Publishing Great Content
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I am a champion of using great content to maintain brand awareness. For evidence of the importance of web content to your business’ success, you need look no further than the many top corporations that use blogs and social media to stay connected with customers. Berkshire Hathaway, the mega-corporation that owns GEICO, Dairy Queen, and Fruit of the Loom, among many other giant companies, has a blog where it publishes fun and interesting information about the company in conversational tone that serves to humanize the company.
Now, admittedly, Berkshire Hathaway did not rely on blog posts to succeed or to keep their name top of mind. Nevertheless, this mammoth corporation, the fifth largest in the world, sees the value in maintaining a blog and posting regularly to engage with people in an approachable and conversational way.
But what are the ingredients of great content? First and foremost is storytelling. People love stories. My grandfather could neither read nor write, but he was a great storyteller. Even if you’d heard the story a dozen times, it was a delight to hear him tell it again. In the world of content marketing, there are lots of ways to tell a great story.
Going back to the Berkshire Hathaway example, on April 2, 2015, they published a blog post advertising for sale a pillow commemorating their 50th anniversary. But it’s not just an ordinary throw pillow with the Berkshire Hathaway logo. It actually tells the story of the history of the company.
Obviously it’s not necessary for you or your company to create something so elaborate, but you could create an infographic, produce a video, or something my grandfather would undoubtedly do had he been born in 1991 instead of 1911, create a podcast. It tickles me to think how much he would have enjoyed some of the technology of today.
So, tell the story of your company. How did you get started? What are your goals? Why are you passionate about your business? Another way to publish great content is to share your professional expertise. What are you really good at? Share your experience in the business, what you’ve learned along the way, pitfalls to avoid, and something you wish you’d known sooner.
Next, provide your audience with news they can use. Offer practical advice with a step-by-step guide, case studies, or data showing potential results. Give examples that illustrate your advice. Keep this in mind: Very few of your readers will actually read every word you write. Disappointing but true. I’ll bet, right now, you are just scanning this post. Right? It’s okay. Everyone does it. It’s a multitasking world and you will get precious little of your readers’ time, so recognize that and adjust accordingly. Make it easy for your readers to see what part of a post is relevant to them by bolding words and phrases, using bulleted or numbered lists, including subheadings, providing links to other content, and using great visual content.
Write great headlines. Forming an interesting paradox with the fact in the previous paragraph is this fact: According to Josh Schwartz of Chartbeat, there’s no correlation between social shares and people actually reading your article. Admit it. You’ve done that, too. It takes a lot less time to tweet something or hit “Share” than it does to actually read an article, and lots of times, that’s all we ever do. On Facebook, you will see lengthy discussions on topics where few of the participants have actually read the article; they react merely to the headline.
Finally, always keep your audience in mind. The most essential element in writing great content is to speak to your audience.