In November of 2007, the Kindle was released. This device destroyed the competition and had sold over three million units by 2010. What contributed to Kindle’s success, and why was it able to stand above the rest?
The most popular products all have something in common: they are built with the user in mind. In the inside story of how the Kindle was born, Steve Kessel relates how the team would sit in a room and read on the device for an hour. They’d read and report on how the device felt in their hands amongst other usability metrics. Even after launch, Kindle’s core team personally reviewed customer emails to learn how people felt about the device.
Did this attention to customer experience and feedback benefit Kindle? Over ten years later, and the Kindle is still the most popular e-reader on the market. Like Kindle, you have an opportunity. You can stand out from the competition if you put your customers first. Creating engaging content is one area in which you can do this. But first, should you care about writing content for your website?
Content marketing is marketing you truly own
The difference between content marketing and traditional marketing could be compared to renting and purchasing a car. Typically, you rent a car for a specific purchase, like a family vacation or business trip. The car serves you well, but after a short time, you have to return it. Many traditional marketing methods are similar in that you pay for advertising, but you only benefit from that investment for a short time.
In contrast, when you purchase a vehicle, it’s yours. Whether you want to use it for your business or to tow a recreational vehicle, the choice is up to you as its owner. Similarly, content marketing is an investment that you can continue to benefit from in the future. For example, imagine you manage marketing at a financial firm and you write a post on personal financial health basics. Initially, it may serve as content on your website. However, since it’s your media, you could repurpose it as a handout for a new client, follow-up tool for sales leads, or even link to it in email marketing campaigns.
Creating content you own expands your marketing power, but it can be a challenge to write for your audience. What steps will help you write great content?
Four steps to writing content your readers will care about
1. Know your audience. Understanding your audience can make your content marketing efforts 2-5 times more effective. This boost is because you’ll write about what your potential customers care about.
How can you get to know your audience better? The best way is to talk to them. Interviewing good and bad customers, asking for product reviews, and focus groups are great ways to find out what your customers like and dislike about your product. However, don’t shy away from market and competitor research. Understanding what else is on the market is a great way to learn what people are interested in.
2. Ask an important question. Why am I writing this content? Every piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, sales tool, or whitepaper, should provide value to the reader. If your answer to this question is to build your SEO efforts, go back to the drawing board. Focusing your attention solely on grabbing relevant keywords won’t help you engage readers. If the article is mindlessly dull to you, it probably will be for your audience too.
3. Step out of your shoes. As an expert in your field, you take a lot of what you know for granted. That’s because every field has industry-specific jargon and details you learn on the job. I recently had a conversation with a friend who works construction about work. It was like we were speaking a different language. Both of us using what we consider everyday terms, while the other stared like a deer in the headlights.
Make sure people understand what you write. Take out jargon or define it, simplify foreign concepts, and use practical comparisons. This clarity will help people quickly grasp the value of what you write. If you have a hard time stepping out of your shoes, ask someone else to read it.
4. Please edit your work. People don’t expect you to be a world-class writer, but they do expect professionalism. Editing your work will help you elevate your content before publishing, eliminate typos and grammar errors.
You don’t have to go overboard when editing your work. In fact, I would encourage you not to. Balance the need for professionalism with the need to produce content consistently. If you do, you’ll experience a boost in quality without sacrificing production.
Start writing content your audience and sales team loves
These four steps will help you write engaging content that adds value to your audience’s lives. It’s counterintuitive, but you get the best ROI when you write to give people value for free. Following all of the steps to craft a compelling content strategy for your industry can be a challenge. Talk to us today and our content strategists can help you create a content calendar to start writing today.