Getting the right people to read the content you create has never been easier, and more difficult altogether.
I know this sounds a bit counterintuitive, but let's look at it this way: with modern content marketing methods and the ability to reach potentially millions of individuals, the competitive field has grown significantly. Plus, the number of possible consumers has slightly lagged behind in many sectors.
Yet, it only takes a few basic guidelines to rise above the playing field and stand out from the crowd.
Below I tackled some of the most important guidelines in building content that stands out, also giving examples from those who, in my opinion, are already doing a great job at it. So, here we go:
Publish content that educates and helps solving problems
This has been said a million times already, but is everyone really doing it? Let's not forget that people search the internet for solutions to their problems. For this reason, content should not serve as mere "fluff" stuffed with keywords. Seek instead to educate, clarify, and inform your audience in direct relevance with whatever it is that you are offering.
I have many examples, but one that I recently found and enjoyed reading is Hubspot' s eBook about Google tools for marketing. This is a great collection of resources for marketing beginners. The tools approached are helpful in paid advertising, search optimization, and research.
Thus, as a reader, I learned about some solutions to my problems and how to integrate them in my workflow.
Be edgy and funny
While your ideas may be valuable and helpful, presenting them in an A plus B equals C form will not be so electrifying to your audience. Remember to explain your formula in a catching and exciting manner.
Here is an example that I absolutely love, love, love! 🙂 This is SEOmoz' s Jen Lopez talking about ways to nurture and engage community members. When you look at the list behind her, on the broad, there's no thing in there that you didn't already know. But the way Jen explains them through her personal examples makes her content stand out.
Confession: I kept my pants on throughout the entire video , but it wasn't easy 🙂.
Humor can go a long way in keeping the audience engaged. Even the most mundane subjects can be spiced up with a bit of an edge. In fact, from a strict sales perspective it is this very same wit which may ultimately decide whether the reader or the viewer chooses to become involved.
Explore various types of content
We live in an age abounding in media to communicate what we have to offer. So, while traditional text should never be ignored, exploring other types of content and combinations thereof is a must.
Video content seems to be everyone's favorite these days, which is not so bad. It is a fact that people are greatly stimulated by visual signals; our mind responds better to them. So, with so many platforms and tools to create video content nowadays, it would be a shame not to benefit from them. But while videos are highly recommended, also infographics with eye-catching designs are on the rise.
Depending on the type of information you wish to disseminate, either one of these content types are excellent additions to a strong content strategy.
The example at this step comes from Marketo who feature articles, ebooks, cheat sheets, videos infographics on their marketing resource section.
Make it conversational
Always strive to engage the reader directly, and writing in the first person is a fundamental way to accomplish this. Refrain from using the third person such as "one should take notice of what I have to offer." Instead, passively address the reader in the first person and when possible, ask questions intended to get the reader thinking.
This will serve to pique their interest and keep them involved in what you have to say.
A good example is Derek Halpern's writing. While I was reading this article about his drafting technique, I actually found myself asking in a loud voice: how did you do that? Of course the answer was in the video embedded there, so in the end I didn't feel odd "talking" to a web page :).
Move away from concepts towards real life examples
A final tip which I hope will help to tie the previous suggestions together is to engage your readers and viewers from an empathetic point of view.
No one wants to feel like they are being sold something. People want to learn new and useful things from your content and get results from your solutions. To achieve this, you should move away from conceptualization and share real life experiences. This will tie the readers or viewers into the passive conversation and help them personally relate to the idea you wish them to understand.
An example that I really enjoy is Darren Rowse's video on how to make a broad year ahead plan for blogging. Viewers get to learn from his experience and relate the information to events from their own lives.
Back to you
What is your favorite approach to make your content stand out? Do you think some content types are more engaging than others?
It'd be interesting to see how various tactics help you, as a content creator, emphasize the human aspect of your work. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy How To Write So It Matters
Photo credit: Andrea Prieto