In this blog post, I’ll share about what makes content compelling and how to create and promote compelling content. You’ll understand how blogging is an easy way to get found in the search engines and how to get your message across to your audience.

Table of Contents

The Two Targets in Content Writing
Considerations to Content Creation and Blogging
Four Elements That Make Content Compelling
Benefits of Creating Compelling Content
Before Jumping In
Defining Your Goals
Developing a Buyer Persona
Getting Your Team Involved
Educating Your Company’s Leadership
Blogging is Just One Way to Do It
Generating Topic Ideas
Assigning Your Chief Content Officer
Take a Content Inventory
The Editorial Calendar
Six Tips for Writing Compelling Content
Promoting Your Compelling Content

Why add content to your website? Content is a very important part of your website, to the online marketing process and in gaining authority and visibility in the search engines. As an Internet marketer and owner of a WordPress web development company, content is something on which I’m always focused.

When I’m working with content for my clients, I’m constantly thinking of the best activities to accomplish on behalf of my clients, in order to help them achieve their marketing goals. I have to keep asking myself, “What does the client want the visitor to do when they’re on their website?”

The Two Targets in Content Writing

In regards to content, there are two things to be concerned about. The first is the search engines; the second is the actual people who are reading your content. With SEO, a few years ago, activities were focused around publishing as much content as possible and building links to and from that content. It didn’t matter how illegible that content was and where the links were coming from, your website – due to the exact-match anchor text used in the backlinks – would get indexed and visitors would easily find your website on the first page of the search engines results.

It’s not so much like that anymore. Because the search engines’ algorithms have continually evolved, it has become harder to “do SEO”. The ideas that I’m sharing here will help you to strategically apply industry best practices when attempting to rank your website higher in the search engines through content creation and distribution.

An outcome of creating content is that it allows the opportunity of getting attention by key influencers in your industry. When popular people, who have more followers in their social media circles than you do see your website, they might get excited about it and share it with their friends and colleagues. This is a good reason by itself to add content to your website. Another reason to add content to your website is to get in front of your ideal prospects. Everyone has their different motivation for why they have a website. Some motivations are to sell advertising space, to disseminate information, or to sell a product online, but what I’m talking about today is creating compelling content that gets your website visitors to take your desired action.

Considerations to Content Creation and Blogging

There are a few things to consider in creating content for your website.

TIME: If you don’t have time for it – or… don’t want to make the time to do it – you might want to hire a professional to help you with content creation. It might not be the best use of your time to do it yourself, especially if you are busy working on other areas of your business.

TALENT: If you don’t have the talent (maybe you don’t really prefer writing) you can always hire somebody as well. I deal with a lot of clients who are local small business owners. They’re out in their shop, fixing a car, or up on a roof, pounding in nails. Sometimes, they aren’t confident in their writing skills. It is common for a business to hire a marketing company or a freelance writer to create content for them.

TEAM: Another consideration is whether or not you have a team. Don’t just try to do everything yourself. Working with a team, as much as possible, can save you a lot of stress. At SunAnt we have around a dozen people in our company. Every month, everyone is responsible for publishing one blog post each; even our bookkeeper writes about topics like, “What to do at the end of the year for your taxes”, which our customers enjoy reading about.

TOPIC: The final consideration is the topic. Determining what you are going to write about is half the battle. Hopefully it’s going to be something that is actually appealing to your audience. You can write specifically using the keywords that you’re trying to gain visibility for in the search engines or focus on the broader picture, using tangential topics that people might find interesting.

Four Elements That Make Content Compelling

First, compelling content is aligned with your marketing goals. If you don’t know what your company’s goals are – other than to make money – you might have to spend some time thinking about that before getting started with the writing.

Second, compelling content is created with a particular reader in mind. A lot of marketers have an idea in their head of who their target audience is, but it’s hard for them to vocalize that. To make it easier on yourself and those who might write for you, write it down on paper, so you have a clear picture of who you’re writing to.

