No matter what your business is about, it looks like everyone is telling you you need more content on your website. And most of the “content” people think of and talk about is either written content or visual content. In this post I’ll talk about the former and walk you through all the key aspects you should take action on.
Starting today, your goal is now being able to produce more valuable content for your website. Ready to roll? Your journey to quenching this content-thirsty world starts now.
Why you need more content
The need for more content is led by 3 main elements, whether your business has just started, you’re a solopreneur or you’re a small agency. The ability to produce more content is useful to any business type because:
- it adds an authoritative layer to your business
- it shows how you solve your customers’ main issues publicly to enforce your market position and increase the chance to get new ones
- it improves the number of leads that reach your website through online search engines
Let’s dig more into each of these points to uncover their specific details.
On being an authority in your market
Writing articles about your business’ most widespread issues, concerns, new approaches and trends puts you in a higher position, when compared to your direct and indirect competition. Discussing core topics within your market, empowers you to show your in-depth knowledge and experience on such areas.
Along with this great business improvement, you’ll end up strengthening the 3 core elements your business is built on: providing a real value, enforcing the idea of trust among your customers and growing awareness about your company.
On solving customers’ problems publicly
The Internet is huge and it features a unique type of inhabitants: everybody is an it’s-all-about-me user. They don’t care about you and your company. People need their problems to be solved and that’s all they’re interested in. This approach resolves in their specific online behaviour: when they don’t find a remedy to their current issue on a website, they leave and they hardly get back at it in the future.
But there’s a way to handle this selfish behaviour.People need their problems to be solved and that’s all they’re interested in Click To Tweet
If you speak about their pain points, concerns and even show them how to address that single issue that’s been driving them crazy for days, you’ll end up having their keen attention. This would also level up the way your company is perceived, enforcing your authority and market position even more.
On increasing your SEO
Let me ask you something personal, but be honest please: when you visit a website and can’t find what you were looking for, what do you do? I’m pretty sure the answer is: “I leave”. Yes, just like you, that’s what users do with your website every time you aren’t able to answer their request or provide them outdated information.
Search Engines are an important aspect of our lives: we look for everything online. Better: we look for everything within the 1st result page, in some rare circumstances we look at the 2nd page but hardly any further than that. We aren’t aware of anything that falls on those forgotten pages.
That’s where SEO comes into play.
With more regularly published content you “feed” the crawlers with new bricks of information relevant to the people looking for that specific topic. You answer to their questions with blog posts. You show how your product could really improve their life with a case study or a video tutorial. By analyzing their words, you learn how they experience an issue and that’s where you can find something valuable to their situation.
The “I can’t write...” excuse
I know what you’re thinking right now: “Yeah, I get this and I agree. But how can I write something good for my own website, since I’m no writer?”
I get this question all the times. First of all let me clear the air here: you can write. Maybe you can’t write in another language or faster than these guys or a great poem. Ok that could be something, but it’s not what I need you to focus on right now.
I’m going to tell you the one thing you already know but don’t clearly admit to yourself: you can actually write. The problem is you fear it. Why? Because it has to do with sharing something that, in most cases, is all written by you. Once it gets published, it’s out there and you're no longer in control. Ergo, if that content sucks, you immediately think you suck as well.
Be alerted: the “I can’t write...” pal isn’t alone, it often hangs out with “I don’t have time...”, “I’m not good enough...” and other unmotivated peers.
But I’ve got you covered here... Here’s how to overcome the “I can’t write” alibi to write more content with the 4 pillars of a productive working framework
Create your writing environment
Music/no music, ambient sounds, noise cancelling headphones, you pick what best ignites your productivity. The goal here is for you to find your most productive setup in which you’ll find yourself comfortable, relaxed and fully focused on getting that unpleasant task (that is writing) done.
Set rigid deadlines
Schedule an approximate time for each step needed to get that piece of content published. Use a pretty simple rule as your Pole star and go with it:
1 hour dedicated to researching your topic
1 hour dedicated to the writing outcome
1 hour dedicated to the editing process
This is just a simple workflow to let you get more comfortable with your new content crafter role. But it’s not the only one, of course.There’re also other ways to let you cultivate a writing habit, like the one from Buffer’s Kevan Lee or that from famous marketer Neil Patel.
The important aspect is that you need to find your own productive writing schedule and stick to it for a week and see if it fits you. Poor results? Change one element at a time to better know how it impacts the whole process.
Keep your system running
Consistency is vital to many aspects of human activities. And this is no exception. You should find ways to positively reinforce your efforts when you complete your writing task. One interesting way to get you started quickly is by going with an if this then approach, which is great to grow self-control and productivity performances.
Using an editorial calendar like CoSchedule (the one we use at Codeable), or whatever gets you inline with your publishing schedule, is also a great way to overview your content efforts and makes your life much easier if you work with several authors.
Keep away distractions
Turn off or silence every piece of technology you have for as long as you need. If you work from home, tell everybody not to interrupt you for the next hours. The more time you stick to your workflow, the more your writing benefits from it.
