Finding Good Topics to Write about and Other Content Marketing Tips
Content marketing may seem overwhelming at first – and quite challenging! To be honest, I sometimes struggle with it too! In the old days, we call it “writer’s block”. And it’s not because you can’t think of anything to write, it’s more of not knowing what to write — what do people want to read?
As technology advances, WiFi being available almost anywhere, smartphones becoming smarter, fast-paced and constant flow of information on social media, the world has become hungrier for information. This is where content comes to play. Content does not just help in disseminating information about your products but it also helps in telling your brand’s story, making it relatable to your audience.
Even traditional marketers jump on the trend because they know (and stats support it) that if they don’t catch up with what’s in, they will miss many opportunities on both exposure and possibly sales. Times have changed and it’s been changing quite fast. Technology has created various platforms where marketers can promote their products and services, if not most platforms of communication are left unexplored and underutilized.
Millenials and Gen Z are not the only ones who benefit from this “new” technology. You’ll be surprised how the older generations have caught on using new platforms like social media and even Google. According to Pew Research, 65 percent of Americans aged 50 to 64 (Baby Boomers are between 54 and 72 in 2018) and 41 percent of Americans 65 years old or older use Facebook regularly. Clearly, boundaries do not exist to marketing these days.
The tricky part with content marketing is that you can’t be all too “salesy”. Unlike in traditional marketing, like advertising through radio, TV or print, wherein you have limited a time for exposure (unless you have a fat wallet), the internet gives you all the time in the world and all the information the consumer needs to make that buying decision.
With all of these information resources coming in handy for the customer, content marketing on new media requires you to be creative and prove your relevance to people’s lives.
What solution can you provide to my problem? And tell it in 4 seconds or less.
At the end of the day, the goal is to capture attention. Let the information linger and share knowledge eventually making that sale. It sounds simple but creating the perfect content takes a lot of research and creative effort. You’ll want people to click on your link, article, blog post, image or video.
Content marketing is more than a fancy creative output – a visually appealing output that’s sure to pique your attention. Here’s some advice, not everything that’s pretty is guaranteed to be effective. It might look pretty, yes – but does it provide value to your audience?
If your answer is yes, then there’s no use proceeding to the other parts of this article; otherwise, let me tell you how I choose my topic for the content.
Where to Start Writing?
The bottom line is that, in whatever you do or create – it has to provide value. Value more than what the initial product or service benefits claim to have.
Choosing the right topic is an efficient way of planning, creating, strategizing and implementing a distinct distribution timeline where your audiences are hooked, engaged and are most likely to share your content and they will almost instantly buy the product or service you’re selling them (sale and purchase conversion may vary depending on, but that’s a different topic so let’s carry on).
Content consumers have to be more than just engaged with what you offer too, they must see added value to the brand/product that they themselves become a catalyst of distribution to their peers and family members.
So. The first thing you have to look into in order to start writing content is (**drum role please**) Google Keyword Planner. Keyword research is the glue that keeps it all together. More often than not, businesses are hesitant to do keyword research because they think it’s just about marketing to Google. WRONG! While it is part true, it also helps you get into the minds of your customers. How do they search for you?
Keyword research tools are a lot smarter now. With paid tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush, you can filter out results in question form. If you don’t have the budget yet for paid tools, you can simply search on Facebook or YouTube. Find which articles are highly shared or viewed by users. The advantage: now you know what questions your audience actually have about these products.
That’s where the most crucial step comes in: identifying pain points. Identifying your customers’ pain points and giving them solutions gives you a free ticket to landing sales.
Imagine this. When you’re on Facebook and you see a post that you truly can relate to, it is almost instinctive to share it to your friends. If your content has gathered that kind of attention, you know it has been relevant to your audience. It may not have yet to close a deal but you know that you have made a mark.
As marketers, we tend to highlight the benefits of the product or service that we offer. But don’t just blabber about it in your content. That’s a good strategy in a traditional sense but living in a digital world can be a struggle if you merely focus on the product or service that you offer. It is more likely that your competitor is selling the same thing just in different packaging and pricing. So, how do you differentiate yourself from the rest?
You create your own need for the product.
To stand out from your competitor, you have a different approach. Tackle at least one of the following human needs:
- Does it cater to a physiological need? Can it be vital for survival?
- Does it offer security/safety?
- Does it encourage love and sense of belongingness?
- Does it tickle your emotional and personal relationships?
- Does it boost your self-esteem and ego? Does it make people feel that they are valued and important?
- Does it actually make you a better person? Does it create an instance to become self-aware?
Don’t get me wrong, attention-grabbing content is great but it’s what’s getting people hooked to it matters more. This is where research ties it all up. By learning what people actually type in to Google, or watching on YouTube, or sharing on Facebook and Twitter, you can spot what REALLY matters to them.
How to Actually Write Content
The key is to be informative, entertaining, and substantial. You can make use of conversational language that will make the reader feel like they’re speaking to an actual person than reading a white paper. Make it personal. Make it seem like you care and you want to end their suffering.
Use commonly used words or phrases that your readers are more likely to use in their daily discussion. Using highfalutin words and terms are most likely to get people to stop reading, click out and never come back regardless of how helpful the content might be.
Add a Good Visual to It
Nobody would want to read a wall of text. Humans are visual creatures. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual (source).
Make things interesting! Attach a good image, infographic, or something better – a video!
Create simple yet attractive visuals. But remember to not overdo it. Design clutter can distract the person’s attention from the actual message and might spend more time analyzing the visuals – turning captured attention into a wasted effort since the message you want to delivery didn’t seem to get across.
Get them involved, have them engaged.
In a Nutshell…
They say that it’s not about the destination but about the experience you get from the journey, yes – at the end of the day, we’re doing our jobs as marketers and we would to gain results from these efforts.
But, do not forget that if you yourself dislike the content and campaign that you’re doing then you’ve failed before you even started. Make sure that you enjoy what you do, always remember your “Why”, be truly interested in what you create and that complete the task with a delightful and helpful heart. Nobody wants to do a project for the sake of completing it, make it a milestone – every content you put out there is a clear reflection of who your brand is and the vision that you put out to the world.
We, as content marketers, create valuable and substantial conversation. We are fire starters not for hype, not for attention but for gaining social visibility to the people and communities that we want to contribute in. That’s where content marketing, and choosing the right topic matters.