Creating great content isn’t enough for your small business. Instead, you need to create content that stands out from the crowd. Follow these four tips to churn out pieces that will be read and shared for years to come.
One of the most fulfilling parts of executing your content marketing strategy is watching your work spread across the internet. Unfortunately, there are millions of pages, videos and files uploaded every day. With this much stuff out there, you have to work that much harder to break through the content clutter.
As we discussed in our last post on building a content marketing strategy, identifying the informational needs of your audience is a key step to making yourself heard. Take a look at these additional ideas that are proven to increase the “sharability” of your content.
1. Write a Compelling Headline
Take a quick look at your Twitter or RSS feed – there are probably hundreds of articles streaming through. But how many of them do you actually read? If you’re the average internet user, not many.
In other words, if the goal is for others to share your content, they have to engage with it first. And before they can engage, they have to be compelled to do so. This is where your headline steps in.
Here are a few tricks to creating solid headlines:
- Summarize the key benefit of the content. What is the main takeaway?
- Lead off with a number. For example, “5 Ways to…” “13 Mistakes Made…”
- Add some pizzazz: Make analogies or metaphors; use illustrative language
- Study headlines from other websites and draw inspiration from their ideas
- Create headlines around pertinent keywords – this will help with search rankings later
2. Address Breaking News and Trending Topics
Some of the most shared content involves analysis or commentary of breaking news. Content that takes this approach is highly valued because of the organic buzz surrounding the topic at hand.
Some ideas on how to leverage trending topics:
- Write an opinion piece on a particular development in your industry
- Create a live blogging event from a conference or tradeshow
- Provide an in-depth analysis that goes beyond standard news reporting
- Outline the history of a trending topic that led to its current popularity
How do you find out what’s trending?
- Use Twitter’s trend list and search tool for real-time developments
- Utilize Google’s “Hot Trends” to view recently popular search terms
- Perform a news search for your industry to find recent articles
The key here is to create content that is timely and insightful. If you write a basic summary of an event two weeks after it happened, you won’t get much pickup.
3. Compile Research and Statistics
Out of the hundreds of articles I’ve written, the most popular ones have included in-depth research and statistics. You can easily apply this same principle to your own content marketing efforts.
The first step is to select a topic and an angle. Then, hit the books to find quality insights regarding your selection. Finally, compile all of your research to make a conclusion. Think of it as writing a term paper for school.
The beauty of this approach is that your research-centered content can be repurposed in a number of ways. These insights can quickly be turned into blog posts, videos and tweets. The trick here is finding a broad array of sources – don’t feel obligated to develop your own research.
4. Be Edgy
People love controversy (just look at all the Lindsay Lohan coverage), and so should you. That’s why inserting a bit of spice can add an extra “oomph” to your content.
The best place to start is your headline. Then, insert some edge to your blog post or webinar to keep customers engaged and coming back for more. For example, you could create content that illustrates why an industry expert “got it all wrong,” or explain why a form of conventional thinking is outdated. There are tons of ideas out there that you can leverage to bring more attention to your content and business.
CAUTION: The line between edgy and inappropriate is very fine and shifts from person to person. That’s why it’s important to know your audience and what they can tolerate. My favorite rule of thumb is to be tactful, not tacky.
As you continue developing your small business’ content marketing strategy, you’ll quickly discover which topics catch on and which don’t. If you pay attention to the levels of engagement and feedback for your different content pieces, you’ll begin to develop a rhythm and identity, both important parts of publishing content that consistently breaks through the clutter.
Join us next time when we discuss different ways to help share and spread your content.
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion
This article is a part of our Effective Content Marketing for Small Business series. Please check out the other posts and share them with anyone who may be interested.
Effective Content Marketing for Small Business:
Volume One: What Is Content Marketing?
Volume Two: 9 Ways to Get Started
Volume Three: 6 Steps to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Volume Four: 4 Ways to Break Through the Content Clutter
Volume Five: 9 Simple Ways to Spread Your Content Like Wildfire
Volume Six: Metrics You Can Actually Use
Volume Seven: How to Stay Committed to the Cause