Content marketers all have their own ways of doing things, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Too often, it causes them to do things that really just don’t work out. They aren’t bringing in the kinds of conversion numbers they want to see, and their content isn’t getting ranked highly. They don’t always know why that’s the case, but there are some things they can do in order to make sure more people want to read and share the information they’re putting out to the world.
Know who the audience is – and how they will react.
If you don’t know your audience, you’re going to have trouble. People react as individuals, but there are some predictable reactions across a group, depending on the group. With that in mind, you want to market your content to the right people, and in the right way. The more you understand your audience (i.e. target market), the more you can do that quickly and efficiently, without worrying about whether they’ll like or understand your message. It doesn’t take much to ensure that you’re giving your message to the right audience, so it’s vital to understand that audience and its preferences before you get started.
Click bait is not your friend.
Plenty of people create sensational headlines, and those get a lot of clicks. Unfortunately, people do that and then don’t follow through with the actual story. Often, the truth that’s found in the article can be something quite a bit tamer than the headline. That makes people angry and disappointed, and they can feel like they’ve been fooled. That definitely won’t keep them coming back to a particular site, or reading the work of a specific online author. It may be tempting to sensationalize a headline, but be sure your story can really back that up.
Make sure your claims are verifiable.
No matter what claim you’re making, big or small, people should be able to check out what you’ve said for themselves. If they can independently verify what you’ve told them, your popularity will soar, because people will begin to trust you. That trust can lead to a strong relationship with your readers, which can entice them to buy from you, or get them focused on the cause you’re promoting. Whatever you’re trying to get your audience to do, at least some level of trust in you needs to come first.
A headline should get attention, but it should also provide information. People should know the basics of what the story is about, just from looking at the headline. If it’s confusing or just sensational without providing any value, you’re not going to get very far with readers. That’s something you want to avoid, and it’s not that difficult to write a headline that both entices and informs without lying about what people will find when they read the story or article attached.
Always look for the bigger picture.
No matter what kind of content you’re providing to the world, there’s likely a bigger picture surrounding it. You don’t have to cover that bigger picture all the time, but it’s a good idea to hint at it. People want to know that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, especially if you’re putting out content about an important cause or world events. Knowing that there’s more to the idea than just what fits in your article can encourage your readers to start digging deeper into the issue.
Keep reader distractions to a minimum.
Your site shouldn’t be designed to distract the reader. Keeping your scrolling ticker-tape of information, your flashing banner ads, and your pop-ups to subscribe to a bare minimum – or nonexistent, if possible. The more you distract the reader, the less likely he or she is going to be to read the content. That’s something you want to avoid, and something that’s in your control. Think about the actual experience of the reader, and how he or she relates to the content and other information on the site. Remove anything that’s truly not needed, to minimize distractions.
Don’t rehash the same old stuff.
It can be easy to keep saying the same thing in different ways, but readers can and do catch on to that. When they do, they generally find it annoying, and it could stop them from coming back to your site. You need new content. If nothing new has been said on a topic for a while, consider an opinion piece or taking a different angle on something. There are generally plenty of “spin-off” ideas that can be used to make content new, so you’re sticking to the things you want to write about but you’re not just going over the same things again.
Mix evergreen content with current news stories.
Evergreen content is important, because it keeps you from having to continuously go back and update what you wrote to reflect the present day. Still, you’ll also want to have some current news stories. Strive for a mix of the two, so you can leave things alone once you write them, and people who find your site at a later date can still get content that’s relevant to them at that time. If all you provide is information on the present day, that information won’t be accurate later. Depending on how time-sensitive your topic is, anything you write could be out of date within a week or two. By mixing that with evergreen content, you’ll have a more stable site where information is concerned.
Tell your reader what the stakes are.
Readers should know why you’re providing them with content. What do you want them to learn or do as a result of the information you’re giving them? That’s where the stakes come in. If there’s a reason a reader should act on something you’ve written about, tell them – and also tell them why. They may not know the value or importance of your issue, or they may not be sure if there’s anything they can do if they want to get involved in a particular cause. By letting them know just how important the issue is and how they can start helping, they’re more likely to do something you ask of them, whether it’s donating, buying something, or boycotting something.
Be honest. Every time.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately it still has to be said. If you lie to people and they catch you, it’s going to take a long time for them to trust you again. Some of them just won’t bother at all, and you’ll lose them as readers. Also, people talk. Word of your dishonesty will get around, and that will cause you to lose readers you might have gained in the future but didn’t have yet. Don’t risk it, even if the lie is small or you think no one will notice. It’s much better to tell the truth and be brutally honest. The readers who stick with you will be the ones you really want, and the ones who clearly understand the value of what you’re offering.