Third, compelling content is relevant, inspiring, influential, desirable, timely or sharable. You can write about an upcoming event in the form of a press release. Or, you can write a summary about an event that recently occurred. These kinds of things contribute to content being compelling.

Fourth, compelling content is marketed and distributed through appropriate channels. If you’re writing about space travel and you’re distributing your content on mommy-blogging sites, it might not appear very compelling to the audience reading it. You might think it’s fairly compelling, but the person reading it might not be that interested.

Benefits of Creating Compelling Content

It Brings Greater Visibility: Compelling content is going to have a greater potential to be found in the search engines because more people are sharing it on social media venues. The more people that share it, the more it shows up in your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ feed and others’ timelines.

It Acts as a Sales Tool: Your salespeople who are going out there and selling your products or services can be referring back to your website. Having compelling content can help in that sales process. If you receive calls with the questions that often take up the time of your salespeople or receptionist, compelling content can help answer those questions and save you and your prospects’ time.

It Builds Credibility: Compelling content also makes your company look like an expert in their niche. The more quality content you have on your website, the more likely it is that people are going to see you as an authority.

Before Jumping In

Before you just start writing and getting out there and tackling it, there’s a few things you want to do. You’ve got to define your goals. What is your mission? What is your vision? What do you actually want to accomplish by doing this? You’ve got to understand your audience. If you have a team, you will want to get your team involved and get them to buy in as well.

Defining Your Goals

You’ve heard about SMART goals, right? SMART goals are really smart. When creating goals for your website, your business or for your content marketing strategy, they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Time-bound means it should be achievable, let’s say, within a year, or there has to be some way of figuring out that, “Yes, I actually reached my goal.” When you break it down into the acronym, SMART goals is a good thing to go through there. Make sure that they’re specific.

In this regard, when we’re talking about websites, maybe one of your goals is going to be to get people to subscribe to a newsletter, download a PDF or view a case study.

Developing a Buyer Persona

Another thing to do before getting started is to ensure you truly understand your audience. A part of understanding your audience, is defining who your audience is and figuring out your buyers’ personas. In building a persona, you should attempt to segment your users by demographics. How old are they? What gender are they? What are their affinity categories? What else do they buy? When you’re thinking about this buyer persona, you’re focusing on answering the questions that prospects or customers might have in your content. Why do you want to create a buyer persona? It’s going to help you to focus on what you’re writing about.

If you can have that person in mind, for example, “I’m writing to young males who love electronics”, you can think, “Okay, they’re really geeky.” If you define that, write it down on paper or record it electronically, that’s something that you can share with other people and say, “Hey, when you’re thinking about content for your website, this is what you should have in mind.” If you’ve predefined that buyer persona, you’re going to spend less time proofreading and editing other peoples’ inadequate content.

If you’re doing this with your company or just even by yourself, you can have a brainstorming session and just try to break it down into the demographic, or attitude, or behavior set. You can have one buyer persona or maybe two or three. Either way, at least if you have something written down, it’s going to be a start. When you’re brainstorming, you could say… “This buyer persona represents an early buyer”, or “they’re early into the buying process”. They might not know much about the product or service that they’re looking to buy. They’re researching.

Another persona could be prospect who is mid or late, and they’re ready to buy. The keywords that they’re using to get to your website or the questions they’re asking are buying questions. They might be at a real different place in life. You can start to target that content around their emotions or their feelings or where they’re at.

Getting Your Team Involved

The next thing is getting your team involved. Like I said, I have a group of a dozen employees. Around 70% of us are doing this every month, and a couple people I have to nag. There is a high correlation between management’s buy-in and the rate of success with blogging. If you can get backing from management for this, it’s going to make your life a lot easier, so that you’re not the only content producer.

Educating Your Company’s Leadership and Team Members

Writing takes a lot of time, and writing properly could be draining on your resources. But, as for getting your team involved, there’s a couple ways you could do that. You’ve got to educate the company’s key influencers about blogging, for example. Blogging is a tangible and very flexible way to add content to your website. It can be very conversational. It can be almost any type of content. It could be text, video, images, or infographics.

