How to get people to care about our content? How to get people to share our content? These are questions that most publishers spend a lot of time thinking about. Questions that a lot have difficulties answering. This post will provide you with a clear path and everything you need to know to create actionable and interesting content that astonishes people, delights them, adds value to their lives and makes them share and spread the word about it.
There is no love at first sight in blogging
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is that they create content about themselves and not about their target audience. Unless you are interesting to them (and this is a relationship and a process that takes a lot of time to build), visitors don’t normally want to hear about you. They don’t want to spend time on someone they don’t know talking about things with no relevance to them.
They want to hear about themselves, about things that matter to them. They want information that they can use. They want to be educated and entertained. They don’t care about you and they don’t want to consume and share content that’s only about you. For that to happen you need to build trust and a relationship with them, and you don’t do that on the first sight.
Get a clear picture of who you are creating content for. Who is your target audience? What does your target audience look like? Put yourself in their shoes. What problems do they face? What questions do they have? How can you make their lives better and easier? What is not being said on that specific subject on other sites? How can you entertain them? Answer these questions as best as you can. Write things down and then create content with a focus on your visitor and the needs of your visitors.
People have their own dreams, lives and distractions. If you want them to care about you and your content, you have to make them care. You need to provide context. You do that by tapping into their emotions, you do that by telling stories, you do that by helping them out, you do that by creating connections with your content. Give people enough context about something and they will start to care. When they do care about you then you can start introducing more content about you and less content that helps them in general.
Stop providing common sense content
You give solid advice. You provide useful tips. Your do good quality work. Your site is a decent contribution to your field but it is not the content that will compel your visitors to tell their friends and their network about you. Your content is boring. It is generic. Common sense that you publish is not remarkable. It is so easy to start your own site these days (and everyone loves the idea of leaving the rat race). This has contributed to the internet getting bloated with common sense advice from people imitating and copying each other.
All these sites start to look the same and the content and advice becomes very predictable. What they publish is conventional wisdom that for the most part has been told multiple times by multiple people. All the clichés and common sense advice doesn’t do any good when nobody is visiting and paying attention. This contributes to the dreams of a lot of people ending in the long forgotten and long inactive blogs in the never-visited corners of the web.
Don’t tell the same stories. Don’t publish the same rehashed content. Don’t just do another tired old top 5 list. Don’t bring in the same guests to your show that everyone else brings. It is nothing new to your visitors. It is not substantive, it is not interesting, it is not appealing and it doesn’t thrill. It brings nothing new to the table. It is boring. It sucks.
Be great at what you do. Be so good and create such great content that people can’t ignore you. Your content needs to compel your visitors to remark about it. It needs to excite them to take notice and spread the word about it. To achieve this you need to go against the conventional advice. You need to shake people up. Offer something really valuable. People want novelty. They want insights and new tactics. Something that inspires them to think of something fresh. Always learn and improve. Acquire new skills and experiences. Live an interesting life. Listen to people. Tell great stories. Have a never ending thirst to be better. Valuable skills translate into valuable content and valuable content translates into valuable opportunities
By doing this you will never lack visitors, you will never lack fans and followers and you will never lack people sharing your content through the social media.
Presentation must be top
Presentation is a very important element of creating awesome content. In order for people to dig deeper into your content you need to present it well, establish trust and showcase your quality as soon as someone lands on your site. You only have few seconds before the visitor decides to either stay or close the tab. Make sure your article looks amazing. Make sure it is beautiful.
Create an irresistible headline. Use high-quality images. Do image editing. Brand your images with your logo and the headline of your post. Use other multimedia. Write well. Be a great copywriter. Do keyword research. Style the content with large font, subheadings, and split the text into short paragraphs. Add internal links to other relevant content and call-to-actions.
For more on making your content look great take a look at this: 15 Essentials Of Creating Immersive Content.
Limit your output, focus on the quality content
Creating content is not difficult. The hard part is creating great content that gets visited and shared. Most sites have adopted the approach of publishing as much as they can hoping that some of the content works and attracts them pageviews. This is not the right approach. Most content doesn’t stick. Most of it goes completely unnoticed.
This is one of the pieces of advice that you will rarely get in social media and blogging: Limit your output. Focus on the quality instead of the quantity when publishing content. Instead of creating several mediocre pieces of content, create one quality post. Focus on authentic content that provides value instead of the sensationalist pieces that trick people into clicking and don’t deliver. That is very short term thinking. Create content that captures attention instead. Then instead of your posts going unnoticed and having no visitors, you will have one post that actually gets visitors and gets spread in social media. This will also help you gain better search rankings.
Provide unique value, expertise and context
Your posts are products that fill the need in the market. They have competitors. The audience you are targeting has infinite choices among other sites. To have a chance of succeeding you must provide something of value to your audience. Something that is useful, helpful and smart. Something that entertains them. Something actionable. Something interesting. Something that they cannot get anywhere else. There are three points to this:
- Topical expertise
The main currency bloggers have is our topical expertise. That one topic that you know more about than anyone else. You need to establish yourself as an authority in your field and add value. You provide most value when you give substance and analysis to your area of expertise. People look for experts to show them the way. Be the expert.
