As a marketer, you know that the first step in your marketing strategy is to attract business with your content.
But, while many small businesses are using a content marketing strategy, the majority of marketers are failing.
Just because you have a plan, it doesn’t mean it’s working. To understand content marketing, you need to look at the definition.
According to the Content Marketing Institute,
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The important words in this definition are valuable and consistent. If readers find your content valuable, they will share it on social media and are more likely to become a customer or a buyer.
In fact, buyers use content to help them during the buying process.
So, why are you failing at content marketing? It’s because your blog isn’t aligned with your target audience.
Whether your blog posts don’t have a clickable headline or you fail to create shareable images, the reason why your content isn’t attracting your audience is because your blog posts aren’t speaking to them.
You’re missing the mark, which isn’t helping you convert your visitors to subscribers or buyers.
Discover your audiences’ pain points
Fear is hardwired into our brains. It’s so powerful that we’d rather save something we already have than get something we really want.
The fear of loss is a bigger motivator for your audience than the hope of what they could gain.
As a marketer, you can use this psychology principle to help with writing blog posts.
When you create content around your audiences’ pain points, you’ll end up with engaging and shareable content. People want to find information about their problems or challenges.
So, how do you know what problems your audience has?
1. Take a look at your comments
One easy way to find out if your audience has a problem is to look at your comments on older posts.
For example, on my Twins Mommy blog I wrote a post about a trick I use to increase my inbox open rate.
That post generated a lot of comments and questions.
Based on these questions, I can see what my audience needs help with – more tips to get your email to the inbox.
By mining the comments on your posts, you can start tracking the questions people are asking and use that to help you create blog posts around their problems.
Quora is a Q&A site, and it’s a great place to find out what people are talking about in your niche.
If your niche is social media marketing, you can see what kind of questions people ask about Instagram, for example:
- How to get more followers on Instagram?
- Why would someone use Instagram Stories over Snapchat?
- How do I get a lot of Instagram likes without using hashtags?
As a content creator, you can craft blog posts that center on these topics.
3. Facebook groups
Facebook groups have recently exploded in popularity. A lot of professional bloggers have their own Facebook group and are using it to grow their following and income.
But, you can also use Facebook groups to help you figure out what your audience is struggling with.
Go to your niche-related Facebook groups and see what types of questions people are asking in each group.
Create content that will solve a problem
Once you have enough information about what your audience is struggling with, you can create blog posts around those problems.
The key to really making a blog post valuable (remember our definition of content marketing) is to make it solve a problem.
For example, since email open rate is an important metric to help you with your conversion rate, Mary Fernandez wrote a post on OptinMonster giving you 101 email subject lines to increase your open rates.
This post is highly valuable because of how many examples you get – for free.
A great way to highlight how your blog post can solve a problem is to use a list-type post.
A list post immediately tells you what to expect and how it will help you.
Here’s Neil Patel’s blog post about design tips to help bloggers with engagement on their site.
With over 1,000 shares and 20 comments, this post clearly shows how valuable it is by listing what you get and what problem it solves.
Another type of post that focuses on teaching or learning a new thing is the how-to post.
Looking at BuzzSumo, the first few results for email marketing are how-to posts.
People are interested in finding tips to help them with their problem, and how-to posts are perfect examples of helpful and valuable posts.
Write informational posts
To make the most of your content, every blog post you write for business or marketing purposes should be informational. Of course, this seems easy to do, but since a lot of marketers are noting how their content marketing isn’t effective, it’s something to consider.
For example, inspirational type posts don’t really help other people take action. It only inspires them.
An inspirational blog post title would be: What I Do in a Day as a Full-time Blogger.
People may enjoy reading this post, but there really isn’t anything for them to take away from it.
To turn this into an informational post, we can include tips for better efficiency or productivity: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Productivity as a Full-time Blogger.
All of a sudden this blog post speaks to someone who needs help with their productivity as a work at home blogger. They can read this post and find some great tips to help them streamline their work during the day.
There are other ways to make your post informational and have more value.
Provide case studies
A lot of online businesses use case studies from satisfied customers to help market their service or product. This serves as a great way to educate your visitors on what you provide, and how it can help them.
It also shows success with your product or service. For example, Tailwind, a Pinterest scheduling and analytics tool, featured a case study of a blogger using Tailwind to grow her blog’s traffic and income.
Using case studies helps your audience see how your product or service is being used in the real world by real businesses – to get excellent results.
The goal is to make your content help people go from point A to point B.
Feature expert interviews
Roundups and interviews are popular among bloggers and entrepreneurs. As a marketer, you can get in on this by rounding up experts in an industry and getting their bets tips and strategies.
Not only would this post be filled with actionable information, but it’s highly valuable since it provides viewpoints from different professionals.
Gab Goldenberg of Pagewiz interviewed four copywriters and asked them important questions that would help their audience of marketers, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Providing informational posts is a surefire way to ensure that your audience finds your content highly valuable.
Make your post shareable
To grow engagement, you need to make it easy to share your posts. Nowadays, there are many free tools to help you put sharing buttons – and more – on each blog post.
1. Social Warfare
Social Warfare is an extremely popular WordPress plugin that makes it easy to add share buttons to your blog posts.
You can use it to add share buttons to images, display “click to tweet” boxes, add OpenGraph tags to improve how your content looks when it’s shared, and more.
To learn more, be sure to check out Adam’s post on social sharing plugins.
Visme is a freemium online image editing tool that’s popular with bloggers and entrepreneurs. What’s great about this tool is you don’t need any design background.
Visme is easy to use with thousands of templates to choose from and over a million free images and icons to use.
Since Pinterest is a social platform that helps you grow your traffic, you can use Visme to create Pinterest-style images that will get many re-saves.
3. Click to Tweet
Another way to make your content shareable is to embed a Click to Tweet feature in your blog post. If you’re using WordPress, you can use a premium plugin like Social Warfare* to turn a phrase into a clickable tweet, or you can use a free plugin like Better Click to Tweet.
Depending on the plugin, you just copy the text you want to tweet, place it where you want in your blog post, and click the blog editor button.
When it’s published, this is what it can look like in your post:
Putting it all together
To write a blog post that your audience will enjoy and find valuable, you need to touch on their pain points.
What are their problems and challenges?
From there, you need to create content that will solve those problems in an informational way.
By using list posts or how-to posts, you can capitalize on providing useful tips and strategies for your audience.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.