You’ve probably heard a million times that “content is king” and that you need to create as much of it as possible for your website and other online platforms. Content isn’t worth anything, though, if it isn’t high-quality and relevant to your goals and message. Your audience needs to find it useful and applicable to their lives. Otherwise, it is just more junk clogging up space on the internet.
In today’s post, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about how to achieve that goal. Ultimately, it’s about knowing your audience, but there’s so much more to it than just that. Let’s get started with customer personas and go from there!
Build a Customer Persona
“Personas” (or avatars) are essentially made-up representations of your demographics that stem from creativity and research on your target audience. Like creating characters in a book, their development requires fleshing out who they are, right from their age and gender all the way down to their likes and dislikes.
Creating personas always starts with research; in some ways, it’s very much like getting to know who a friend really is. You’ll use research on people you’ve already sold to, as well as surveys conducted with random peer groups, to find out exactly what your target audience looks like.
But why make personas? They give you the power and tools you need to create content that appeals to each subset of your demographics, which can be incredibly powerful. With your content better targeted, you will (hopefully) start to attract a more refined audience that’s much more likely to want exactly what you have to offer.
Develop Content Around Real Questions
People who are interested in your product or service have real questions. Your job is to answer those questions as best you can (without boring them or overselling them).
Sites like Content Ideas, Answer the Public, and Yahoo Answers are great resources when it comes to figuring out exactly what people are asking about your niche. You can use the info you find on these sites to create content that answers the questions you already know people are asking. Your content will not only be relevant, but it will rank well because of its Q&A nature.
Common Sense Keyword Research
Admittedly, there’s a little more to keyword research than just common sense (if only it were that easy). But applying some common sense to the results is critical to your relevance because it helps you make sense of what you see.
Your main group of keywords came from questions you asked yourself about your products, services, and business. Your secondary set of keywords should come from the questions people are asking that you can easily answer, or the problems your audience has that your business can resolve.
What keywords are people using when they are looking for information about solving a problem your product or service already solves? Use those keywords to create content that naturally answers those questions.
Remember, the use of keywords on your onsite pages should be natural and flow properly within your text. Stuffing them into the body of the article is old-school, makes for awkward writing, and may drive readers away from your page.
Look for Trending Topics
Creating content around trending news topics in your niche can help your site stay relevant. The news doesn’t even have to be directly related to benefit you.
Here’s a useful example: you have a site or store that sells baseball gear, uniforms, and fan apparel. Creating a series of content about the teams and players in this year’s World Series will draw in people interested in baseball; they’re more likely to buy during their visit than, say, someone who has never watched a game. Your site becomes a resource for fans and you gain exposure for your products.
Add More Visuals
Already adding visuals? Add more. Seriously. The more the better. Don’t skimp. If you usually add one image per blog post, add three or four instead.
Droning on about statistics? No matter how relevant they are, they’ll stand out more in the form of a chart or infographic.
Have a great video that relates to the blog post? Find one on YouTube that isn’t from a direct competitor and embed it right there in the middle of your article or blog post.
Visuals make text less boring, lessening the risk of that coveted warm lead bouncing off your page and into the great wilds of the Internet. By adding more to look at, you engage your reader and ensure they spend much more time on your page (which boosts your rankings, too).
Shake Up the Format
Don’t use the exact same style of content for every article or post you put on your site. Give each page a bit of flair. Make a video the feature on one page, with some relevant text to support it. Add some shorter blog posts with infographics or short supporting videos. Create long-form text content with plenty of visual images to keep people’s eyes on the page. Even bulleted or numbered lists can break up the page and keep people who skim content for subtitles and bullets on the page a little longer.
Actionable Content is Key
Sharing information with people is one thing; giving them actionable steps they can take to get started with a new skill or on a new path is completely different. Both forms of content can be valuable, but content with a call-to-action or a specific instruction is more relevant because it inspires the reader to take action. This type of content makes you a trustworthy resource people will return to in the future.
Source Your Content
Listen, I get it. Writing quality content doesn’t mean pulling a bunch of brand-new ideas out of your head. You can’t do all the research for every statistic – and you shouldn’t, unless you happen to be the world’s leading expert on that specific topic.
That said, you do still need to convey authority by backing up your claims. Make sure the statistics and quotes you share are linked to quality, trustworthy sources.
If people read your content and question the information or sources, they will be less likely to purchase your product. That’s exactly why you should only link to content that is relevant and authoritative – government sites, .EDU, well-known experts, and academic resources are a great place to start. Backing up your claims shows your audience you did your homework and know what you’re talking about.
Edit Your Meta Descriptions
Your meta descriptions are the little blurbs that show under the initial title and link in search engine results. A lot of website owners don’t even realize they have control over what shows up in this area, but meta tags are a critical part of SEO.
The SEO apps you use on your website should give you a place to easily update the text so that the search results don’t default to the first line of the blog. This is the place to write a captivating hook – something that grabs the reader’s attention, lets them know what they’re in for, and entices them to click. Incorporate a keyword if you can do so naturally; otherwise, do your best to make it exciting.
Remember, content means nothing if it isn’t relevant to your brand. But relevance isn’t a mysterious, mythical creature; it’s the link that ties your content and your target audience together, giving them a reason to return for more. Make a couple of tweaks to the content you’re distributing on all platforms and I believe you’ll see an overall improvement in leads and conversions.