- New and different
Quality content is not reporting on what everyone else is talking about. There are too many look alike sites and me-too articles. Avoid that stuff. You need to be different, you need to be unique. People want something fresh and new. Don’t just repeat someone else’s advice. You will not have fun and you will feel that everything has already been said. Look at what everyone else is doing and then do something truly different.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and don’t make any assumptions about them. Start very basic. Explain why they need to know what you are telling them. Highlight knowledge that they are missing, information that can help improve their lives. Open gaps in their knowledge and then fill those gaps with useful information. Get better at guiding readers, especially newbies, through large topics and help them understand what the information means, where it fits, and how they can use it.
16 ways of creating thrilling content
- Break patterns. Online surfers adapt quickly to consistent patterns. It makes them tune out. Our brain is very well aware of changes. You need to break a pattern, you need to surprise people in order to grab their attention.
- Use analogies. Tap into the existing knowledge of your audience. Make it easier for them to understand and learn new things by tying it all to a concept that they already know.
- Use the power of influencers and celebrities by joining conversations related to them. These conversations are bigger than your site and you can use them to attract attention to yourself.
- Get early on in the trend and be among the first to create content on the topic. With early trends there is less knowledge, information and competition so you just need to get the basics right in order to get heard.
- Break news if you can. If you break a story before anyone else you will get heard.
- Share your expertise. Share it generously. Make sure people learn something after going through your post.
- Answer common questions. Give detailed advice. Use keyword research and scan social media in order to know the questions that people are already looking for answers to.
- Publish how-to guides and instructions where you explain in simple words and step-by-step process how to achieve something.
- Be analytical. Opinions are cheap. Get real-life examples and data to backup your posts and give them more authority.
- Use lists. People love lists. They are easy to go through and learn from.
- Be topical. Create posts that need to be consumed right now, about topics that people care about right now.
- Be timeless. Create posts that will still be relevant in a year. Posts that will bring you traffic for a long period of time.
- Be funny. Humour works online and it works across borders. Some sites are famous thanks to funny pictures and one liner comments.
- Do some original research. Bring something new to the table. Don’t just repeat what everyone else says.
- Profile and interview experts. People love to listen to experts. They love to learn more about them and figure out how they do what they do. Use this by profiling and interviewing experts in your field.
- Be a curator. Find great content that is not popular, make it more beautiful, present it in a better way, promote it better and get attention to yourself thanks to the expertise of others. Many online empires have been built thanks to content curation. Always credit the original source.
Keeping your content fresh and interesting
- Types of posts that work
You should not keep publishing the same post type as that easily gets boring. Mix things up to keep your content fresh and interesting. Experiment with different types of posts. These are five of my favorites that you can start with:
- Tell about your past success and how you have achieved it.
- Tell about your past failures and what you have learned from them.
- Review a product or a service that is relevant to your audience.
- Do a detailed comparison between two competitive products in your niche.
- Write your opinion about a book you read, include lessons learned.
For a longer list of ideas see: 31 Ideas For Types Of Posts You Can Publish.
- It’s not all about the text format
Format of your content doesn’t necessary have to be text only. Some people prefer to consume content in a more visually appealing way. Your target audience might be more receptive to one content format than the other. Some formats might be less competitive than others so you might have easier time in attracting views.
Some formats might suit you more than others. If you’re not comfortable with writing, it might be more natural for you to record yourself in a podcast format. You have to mix it up and try out different options in order to reach as many people with your content as possible. Use images. Use infographics. Maybe introduce podcasts. Try and shoot some videos. Create presentation slides.
Be critical and go through this checklist before publishing
Write the first draft. Spend a lot of time on the first draft before making it live. Go through this checklist. Edit the copy. Remove all the fluff. Rewrite it. Add to it. Be critical of your work and ask yourself before clicking on the publish button: Is this post actually interesting? Will it teach people something new? Will it offer a new perspective on the topic? Will it entertain my audience? Don’t publish before you are happy with the post and can answer with a “yes”.
It’s not all done – marketing and data collection is next
- Get into a marketing routine
Just publishing a great piece of content is not enough. Nobody will see it unless you have an established audience. You need to get into the routine of promoting your content. Go to social media and inform your following. Submit the content to sites like Reddit, Pinterest and Stumbleupon. Post it in relevant forums. Here is an overview of my own post marketing routine.
- Use data to improve your content
How do you know if your content is good? Public response is what counts and what determines if your content is good. What you control is your ideas and the way you put those ideas into life. Then you release it, promote it the best you can and it is up to the public to decide if they like it or not. Many times posts that you don’t expect to do well actually do. Some posts you don’t even want to publish, but if and when you do it people like it and share it.
Take a look at your analytics to identify the best content. Figure out why people reacted the way they reacted. What made them like the content so much? What made they stay on your site? What made them share it with their family and friends? Keep testing and retesting. Try new things to see what works. Figure out what works and then do more of it.