In case you are wondering why have I got this video to show you at the very start of this post?
1.2 Million views at the time of this writing, achieved only in less than 10 days of its publishing on November 3, 2018.
An example of the content that is compelling from start to finish, serves the user intent and passively serves the purpose of its creation.
This video will help explain all of the points I'll discuss later.
1. Focus On Your Audience
What is the audience here?
Curious minds, avid learners and people looking for answers.
Topic: Evolution of Tube maps. Message Conveyed: Three principles of solving a design problem. Principles: "Focus", "Simplify" and "Thinking Outside The Box".
These rules apply, word by word, when you are creating the content.
So what is your audience as a content creator and marketer?
- Educate about your brand
- Help people with questions related to your brand or product
- Help people with questions related to your industry
- Help people make a decision about a purchase
- Or something else may be
Your content should focus on serving one exact purpose at a time.
Try leaving no stones unturned. Provide all necessary information in a precise way so your audience is well equipped with the information for the decision they have to make.
Reduce your variables for a solution to a minimum. This helps to put an equation together and working on it.
Which leads to a workable solution, most of the times.
2. Make Things Simple
Keep things simple where ever possible.
Don't mix things up.
Don't overlap subjects.
Don't navigate off topic.
Complexities confuse the audience.
This is what Harry Beck did when he worked on London Tube Map.
He learned that he needs to make the solution as simple as possible to serve one purpose.
How to help users to understand the plan and execute a plan for getting from station A to station B, using the rail network map.
Eliminating unnecessary information like places, monuments and other papular attraction, he boiled the map down to only two variables to work on, for a user.
This was not only a success story for London commuters only but his blueprint was copied all over the world for many of the modern train networks.
3. Thinking Outside The Box
"Once you discover one simple fact and that is everything around you that you call life was made up by people who were no smarter than you and you can change it and you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use"
A good creative content creator does exactly the same. Content that provides a solution that is outside the box.
Sure you can pick any topic and there will be tons of content on it already, and probably great content.
But there is always:
- a room for improvement
- a need for an update
- a room for betterment
Provide a solution that is better than the previous one. Provide information that is unique. Provide content that adds value.
Strive to make your mark on the web with unique and authoritative content. Strive to become an authority on the subject matter that Google would love to point towards when a query comes in.
"Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don't have a plan."
4. Reach Crucial Decision Makers
Whatever your product may be, best results are achieved when you can break into the comfort zone of "crucial decision makers".
Decision makers can be anyone depending upon your goals.
- A CEO of a company
- A purchasing manager
- A consumer looking for a new mobile phone
- A consumer looking for customer support
- A reader looking to learn more about content marketing
- A social media user looking to share some killer content
- Or anyone looking for an answer to their question
But how can we achieve this?
- Focus your content on issues, a decision maker cares about.
- Organise information in an easily readable, organised format, a decision maker is most likely to read.
- Make your content connect with your reader. It's not a curriculum, it's a solution.
- remember, It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Help your audience with their decision-making process, they will reward you back with business
How effective is content marketing to reach and influence decision-makers? THE ELUSIVE | Raconteur
5. Facilitate Content Consumption
"Like hamsters running on a wheel, we live in an endless cycle of ephemeral content consumption — a merry-go-round that spins faster and faster but never goes anywhere." Anne H
Trust in mainstream media is declining rapidly.
Google is facilitating rankings for unique, high-quality content, no matter what the source may be.
This is paving the way for quality over quantity.
The ability to separate signal from the noise and create something engaging, unique and trustworthy is going to facilitate your ranking with search engines and shares on other mediums, ultimately facilitating consumption for your content and separating you as a winner from the rest.
For better content consumption you need to create your content around your client’s search and content consumption habits.
"The browser is no longer the way people start their content consumption. It's a stories world. Think Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat."
6. Establish As A Subject Authority
It's about creating content around a specific subject. This gives your audience a good amount of "added value" content to consume. This also helps you build an authority on a subject.
To start with, subject matter experts are crucial to your audience growth.
If you're striving to grow audience base and traffic, you need to grow the authority of your brand's online profile. Be it your website or your social media account.
How is this achieved? You need to be careful with who's creating the content for you as their authority directly influences your brand's authority.
Google algorithms are looking for an authority both in terms of the website and content creator itself.
Algorithms extensively look and verify that content creator is an authority on a subject.
Another crucial factor is the frequency of publishing. High-Quality content that is delivered on a regular basis signals your brand as an authority on your subject.
Remember not to confuse quantity with frequency. Whatever your frequency is, daily, bi-weekly, weekly or monthly, sticking to it no matter what is crucial.
Remember not to focus on building your authority for the sake of search engines. Aka for SEO purposes. Search Engines would know, sooner or later.
Focus on your audience. Their engagement will signal your authority which search engines like Google won't miss. Strive to create content that raises you as a thought leader and confirms you as a subject matter expert.
Last but not the least: You don't need to be an authority on a subject to start writing about it. You can build your authority along the way.
As they say: "Just because you publish a magazine doesn't make you an authority of the subject. The content has to be factually right and well researched."
7. Answer That Bugging Question
A good content marketing strategy revolves around providing useful information and an answer to your audience.
It best helps to know first, what those questions might be.
If it is about a product or a brand, try searching for your competitors. Keep an eye for Google suggestions while you put in the search terms. These are the question people are searching for your competitors.
They would like to know about similar things for your brand and products. Provide, precise, accurate and helpful information that can help facilitate their purchasing lifecycle.
Try to figure out what people are searching for, related to your niche or your industry in general. provide relevant, helpful information and help them make a decision.
Keyword Analysis is crucial for writing to answer the right questions. Content marketing is about providing answers to questions people are actively asking. Make full use of tools like Moz Keyword Explorer and SEMRush Keyword Research tools.
Try to figure out what are the "pain points". Pain points are high searched terms.
"People looking for answers on the internet. Your brand providing them. That’s content marketing! "
8. Establish Yourself As Though Leader
To clarify, don't try to use content to establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche. It works the other way round.
You need to be thought leader first.
This, coupled with good creative content that you use to translate your ideas into readable content can resonate across the board and your content can take the center stage.
What this means is:
You need to have an idea to talk about an idea.
But hey, before you can talk about that "idea", there is one more step. And the most difficult, the longest one as well.
An Idea is nothing without and execution, or at least some measurable execution.
The point for mentioning this here is that being a thought leader, just like being an authority on a subject matter, can electrify your content.
Thought leadership comes with experience, tools, and effort.
- Experience is the deep insight, practical experience and knowledge of a niche.
- Tools comprise of content creation and social media engagement.
- The effort in terms of time and work to stay on top of the news and trends and establishing and nurturing relevant relationships in the industry and the media
Here are 6 things you can do to achieve this:
9. How To Become A Though Leader
- Firstly, know what you know best.
- Speak in your voice.
- Stop mentioning yourself but the niche.
- Be consistent. Matters the most.
- Don't limit yourself. Utilize every platform and medium.
- Surround yourself with good people (niche wise).
Just to spice things a bit. How not to be a thought leader....
If you want your content to work, make sure it's a great piece of content.
To make sure it's great, focus on your audience, provide a simpler and better solution than the others out there.
Think out of the box and strive to make your mark on the subject matter.
When you have done all that, add salt and pepper!
Make sure your content provides a remedy for the "pain points" as London Tube Map did in the early 1900's for London Train Users.
Make sure content connects with crucial decision makers as London Tube Map did with rail commuters.
And keep on going, you can improve, you'll improve with each piece of content.
You'll get there soon.