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I know you’re not just another aimless blogger (or podcaster, video maker, [insert what you do here]) looking to clutter up the Internet.
You have a specific purpose behind your content. You want to create content that is valuable for your audience and grows your business.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that, even with a noble purpose like that one, it’s really hard to get your content noticed.
No one is looking for plain old “accurate” or “relevant” content anymore. They don’t have to look for it because it’s flooding their inbox and social streams constantly, like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Your audience wants something more.
They want content that not only provides accurate and relevant information, but something that applies to their specific situation, something they can relate with, and something that helps them make real, significant improvement in their life.
Whether you’re aiming to teach, inspire, or entertain with your content, use the following 4 rules to create content that your audience will love, share, and come back for.
Your readers are very picky. And why shouldn’t they be? Somewhere around 2 million blog posts are written every day. That’s a heckuva lot of content to choose from.
So when it comes to picking a topic for your next blog post or video, it’s worth putting in a little extra time—and research—to get it right.
And there’s one more thing to consider: A content topic that sounds great to you might not sound great to your audience. In order to stand out from the sea of content we’re all swimming in, you need to get inside your readers head.
And here’s how to do it.
Sometimes when we sit down to create content, we accidentally slip into peer-mode. This is when we create content that we think will be impressive in our industry.
The problem is this: Content that impresses others inside our industry isn’t necessarily what will impress our audience. Make sure you’re addressing topics that will help your viewers, not your peers.
The very best way to find out what your audience really wants to know about is to go straight to the source.
Look at questions your readers are asking, the problems they are struggling with, and the solutions they are searching for. Scour the comments sections on other related blogs to see what people are asking about.
Check out Q&A websites like Qu0ra and Yahoo! Answers. Scan profiles on social media for complaints, questions, or rants.
This is all fodder for your next irresistible piece of content.
Most topics have already been written about. It’s really hard to come up with a 100% original idea to create content on, so I’m not going to suggest you try and do that.
But you should avoid creating content that is nearly interchangeable with what’s already out there. So after you’ve decided on a topic, do a quick Google search to turn up other content written on the subject.
Ask yourself, “how can I improve on what’s already being said?” and “were there any questions left unanswered in that post/video/etc.?” and “how can I put my own spin on this subject?”
Earlier, we talked about how there is an abundance of blog posts written every day, and how almost every topic has already been written about.
This has led to a very important shift in what people are looking for online.
Instead of searching only for accurate information and helpful tips, they are looking for those things piled on top of a style, personality, or a view point they can relate to.
Your audience might have read a dozen blog posts on how to choose the right color paint for their kitchen remodel, but they might not really get it until they hear it from you.
Your unique perspective, background, opinions, and personality will make your content unique. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it will appeal very strongly to those that relate with you (aka your dream customers or readers).
So how, exactly, do you tap into what makes you you in order to create content that your readers can relate with? Start by getting comfortable showing some vulnerability.
When we put our opinions, values, past failures (and even successes) out there, we open ourselves up to some degree of push back. But we also open ourselves up to a whole new level of connection with our audience.
People can find facts anywhere—what they really want is the story. Your story.
You’ve probably heard the expression that people have the attention span of a goldfish online. It’s true that almost all of your visitors have their cursor hovering over the back button, so it’s vital that you find a way to capture and keep their attention.
Choose one very specific topic for each piece of content, and then stick to it. If you try to tackle a topic that’s too large, you’ll feel yourself drifting from point to point.
Here’s a trick for making sure your content is focused: Identify the outcome you want for your audience after they view your content.
What one thing do you want them to learn, understand, or get inspired about? At every paragraph, bullet point, and sub-header, ask yourself “does this help my visitor accomplish that one specific goal?”
Remember the outcome you identified a minute ago for your audience to achieve after viewing your content? This is the step where you drive that home and create content so valuable that your audience will love it, share it, and come back for more.
We know that valuable content should help our audience achieve something (whether it’s a specific goal, a lifestyle change, or even a mindset shift), but achieving it is often a process.
We all tend to resist starting a new process—whether it’s for a lack of time, motivation, or courage—so how can you help people act on your content? The simple answer: Make it ridiculously simple to do so.
The actual process of achieving the outcome your content was created to produce might take a while (say, losing weight), so break the process down and identify one, tiny step your audience can take in that direction.
For our “losing weight” example, maybe this small step is identifying one thing they could do today to eat just a little bit healthier or get in an extra 10 minutes of exercise.
Choose something very small that your audience can do for an easy win. It will build momentum toward that goal. This transforms your content from something abstract into something actionable.
Now it’s your turn to score an easy win: Which of these 4 rules do you think your content needs most?
Choose one and share it in the comments below, then implement it in your next blog post/video/podcast/etc.
February 23, 2015
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