Content is a hot topic at the moment, and there’s debate over what is the most engaging, attractive type to audiences.
For businesses, content has the power to bring the right type of audience to their websites. By tailoring content to a specific target customer, your business will naturally draw the attention of that demographic and pave the way for building a stronger, more loyal relationship with your brand.
Most importantly, it can help your business stand out from the best, boosting its visibility against competitors.
Are there hard and fast rules to getting your content right? My advice is to start by thinking about what your target audience may be interested in hearing and match up one or more topics that fit in with your business and area of expertise, then determine what information you want to share.
Ideally, you want to offer something of value to your customers, whether this is solving a problem or providing insight on your industry, people should be able to take something away with them.
Rule number one is to not rely on one format. Changing it up keeps ideas fresh, and importantly for your business, keeps people revisiting your website and sharing the content you produce. Start a blog, vlog, newsletter or monthly infographic; anything that can regularly create a buzz about your business.
Search engines place an importance on fresh content, and the more frequently you update your website, the more likely it is to climb search engine rankings, increasing visibility further. While SEO is a little bit more complex, I’ll leave you with this basic concept and save that lesson for another day.
Find your audience, create a community
So what does it mean for small businesses competing with more established companies? Simply put, content has to be more original and more valuable to the right audience.
Spending time creating high-quality, unique content is more likely to attract people. Let’s say you own a pet shop. What can you do to engage those interested in animals?
Perhaps you could provide a weekly blog diary on the goings on at the store, and include comments or updates from people who have taken home a new pet. Visitors to the website might become attached to certain animals or want to continue sharing their own animal stories; updating them will keep people coming back to check in on their favourites. Before you know it, you’ll have a community of people (at this point, why not add a forum to your website or launch some social media channels to get people interacting!).
A happy customer speaks volumes
One generally successful idea is to include customer testimonials, and I don’t just mean featuring one quote plastered all over your site. If you do have customers willing to be featured, take the time to have a proper conversation with them. Audiences love hearing stories from real people, and there are a range of ways to express this on your website.
There’s an argument that video is the future of content, with Nielsen claiming 64 per cent of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future.
A conversation with a happy customer can make a great short video. The interview can be positioned as a story; why the customer wanted to engage with your business, their experience, and the positive impact it had on them. When produced correctly, a customer case study can promote trust between audience and business, meaning visitors are more likely to engage.
Audience knows best
Web users have a very short attention span, and will often scan a page to see what content is on offer, before slowing down and taking it in.
Putting in the time to research will pay you back in the long term. Find out which type of content performs better by checking the number of views or shares they have. Research your target audience’s media consumption habits; speak to family, friends and network contacts. What makes people read an article to the end? Is there a specific website they keep going back to? What makes them re-visit? Immerse yourself in the content your target audience consumes, from newspapers to adverts, and you’ll soon get a sense for what works.
I can’t express enough how much good content can transform your website and wider online presence. It really is the difference between your website merely being a directory to your business, to it becoming a marketing tool that will help generate new revenue.
Online content can do two things: attract visitors to your business, and attract people to your website. These aren’t mutually exclusive, and it’s important to maintain a high level of quality, consistency and shareability in order to keep people coming back.
Make sure the content and model fits your business, and you’ll increase your visibility and hopefully popularity in no time.