The internet is flooded with content. Texts, videos, images — we consume hundreds of pieces of content every day without even noticing it. But, how many of them actually hit the target?
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As a business, your primary goal is to get noticed, to get heard. So, if the content you create doesn’t resonate with the audience, you are pouring your money down the drain.
As a self-funded startup targeting a highly competitive SaaS market, we at Chanty learned firsthand how hard it is to build a solid content marketing process from scratch. Yet, we had no choice but to make it work. And so we did.
In this article, we want to share our secret recipe for crafting the content that converts.
So, if you are planning to start a blog or promote your business online, here are the 5 ingredients that can spice up your content and make it work.
Write about what your readers want to read
Creating the content which is relevant to your readers and resonates with them is the key to success. Yet, finding the right topics to cover on your blog is always a challenge.
A good idea would be to start your search at a place your readers go looking for the answers to their questions — Google search. Popular search queries can be a great source of inspiration for your content. You can even explore regional interests by changing your IP address through the use of VPN servers and exploring local Google yourself.
The approach worked out pretty well for us. Namely, it turned out that many people are searching for alternatives to the well-known products. In our case, they were looking for team communication tools to substitute Slack and other popular messengers.
Such queries also clearly had a very high buying intent, so we gave it a shot.
We wrote a series of articles dedicated to the team chat comparison and created several landing pages optimized for “… alternative” keywords. As a result, our website traffic grew threefold while conversions hit 10%.
Takeaway? Don’t write for the sake of writing. Answer to your readers’ questions. Educate them. Offer solutions to their problems.
1 – Create content that earns trust
Customer loyalty begins with trust. No one will buy from a company that doesn’t seem reliable or is being dishonest with its customers. So, you need to establish credibility as a brand through the content you produce and share.
Make sure that your content is well-researched and based on facts, regardless of the topic you cover. Always give proper credit to the data you quote in your articles.
A great way to establish credibility is to create opinion pieces or expert roundups. To start with, you can reach out to the fellow startupers and ask for their comments or participate in such roundups yourself.
For example, our piece on How to get beta testers for a startup turned out to be a legit investment. The experts we included in the roundup were glad to share the piece and spread it across their networks, helping us get the visibility and build trust.
2 – Always add value
What is the main purpose of your content?
To get your website to the first page of Google search? To drive traffic to your website? To make the readers buy your product or service?
If your answer to any of the given questions is “yes,” you are getting the content marketing wrong. It’s all about adding value first.
A generic or boring article won’t help you convert the readers into customers. Neither will it help you rank higher in Google search. Yet, original and insightful content will.
Your content should be filled with real-life evidence, your own hands-on experience, and original insights. Namely, the comparison articles we mentioned earlier wouldn’t bring half of the results if it wasn’t for the original, in-depth (and unbiased) analysis they featured.
For example, in our seven-messenger test drive article, we got to the core of the team chat tools comparison. We didn’t go around singing our praises but conducted thorough research and tried to help our readers make the right choice instead.
The effort paid off well enough. The article spurred the conversation on our blog and had really positive feedback.
Feedback from the grateful readers.
3 – Channel your inner Hemingway
Even the brightest and the most valuable article can get dusty in your blog if it is impossible to read or understand. Of course, using proper grammar and following common style best practices go without saying. However, there are many more things you can do to make your content readable.
First of all, always speak the same language as you readers. Don’t overcrowd your content with unnecessary jargon, buzzwords or scientism in attempt to sound smart or trendy. Breaking the text into smaller paragraphs, using bullet lists, quotes or subheaders will make your articles easier to read.
You can also use some graphics here and there to liven up your articles. Adding a dash of humor never hurt nobody either!
Combo: an image we used in our article which is both funny and meaningful in terms of the article content.
4 – Spread the word
Once you create the perfect piece of content, it’s time to share it like mad. And by “share” I don’t mean just social networks. There are many ways to spread your content across all marketing channels. One of the best ways to accomplish this, is through the use of automated marketing tools. Many platforms will work with manual outreach and promotion, but this can add up to a lot of time-wasted, when plenty of automated options exist.
Guest posting is one of them. Getting your content posted on other resources with a bigger audience and higher credibility is a proven strategy for earning valuable backlinks as well as establishing credibility and growing your audience.
Featuring articles on such reputable resources as Hubspot, Entrepreneur, Foundr, Search Engine Journal, SemRush, Marketo, etc. was quite a journey for us as well. Yet, putting our name in front of millions of readers was definitely worth the effort.
On the other hand, if you accept guest posts, you can expect your contributors to share the articles with their network and get you some extra visibility on social media (as well as a good deal of traffic).
