Creating Compelling Content That Generates Links, Shares, and New Business
Today’s post is the last of a three part series where I’ve covered SERP Analysis and Brainstorming Content Topics. I hope to tie everything together with this final post where I will be discussing content generation. In this post I will be talking about audience identification, buyer personas, content development, and strategically seeding your content for maximum visibility. This is going to be a longer post, so let’s jump in.
Before you create any piece of content for your organization, you need to be able to answer the following question: Who is this content targeted at? Your answer should be one of two:
- This content is to attract potential customers and move them into the sales funnel
- This content is to establish myself as a thought leader and will be used to attract links and social shares by other industry professionals
If you are generating external content for any other reason, you are doing it wrong. You need to be focusing all of your effort on generating content to increase your website authority and grow your business through increased sales… end of discussion, let’s move on.
The idea behind building buyer personas is to understand who it is you are marketing to so that you can create content that engages them and moves them into the sales funnel. For most, this isn’t an easy task and outlining every detail would require a separate post to be effective, but high level, here’s what you need to develop a buyer persona (taken from the free Hubspot Buyer Persona Template):
- Persona Name (I like to use Steve as one of my buyer personas)
- Background Information
- Role in organization
- Relevant background info (education level, hobbies, etc)
- Age range
- Household income
- Buzz words
- Primary goals
- Secondary goals
- Primary challenge
- Secondary challenge
- How You Help
- How you solve your persona’s challenges
- How you help your persona achieve their goals
- Common Objections
- Most common objections your persona will raise during sales process
- Marketing Message
- How you describe your solution to your persona
You will need to obtain this information by conducting market research on your target audience. This should include a mix of your current customers (good and bad) as well as suspects and prospects.
Once you’ve determined who your content is for and built buyer personas for content geared toward potential customers, next comes the content development phase. This phase is definitely the most time consuming and difficult if you are doing it right.
The first thing you have to get right is quality. Developing this type of content through Textbroker or through a filipino you hired on Elance isn’t going to cut it. You need real writers who can write professionally and speak to your audience. If you’re developing crap content, you are going to lose potential customers and promoters interest after the first sentence or two. Don’t do it!
The second thing you have to get right is the message. I promise, you cannot just throw up a piece of content hoping to target one of the two groups mentioned above and you cannot hope to target them both either. It’s one or the other in my opinion. You must strategically craft the message based on the intent of your piece and your buyer persona.
The last thing you have to get right is the placement of your content. You need to realize that your customers can be anywhere at any time and you need to be there as well. My baby sister is starting her own wedding flower business and she told me last night that she doesn’t need a Twitter account or Facebook page, all she needs is her website. Needless to say, I almost lost it 🙂 There are plenty of brides-to-be on both of those networks and she needs to be there as well.
Here are some of the places you should be placing content based on the intent of your content and buyer personas:
- Company Blog
And the list can go on and on.
I can promise you that if you get these three things right, your percentage of successful content pieces will dramatically increase as will your authority and client base!
Strategically Seeding Content
Content seeding is more than just Tweeting out your content and then asking all of your friends to do the same. It is strategically building relationships and locating content placement opportunities that are highly visible. Here are some of the places where you should be seeding your content:
- Typical Social Channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+)
- Stumble Upon Ads
- LinkedIn Groups
- Google+ Communities
- Shared Boards on Pinterest
- Facebook Ads
I’ve found that LinkedIn Groups and Google+ Communities are currently an underutilized tactic for seeding content for many business and I’m receiving a big return on content seeded through those two resources.
On the same note, it’s important to remember that no one likes a spammer. Continually “pimping” your own content through these methods will annoy users and owners of these community and you will start to reach a point of diminishing returns. Make sure you are a team player and share other content than your own, including those of the community. Doing so will increase the odds that your content gets shared further by members of those groups.
Properly seeding content and getting results from it takes practice. You may not hit a home run the first time, but over time, you will figure out what works for your business and you will see success.
There you have it! My process on SERP Analysis, Topic Brainstorming, and Content Generation. If you have any questions or anything you’d like to add to the post, please do so in the comment section below.
About The Author
Greg Shuey is the VP of Client Services for SEO.com, a leading internet marketing agency located in Utah. Greg runs the day to day operations of the client services team and guides SEO strategy for all SEO.com clientele.