When we produce content, we all have similar goals. We want our words to spread like wildfire, engage and educate people while leaving a lasting mark on their memory. The question is: how?
These days the web is saturated with regurgitated content and a variety of outlets that all lead to the same answers. So what will get an audience to look at you as an authority? Killer content. Read on to discover the anatomy of content that lasts, spreads and transcends the rest.
Create A Customer Conversation
Before typing your first word you need to start thinking like an audience. By positioning yourself in the audience mindset, you can relate to wants and anticipate the needs of your readers. You know what it takes to get you entertained (a thoughtful insight, some satire and wit), so in an appropriate capacity, deliver those same things to your audience.
When crafting your content try to leave as many points open ended as possible, meaning, try to spark some debate and conversation. If you provide people with a standard speech they will have to take things as they are at face value. But if you provide a fluid and flexible document that asks questions and begs for reflection, you are opening yourself up to audience engagement.
Make sure the points you make act as jumping off platforms that encourage further exploration and discussion. While you should present yourself as an authority on industry related content, you should also position yourself as open to questions, comments and criticisms.
Be Both A Sire And A Steward
Sure, your initial goal is to produce your own killer content; however your ultimate goal is to catch an engaged audience. Rightfully so, internet audiences are weary over who to trust and follow. Luckily you can build your creditability by building off of the talents of others.
In addition to creating your own unique content don't be shy to interject someone else's thought-provoking work into the mix. Industry related advancements and milestones should be shared with your audience. Do not be afraid to share other worthy content on your site (with proper credit cited of course).
Cool insights of others can be jumping off points for conversations with your audience. Share with them what a certain piece got you thinking about or motivated to try. This type of move will get people to see you as a similar individual with your own influences, and may make it easier for them to relate.
Provide A Lesson Learned
Above all, killer content is useful content. Without a doubt your content needs to align with your brand and it needs to be relevant to your mission, audience, products and services. It also needs to provide a take-away.
Providing how-to articles and lessons learned will give your readers more than just an enjoyable read, if will give them something they can try out in their own practice. Before you produce any type of content ask yourself" "What am I hoping my reader will take away from this, what will this content provide?" Let that answer be your guiding light through drafts, revision and publishing.
Respond To Whatever Sparks Their Interest
Sure, it's a great idea to have an editorial calendar, but it is a horrible idea to let it rule your content creation. If you want an engaged audience then you need to be active and attentive. What types of articles is your audience really responding to, what type of follow-up questions did they post? Cater your content to their reactions, not to a predetermined timeline.
It is so important not to produce just for the sake of producing. You need to have an overwhelming reason when asking your audience to lend you their ears. Keep their interest going by providing teasers and foreshadowing at the end of each post. I.E. "X, Y, Z are related topics that I hope to explore with you further, maybe we'll get into it next week" Additionally branding your posts (i.e. "This month we will be exploring") will give readers insight while building their anticipation for the posts to come.
What other elements make up killer content?