Understanding How to Leverage Content More Effectively As An Entrepreneur

Content

Creating and curating compelling content that drives customers to your website is the dream of every entrepreneur.

After all, it doesn’t matter how wonderful your product or service is, if no-one knows about it, they are not going to buy it.

Using your content to convert browsers into buyers is the holy grail of any business. Want to get better at it?

Read on for tips on how to do content marketing and content curation quickly, easily and without getting a headache.

Recommended reading: How to Manage a Modern Business: Time Saving Hacks

OUTSOURCE YOUR CONTENT?

The most obvious (and easiest) way to make sure your content converts into sales is to outsource the job. If you are busy running your business, it makes sense to contract out those parts that are time-consuming or taking you away from the things you are good at.

Hiring professionals to create and curate content could be the most effective way to ensure you are keeping your business fresh and relevant.

However, there are downsides to hiring someone else to do the job. Firstly, getting the exact message you want across might be trickier, and secondly, the additional cost. Even with cheap outsourcing platforms like Fiverr, you run the risk of having to spend more money (time) fixing up lackluster blogs or having to go in an edit scheduled social media posts.

If you decide you do want to outsource content, consider the following:

  1. Test out freelance writers and content creators before committing — agree on some tangible project milestones before hiring someone
  2. Be clear on the outcomes you are looking to achieve
  3. Work with someone who ‘gets’ you: great chemistry = great content
  4. Writers are specialists — it’s not a job that ‘just anyone’ can take on, so be selective
  5. Be honest about where you are with your business and about how committed you are. If you’re just testing the waters, then say that. Wasting people’s time is not cool.

WHAT IS GREAT CONTENT: A REMINDER

Let’s take a minute to think about what content is and what makes effective content.

Content is very different from traditional marketing. Content is NOT advertising. Churning out loads of information about how wonderful your business is, is not creating clever, engaging content.

Instead, creating content is about meeting your prospective buyer where they are and giving them something extra.

For example, if you are manufacturing organic hair products you might want to create content around common hair problems (How To Stop Frizz When It Rains), or appeal to your customers’ obvious interest in natural solutions or eco-issues (Why Coconut Oil Works on Problem Hair or How Organic Beauty Products Are Set to Change the World).

You can use blogs, social media or other platforms (e.g. podcasts or video) to spread and promote your content. Think about educating your customer and giving them extra, appealing information about subjects they are already interested in. Topics which are closely related to your product, but not necessarily about your product.

RESEARCH YOUR CUSTOMERS

The key to doing this successfully is to really know your customer. Do the research, reach out to your audience and get the facts about exactly who your customers are. Don’t assume anything about your audience – you might be missing something vital. Spending time gathering information about your customers is time well spent.

Start with your existing customers. Who are they? Where do they live? How old are they? What is their income bracket? There are lots of tools to help you make professional surveys, such as Typeform or SurveyMonkey.

However, it isn’t easy to get customers to reveal information about themselves (too many companies are doing it), so try offering an incentive, like a free sample or a coupon code. The point here is to collect an accurate customer profile, so you can tailor your content to their specific interests. (And getting on the phone is also not a bad idea).

FINDING CONTENT

Now you have a good idea about who your customers are, how can you create content they are interested in?

Think about the sort of questions your customers have asked you in the past. Have they asked about how you source your ingredients, for example? You could create a lot of content around that. Blog posts, videos, interviews with your suppliers – the list goes on.

How about how you started? Could you create content around your startup story? Brainstorm with your team and come up with ideas for content. It should be creative, fun, lively and continually evolving.

STEAL FROM YOUR BRANDS IN YOUR NICHE

One way you can quickly leverage content more effectively is to steal from brands who are doing it already. It’s underhand, it’s devious….it’s what the other brands are doing.

A great hack for doing this is to use tools to find out what content is performing well for brands in your niche. Let’s use the beauty example we mentioned earlier.

Stealing from one of the really big brands won’t be the most effective way of leveraging content marketing. Why? Because it will be harder to rival the ranking of their content (and their content is probably backed by big budgets you can’t beat).

However, picking a high-performing brand that’s a little under the radar is a great tactic. It allows you to get a little closer to home and learn from a brand that is not that dissimilar to yours. For example, Tonal Balance is a fresh shampoo company and is one of the highest ranked beauty businesses on Exchange:

Tonal Balance Quote

Credit: Tonal Balance

It has a fun, young tone of voice and has heavily invested in stylized Instagram content. By running the site through a content tool like Ahrefs you can find out which pages are currently performing well, how many keywords the site currently has, the average value of its monthly traffic — and lots more.

Diving into social media ‘spying’ you can use a tool like Socialbakers to uncover in-depth audience sentiment data to help you tailor your tone of voice.

A data-driven approach to content creation is a smart way to hack your traffic growth.

THE FIVE FOUNDATIONS

Once you have your ideas, make sure your content follows the five foundations. Make sure it is:

  • Original – give your audience something fresh and new.
  • Actionable – encourage your audience to take another step – sign up for more info or like your Facebook page for example.
  • Informative – educate your audience in subjects they are interested in.
  • Accurate – make sure any information is accurate (double check to save embarrassment later). You want to be known as an authoritative source.
  • Thoughtful – give opinions – move conversations on – imagine you are talking to a friend. Be passionate and interested in your subject.

Don’t forget to use compelling images. There are several places to get great free images. Freerange is one, or Pexels. Make sure any images you use are relevant to your content. There is nothing worse than leading with a picture of a dog, only to find the content is about white goods. Don’t mislead your audience – it just annoys them.

BEING FOUND

Make sure your content can be found. Although organic reach is the ultimate aim, don’t dismiss the idea of paid promotion – especially at the beginning. Use your email list (making sure you are GDPR compliant) and get as social as possible. Use Buffer or Hootsuite to automate your posts and spend time each week creating your content.

HAVE FUN!

Lastly, have fun with your content. Keep it fresh and relevant. Being aware of how your product or service fits into the wider context is essential. Keep an eye on the competition. Link your content to topical news stories. Experiment with different platforms and formats. Learn to read the runes when it comes to predicting trends. Concentrate on helping, not selling.

And most important of all, if you want to turn content into sales, become a voice your audience can trust.

About the Author
Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips. He loves content and lives for helping entrepreneurs improve the stories they convey on their websites. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.

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