What do successful content marketers know that others don’t? What are their secrets of crafting copy that captivates and converts? How do they combat content creation burnout?
Here’s how to stay productive, prolific and passionate about what you post:
1. Stop selling and start serving. “Overly ‘salesy’ copy is a common mistake,” says Matt Royse, marketing director at Syntax. “You really see it when content creators are burned out. They start rushing and stop putting readers first.’”
His advice: “People want to buy, not be sold,” he says. “So, don’t focus on what you can get out of the piece of content—but on how it can help your audience. Find out what they value, what will make them happy, what makes something fun and what information is helpful to them.”
He shares four types of reader value to keep in mind when planning content:
- Functional value: The utility you gain from the physical performance of what you just purchased.
- Monetary value: The amount of money you paid for an asset or service if you sold it.
- Social value: The quantification you place on changes you experience in life.
- Psychological value: The importance you place on an item, idea or person that is part of your life.
“The key to publishing great content is delivering more value than your audience expects,” Royse adds. “That’s a purpose you can get passionate about.”
2. Tell stories that you like to tell. “Your audience can tell through your words and writing style if you’re passionate about a story,” says Royse. “So, take the time to prepare the story. What do you want the audience to walk away with? If you know a part of your story is slow, remove it or get to the ‘juicy’ or ‘meaty’ parts of the story.”
He also advocates for a confident voice in your prose.
“Don’t forget about using active voice, pacing and the power of the pause,” he says. “You can learn from comedians about the power of the pause and how they tell jokes/stories.”
3. Embrace brevity—give yourself a break. “Length can be daunting to a writer—and readers,” says Royse. “So dare to write shorter. If you write a long piece, then just cut it up and post a series of shorter content pieces from it.”
Brevity starts with clarity of thought, he adds.
“Write in a way that conveys your thoughts clearly and succinctly from the beginning,” he says. “Great content starts with your headline, so spend more time there and the rest will be faster.”
4. Try this quick SEO hack. SEO can actually help you get to the point faster and create more compelling content in the process, according to Royse.
“Write your headline and then cut and paste it into Google,” he suggests. “How does it look compared to other content? What would you tweak? What do you need to change to show up on page one of Google? Does it answer the questions that people have?”
If you have time, then look at Google’s “related searches” to see how you can tweak your headline to meet your initial search and related searches.
“If you write content better than the others—and answer the question better—Google will reward you with a top search engine ranking,” Royse says.
5. Follow content trends. The best writers stay on top of the latest content Not doing so can result in content that falls flat, wasting your time—and your audience’s.
Royse suggests keeping these content trends in mind every time you plan, pen or publish a post:
- Go more niche. “No matter your industry, there’s most likely content saturation and many companies publishing similar content,” he says “To stand out and rank for specific keywords in 20202, brands are going more niche with content to reach a particular buyer. Instead of writing a generic topic, write a topic that is for a specific industry or buyer.”
- Different formats. “Repurpose your content for different formats and audiences,” Royse advises. “Some people like the written word; some like videos and some like images or infographics. Some like longer content and some (like millennials) like shorter content.”
- The rise of voice search. “Your target audience is likely using a digital assistant like Alexa to search for what they need,” he says. “Content should now be written in natural language that answers questions. It should be written with complete sentences, use longtail keywords and take advantage of ‘near me’ searches.”
Royse also advises reading books about content creation and marketing.
“One of my favorites is ‘Content Trap’ by Bharat Anand,” he says. “The author discusses how Harvard Business School went digital, but what I love is that the book talks about fostering connectivity instead of focusing on content.”
What does that mean?
“Companies don’t need to make the best content,” explains Royse. “Instead, they should focus on how content enables connectivity to help audiences overcome obstacles. That’s how you thrive in an era where everyone else is in the content business.”