In my last blog post, I provided a list of 101 ideas for subject lines that get your marketing emails opened. Today, I’m sharing tips to help you with the next step in the process: developing great content. Follow these four rules and you’ll have your target market begging for more.
- Find out what your readers REALLY want to know.Something I’ve learned as a business and marketing consultant is that I seldom get the “real” answer the first time I ask, “What’s your biggest marketing or income growth question?” Rather, only after digging deeper do I get to the heart of the challenges my clients or readers are having.The same goes for learning about what your target audience really wants to know. Often the first thing someone will say is what happens to pop into their head — or what they think they should say. But when you ask thoughtful questions and follow where they lead, you’ll end up discovering a host of new challenges and problems you can help your clients address — and they’ll love you for it.
- Stay in the know. Your target audience looks to you as an expert. So it’s your job to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening in your field. That means…
- Reading all the latest books as soon as they come out. If you buy your books from online retailers like Amazon, this is easy because they’ll send you updates when new titles come out on a topic you’ve bought before.
- Attending a mix of conferences, seminars and workshops. You can’t be an expert in your field if the only content you’re absorbing is the free materials that are available online. You need to do a deeper dive, and the best way to do that is at live training events.
- Watching for emerging trends and identifying fading fads. If you want to be a thought leader, you have to stay ahead of the curve. I recommend setting up Google alerts on your topic. Be creative in what search terms you use. For example, I have one Google alert that keeps me posted any time the word “marketing study” is used.
- Make your content easy to read. Here’s a big, dirty secret: People are lazy readers. Unless we’re talking about reading for enjoyment, people don’t actually like to read — they like to skim. And when it comes to “how to” information, what your audience wants is the knowledge, not the prose. So make your content easier on them by:
- Keeping sentences and paragraphs short.
- Avoiding jargon, abbreviations and acronyms.
- Defining any terms you use that a newbie might not know.
- Using bullets and numbered lists.
- Including images and photos whenever possible.
- Editing your work for clarity.
- Put a little “you” in the mix. If you read my blog or my ezine frequently, then you know that I lean more toward “how to” content versus pouring out my heart. That’s just who I am. But I do try to work in personal examples whenever I can. And, when the mood strikes, you’ll sometimes see more of my personality seep into the articles.I’ve learned over the years to let more of that through because, frankly, it makes the content more entertaining and enjoyable for the reader. After all, who wants to read something dry and boring? But that also doesn’t mean that you have to get too personal either. Here are a few ways to put more “you” in your content without crossing the TMI line:
- Tell (short) personal stories or anecdotes that relate to what you’re writing about
- Explain why a particular topic is important to you
- Share why you chose to write about a certain topic at this point in time (i.e., did a client just have this problem and you want to help others who may be facing the same thing)
- Write more closely to how you would naturally speak when talking with someone
- Use humor — just keep it clean
- Use personal photos — when appropriate — that illustrate your point
- Instead of writing content, record short videos of you giving tips and advice
So what’s your best strategy for developing content that people want to read? Share it in the comments section below!
If you liked today’s article, you’re welcome to use it in your own ezine or blog as long as you include the following blurb:
Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at www.TheCorporateAgent.com.