The truth is no one wants to read your stuff. Really? Ouch, that hurts. Your long-convoluted Facebook status. Your Ads. Your blog. The story about the time when your cousin’s friend’s aunt went to buy rainbow toothpaste. I don’t mean to be blunt. I’m just trying to be that friend who will tell you if broccoli gets stuck in your teeth.
The first thing people learn in advertising is that no one wants to read your stuff. People are busy with their lives whether it be running their business or wrangling their kids. As I write, there are already 2.7 million blog posts written today and it’s not even lunchtime.
So, should I still have content?
Yes. Content is the secret sauce that connects with your audience and helps you build authority – even in a saturated market. Content is crucial for online marketing (including SEO). On average, potential customers will read 3 to 5 pieces of content before they actually start engaging with your products or services.
For this reason, you should you should continue to have blogs, social media content and newsletters. But it’s your job to make it GREAT content that is shareable, succinct and provides value.
Here are 4 ways you can ensure you hit the mark every time:
Plan out your content using Excel (free template below)
Studies have found you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write it down. Planning out your content and seeing how they all fit ensures that you become consistent, accountable and able to measure success.
Planning content doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. An Excel spreadsheet or Google calendar is a good starting point. I’ve created a content marketing plan which you can download your FREE online content marketing plan template – no email sign-up required (hurrah).
There are online content management tools in the market such as CoSchedule and Hootsuite. They will help with mapping out content and scheduling for you. If it’s going to make your life easier, go for it. It does come at a cost but hey, so does your time.
Tip: We all get bogged down in stuff so aim to plan out at least one month’s worth of content in advance. Depending on how much content you want to have, it should take a few hours to map out. Just be mindful to keep the volume of content consistent each month – and remember it’s quality of content over quantity.
Don’t try to sell – people hate that and see right through you. Instead, be generous and help solve a problem
Come in with the mindset of helping solve your customer’s problem. The objective of every piece of content should have your audience in mind and serve them. Include a freebie with no strings attached.
Whether it be helping someone to find the best Halloween costume for their pet ferret or finding out the best green juice smoothie recipe that anyone can tolerate besides Bondi Hipsters.
Create content to serve your customers. Don’t try to sell. People hate that.
Captain obvious – make it fun, interesting to read and irresistible. Make them have FOMO.
“But I’m not a writer”. “We provide insurance. There’s nothing fun about insurance”. Even the driest industry can have interesting content. Content marketing can work for nearly every, if not every industry and niche. Here are some tips to help you create click-worthy content:
Tell a story
Yes, the world storytelling gets overused a lot – but it’s still so relevant so hear me out.
Seth Godin’s famous lines “marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” And Toilet paper brand, Who Gives a Crap does this well. Their story about why they exist and how it all started really gets people talking.
They’re a social enterprise helping “2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population and means that around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation”. In their about page they tell how the concept started “Simon sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to move until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. 50 hours and one cold bottom later, we’d raised over $50,000” – true story.
Insert a meme or gif
Memes and gifs are everywhere. They’ve taken over pop culture and find their way into almost every facet of our lives. Just about everyone has been hit with the Hey Girl meme bug featuring Ryan Gosling (below). This not only is the actor’s biggest Internet legacy, but it’s probably one of the biggest Internet ‘movements’. The trend of photoshopping romantic pronouncements over his face has been going strong for years now and has no signs of stopping. There are even Hey Girl pillows and Feminist Ryan Gosling memes too.
Crack a joke or two. Sprinkle some puns while you’re at it
Use pop culture references
It’s important to ensure any references are relevant to your target market (my personal fave is anything 90s #don’tjudgeme).
Smile when you write. That way you’ll speak directly to your audience
Smile when I write? Smiling affects your entire physiological state and carries over into your writing. It will make your words and message more vibrant and conversational to your readers. This means your audience will feel more engaged and it’ll help make your brand more approachable. We’re in the business of humans, so unless you’re a legal eagle, you can probably stand to write a bit more like you talk.
To test out whether your content is ‘conversational’, read it aloud to a friend or a recording device. A good friend should be able to give you honest feedback on your tone and structure.
- Plan out your content to help you stay organised, on-track and on-brand – Free template above if you missed it
- If you want to stand out against the content clutter, then you have to ensure that your mindset is of delivering service and value to your readers. If you try to ‘sell’, people will see right through that. Instead, be generous and help solve a problem.
- An obvious one but make your content interesting – that means adding puns/jokes (if appropriate), pop culture references, images, videos and gifs
- Build trust in your brand by being mindful of your tone and language – is it cold and full of jargon? If so rewrite it this time with a smile to keep it conversational.
So these are my thoughts on how to make content interesting. What are yours? Which of these do you find the most difficult to apply? Jump in and let me know.