Be up-to-date and very knowledgeable about all facets of your industry, not just what’s immediately relevant to you. Say, for example, you’re a manufacturer of mechanical assemblies for heavy-duty vehicles. Knowing as much as you can about these types of vehicles, their manufacturers, and their customers is vital. Follow those manufacturers on social media, read trade publications, and search for the latest relevant news.
You’ll also want to stay in the know about industry innovations, trends, regulations, opportunities, and day-to-day threats. The more you know, the more you put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. That's the key to creating content they’ll find valuable as they look for solutions to their problems.
2. Stay current
Change in your industry happens fast, and ongoing education is important. That means not only do you have to create content that people love, you also have to read others’ content. The best content creators are curious and look for topics their target audience likely cares about. Learn from others and connect the dots to understand how what you glean may affect your prospects.
3. Understand your audience
“Put yourself in his or her shoes” is an understatement, really. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe as your best prospects would, understanding their motivations, reporting relationships, education, social activities, and much more. That’s the only way to address their needs with your content. Don’t make broad assumptions, or you’ll sound like everyone else in your industry.
4. Improve your skills
If you’re not a professional copywriter, you have to do some work to get so close that no one would know the difference. Start by avoiding common business writing mistakes. There are also some quick-read books available to help you overcome very common missteps (like overwriting, awkward phrasing, paragraphs that don’t flow, etc.). My favorite is Strunk & White’s classic, Elements of Style.
5. Write often
The more content you have out there, the more traffic you’ll attract to your website — according to HubSpot, companies that blog 16x per month get almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that publish 0-4 posts/mo. And the more you write, the better you’ll get. Experts aren’t shy about sharing their insights. If you want to become the premier publisher in your industry, you have to commit to acting like one. It’s not something you do only when you “have time.” Digital content creation requires a commitment.
Too often, writing is cranked out just to fill a content calendar or get something published quickly, and it’s dry, plodding, and lifeless. Don’t hesitate to let your company’s (or your) personality come through! Writing isn’t about exacting sentence structure and pulling out the biggest words you can find. Writing is about communicating your idea well and naturally while still abiding by your content marketing strategy.
7. Give examples
You make things much more real and relatable when you give people examples of what you’re talking about. For example (no pun intended), imagine you were writing about the difference between commodity whey protein and functional whey protein, and you wanted to describe texture. Don’t just write, “Functional whey protein allows you to replace cream in a bakery formulation while maintaining the same texture.”
Instead, write something like this: “Functional whey protein allows you to replace cream in a bakery formulation while maintaining the same rich texture, creamy mouthfeel, and velvety smooth consistency your customers know and love.”
8. Don’t talk about yourself
Talk about your customers and prospects. When you talk about yourself, you’ve lost the opportunity to demonstrate that you understand and can address your prospects' needs and challenges. Look at the difference between these two blocks of copy:
“Acme is the leading manufacturer of valves. We have better quality, better customer service, and we’ve been in business since 1987.”
“Acme delivers confidence to its customers who rely on our valves to reduce their downtime by 13% compared to competitors. Customers are also able to eliminate overstocks and stock outs because our supply chain management system is fully optimized to meet their needs.”
9. Do your keyword research
Writing requires both art and science. Of course, you need to know what type of content to write and how to make it resonate with readers. In today’s marketing landscape, you also need to make it appealing to search engines. Hone your writing skills, but also leverage SEO tools to help you maximize your content efforts. After all, it’s disappointing to put your heart and soul into a blog post or other content only to have it fall flat. Including relevant keywords is a critical element of any content strategy.
Knowing the tremendous importance of good content, it’s hard not to be a little stressed about creating it. When talking to clients new to the process, the best piece of advice we can give them is “think like a prospect.” Doing so puts you in the best position to create content that prospects are more than happy to exchange their contact information for. That’s the key to successfully engaging visitors, converting them into leads and, ultimately, turning them into paying customers.
To help you get started, we’ve created several content creation templates and checklists. Check them out below.
Posted by Meg Hoppe Meg provides creative vision to all client projects and serves as the agency's chief content writer. She has extensive experience writing for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare. Meg started in advertising and has become a thought leader in digital content creation and inbound marketing.