What is the goal of your content creation strategy? Most people would fall directly back on the most obvious line: to increase traffic. But is that really the end goal? Anything can cause a spike in traffic to a website, and it doesn’t immediately indicate a result once it has. You could have 10,000 unique views to your blog a month, but it doesn’t mean anything if they are just peeking at your posts then scampering off.
You don’t just want your visitors to glide through your site. You want them to leave a footprint, create some kind of impact to prove they were there. You want them to share you with their friends, to collect their footprints.
You want to engage.
Engagement brings in more conversions, repeat users, awareness, trust, community building benefits, etc.
Content creation should be about integrating both outreach and relationship tactics. When you keep that goal in mind during the creation process, you end up with a much more efficient piece that generates a much more stable and lasting result.
But how do you do it? …by knowing your final goal, and taking steps to achieve it.
Step 1: Begin planning with your audience (and publishers!) in mind
You are going to be speaking directly to your target demographic, the people you want to keep bringing back for more. Being vague and general just won’t do. Would this post be effective if I was talking to anyone with an internet connection? Of course not! It is for people who want to reach others with their content.
Ask yourself a few questions as you plan out what you are going to create:
- Who is it you are speaking to?
- What interests them?
- What problems do they often face?
- How would they be enriched by your content?
- Is anything trending in that, or related, industries?
- Which questions are they asking?
- What do they like to share?
This will take some research, but a fair amount you will know already. You are involved in the niche that interests them, after all. You can ask the same questions to yourself and get a decent idea of what to create.
- To analyze your audience: Analytics for Content Marketing the Right Way (All three parts)
- To analyze influencers and publishers you are connected to: 5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers
Step 2: Cover topics that others don’t
If you are very lucky, one of your content ideas is going to both be highly intriguing to your audience, and not have been covered a thousand times by other creators. If you aren’t lucky (and you probably won’t be), there will already be a lot out there… making your piece potentially redundant.
Rather than just following the usual script, start taking note of what you can offer that no one else can. If you don’t have anything new, relevant or helpful to lend to the conversation, you should discard the idea. At least for the moment… if you come up with something new in the future, you can write it then.
This is a frustrating process, and you will find quite a few of your ideas being thrown in the scrap heap. But it is worth it for that smaller list of topics or titles that you can really add something to. Just by keeping the quality high, you will be connecting in a more real way to your audience than through a dozen mediocre pieces.
- Here are some ideas on how to keep your ideas to keep coming
- Here’s the tool to help with keyword research
Step 3: Question The Format
By now you should already know the value of varying your content through several forms of media. For example, you can recycle a blog post by turning it into a slideshow, an infographic, or a video. That is just content marketing 101, and something that everyone should be doing to expand their reach.
The problem many content creators run into is not carefully considering the format before they start. As in, not what it can be recycled into, but what it is originally. Bloggers are especially guilty of this, going immediately to the bread and butter of an article when something could be better explained in, say, a graph, or even a recorded podcast.
Your goal should be to find what really reaches and connects with your audience, for any given topic. Other forms of media can also generate a further link, like when they hear your voice, or when a comic makes them laugh.
How you present content can be critical in building a relationship with your viewer.
Step 4: Plan the outreach hook while writing the content
What will your pitch consist of? How will it manage to trigger interest? Is there anything newsworthy or linkworthy in the content you’ll be sharing with media outlets?
How can I make my content noteworthy right now?
Creating an eBook, for example, is a great way to base your oureach on (See step 4 above!). An eBook is a great asset to mention in the pitch. It makes a great asset to promote in blogging communities and platforms.
Just as a test, I made a quick search for eBooks on Tomoson and found lots I could apply to review.
Varied types of content greatly increase your marketing channels and outreach opportunities.
Furthermore, investing in assets helps you long-term, because they attract natural links and build loyalty. Here are a few good examples!
Never forget one very important thing about outreach through content creation: you are creating something to value, to reach people of value, to build relationships of value. In each step of the equation, you have that one description: value. It has to mean something, from the first content created, to the way it engages the people reading it.
It takes time, effort, and careful cultivation. You will have more misses than hits. But any time you manage to connection, reaching your target and coming out of it with a real bond between yourself and the viewer makes all the misses well worth it.
So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t producing viral levels of outreach all the time. Some of the most influential content creators go years without managing that. Just keep your quality high, your end goal based on relationships, and never forget the necessity of true value. The rest will follow naturally.