Creating content for the sake of creating content is not going to work. In fact, this is one of the reasons why most companies give up on content marketing overall: They are not seeing any results.
How to create successful content? There's no magic button or cookie-cutter method here. You'll have to develop your own successful content strategy. Here are a few steps for you to get there:
1. Read Industry News Regularly
You need to know what is happening in your industry to be able to create valuable content that will resonate with your target audience. The best content creators don't just read what they happen to come across, but literally hunt for industry trends and news across the internet. This provides them with a very good understanding of the context behind historical events in the industry and how that has shaped the mindset of their audience's.
To help you out, here are a few ways to do that:
Make a habit of reading regularly by putting everything you want to read together and blocking of time to get to it.
2. Curate Content
Nowadays, plenty of people are playing the curating game. It is in fact very easy to take another person's content and pin it, share it on Facebook, or retweet it. Successful content creators understand however that it can never be enough to take relevant industry news and simply regurgitate it.
Content curation is a great way to turn your reading to good use. You don't just read, you create your own brand asset using those articles.
Here are helpful resources and tools to help:
- Flipboard is the most beautiful way to curate what you read and build traffic on the way
- Paper.li is the automated way to curate what you tweet, and a great way to build your email list
Content should only be curated if you are able to add value to it before it's redistributed.
3. Know Your Audience
Successful content creators understand their audience in depth. Have a look at your own viewers and readers and ask yourself what problems they have that you might be able to solve for them and what they want that you are not providing.
There are numerous other characteristics of an audience that could be identified to make getting to know them easier. Some of these include:
- Family size
- Job title
Google Analytics provides an indepth demographics report that includes all of the above metrics as well as your audience's interests:
4. Write Regularly
You'll likely know the old adage "use it or lose it." Successful content creators know that they continuously need to hone their craft, and this means writing often.
Doing so also assists them in working through ideas that may not yet be fully formed in their head and uncover new nuggets that might later turn into fully fledged ideas.
To help you get consistent and strategic, download and use this writing checklist:
5. Use Your Own Voice
You can do many things to stand out from the crowd of other content creators in a specific field, including:
- Gaining trust and experience over time
- Using different channels to promote your content
- Diversifying into a new medium
Unfortunately, your competitors will all likely be doing the same thing to try and differentiate themselves.
There is however one element that you can bring to your content, and nobody else will be able to copy it as it is unique to you. We are of course taking about your own personal voice.
Readers and viewers will initially consume your content simply to get to the information. They will however return again and again for your personality. Whichever topic you are writing about, don't simply offer fresh insight on the latest trends or news, but offer personal stories and analogies that tie in with your subject to justify the insights that only you can offer.
Further reading: How to find your blogging voice
6. Network Whenever You Can
An individual's success in any field is hardly ever achieved through passion alone, but is due in a large measure to those who taught them, inspired them, and pushed them to see things from a different perspective.
Content creators ultimately become successful content creators once they accept there is always more to learn than what they know, and they are willing to explore new ways of thinking. With networking, you can achieve that by listening to others and incorporating their ideas with your own.
You can network without ever traveling. There are lots of ways to digitally network these days and create successful content assets on the way:
- Set up your Twitter chat(and participate in other people's Twitter chat)
- Put together collaborative expert roundups (here's a good example)
- Use live streaming to network with your audience in real-time and create successful video content
How frequently an audience engages in these tactics during a live broadcast.
7. Understand Your KPIs
The only way to get content exposed to readers is to identify an ideal key performance indicator (KPI) for it, and then to optimize the content accordingly. KPIs are specific metrics used to measure the performance of content against expectations.
Content-specific KPIs could typically include:
- "Leads" is how many people visit a website and submit contact information in return for a resource that was offered.
- "Organic traffic" is how many people visit a website by clicking on a search engine result link.
- "Direct traffic" is how many people visit a website by directly entering a website's URL into the browser's address bar.
- "Social media traffic" is how many people visit a website by clicking on a link in a social media post.
Finteza is the free analytics platform that tracks the full path to the desired conversion and helps you figure out your content-specific KPIs:
8. Question Everything
Successful content creators are naturally curious. This curiosity encompasses external information that is constantly being promoted out in the world, as well as internal knowledge they already possess.
Social media is a great place to start research to find unique angles and opinions. Here's a nice guide on using social media for market research.
This inherent curiosity leads to unique insights that in turn translates into great content.
9. Offer Solutions
If you take the time to explain why things are important and what the audience can learn and take away from it, rather than simply reciting the things you know, your audience will remember your content.
Google's "People Also Ask" results give you a great deal of insight into your audience's struggles and how to better serve them.
Audiences visit sites to satisfy specific needs, be it to increase their confidence in your industry, or to solve a problem. Irrespective of what the need is, you have to relate your observations of the industry in terms they can understand and learn from.
Successful content creation is art but it pays off a great deal. Hopefully the above tips will help you become a much more successful creator.