Think you need to start your writing at a “blank space?” Think again.
I’ve got a blank space, baby. And I’ll write ….
Admit it, you’re singing the song in your head. Or maybe out loud. Has your 12-year old joined you in belting out the tune? We know that in Taylor’s case, she’s going to write “your name” – or some guy’s name, at least. It’s a catchy tune, and like it or not, you probably know the chorus, or at least some of the words. It’s engaging regardless of whether you agree with what she’s saying, think it’s well written, or are a self-proclaimed #1 Fan.
Maybe writing comes naturally to people like her, but consider, perhaps, that there might just be a formula that’s being followed. How is she churning out hit after hit, and selling out concert after concert? Wouldn’t you love that kind of interest when it comes time to write the next piece of content for your company website? Don’t just sit there fretting over a blank screen and a blinking cursor. Create a formula – a content strategy – to help you focus your vision, identify your topic, and craft the piece in a way that’s engaging to your audience.
Your Digital Content Strategy
Let’s switch gears from Taylor Swift to your business. It’s time for you to write a piece of content for your website – a piece that perhaps will be multi-purposed into a press release, an article for a trade publication, or a script for a video. The blank space is before you – or is it?
Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys on the keyboard) create your content strategy. You’ll want to consider the following:
- Develop content that’s authentic and engaging for your brand
- Be a storyteller to draw people in to what you’re saying
- Create a human connection
- Tailor your content for today’s shrinking attention span
- Leverage Google Analytics to help determine what your audience is most interested in
Writing you content will become much more natural and effortless when you can sit down, and know exactly what you are trying to say, who you are saying it to, and the purpose of your message. But, how do you know what to include? At Kolbeco, we look at it this way:
- Begin with your general category – this could be about your company mission or values, a product or service you offer, or even a hobby or interest you and your team partake in.
- Choose a topic based on that category – we at Kolbeco write about the details of marketing, PR, social media, design and web development, but we also dig into passions like animal rescue, triathlon, climbing mountains or more, typically relating them back to a lesson for one of the general categories we’ve identified above.
- Develop your angle – the angle is like the “murder” in an episode of CSI. It’s the first thing the audience sees that draws them in, making them want to read more. In developing your angle, always ask the question: why would anyone care to read this?
- Humanize the piece through storytelling – this builds empathy with the audience and makes it relatable.
- Get a second set of eyes – this person will serve as your “editor” and help you ensure the piece is engaging (and accurate)
- Determine where, and when, to post and distribute your content – how is the piece being posted on your website? Are you optimizing it? How are you sharing on social media? Are there opportunities to share the piece in special interest groups, or with niche media? Consider the creative ways you can give your content more legs.
Gain Insight from Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an amazing (and free) tool that gives you an insight into your reader’s world. Just to scratch the surface, you can see how many people visited your site, what they looked at, how they found your content, and so on, and so on. If you do not have it installed, please, do it now. But let’s assume that you are familiar with Analytics and you have it installed on your site. What can you look at to help mold your content strategy, and identify new topics on an ongoing basis? Here are two quick metrics that will give you a great deal of information:
- Pages… Focus on the “Unique Pageview” number. This will tell you the number of different people who viewed that page. If you know what people are looking at (and how much time they spend looking at it), you can focus your content development around these topics. You already know they are interested, so this is a great opportunity to feed them with more information to keep them coming back. Optimize those well-performing pages; link to other content, and make sure other content links back to it.
- Traffic Channels… Traffic channels can tell you a lot about how people find your content. Are they clicking over from a Facebook post, or through Google? From another blog site, or coming directly to your URL? If you know how people find your content, focus a little extra attention on that channel.
Writing and optimizing your content doesn’t have to be difficult. A content strategy can help engage your audience, and solidify your message. The more you understand your brand, your audience, and how they like to digest your digital content, the more they will be open to your message.