Great content is an essential part of a successful online presence. It helps drive traffic, build relationships, grow brand awareness, reinforce trust and support SEO. So, what makes great content and how can you as a small business owner ensure you are getting it right?
We take a look at how to approach content creation with 7 helpful tips on how to produce content that is top-notch.
1. Focus on your customers
When you are thinking about the kind of content you want on your website your focus should be on creating content that is relevant and of value to your target audience. It can be tempting to pack your website full of sales orientated copy, which of course has it’s place, but your key aim should be to produce content that your customers and prospective customers will find interesting and useful.
SEO also plays an important part in content creation, but the days of keyword stuffing practices are long gone. Instead spend some time researching your target audience and brainstorming the kind of keywords and key phrases they might use to search for the products and services you are selling and incorporate them naturally into your copy.
Essentially if you write content with your target audience in mind you wont go far wrong.
2. Create original content
The most important content for marketers is original written content (45%)
Search engines like high quality content of which a key characteristic is originality – essentially content that is not already on other website. Hence duplicating content from other sites is not the answer (in fact such practices can be detrimental to your search engine page ranking). So how can you ensure you are getting enough original content on your site?
Blogging: Posting regular blog articles are an excellent way to ensure original and relevant content is being added to your site on a regular basis. Writing blog articles requires time however in addition to providing you with original content, blogging also helps generate traffic, yield new leads, maintain customer relationships and build brand trust.
Curated Content: A consistent flow of original content is essential, however in reality small business owners are under huge time pressures and have limited resources. Therefore there are times when curated content can step in. For example a weekly ‘news roundup’ of relevant articles in your industry can work well – just ensure you are adding your own, original commentary and opinion to it (and as we mentioned before don’t plagiarise or try to pass it off as your own!)
Product pages. Write your own product descriptions rather than simply re-using the information supplied by the manufactures. Create your own original descriptions with your target audience in mind, making them user-friendly and relevant.
3. Make it useful
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed“
Google Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide
Think about what kind of content will be of interest and have a value to your target audience – is it informative content or entertaining content that will most appeal – or indeed a mixture of both? Useful, relevent content will help drive traffic to you website and keep people coming back for more. Some ideas include:
- Free downloadable e/book or white paper
- Latest industry news and trends reports
- Ideas and tips for using your products in real-life
- Competitions or quizzes
- Interviews with relevant industry figures
- Online videos such as useful tutorials, product instructions or demonstrations
4. Be visually engaging
Having great visual content is an essential part of successful content creation. As humans we are naturally drawn to all things visual , so think about how you can use visuals to create standalone content and support other content on your site.
Engaging images: How can you make the images on your site more engaging? For example, instead of just using product images provided by the manufactures take your own photos – showing off products in relief scenarios. Avoid using run of the mill stock images. There are some excellent online image libraries where you can source some interesting and inspiring images. Think about using software tools (some of which offer free services) like Skitch and Canva to add text to images. Essentially spend some time thinking about how you can produce your own interesting and engaging visuals for your website.
Video: If you can incorporate video into your online presence all the better. Video has become an important element of successful content marketing – indeed research indicates that 1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video.
5. Make content digestible
How you write and present your content online is important. Reams of unbroken text on a page is off-putting. you may have written something of huge interest to your target audience, but if they can’t grasp the gist of it in moments they aren’t going to bother to read it. Keep to the point and get rid off any unnecessary fluff and waffle.
Think about how you present text on the page – it should look inviting. Break up text into small digestible paragraphs, use headers, sub headers, text blocks, bullets points and of course engaging images.
When visitors look at the content on your website ensure it is visually appealing and that your content is displayed in manageable, easily digestible chunks.
6. Keep it fresh
It is important to keep the content fresh and up-to-date. Go through your online content at regular intervals to ensure that there is no out-of-date information or broken links. Having old, stale content can make your site look unprofessional. And, whilst you are reviewing your content, make sure you are double checking for any typos and grammar mistakes.
Re-purposing or refreshing an old blog post with new updated information or updates is a quick way to freshen your content and add new original content to your site.
7. User generated content
Search engines like user-generated content such as customer testimonials, product reviews, blog comments and discussion forums. Moreover, this sort of ‘conversational’ content is a good way to keep regular, original and relevant coming into your site. Of course if you do go down this road, you will need to ensure that you are regular monitoring the content that gets put on, removing anything offensive or inappropriate immediately.
When you are creating online content for your business if keep your target audience in mind at all times, you won’t go far wrong. Content that appeals to your customers and is likely to keep search engines happy too. Focus on having a good variety of high-quality content that is relevant, interesting and offers value to your audience,
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience of creating online content, so please do leave a comment.