Remember when Bubba was running through the list of potential shrimp dishes with Forest? Marketing could be handled the same way. Let’s see, there’s email marketing, attention marketing, social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, print marketing, traditional marketing, new media marketing, permission marketing… and on and on we go. Which one matters most for we who are blogging for income? Ultimately, content marketing matters the most.
We need reliable hosting, a uniquely branded design and identity, and robust publishing features. We should be building a mailing list and distributing our content in all the right directions. But at the end of it all, we’re ultimately leading people back to a destination that ought to be worth their time. We’re always concerned with getting people to spend their money on something so that we can profit from our blogging efforts, but where our concern should really lie is with motivating readers to spend their time interacting with our content.
So building a great blog begins with producing great content. It continues as people read, consume, and share that great content, and it ends when decisions are influenced by that great content. The question remaining is, what kind of content is best for content marketing?
Great Content Grabs a Reader’s Interest
Effective content marketing starts with the title, and the style of your title will depend on the personality of your blog. I’m annoyed by article titles that use all lowercase letters (that’s why it’s called “Title Case” after all), but I recognize that one or two words in all lowercase letters sometimes fits the artsy and poetic nature of some blogs. More common perhaps is the approach of giving emphasis to keywords. A well-crafted article title ultimately says “HEY! I’m what you’re looking for! You need to read me!”
Great content entertains. That is not to say it doesn’t have a much deeper purpose, but it entertains in that it attracts and holds the attention of the reader.
Great Content Meets a Reader’s Need
Why is it that “how to” posts always skyrocket in popularity? Why are tutorial sites so successful? It’s because they position their content near the point of pain or need in the minds of their readers.
This is not true only of “how to” articles though. It’s also true of articles that encourage the discouraged, connect the disconnected, and inform the uninformed. It’s true of articles that report news people are eager to learn about and articles that honestly review products and services the reader is on the fence over purchasing.
Having solutions goes a long way when it comes to popularity.
Great Content Moves a Reader’s Will
I’m not referring to playing Jedi mind tricks on anyone or using shady marketing tactics. I’m simply saying that the content of a great blog post (as opposed to that of a great short story or novel) should be designed with the resulting action in mind. What should the reader do next? Great content not only answers that question, but spells it out and makes the action apparent and easy to take.
If you want the reader to comment, to share the article, to check out a related post, or even to look at a product for a potential purchase, you should use the content to move the reader’s will toward that decision.
Great Content Motivates a Reader to Share
It’s the social web. We have a thousand sharing options when it comes to content. We can distribute articles through RSS feeds, email lists, content aggregation services, social networks, and microblogs. The issue isn’t having the space in which to share great content, it’s having the content ready to share when the time comes.
I often find myself giving advice to organizations who are launching blogs or online publications for various purposes. Most of the questions tend to revolve around platforms, costs, and editorial calendars. But I always interject these basic thoughts that often get overlooked: Make it simple. Make it social. Make it sharable.
How would you complete my list? What else goes into the making of great content?