A Common Sense Guide to Creating High Quality Content that will Benefit both you and your Customers
So you’ve been reading around and watching some videos about SEO and learning all about what works and what doesn’t. You’ve discovered that getting found in Google is not as easy as you first thought. It’s all about SEO. Or is it? Google say it’s not. They say it’s all about this thing called “high quality content”. I’d go one step further and say it was all about creating something called killer content.
Perhaps you’re not quite sure what that means in reality. Perhaps you’ve already tried to create some high quality content and have not experienced spectacular results.
So how can you go about Creating Killer Content for your Website?
Ok, so let’s begin by making sure you have the right mind-set here. Most people begin thinking about content marketing the wrong way. They start off by thinking about creating content for the web or for Google. Or they look at what other people are doing and they kind of copy it hoping to compete for the same space. You need to stop thinking and behaving like that. It’s not efficient use of your time and it will yield poor results.
Instead you need to think about your customers. Forget Google and all the rest of the internet for a moment and just think about your customers. Put yourselves in their shoes.
Ask yourself the following:
- What are their questions?
- What are their concerns?
- What are their worries?
- What information are they seeking?
- Where are they seeking information? Are they going on Google? Youtube? social media sites? Forums?
- What are they seeking to know and learn?
- What tools are they seeking?
- What tools might they need that aren’t already there? For instance, do they need a special calculator? Do they need a fun APP? Do they need a piece of software that will enable them to design something online? Do they need a calendar? Do they need a place to ask questions and get answers?
Write a big long list of everything you can think of to do with your customer’s needs. You’re not thinking of ways to sell your products here. You are purely thinking about improving the online experience of your customers.
How can you make their digital lives better? How can you make their digital lives easier? How could their searches become quicker? How could the information which is already out there be improved on, collated or updated? What new content could be created that would be really useful.
I don’t care what industry you are in, if you do not come up with a big list there is something seriously wrong with you and your understanding of your customers. Think! Think like a customer! Search like a customer!
What’s missing? What’s required? What’s boring? What’s in need of updating?
When you have that magical list it’s time to learn a little fact about the internet.
98% of People Online at any one Time Have No Commercial Intent
That’s right. This means 98% of people aren’t ready to buy your wonderful products and services yet. Their wallets aren’t even out on the table. That doesn’t mean they might not be interested in doing so in the future. But they ain’t ready today.
What are they doing? Well, they are mostly hanging around on Google, Youtube and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Most of them are multitasking on a number of sites at the same time.
Most people in business are targeting their content at the 2%. Smart people are targeting killer content at the 98% and making more sales!
People don’t always find what they are looking for in Google or Youtube. The internet is full of rubbish videos, poorly written articles and self-serving idiots who waste time pushing their services in forums and in comments.
Sometimes I wish there was some way to just delete all that SPAM. But there isn’t. What we can do though is create better content to displace it.
So what is Killer Content and how do you go about Creating it?
To my mind killer content has the following qualities:
- It serves a very specific purpose
- It is totally neutral
- It is digestible
- It is up-to-date, well researched and unique
- And last but not least it is entertaining
Killer Content can come in a variety of forms. Let’s take a look at them one at a time.
The internet is full of articles. If we were to take them all out it would be a very empty place. Some of these articles are high quality and up-to-date. Most are not. I would say that around 3% qualified as killer content.
Earlier I asked you to identify a list of questions, worries and concerns that your customers might have. So what you need to do is take these one at a time and answer them for your customers in full. It really is that simple.
Do one a week as a blog article. Set aside a specific time of the week when you do just that and don’t let anything get in the way of it. Put the question as the title and then get writing the answer. Here are my top tips for writing killer articles your customers will love:
- Title the article aggressively – “Top Tips for how to…” or “Ten Ways to…” or “How the professionals do…”
- Use sub headings to break it up – keep the copy digestible.
- Use high quality stock images to make it look professional.
- Keep the language simple. Write it so that just about anybody could understand it.
- If there is a relevant video you have created then embed that on the page so that people can watch it if they wish.
- Don’t sell. Do not display adverts. Just get to the point and answer the question or give the advice.
- Make sure that what you publish is totally unique.
- Make sure that what you publish is better than what is already out there.
- Make sure you include and useful links to other high quality web pages both on your website and on other websites. Don’t duplicate resources. Link to them instead.
- Try to put a face and name to who wrote the article using rich snippets and include your profile at the bottom of the page. In that profile, put a link to your contact page so that people can contact you. Tell them that it’s okay to get in touch if they’ve got any questions.
- Leave the comments enabled so that people can have their say or ask a question.
- Spend five minutes sharing it on the major social media sites (Twitter, Google+ and Facebook).
