Jan 8, 2014 7:12:00 PM
There’s plenty of content out there that will generate traffic – from hilarious videos and off-the-wall memes to sharp infographics and human interest pieces. There are plenty of click-worthy headlines, interesting ideas and clever one-offs that can bring a flood of people scrambling into your site.
With so many things generating such huge share numbers and enormous traffic counts, you might be fooled into thinking that any piece that generates traffic is “working”…
…but traffic on its own is meaningless.
That is, unless it’s the right kind of traffic – traffic from the people who can or will buy from you. Even when people say the goal of a piece is to increase traffic, that’s not really what they mean.
What businesses really want to do is increase awareness, generate leads or provide a more tangible benefit than inflated analytics. As a goal, “generating traffic” doesn’t really mean much of anything unless that traffic does something that can be tied back to a business goal.
It’s not that infographics and human interest pieces with clever headlines are bad things – in fact, every one of them can help improve your business and content uptake. It’s just that if you want to create content that works hard for your business, you need better goals and a more calculated approach.
Ok, so what kind of content actually works?
We can start defining what kind of content works when we start defining more specifically what we expect that content to accomplish:
- Immediate Sales
You want the kind of content that brings in the right kind of people, and to do that, you’re going to need more than a creative idea or a clever title.
The kind of content that works is the kind that:
- Is based on a carefully researched and well-defined user persona.
To meet the needs of your customers, you need to know who those customers are. Every piece of content you publish should address a specific customer group and be tailored to their needs, pain points and concerns.
- Is targeted to a specific stage in the buying cycle.
Content must do more than address the customer; it must help solve a problem they have at that stage of the cycle and help to move them forward on to the next stage. It needn’t be an immediate conversion or a fast movement between stages, but effective content answers a specific question being asked at a specific time.
- Is aligned with your company branding, tone and voice
A hilarious meme or heartwarming video may not align with the rest of the communication sent out by your business – and if it isn’t, it may confuse or bewilder customers who have come to expect a certain type of language, tone and voice from your brand. Great content wears your brand on its sleeve and remains consistent with the other things you publish.
Process Makes Perfect
As you can see, there’s a lot of sound strategy that should go into what you publish. The reason so many businesses fail to see results from their content and continue to publish failing content is because process falls to the wayside in favor of fast publishing; the rush to get as much content out as possible.
Don’t let your content creation be driven by whims and impulses! Take the time to define your inbound marketing strategy and apply it to every piece.
Without a foundation grounded in customers and their needs, and without a well-defined strategy for how you’d like to present your brand, your content efforts are unlikely to see the kind of sustained success you’re hoping your investment will bring back.
If you want the kind of content that does its job, make sure you do yours, first!
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