a blog post or an article.
You can even take the entire podcast, cut down the filler, and upload a shortened version on YouTube. The ways you can reshape and reuse your archive of content is limited only to your tools; and your imagination, of course.
- 5. AuthorityGood content can also help you establish as an expert on a certain subject. For example, you might have years of experience in the financial sector and want to establish your own brand online. You can do so by creating content that covers pressing financial issues and even tips on how to save, invest, and recover on losses.
This is in line with the problem-solving mentality of audiences right now. If they feel that you can talk about a subject matter passionately and with confidence, they’d listen to you more and trust you on whatever information you are giving to them.
- 6. Search Engine OptimizationContent is not just to get the attention of your human audience, it’s there for robots too. As was stated, changes in search engine algorithms can positively or negatively affect brands depending on the content that they offer.
As of now, the standard for content is pushing helpful information to audiences. With that in mind, if you produce content that makes you sound like you know what you are talking about, you are making yourself more attractive to search engine bots which should increase your site’s ranking in the results page.
This, in turn, increases your brand’s visibility in the market. Keep in mind that people only care about the first page of the results page; and only the top 5 results at that, too.
So What Works in Content Now?
What does quality content look like in recent years? After all, search engine algorithms and consumer behavior change every year so what worked in, say, 10 years ago is obsolete today.
Quality content can take many forms but it always displays the same set of qualities which include:
- 1. Compelling UrgencySince content is supposed to offer value, it should promise such right from the start. Here’s how it works: A person can have an idea of the value of what you are offering immediately after laying eyes on it.
This is where your title comes into play. You must think your titles through so that they will tell the audience everything that they need to know. Sure, there might be times when you over-promise with your title but the point here is to clearly state to your audience why your content might be of value to them.
- 2. FulfillmentGood content is not just one that promises value, it delivers it. This is where the body of your content will be important and those that were well planned and researched have the best value for readers as well as higher of being shared amongst communities which should drive content to your pages.
However, there is a problem that many content creators have to deal with delivering on the promised value. Look, over-promising and under-delivering is understandable as even the best content creators do that.
However, deliberately misleading your audience is another thing. This is why search engines came in hard on clickbait during 2016 as it is funneling traffic to pages without assuring audiences that whatever they are clicking through is useful for them at the very least.
For instance, you can have the most bombastic title out there like “OMG, This is the Future! No. 2 will Shock You….” only to be greeted with the blandest, predictable, and derivative pile of BS that you have ever had the misfortune to read.
On the flip side, you can have something as disgusting as Filthy Frank’s “…Cake” series of videos which continues to draw in viewers 2 years after they were made. Sure, the entire experience was uncomfortable but it delivered on the gross out humor that the title promised and more. And people are okay with that, for some reason.
The point here is that you have to be honest with your audience right from the start. They will thank you for it and will share your piece to every community they are part of.
- 3. ConvenienceIt’s not just the quality of the message you are trying to convey that matters, it’s how you deliver it. What you have to consider here is that some types of information are at home with certain types of content.
For instance, highly technical topics like scientific breakthroughs or even product reviews are at home with article-type content or illustrational videos than they do in podcasts. On the flip side, topics that cover entertainment and other not-too-serious subjects are at home with videos and podcasts.
So which medium is the best for your content? The answer to that will be different from content to content but you have to let your audience choose in what way they want to consume the information you offer. However, doing a multi-format strategy can be costly which will bring us to the next point.
- 4. EfficiencySure, every type of content out there can be repurposed to fit into other formats. But doing so will take a lot of time and effort. The process of translating the dialogue in a podcast into an article is not as easy as you think nor is editing a long video into a shorter one.
On the flip side, doing the same content in the same format over and over again tends to wear down on your creative side and you’d rather not want to publish derivative content if possible.
The key here is to plan what type of content you want to create and publish for a certain period of time. For instance, you might be doing your podcast on a Monday and have that repurposed into an article or a shorter video for the YouTube audience on a Wednesday or a Friday. In between those days, you can revisit your old content and use them as a basis for articles you or your staff are going to produce. It’s all up to you, really. Just make sure that you maximize whatever resources you have while minimizing costs.
- 5. OriginalityThe sad part about creating content is that originality is a bit hard to come by these days. It can’t be helped, either, as you and other content creators are bound to cover the same topics especially if you are aiming to publish the first content of that subject in the market.
Take video game reviewers, for example. It’s hard to say the same thing that everybody has said and still cover new ground in the same subject. But, come on, there has to be another way of praising Batman: Arkham City without saying the 31st version of “this game makes you feel like Batman”.
If being truly original with your content is no longer an option, being original with its delivery will be a good alternative. Going back to video game reviewers, there is the option to be as derivative and unoriginal as every Gamespot or IGN reviewer out there. On the flip side, there are reviewers with a more original take on game reviews like Angry Joe with his rage-fueled rants or Videogamedunkey who tends to act like a total jackass (the name says it all, apparently) from start to finish. Both routes cover game reviews but the latter tends to stand out more from the competition.
- A Call to ActionMany content creators tend to overlook their CTAs but it is an integral part to any kind of content. Once a person has been sufficiently convinced and entertained, meaning that they found value in your content, you have to prompt them to do something for you. This is where your audience can directly engage with you and, in turn, help you reach your goal.A call to action is actually quite simple. You can either tell them to like, subscribe, or comment if they like the content or, better yet, share it to their friends. If you offer products and services, you can also provide them with a link to your page to start a transaction. The goal here is you must tell them to do something if they want to get more valuable information from you or, at least, be informed when you publish something new.
The difficulty of mastering content creation is entirely dependent on how you approach it. A smart business owner or content creator will approach the entire affair with a solid plan in mind to create a diverse portfolio of content that entertains, informs, and engages. If that sounds like something that could fit into your overall marketing strategy, then you should do well with content creation. Just make sure that whatever you say, and how you say it, is 100% yours.
What other content creation strategies have you used? What do you think makes for quality content? Let us know in the comments below.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- Mentioned: James Schramko, Dan Andrews, John Lee Dumas, James Altucher, Elisa Doucette
- Twitter: Dan Norris
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