Content marketing: how to create better content

Over the past few months I’ve had some hands on experience with content marketing and have spent time delving into articles and blogs around the topic. I have also had the benefit of attending a content marketing workshop with General Assembly London. The workshop was very beneficial and I have taken away new tips and techniques that I will definitely be using in the future.

Based on all of this, I wanted to share some of the processes and techniques I have learnt to help create better content. So, let’s get started…

Where do I start?

Ever been sat at your desk with a blank screen in front of you wondering where on earth to begin?

You are not alone, it’s a frustrating process creating relevant and engaging content for your readers. The content marketing workshop at General Assembly London has been particularly helpful in opening up my mind to a new way of thinking.

I have created a simple 3 step process developed from my key takeaways of the workshop displaying how I generate content ideas, beneficial for both work and my personal blog and hopefully for you too.

source + purpose + format = engaged content

1) Source

Firstly you will need to decide on how your content will be sourced. You may want to recycle or curate your content, this is the easiest option if you are pushed for time. Creating original content can sometimes be time consuming but definitely worth the results. Here is a list of different sources you can use when generating content ideas:

Content sources

2) Purpose

Before you begin writing your content you will need to define a clear purpose to make sure your content is targeted and reaches your ideal audience. You’ll also want to determine your end goal, ask yourself what you want to achieve from developing content.

  • Are you wanting to build and sustain trust?
  • Do you want to attract new visitors/sales?
  • Are you looking to create customer loyalty?

All of these are great reasons to invest in content marketing, here are just a few more ideas you may want to consider when purposing your content:

Content purpose

Your content should provide answers

Your content should also aim to solve problems and offer solutions by providing answers that are of value to the user. Avoiding the hard product selling is all well and good but it’s vital not to go off track, your story should always have a purpose and avoid becoming too general and bland. Provide answers and give your readers a reason to stay and to return in the future.

3) Format

Now that you have defined the source and purpose of your content you are ready to dive in to the next step. There are many different ways you can format your content, you will need to decide what fit is best for your business but also what is best for this particular piece of content.

To help you along here are just a few of many ideas that you can use for formatting next time you are creating a piece of content:

Content formats

The power of storytelling

Storytelling is important when creating thought provoking content. It creates a relatable and engaging experience for the user, therefore having a higher likelihood of leaving a lasting impression on the reader. Connecting on a rational level is not enough, stories spark emotions and this allows brands to connect with their customers. The fact is everyone has a story to tell and all stories have a core message. By telling stories it allows for open interpretation enabling the reader to explore, learn and discover.

Focus on creating strong headlines

Headlines are the first thing that people see but are often neglected. Headlines are essentially what drive people to your content, increasing click-through rates. Your headlines will need to spark interest, to do this you can use trigger words such as ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’ or ‘when’.

Numbers in headlines also work well to capture the reader’s attention; e.g. ‘12 ways to create strong headlines’. Using strong adjectives such as ‘essential’ and ‘’creative’ and other words that elicit an emotional response such as ‘secrets’, ‘lessons’ and ‘principles’ also work well to attract the user’s attention.

Connecting your headline to your content is just as important. If the user cannot find what they are looking for, they will simply leave your page.

Tip: Create your headline after you have created your piece of content to ensure your content and headline are aligned with one another.

Summary

Overall, creating good content can be a challenge but with the right strategy in place it can ease the process. Content creation is definitely something that takes time, you also won’t see results immediately. However, if you are consistent you will definitely start to see traffic increase over time.

Do you any specific techniques that you use to help you when creating content? I’d love to hear from you.

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