Did you know that the search term ‘Content Marketing‘, brings up more results than the president himself, ‘Barack Obama’?

The reason for this is because EVERYONE wants a piece of the content marketing pie. And by pie I mean, more followers, more leads and more sales.

Yep it’s true, content marketing is the key to growing your business.

But if you keep pushing out content only to get nothing back in return then it can be pretty soul destroying. Believe me, I know.

So how do you come up with ideas that will actually work? Check out my 5 step guide to find out…

Step 1: Remember, it’s not about you

Well, It’s about you a little bit, but that comes in step 2. The first thing that you have to realize if you want to create content that works is that your customers need to be at the heart of your strategy.

So who are your customers? What do they like to share? Do your market research and find out who they are, so you can effectively target them.

Take a look at this video that Microsoft created for the launch of the new Internet Explorer. It’s no big secret that Explorer is probably the last web browser you’d ever use. Even Microsoft know this, which is why they created this video…

Why does it work?

It works because it’s highly targeted at their audience — the web savvy 25-35 year olds who grew up during the birth of the internet.

Admit it, we all like thinking back to when we were younger, and that’s why this content resonates with their target audience.

The key messages here are that IE grew up with their audience, they’re trying to convince them that they are on the same level, and that they’ve ultimately improved their product.

Step 2: Now it’s about you, kinda

So this is the time to start thinking about what you excel in — your niche. What is the product or service that you sell? How do you stand out ahead of anyone else?

Your content needs to be tailored to your niche, because that’s how you’ll see a .

Most businesses try so hard to create something that’ll go viral, that they kinda forget who their customers are.

We all want to get thousands of shares on our content, but what’s the point of shares if people aren’t actually interesting in buying? Start by coming up with ideas that are directly related to your brand.

Go and check out this Wistia video and then come straight back.


Why does it work?

Well first and foremost — it’s a video. Next, the people who use Wistia will generally be businesses who want to get metrics on their own videos.

The key here is that it shows the audience in real-time how they can use the Wistia platform to get the results they want to see.

Step 3: Use a powerful headline

The headline can either make or break your content. In fact, 80% of people will read your headlines but only 20% of those people will reach the rest of your content. Ouch! That’s a big loss isn’t it?

You need to ensure that your headlines are so powerful, that they tempt people to carry on reading. Generally, people like to click onto: How-to content, top tips, a list or headlines that ask a question.

Take a look at these headline examples from the HelpScout blog

Screen_Shot_2015-01-30_at_14.06.43   Screen_Shot_2015-01-30_at_14.06.12  Screen_Shot_2015-01-30_at_15.50.58

Why does it work?

Because they all feature one of the winning ingredients (mentioned above) for a powerful headline. People generally want to click on content that teaches them something.

The key here is to start creating headlines that feature: how-to, top-tips, or a list to encourage more people to click on and read.

Step 4: Get people excited

My next piece of advice is to get your audience so excited, that they keep coming back for more. When coming up with content ideas, make sure you don’t give away everything all at once.

Drip feed your customers with awesome content so that they continue to learn from you and you build an on-going relationship with them. Do this regularly from your blog and you’ll quickly build a large following because they’ll be excited to tune in and see what’s coming next.

Take for example the launch of Taylor Swift’s album, ‘1989’. She’s probably not the first person that springs to mind when you think of an expert content marketer, but her latest promotion for her new album was nothing short of marketing genius.

In the run up to the launch, she released a different Instagram picture each week, that featured a lyric from each song off the album.


Why does it work?

It got her fans so excited for the album, that not only did she increase her followers and likes, but ‘1989’ earned the biggest sales week of any album in 12 years.

The key here is to think outside the box, encourage your audience to keep coming back to your blog, and constantly work to build a solid following.

Step 5: Make it actionable

Actionable content is a must. Let’s not kid ourselves that we’re creating content just for the fun of it. We want more people to like us and we want those sales!

So if that’s what you’re looking for then your content has to make people take action. The best way to do this is to create a story that offers powerful stats and facts.

I’ve talked a lot about how your brand is the solution to your customers problems.
What you need to do is find stats or facts that will back up your case and prove that you are their solution.

Check out this infographic by Decibel Nutrition


Why does it work?

It offers facts, stats and real actionable advice on how people can train their muscles the right way.

It’s perfectly targeted to their audience and it encourages people to find out more and visit their site.

Start creating the right kind of content

If you start following these steps then you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective content strategy, rather than guessing at what may work. Let me know how you get on and if you have any more tips I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

If you want to find out how we can help you with content marketing then contact us today.