We all know that content is king. Every blog you read will tout the benefits of good, compelling content. But what they don’t tell you is how to create it. So without further ado:
1. Comprehensive How-To Articles
This should be the epitome of your content. You should write comprehensive, in-depth articles that explain to your reader base how-to overcome important challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.
In order to do this you need to know the pulse of your readers. When you hit a nerve with them with compelling content, they will share it easily.
How-to articles usually contain at least 1,000 words. Some of the core elements are:
- Opening statement – connecting with your readers.
- Setting the stage – defining why the reader should care.
- Revealing the how-to details – revealing the step-by-step process through tips
If you not a writer and want to learn how to write persuasive copy, check out this resource: Writers Version of Six-Figure Copywriting
2. Expert Interviews
Conducting interviews is great because you are helping the other person succeed first. That’s what Zig Ziglar always said, “ You can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
When you interview people who have professional knowledge in the areas that interest your readers, you’ll easily be able to generate outstanding content and build on-going relationships. The types of expert interviews are as follows:
- Written interviews
- Audio interviews
- Video interviews
- Hybrid/Combination interviews
When you review other people’s books, products or services you will provide great content to your readers and also get on the radar of the person who created the product. This could lead to an on-going beneficial relationship for you and the person. You just might have an opportunity to work with them in the future.
- Write reviews on your blog
- Write reviews as articles for other websites
- Record reviews using your computer with screencasting software
When you review something, always remember:
- To be honest
- Include images of the product or service
- Add useful tips for your readers
4. Case Studies
Case studies about other businesses in your industry are an often overlooked form of powerful content. A case study is an examination of a successful business or individual. These stories deal with challenges people faced and what they did to overcome it.
This may seem counterintuitive but if you want to encourage and empower your readers, provide case studies that have absolutely no connection to your own products and services. Why? When you share compelling success stories of others, you’ll be perceived as a journalist and not as a marketer.
How to create a case study:
- The challenge – explain why the company or individual needed to make a change.
- Solution steps taken – explain what they did to overcome the problems
- The results – share the results of the above actions
- Lessons learned – list tips that will help the reader
An excellent resource for case studies: CAS – Writing Case Studies
5. News Stories
If your particular industry is always in the news, then you should cover these stories for your readers. Here are the elements you need to know:
- One liner – the opening line of your news story should summarize what your readers need to know
- Quotes – seek a quote to add credibility to your story
- The meaning – let your readers know what you think about the news.
Have you found this tips helpful so far? I sure have. In fact when I recently read Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael Stelzner, I knew I had to share it with all of you. All this information and much more can be found in Stelzner’s book. In my opinion, this book gets four eagles, which is equivalent to four stars. It is a must read. Let’s continue.
6. Contrarian Stories
These types of stories seek to examine the opposite of what everyone commonly believes. Most people commonly believe that “best practices” are a good thing to follow in a business. You may not believe that. If so, you could write a contrarian story on how best practices should not be practiced in every organization. Here are a couple of tips:
- Identify what everyone is talking about. Then decide if you are for or against it. Develop and article about it.
- Take a closer look at something that is considered no good. For example, “Is Direct Mail Still a Viable Way to Reach Customers?”
If you’re interested in learning how to write compelling copy for the web, whether it be news or contrarian stories, check out this resource: Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts
7. Reports Based on Surveys
When you create this type of content, you not only provide valuable insight to your audience, it also draws a tremendous amount of attention to your business.
Have you ever heard of the Social Media Marketing Industry Report? If not, head over to Social Media Examiner and check it out. In it, you will see a visually appealing 26-page report that over 800 marketers participated in. This report helped to catapult Social Media Examiner into the stratosphere according to founder Michael Stelzner. It could do the same for your business. Here are the steps involved in creating one:
- Set up a survey – come up with a series of questions you feel your audience really wants to know
- Find people willing to take the survey – if you use the experts you interviewed earlier, they will be great candidates and they can even ask their list of people to participate
- Analyze the results – if you use a tool like SurveyMonkey.com, you’ll be able to do this
- Create the report – work with a graphic designer to make it visually appealing
- Release and promote – offer a free copy as an incentive in exchange for an email address
If you’re interested in becoming a social media expert, like Stelzner check out this resource: Become a Social Media Expert
8. White Papers
White papers are longer educational documents that help people solve specific problems. There are five primary sections a white paper should cover:
- Trends – explain where the world is headed. Refer to known third-party sources
- Problems – talking about problems allows you to resonate with your readers because you are addressing their concerns
- History – people find facts about history interesting
- The Solution – explain how to solve the problems you identified earlier
- The Benefits – explain what’s in it for the reader
If you’re interested in learning how to write better white papers, check out this resource: Secrets of Writing High-Performance B2B Copy
9. Top 10 Contests
Contests invite your readers to nominate their favorite things. It gets the reader involved. It makes them feel they are a part of your community. Contests are great because:
- Excites your reader
- Drives traffic
- Attracts experts
- Inspires goodwill
How to conduct a Top 10 contest:
- Choose reputable judges – those known in your industry
- Make sure readers have a voice – enable your readers to play a part, such as nominating people
- Hire a designer – have a really cool badge people want to have on their website
10. Micro Events
These events are free live activities that are online and last for no more than an hour. Some examples are:
- Social media events
- Internet radio shows
- Live video broadcasts
How to put one on:
- Recruit an expert – find someone passionate about his/her area of expertise and communicates well
- Promote the event – use social media, email, etc.
- Prepare questions – this will be live, so prepare well by having a list of questions in advance to ask the expert