Part One – Idea Creation
If you’re an SME you have more than likely experimented with content for your web site, however the standard of content amongst these smaller companies varies massively because very few SME’s will have a professional content writer within their team. This guide will explain how you can write content that is both engaging to your target audience and develop your company’s tone of voice as a brand influencer.
Before you begin the process of championing a great content idea you have to ask yourself an honest question. What do you look for in a business’s blog? Too many companies just write blog posts as another chance to sell to a visitor; these attempts at conversion are so transparent it’s painful. When we are looking to buy a product we want honest thoughts from genuine customers as opposed to self-promotional content that hundreds of other SME’s are putting out there.
I know what you’re thinking, why would I have something on my site that isn’t tailored to selling my products? Well, put simply your website isn’t about what you want, everything you do should be focused towards the end user, this keeps the experience personal and relevant to them.
In this 5 part guide toinfinity will show you the best practices for content creation, including in-depth looks at the following:
• Idea Creation
• Idea Selection & Development
• Headline Creation
• Creating Your Content
• Syndication & Repurposing
Visit us every week until the 23rd May for a new blog on creating engaging content for your small business. So without further ado let’s begin with part 1:
Before you begin making milestones in your industry with your amazing content you need to generate some outstanding ideas. Notice we have said ideas, not even necessarily good ones at first, the biggest mistake at this stage is getting behind one idea from the start and never actually stopping to check if your content is something your target audience will consider as useful.
Your first step is looking at your competitors and what content they are producing. A fantastic tool to use is BuzzSumo, even though the free version has a limited number of daily searches it’s a fantastic way to find out what content is popular in your industry. Take a look at the engagement for content titled with your SME’s keywords; if the top posts have a high number of Facebook shares ask yourself what separates them from the less successful pieces. In addition you can use this competitor analysis to find the most popular formats for content, choosing the correct form for your content is essential to getting a good reception. Do your target audience like to read, list post, infographics or do they prefer to watch a video? There will be no value in creating content that doesn’t attract the right people.
Planning ahead of time will save you time in the long run, generating ideas is a lot easier if you don’t have to stop to consider all the extra perimeters you need to hit. A great site is Days Of The Year, use this site to build a list of national holidays and events that may be related to your industry (even if it’s only loosely) in addition you may want to run through the significant sporting events of the year in order to best synchronise your content. If you find yourself really struggling to put relevance to ideas take a step back and create your own PR Framework, this is what professional agencies use to dilute aspects of PR into sections with criteria to meet. Here’s more information on creating a PR Framework.
As an SME you have a unique advantage in that any employees you have are a lot closer to the business and know how it works. Select a few people to join you in a brainstorming content meeting, there’s no right number of people but around 3-5 is a good balance. Anyone who’s ever been in a business meeting knows that there are often people who take the lead and drive all of the meeting forward with constant input. While this is great in some situations in a content meeting it’s exactly what you don’t want, having strong personalities taking charge stifles the ideas of other people who may be quieter but still have genuinely good ideas. If the person who leads your meetings is the most talkative get someone else to take charge to ensure everyone has a voice, their role will be to interject when someone talks for too long or goes off topic.
There are a number of brain storming techniques that are best for content creation, a particularly good one is 6-3-5 Brainwriting. Using this method gives people a chance to be creative and develop each other’s ideas without being stopped by other people, experiment and find the best way to get your team to work together. Use your Days of the Year and PR framework as a start for your ideas; relate your suggestions to those documents to ensure your ideas are relevant.
Following this technique precisely means six people writing three ideas in five minutes, with no talking or communication. At the end of the five minutes the group passes their ideas to the persona on the left, they can write three new ideas or develop ones already on the page. This goes around the table once and by the end you should have plenty of ideas to play with. 6-3-5 may not be the ideal technique for your company, search around and find the best ways to get ideas out of yourself and your team. Test one or two methods out on your team before you settle into doing one regularly, a great resource for brainstorming is this list from Inc. You can always combine elements of multiple techniques and create your own hybrid content generation strategy.
This concludes the first part of our five part series on creating engaging content for small businesses, next week toinfinity takes at how to select the gems from your newly created ideas and what you need to do to begin to develop them into a piece of content.