Get the executives and staff members buy-in. You might want to hold a workshop that explains why blogging is important, how people are actually going to do the blogging, or what blogging is all about. At that workshop, you could talk about how it can benefit your company by getting more traffic to your website and by getting people excited about your products and services.

Blogging is Just One Way to Do It, But It’s a Great One

There are many different types of content out there. One of the most basic types is curated content from other sources instead of writing it yourself. Other types of content include: write white papers, how-to guides or podcasts. Specifically, though, blogging is something attainable that you can do on a daily basis, weekly basis or a monthly basis. You’re not held to a specific standard. It could be done more loosely.

Generating Topic Ideas

One of the big issues that people come up against is coming up with ideas. We are all busy business owner, marketing managers, IT professionals, or entrepreneurs. So when we finally shut off our phone or shut the door to focus, we sit down at our computers and start thinking about writing and it just doesn’t come out naturally. Sometimes, it feels very forced when you’re thinking, “Okay. I need to produce content. What should I write about?” It can be difficult.

It is helpful to have a repository of topic ideas built up. One way to get topic ideas could be to hold a session for an hour with your team to brainstorm topic ideas. A great way to generate topics is to think of as many possible questions that customers might ask from day to day. Write those questions down, because all of those could be potential blog posts or FAQs to post to your website.

When your team members are giving you ideas, they’re probably going to be one of the best sources to actually help you to write that content, too. When someone is giving you an idea, write down who that idea came from. Follow up with them. Ask them questions about it. It won’t take long to come up with 150 words. Then, someone else on your team can help take that 150 words and turn it into 350 words. An editor can take that and tweak a little bit and make it publish-worthy. Now, your website will give the search engines one more reason to rank your website instead of your competitor’s website!

Assigning Your Chief Content Officer

It will help to assign someone as the “chief content officer”. It sounds like a very official title, but there needs to be a champion, other than yourself, who is responsible for ensuring content is written well and published on time and helping to lead the charge.

Spend time thinking of who’s going to plan, who’s going to delegate, who’s going to edit the content and so on. Hopefully, there’s a staff member who you know that can do that.

Take a Content Inventory

“What does your website already have? And, what doesn’t it have?” It’ll be a good idea to create a content inventory at least once every six months or once a year. As an SEO guy, there’s something that I do. I don’t even have to talk to the client and say, “Hey. What kind of collateral do you have?” I just go to their website, and use a tool called Screaming Frog. You just put the URL in there, and it downloads every single link that’s on their website and tells you what the title tag is, then a description. So, I can easily go through there and see the kinds of things that they are already writing about on their website, and maybe look for opportunities.

What do they have as far as brochures or offline marketing? What do they have on their website itself? Start looking for gaps.

The Editorial Calendar

Whether you have a chief content officer who can do the work for you, or if it’s your own responsibility to get the work done, creating a calendar is going to be key, because it’s something to which you can hold yourself or others accountable. An editorial calendar can be something that you actually put in your calendar or it could be written on paper. Whatever it is that you use, make sure that it’s sharable. Your editorial calendar detail the topics, the deadlines for writing, editing and publishing, and who’s responsible for each piece of content or each phase of the process.

Another part of the editorial calendar might be to make a note beside each topic that reminds the writer who the audience is. Your audience isn’t always going to be the same for every piece of content your publish. For example, if you’re working with a law firm, they might have practice in the area of family law issues, or they might deal with business law, such as mergers and acquisitions, which are two very different topics with two different audiences.

When creating a content calendar, make sure to decide who’s responsible for writing the content, who the audience is, and when it’s going to be published.

It is important to have all of this accessible to the rest of your team. At SunAnt, we use a Google calendar to allows the other team members to know when their blog post is due. We have a spreadsheet that tracks who published what, and when. Finally, it is a good idea to record where the content actually ended up getting published. Sometimes you start writing content for one purpose, but it ends up being more useful in a different venue. For example, you might wonder if it ended up getting published on your own website or if it was used on another website as a guest post blog.

