How many times have you, or someone in your team, spent hours crafting a piece of content? Agonising over the right phrases to use, making sure the content looks visually appealing, that the format is seemingly easy to consume, only to find that when it goes live, it doesn’t get the ‘big bang’ results you originally anticipated?
We’ve all been there, trying to uncover why it isn’t landing, maybe a shorter headline will help? Maybe a different graphic on the front cover? Is it cutting through the noise? Unfortunately, there is not just one right answer, it could be a whole host of reasons.
It may sound simple, but the way to create truly compelling content is by understanding your target audience, through this understanding you’re able to create something that is truly of value to them.
Where do you start when writing compelling content?
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to creating compelling content is relevancy. To get the traction you were looking for, your content should be timely and speak directly to your target audience and their pain points, regardless of if you’re creating a compelling case study or short social media content.
Understanding your target audience through developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Persona(s), you can collate unique characteristics which can help uncover average revenue, number of employees, number of customers, budget, industry, geography, and purchase process but it should include other information such as pain points around their role and industry, but also personal fears, aspirations and needs.
Once compiled, you can then tailor your content to specifically address these points – without this level of information, you can end up speaking about a subject matter that has very little relevancy or is of little interest. For instance, if your ICP includes HR businesses with 10 people that only operate within the UK, it is probably best to steer away from trends in the US…
Have you kept your audience in mind?
Now you’ve established your ICP, it’s pivotal to consider how you’re already communicating with your prospects, and at which stage they are within the buying cycle. For instance, if you’ve only recently started to communicate with them, it’s likely that they’ll still be in the awareness phase, so creating compelling content that keeps you front of mind for them will be key.
Considering what stage they’re at within their buying cycle isn’t the only thing to keep in mind, going back to your ICP and based on the information you collected, you should also have an understanding of what makes them tick and what motivates them day to day. Knowing this information will inform which format the content should be presented – for example, you should probably steer away from creating a whitepaper for time-sensitive individuals, and instead may want to opt for more snackable pieces of content that they can get value from in short doses.
Pinpointing how they typically like to consume content will also have an impact on how you leverage this and the channels you utilise. For instance, if through your ICP development you know you’re your audience typically spends a lot of time on Facebook, then you may want to target them there.
Are aesthetics important?
So now you’ve established your ICP and done your research about what makes them tick and considered how and where they typically like to spend their time, we should now shift our attention to the content itself. How many times have you read something that was completely lacklustre and switched off after the first paragraph? Well, you’re not alone…
The human element to your content shouldn’t be understated, in B2B it’s easy to forget you’re talking to another human behind their screen, so don’t forget to show some personality, sometimes being a little controversial or incorporating a light-hearted joke can help to attract attention in the saturated B2B market and become memorable, keeping your business front of mind.
Finally, don’t forget about your content’s curb appeal, your copy may be elegantly written, and personalised to each individual business but if it visually doesn’t look great – you may see that your audience hits the exit button quicker than you’d like. Ensure that the format and layout of your content flows and is easy to follow, include relevant imagery and eye-catching visuals, and sometimes it pays to think outside of the box, it’s not just B2C that can be fun!
How do you measure your content?
Now your piece of content has gone live, how do you know if it’s compelling? At this stage, it’s important to separate feelings from the facts and resist making educated guesses.
The data and insights from your website content will help you identify if the content is compelling in the eyes of your audience. Bounce rates, dwell times, downloads, conversions, and heat maps are a great place to start… but beware of vanity metrics! For instance, if your content has a high bounce rate, this may indicate that the information within the content isn’t providing added value, or if a heat map is showing a cold spot on your eBook, it may be a sign to switch up the format of the page.
It’s important to continually test and learn, further optimising to hit the sweet spot and leveraging that data-driven insight moving forward.
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