Now that you set up your content machine and, most importantly, you know how to start and make it run smoothly, you need to learn how to write valuable content every time you sit in front of your keyboard.
And that’s where fear pops up. But here’s how to win it over.
How to write content your audience is eager to dive in
To these days, the best single-lined tip on how to write valuable pieces of content is this:
"Write with your users in mind".
This tip worths all you writing efforts because it sets the right perspective from which to develop your whole content strategy. But how can you translate it into a piece of written content that users are actually interested in? Let's see.
Walk in your customers’ shoes
If you write from an impersonal point of view, a too generic one for example, your users wouldn’t feel understood, thus they’d leave your page unsatisfied and disappointed. While if you’re able to talk about their pain points, their needs, their goals also, you’re talking directly to them and increasing the chance they’d listen to you.
Fill your writing with value
Value is a wide concept that is built on the idea of improving someone’s current need. And that’s what you should strive for through your content: address someone’s problem, help them take a step forward toward their goals, share with them something you know they’d love.
Give a structure to increase readability
Do you know what’s the average attention span for online readers? 8 seconds, 1 second less than a goldphish has. This means people will most likely skip some of your words and they’ll scroll down faster than you think. They pay attention to images and big words at first then, if anything looks interesting to them, they’d read your piece. By knowing this in advance, you should structure your writing to let users scan it but still being able to get the “gist” of it so they can be hooked by your writing more easily.
Write like you speak
The power of your message is undermined by every useless, vague, redundant word you write. All these type of elements are like a layer you build between the purpose of your content and the chance to be clearly understood by your readers.
Also, don’t use jargon or technical terms when they’re not needed. Try explaining the very same concept as you would do to let your mother understand what you’re saying. Keep the rhythm of your sentences as normal as possible to create a conversation-like state of mind between the readers and you.The power of your message is undermined by every useless, vague, redundant word you write Click To Tweet
Set your content goals
Think about what you’d like your readers to do when they’re finished reading your content and set tangible (quantifiable) actions that your writing should provoke. Don’t over do it and keep it simple: for each content there should be 1 specific goal only.
Great content goal examples are:
- subscribing to your newsletter
- subscribing as beta testers for your upcoming product/service
- downloading materials (infographic, whitepaper, freebie, etc.)
- buying something from your website
This approach helps you to choose the right perspective, sentence structure and visuals to support your whole argument. To optimize this aspect, remember to add a call to action for each of your content goals.
How to find the right topics
You’ve come a long way but it isn’t over yet. Now it’s time to talk about another major concern business owners run into: how to get specific ideas and topics to write about.
You have no idea where to start, right? Wrong! Super-wrong! You already have plenty of unique ideas to start with. Don't believe me? Well, I’m going to tell you 5 right below so you’re able to start writing in no seconds.
5 ideas to kick-start your content creation immediately
Forget about the “I don’t know what to write about!” scenario and let me ask you:
- What problem does your product/service solve?
- In which type of market is your business running?
- Are there any common, shared or widespread issues within that market?
- Have you ever received a “thank you, you really saved me!” email message to your company email address?
- How do you look up for your competitors’ activity?
See what I provided you with just 5 questions? No yet? Ok, how about I re-write them down from a writing perspective:
- What are some specific topics related to your product/service?
- Do these specific topics can be bundled into wider concepts or trends regarding your market? What’s your take on those?
- What are your users’ key pain points?
- Do you have a case study to show how your product/service would affect a prospect’s business?
- What terms and keyphrases you use to search for your competitors’ activity?
Now it should be crystal clear. You already have at least 5 type of unique content from which you can start developing your whole content strategy. Think of these as your Minimum Viable Content Strategy (MVCS).
Yes, you’re now all set to publish your content!
But something is coming your way to prevent you from succeed. It’s the fear of making your content go public. Once it’s out, you can do nothing about it, except deleting it and trashing all your progress with a single click. There's no reason to panic though because you already did most of the work here.
So, please, listen further and learn how to overcome this stressful feeling.
How to publish new content on a regular basis
If anyone tells you they’re not afraid (not even just a little) when they’re about to publicly share something they’ve created, they’re lying to you. 8+ experience blogger Leo Babuta says he still gets “shivers of nervousness” when is about to publish something new. Pamela Wilson, from Copyblogger Media, has lived the same fear like you do. See? We're all on the same boat. It's now your turn to take action and complete your writing "challenge" on a regular basis.
To help with that, remember what I'd like to call the Content triad to Publishing which is a set of 3 commitments you should embrace:
- Set up your new writing environment and keep it smooth
- Stick to your schedule, aggressively
- Click on the “Publish” button even if it’s not perfect and it scares the hell out of you
It’s now time to put in place everything you sweat your guts out on and publish that content. And remember this: consistency trumps perfect writing. It’s not about how much you publish, it’s for how long you keep up doing it.
How about you: how do you keep up with content creation? What are your best practices/habits? Share your experience in the comments below!