One question that everybody asks during their first attempt at effective content marketing is, “What kind of content should I create?” It can be a tough one to answer, but today you’re going to get a simple game plan for creating that kind of content that works. Instead of chasing empty pageviews, you’ll be creating the kind of stuff that drives sales.
Before we begin though, we have to address the end goal of content marketing, and where most people go wrong.
The Fatal Flaw: Why So Many Fail at Effective Content Marketing
The big mistake that sabotages most businesses’ content marketing efforts is that they chase after increased pageviews rather than more loyal readers. Just because a site sends you 10,000 hits doesn’t mean even a single one will result in more sales if it’s the wrong audience.
The solution to this problem (and a great incentive to stop chasing random traffic) is to focus on creating the 4 types of content that people LOVE to read. If your content becomes citable enough among those in your industry, you’ll have trust with customers even before they make their first purchase from you.
At the end of the day, your content needs to be:
To help you achieve those end-goals, here are 4 types of content you need to be creating for your business’ blog. If you incorporate these story types into your content strategy, you will be ahead of the crowd when it comes to effective content marketing.
1. Effective Content Marketing Solves a Single, Massive Headache
If you want people to be interested in what you have to say, make it all all about them. Although the web loves “50 Tips” roundup style posts, truly loyal readers are created when you help them solve their problems.
By helping them fix a big headache, from health to wealth to interests, they’ll take notice of what your business is doing. Giving them another giant list to look at is okay on occasion, but content that solves one targeted problem is much more effective to get them engaged immediately.
Think about the problems that your customers often run into. Your product or service likely solves a big problem, your content strategy should solve common headaches as well.
2. Effective Content Marketing Tells an *Interesting* Story
It’s been proven that good stories sell. They are the easiest type of content to get wrapped up in because we all love a good tale and stories are easy to relate to.
One great way to tie this in with Motivation is to feature current customers like we do at FreshBooks. When customers tell their stories about how your product (or services) helped their business, others can relate because they are able to connect with a real person.
Are you incorporating stories into your content strategy?
3. Effective Content Marketing Talks to Beginners More than Experts
Fact is, there are far more beginners than experts in every topic imaginable. That’s just how expertise works. That being said, serving content for beginners can go a long way. Not only will there be a lot of them, but they’ll also remember that your insight was what got them on the right path.
A lot of folks are very loyal to personalities like Ramit Sethi due to his ability to speak about personal finance to young people. Since their first true brush with personal finance is likely to be in these age ranges, the learning stays with them.
The same can be said for HUGE content pieces like SEOmoz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. It’s often recommended as the perfect place to get started with SEO, and has become a massive resource that’s generated thousands of customers for SEOmoz. Are you creating content that helps people get started in intimidating areas in your industry?
4. Effective Content Marketing Reveals “Insider Secrets”
People love “insider looks” into things they can’t normally get a glimpse at. Combine this with the fact that we love stories, giving people an inside peak into something of interest is guaranteed to get them talking.
Remember: You’re an expert in your industry. Ask yourself:
- What can you reveal to people that those outside of your situation wouldn’t normally know?
- What insights can you give from your unique experience?
If you don’t think you have enough experience, you can reveal academic research (it’s “secretive” because not many people will hear about it). Interviews and other behind the scenes features are also very popular and can get you access to other audiences in your space. Show people something they wouldn’t normally have seen, and they’ll give you their attention.
Gregory Ciotti is the marketing guy at Help Scout, the invisible customer service software for small business owners.
This is an archived post from the FreshBooks Blog and was originally published in November 2012.