3 Steps to Producing Content that Interests Your Customers

3 Steps to Producing Content that Interests Your Customers

Before diving into the type of content that will interest your intended audience, I would like to set the stage for what I will recommend. Let’s started.

When it comes to content marketing on the internet, these are three important platforms that will help you gain ongoing exposure.

A. Search engines (Google.com and Bing.com): the sites you or your company use to earn authority and top rankings.

B. Social media: the sites you or your company “borrow” to socialize, earn goodwill, and gain referrals and new business through word of “mouse.”

C. Dedicated website: the site you or your company own to showcase who you are, what you do, and why customers should choose you.

Let’s explore each of these three platforms a little further:

A. Search Engines:

A little more than a decade ago when search engines were in their early stages, content marketing (mostly text based) was easier to rank on the first page. Why? Because:

  1. There was not enough content covering most topics, so search engines just showed what was available online without being very picky about it.
  2. Search engines’ algorithms were very rudimentary, which allowed major keyword stuffing and link farm tactics to rank websites higher in searches.
  3. Search engines didn’t index and update their algorithms fast enough to push down irrelevant results and bring relevant results to the top. It used to take over a week for search engines to index new content and much longer to roll out new updates.

Today, search engines (especially Google.com) is much more sophisticated and powerful than ever before. And since Google.com commands the majority of the search market, let’s focus this discussion on Google.com. Nowadays, Google’s search engine can crawl (or read) a massive amount of growing content much quicker than before. Here are just a few highlights to give you a glimpse into the landscape of Google’s search algorithm and how it might set a new standard for what will be considered great content on the web.

  1. Google.com has been coming out with new tools to penalize manipulative and reward good content marketing behaviors such as: Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, etc. Altogether, with over 200+ ranking factors, Google makes it much harder for those who try to game its system in an attempt to get ranked on the first page of its organic search.
  2. With the ever-growing database of content available online combined with an immense computing power and sophisticated algorithm, Google.com is becoming more selective on almost all topics, which in turn delivers more relevant results for searchers.
  3. Google’s search engine is now able to index new content daily if not instantly (once you submit it for Google index). This allows Google to quickly read searchers’ behaviors and locations as feedback, then reshuffle to deliver a more relevant and timely result.
  4. Today, as more people use voice command searches (especially while they are on their smartphones) instead of typing keywords into the Google search bar as they did on their desktops or laptops, people’s expectations and interactions are changing. In fact, for about a year now, Google has been working on its new ranking algorithm which will be based on mobile platforms (tablets and smartphones) instead of the traditional desktop platforms. We should now expect some of these changes, and more:
    1. Since we speak faster than we can write, search activities (via voice command) will drastically increase, especially from our mobile devices. And the key phrases (or keywords) people will use to search would be longer and more detailed. For example: instead of typing in a keyword in the Google’s search bar like: “Minnesota Website Designer,” people would (voice command) search something like: “Good Website Designer in Minnesota” or “Great Website Design Company Near Me.”
    2. The smaller the computing device people are using for their searches, the shorter their attention span. With our current level of impatience, people are demanding relevant results quickly and user-friendly options no matter which computer device they use to find your website.
    3. Since now Google indexes new content pretty soon after we published it online, any content that generates interest from a healthy number of searchers in a specific category and demographic will get pushed up in searches much quicker than before.

B. Social Media:

Social media is a tool for people to socialize with friends, fans and customers. For customers, it can also be used to check whether a provider has a good track record or not. And for businesses, it helps humanize and amplify any information worth sharing to their audience. In other words, social media can help turbo boost permission-based content marketing for many businesses on social sites.

In the past, Facebook was just a social page to share images and exchange text chat on the web. Now, it goes well beyond that initial stage to become a video-livestream tool, keeping friends and family members in touch via video calls. It won’t be a surprise if you post a question on Facebook and get live video answers from your friends or family members, instead of the typical text responses. Notably, researches have shown that people rely on other people’s feedback as one of the main factors in their decision making, even from people they don’t know.

Social media is now a very powerful platform when you think in terms of how often people on a social network can influence the decisions of your customers. That said, social media is now running parallel with search engines in terms of the journey customers often take to find, verify, and make decisions on which providers to contact.

