Like it or not, the content you create reflects what your business is all about.
If your words are sharp and on point, and give your target audience value, you’re in with a chance.
If it’s self-indulgent, poorly-constructed waffle, that chance disappears before you even knew it existed.
You see, on average, potential customers do 80% of their research online before even contacting a brand. So if you’re not making the right first impression, you’re not going to get a chance to make a second.
Fear not. Making a good first, second and third impression through your content isn’t as difficult as you may think.
Follow these five steps, and you’ll soon see the benefit.
- Put your audience first.
Prospects? Customers? Nope. Audience. That’s how you need to think. Quite frankly, if they haven’t come across you before, they don’t care about you. They care about what you can do for them. So ask yourself, “What does my audience need? What can I help them with?”. Help, not sell. Not yet, anyway. Give them something useful, interesting, engaging. Build trust.
- Share your stories.
Be yourself. There is a shit-ton (technical term) of content out there online, and a lot of it is drab, corporate nonsense. Regurgitations of the same tripe. Don’t add to the tripe. Be yourself, tell your story about what makes your brand, your products and your customers unique. And you. Tell them about YOU! If you’re the brand, then inside your heart and your head lie the stories you need to be telling your audience. When writing your content, keep asking yourself the two magic questions. “Why?”, and “So what?”.
- Publish regularly.
One of the most difficult things when creating your own content is sticking to it. If you leave it in the when I have the time bucket, it’ll never happen. Trust me – it’s the plumber with the leaky tap syndrome. Create a schedule, and stick to it. Once a week? Twice a week? Once a fortnight? Whatever it is, hold yourself accountable.
- Amplify! AMPLIFY!
Once you’ve published your blog on the website, you can kick back and watch that lovely digital traffic roll in, right? Wrong. Now the hard work starts. Share your content on social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Post it in groups. Send it out to your email database. Don’t be afraid to post it more than once. Encourage shares, and make sure you interact with every person who comments on your posts. If you have budget, a carefully-targeted Facebook boost doesn’t go amiss, either. People need to see it, otherwise you might as well not have bothered in the first place.
- Check, check and check again.
And finally, check everything. Twice. Three times if necessary. I know spelling and grammar aren’t everyone’s strong point, but a typo here and a rogue apostrophe there, and off into the sunset your potential customer goes. Simply, it reflects the professionalism of your brand. Word, Google Docs – any word processing program worth its salt underlines things in red or green for a reason. Do not ignore! For extra polish, programs such as grammarly.com are great low-cost tools, while professional proof-readers still exist for a very, very good reason.
After all, you don’t want to be like the PR person I once knew, who for five years had a website proclaiming her to be an “experienced pubic relations professional…”
Martin Wanless is the founder of Spiky Duck, a Newcastle-based content agency helping small-to-medium size businesses share their story with their audiences to drive profitable relationships.
Martin has over 20 years’ experience in the UK and Australia and was previously head of content at Sydney agency Mahlab, working with brands such as CommSec, Randstad, HBF Direct Advice For Dads, Salesforce and Engineers Australia, among many others.