BY JOHN RAMPTON
With so much content being produced on a daily basis from all types of sources, users have quite a challenge sifting through it all to get to the good stuff — that relevant content that helps them with a problem, makes life easier with a list of hacks or just simply entertains with a positive, motivational boost. Even more challenging is to make the type of content that people want.
While you may have an idea of what it is your audience is searching for and even gone as far as to make personas that further define the type of content to produce, there’s even more that you can do to generate relevant content. Here are some ways that you can improve your content marketing initiatives, messages and style to capture your audience’s attention. The have worked for me across multiple businesses.
1. Go deep with the data.
Generalizations don’t make for relevant content. Statistics and research culled from various reports and studies do. If I read an article and there are just ideas but nothing to back up those thoughts or connection to deeper insights, I immediately think it’s “fluff” and dismiss it. However, when there is quantitative evidence about various demographics, there is more for the reader to relate to and view as credible to pique their interest.
Take the time to do extra research when putting your content together. Whether it is an academic study or a report compiled by an industry organization, look for specific findings to share. Not only is this interesting, but it also can be used to further your thought leadership position as the expert on this subject matter.
While you may not have the funds or need to purchase some of those research reports that cost upward of thousands of dollars, there are numerous other industry reports published by analysts, big data companies and academic journals that you can find through a Google search or by using Google Scholar. Be sure to link and appropriately cite all this deeper data as well.
2. Include real-life events.
Stories can be made up, and they are not what your audience is seeking. They want to hear about people like them who have gone through the same thing but somehow found a way to solve their problems.
To achieve this, we regularly ask our customers if they would be willing to participate in an interview where we can create a case study from their responses. The content shares each customer’s story, including their challenges and what they wanted to achieve. Without making it into sales copy on our service, we include how it was resolved and what they were able to achieve by focusing solely on specific tips they employed along with our software.
The real-life content can be used in written format, but we’ve found video to be even better for our audience (of course, the customers have to agree to be filmed). This content has proven to be some of the most relevant and engaging we’ve developed.
3. Answer questions.
Using common questions you receive through your help desk or on social media is a great launching point for creating relevant content. In fact, we often search these channels to brainstorm article and blog post titles that are then written around the questions we find.
Not only will you instantly engage those audience members who most likely asked those questions or had similar inquiries, but you will also deepen your relationship when they realize you have been listening intently.
4. Pay attention to trends.
You will need to be a voracious reader in order to write about the trending topics you discover your audience prefers. That means doing keyword searches on search engines plus staying on top of discussions on sites like Reddit and Quora. Other media platforms regularly list trending topics on their pages that you can use as the basis for filling up your content calendar, including places like BuzzSumo, which lists the most read articles on a particular topic.
What your social media followers like, comment on and track are also areas to continually explore to shape your relevant content development strategy. You are simply researching what your audience most wants to hear about. There are numerous platforms that even use artificial intelligence to do this for you, which you might especially want to consider, since there is so much content out there and your customer base may be too large for you to stay on top of each follower with limited resources.
5. Package the content in different ways.
Relevancy also goes beyond just the topic of your content. You also want to pay attention to how and where to deliver it. That means packaging the content in various multimedia methods, including infographics, videos, screencasts and even podcasts. Utilize live streaming and social media video formats to share content in a much more personable, interactive way.
Before you delve into these different content delivery platforms, make sure you study how others use them, what type of response is received and which ones are most engaging. You’ll also want to do research your target audience to see what different demographic groups view as a relevant content delivery method. From there, you are likely to make the best impression possible.
6. Keep changing.
The best way to stay relevant is to be consistent in your overall style and focus, but continue to change and reinvent the content you create. That’s because your audience finds the most relevant content to be the freshest and most unique out there.