C. Dedicated Website:

These days, people expect every business to have a dedicated website. People will assume that businesses that are serious about what they do would establish a professional business website and keep it up to date. If a potential customer hears about you on social media from her friends but can’t find your business website, she automatically assumes that you either no longer run that business or it’s something you do on the side as a hobby. Therefore, if you want to establish credibility as a serious business, you need to set up a dedicated website with great content. Also, any information people learn about you online (from your social pages, directories, promotional ads, etc.) should lead them back to your business website. That is how you build credibility for your business as well as your website over time.

Now knowing those, let’s dive into the 3 steps that will make your content interesting to customers.

Even though there is a substantial amount of content online on just about any topic, the majority of that content is merely average. By average content, I mean the type of content that searchers would find somewhat helpful but tagged it with too many sales pitches. Because of that, searchers will often move on to find better content that can address their needs. Generally, average content is not helpful enough to build credibility and goodwill, and it will not encourage viewers to take the actions the author desperately desires. Why? Because that content was not produced with the recipient’s intention in mind.

To produce the type of content that will interest your intended audience, here are 3 steps you should follow:

First, list the type of customers you would like to serve. For an example, if your business is a real estate agency and the type of customers you want to serve are:

  1. First-time home buyers who are looking for single-family homes.
  2. Senior citizens who want to sell their current home and buy a townhouse.
  3. Real estate investors who are looking for residential duplex properties to buy and rent out.

You then compose a buyer persona for each of these three groups — from their needs, wants, age range, etc. The more detail you can provide to accurately describe each buyer persona, the better you will understand them. This enables you to produce the type of content that will address the needs of each buyer persona. If you are a small agency, I recommend focusing on a small number of buyer persona, maybe 3 to 5, so you can focus your time on truly understanding your customers and producing great content that serves them well.

Second, identify key touchpoints that, when combined, will ultimately address the needs of each buyer persona. Then, make a list to produce helpful content based on each of those touchpoints. Here’s an example: If you are a real estate broker wanting to produce content that would interest first-time home buyers who are looking for single-family homes to buy, then identify the touchpoints surrounding the information this group of buyer persona would most likely request. You could produce content based on these four touchpoints:

  1. What you should prepare prior to heading out to shop for single-family homes. 
    1. Check your credit score and, if needed, make some quick adjustments to improve it.
    2. Check with your bank or mortgage broker to see what size loan you qualify for.
    3. Find and interview real estate buyer agents.
  1. How to find and interview real estate buyer agents or brokers in your local area.
    (Give helpful information on where to look for an agent and how to determine if an agent would be a good fit for them.)
  1. Important things you should look for when going to look at a home.
    (This information will include the items that first-time home buyers should be looking for when attending an open house or home showing.)
  1. What to consider before making an offer on a home you like.
    (This content should walk them through the steps of what to consider about the financial impact of the potential purchase, the features of the property and the emotional value of the house.)

When you market this content which has been written based on the customers’ needs and wants in mind, you’re not only gaining their interest but also their trust as a credible real estate professional. This significantly increases the chances that they might reach out to you when the time comes, because they’d feel that you really understand them and their situation. It’s much better than producing average content with a sales pitch on every couple paragraphs which is rarely satisfying to anyone.

To get the most out of your touchpoints, position and cross-link each article in a way that is easy for your intended audience to find them. Remember, somewhere in your content (preferably at the end), there should be at least one call-to-action button to encourage readers to take a certain action that benefits you. (You’ve earned it!). For example: Share/Like your content on Facebook, subscribe to your blog, contact you for services, etc.

Third, post your content on your dedicated website and optimize it well so it is user friendly and search engine friendly. Then explore the web for locations where each of your buyer persona usually hangs out and share your content there. Remember, the more relevant your content is to each buyer persona, the higher your chances of attracting the audience you want with your content. This will then increase your reach and conversion rate.

Now you know the 3 steps to producing the type of content that will interest your intended audience, and the 3 most important online platforms you will use to attract customers with your exceptional marketing content. Now it’s time for you to produce and promote great content that will send your message beyond the overabundant maze of average content.

If you find this article helpful, please share it on social media with others who you think will benefit from it {my call to action button ^_^} so this article can inspire others as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I wish you all the best on your digital content marketing journey.

Phong Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."

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