At SunAnt, we track which team members have written and who hasn’t each month. This spreadsheet we keep is shared with the person who’s responsible for creating our monthly newsletter. They know what the title is, what link to use and they can quickly take an excerpt from the first paragraph of our published blog posts and put it into our newsletter and easily send it out to our customers via email. If everyone is doing their job, it can become a well-oiled marketing machine.

Six Tips for Writing Compelling Content

Tip One. Check that the story provides true value.

Was the content published just for the purpose of writing and for the sake of fulfilling a responsibility? You actually want to add value. Don’t waste people’s time just writing crappy SEO content that has keywords stuffed in there. Think of what the person is actually going to be getting out of it and not just what you’re going to be getting out of it for having it on your website.

Tip Two. Don’t abuse your important keywords.

You’ve have to think about what is your focused keyword for this article or this blog post and try to write around that keyword. That’s a great way to start getting certain pages on your website to rank for different keywords for which you want to rank by focusing; making sure that that topic is actually covering those keywords but not stuffing that keyword in there.

Tip Three. Make the content social.

Don’t just depend on Google results alone or Google traffic alone. And what that means to me is that you can go out to Facebook or LinkedIn, whatever your venue of choice might be, perhaps Google Plus… and push that content out. Some people use social media as a branding tool and to communicate back and forth, but don’t forget it’s a great way to push stuff out as well, so long as you’re not doing it too much. You don’t just want one-way communication all the time.

Tip Four. Create meaningful headlines.

Something like, “Ten Critical Reasons to Whatever” or “You’ll Learn This At Next Week’s Webinar.” You might see it a lot in somebody’s email newsletter. It just says, “Cool Things Happening This Month”. That’s your subject line. When I read a headline, I would ask myself “Should I even read that?” Maybe not.

Tip Five. Beef up your title tags and meta descriptions.

WordPress makes it easy for you to enhance blog post title tags and description snippets, especially if you install something like Yoast SEO. And make sure that when you’re embedding images into your blog posts that you have the Alt tags defined. Alt tag is just one more way that you can get good keywords in there, not only that, but screen readers and disabled people that can’t see very well are going to like that because they may understand what the picture is if you have some good, relative keywords in there.

Tip Six. Remember the call to action.

Part of the whole concept behind compelling content is to get your website visitors to take action. There should always be some sort of call to action on the page. You want to call the reader to action. That’s why it’s called a “call to action”!

Don’t just write a blog post and say, “There you go. There’s my awesome thoughts.” At the end of it, why not add a statement like, “If you’re looking for advice on how to write content call us at 1-800-555-5555 or fill out our contact form and we’ll tell you how we can write you 12 blog posts in 12 months.” There’s always something that you can do to get the person that’s reading the article to take some kind of action.

There are many types of different calls to action as mentioned earlier we were talking about downloading a PDF or subscribing to a newsletter. You’ve got to think ‘sharable’. Create content that deserves its place at the top of the search engine results and you know create content that actually gets people closer to making that decision to either buying your product or picking up the phone and calling.

Promoting Your Compelling Content

Once you write your stuff, you’ve got to get it out there. If you are just starting out, most likely, your content is not just going to automatically attract people to your website. You might need to actively pursue getting the word out about your awesome articles.

Social media can be a great way to attract new website visits as well as to continue educating your existing customers. Email marketing blasts are another way to contact your existing customers or leads and prospects already in your sales funnel. Forums are viable tools you can use to inform members of specific blog posts and resources on your website when they ask questions. Blog commenting is a tactic you could use, but should be careful with these days. If you subscribe to a blog in a similar niche that you are in, you can leave relevant comments on posts with links back to your own website. Email signatures can contain custom crafted snippets that encourage the people you interact with over email on a day-to-day basis to visit your blog.

There are many other ways to get your content out there. The most important thing to remember is that people need to be informed of where your content is located. And, that’s where search engines come in to the picture. Search engines need to know where your content is located, too. By distributing your content throughout the Web and by getting links to your content from social media sites, you will help the search engines to realize that your content exists. In turn, your website can gain authority and visibility in the search engine results pages, increasing the odds that even more visitors will find your website.

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