- Update or rewrite the article as required.
- If someone asks a comment in the comments then answer them promptly.
This can sound like a lot of hard work, especially if you aren’t used to writing on a daily basis. But once you’re all set up and have the ball rolling it can actually be quite a lot of fun and surprisingly easy. And remember: you are doing it for your customers. They will thank you by buying your products and services.
I am always amazed that more businesses are not creating high quality video for their customers. Youtube is the world’s second largest search engine in the world. People spend an awful lot of time watching videos and my guess is that this trend will only continue to rise.
Nobody can predict the future but given the popularity of television over newspapers, magazines and books in the past I would say it was a safe bet that video will dominate the internet in the future.
Many people simply cannot be bothered to read an article. Videos are easier, quicker and often more fun. So why not use your list from earlier to create some really useful and fun videos for your customers? Why not do a video version of each of your blog articles? Upload it to Youtube and include it with the article. That way people can choose to watch it or read or do both!
You don’t need a large budget for this. A cheap webcam and some free video editing software is all you need. You might well have that already. All you need is a bit of creativity and confidence.
Here are my top tips for creating killer videos your customers will love:
- Title the video aggressively – “Top Tips for how to…” or “Ten Ways to…”
- Make sure the sound quality is good.
- Make sure you look the part. Use the sexiest person in the office. Do not allow the most boring person on your video.
- Keep the language simple.
- Don’t sell your products and services at the start. Just get to the point and answer the question or give the advice.
- Make sure people know who you are and where you work at the end. If they’ve got to the end of the video that means they really enjoyed your video.
- Make sure your video is totally unique.
- Make sure that your video is more fun and engaging than what your competitors are doing.
- If someone asks a comment in the comments then answer them.
- Spend five minutes sharing the video on the major social media sites (Twitter, Google+ and Facebook).
Creating video content can sound like a lot of hard work, especially if you’ve never created a video before. But it’s actually really easy once you’ve done it a few times. It’s especially easy if you’re doing it alongside a high quality article. And it can be a lot of fun too. If it isn’t fun then you are probably doing something horribly wrong!
In one afternoon the average person should easily be able to write a high quality article, create a high quality video of the same content, share it with the world and also have some fun at the same time.
Many people forget about this side of the internet. They think about articles and videos and social media sites and all the rest. But what about applications or tools? What about creating a killer application? A digital tool people will use.
What digital tools might your customers find really useful? What tools are they using? Is there a way to improve them? Is there a tool they are looking for but not finding? Examples are endless but simple examples include:
Now this one may well be outside of your technical domain. But there are heaps of high quality developers out there who can help you to create a killer application for your customers on a low budget.
The cost will all depend on the complexity and time involvement. Only you will know if it’s a worthwhile investment. I would say that many businesses could benefit from creating applications for their customers though.
Top tip: if hiring a developer then go to them with a really, really clear idea of what you want in terms of functionality. Think everything through and talk it through with them step-by-step. Developers often don’t have much patience. They just want to crack on and get a job done.
User Generated Content
We all spend a great deal of time online asking questions and chatting. Do you know where your customers are hanging out? Do you know which forums they use? Do you know what groups they are in in Google+ or what #tags they are following. You should.
Why? Because you’re going to be really useful and spend some time there, answering people’s questions and contributing.
This is real-time killer content. It’s unlikely you’ve experienced this often. There a couple of businesses doing it very well though.
Jump into forums and comment threads and social media sites where your customers are hanging around and contribute. Just be useful. Give them an answer or solution or an opinion. Don’t sell. At most, point them in the direction of a really useful blog article or video you’ve created on your website.
You can be sure that if one person is asking that question then a lot more will be doing so in the future. So why not jump right in and answer it?
You’re the expert after all aren’t you? So convince people.
In the short term you will make somebody’s day. In the long term the digital community will begin to notice your contributions and value your opinions.
Keeping a close watch on the forums and social sites will also help you keep track of what people are saying about your business. If there’s a problem and people are having a bitch about you then it’s a good idea ton drop into the conversation, apologise and offer to resolve it. That’s really good marketing because it shows you really care.
My top tips for creating killer content real-time are:
- Be quick – check hangouts daily. You can set up alerts so that you’re notified.
- If someone asks a question then get to the point and give the exact answer or point them in the direction of the right answer.
- Make sure people know it’s you but don’t sell!
- Be consistent and keep doing it. Even if the questions are dumb and have been answered a hundred times before just answer them again.
So what have we learned today? The most important thing is you need to create content for the 98%. It needs to solve their problems and worries. It needs to be up-to-date, clear and where possible fun.
It’s that simple and yet so few businesses are doing it.
The Question is will you?