5 – Don’t be overly promotional
There’s nothing more frustrating than heading to the corporate blog, tempted with a promising title, just to see another ad in a shiny wrapper. Even if you choose to promote your product or service, avoid sounding too salesy at any cost. Educate your readers rather than try to bluntly sell your product.
Brand loyalty and trust can win you more revenue down the road than a one-time sale.
Need an example of how to best accomplish this? Take a look at the comparison chart at HealthyHandyMan.com, and how they list out the best benchtop jointers for sale on the internet today. We are all sick and tired of reaching long text articles, and want more visuals. This is simply one of the best ways to give your audience what they want, while also increasing conversions in the process!
As you can see, there’s no magic involved in creating the content that drives results. The recipe is simple: a cup of value and original insights, a tablespoon of credibility, and a dash of humor.
Yet, there is one secret ingredient that can make any article even better. It’s the value, the genuine desire to be useful to your readers. Only the content with a clear value will reach its target and bring the expected results.
What’s your strategy for creating the content that converts? Share your hacks in the comments.
Author bio: Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty a simple AI-powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 9-year experience in digital marketing field, Olga is responsible for Chanty’s online presence strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts and getting things done to change the way teams communicate and collaborate. Follow Olga on Twitter or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.
Do You Need to Make a Huge Blogging Shift?
Sometimes, you get bogged down with your blogging routine. Routines feel comfortable, right?
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But blogging is a feeling game like life is a feeling game. All flows based on your emotions. If you feel really good – first – then you take good feeling blogging actions and over time, with patience and trust, see good feeling blogging results.
Unfortunately, most humans give almost zero thought to their emotions before diving in to a blogging routine. Bloggers believe you need to do something or follow a set routine to succeed, to drive traffic, and to make money. Day after day, year after year, most bloggers follow a routine without giving zero thought to how they are feeling, if they enjoy blogging, if they have fun following the routine, and if they feel detached, patient and trusting in the process.
This is the only reason why as of about 7 years ago, 80% of bloggers never made more than $100 during their blogging careers. If 8 out of 10 humans can not make $100 through blogging over 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, 8 out of 10 bloggers clearly give zero thought to their feelings BEFORE blogging. Feel bad, and you see no money. But those 2 out of 10 bloggers who feel really good make lots of money over the long haul.
Maybe it is time to make a shift, guys.
2-3 months ago I made one shift. 1 month ago I made an even bigger shift; quite huge, for me. But what I did differently made almost zero difference. How I chose to feel marked the big shift, then, I moved into different blogging actions.
For example, I faced some deep fears, felt the fears, and instantly, after feeling pretty crappy for a short time, I felt better and better. Choosing to face fear, clear it, and feel better, helped me see things clearly. I tired of my blogging schedule, my social sharing groups, blog commenting and heavy cross promotion. In truth, I hated it. I did have some fun with each for a while but the passion long left me. Since how you feel before and while you blog means everything, my mindset-feeling shift told me I’d have so much fun guest posting. So as of about 3-4 weeks ago – maybe less – all I do is guest posting because I have fun guest posting and guest posting comes easily to me.
Making the shift involved facing deep fears of failure, loss and struggle. I had to feel the fear of letting go lifeless activities for me – at the time – to clear out the fear, and properly release these strategies, and to move forward so I could feel good, then, decide what blogging actions would feel fun and easy and enjoyable to me.
All shifts happen emotionally first, by your choice. After feeling some muck and then feeling better, you clearly and intuitively feel through the next fun-feeling, enjoyable step.
What About You?
Do you need to make any shifts with your blogging campaign? Or do you need to make one big, sweeping, all-encompassing shift?
Getting caught up in blogging routines feels comfortable, familiar and safe, sometimes. But do you feel good before you begin the routine? Do you feel good working the routine? Do you feel detached, relaxed, trusting and like you are cared for, and prospering, while following your blogging routine?
Be honest to make a necessary shift. If you love following your routine, cool. Proceed. But most humans are taught – me included – to follow some routine (no matter how you feel) to get something, specifically money, so you can avoid failure, struggle, poverty, going hungry, illness, and embarrassment. This is exactly why most humans work jobs. Follow a routine to get money even if you feel really bad or terrible following the work-routine; aka, even if you hate your job and it feels lifeless, or soul-less.
May be time for a big shift guys.
Why Comedians Teach You a Powerful Blogging Lesson
Last night I saw a funny comedian perform in Atlantic City.
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Chris Delia charmed the audience with his silly, somewhat absurd, level of humor.
He also explained how comedians need thick skin to become successful. Humor is a very personal, subjective topic. Some people find some comedians hysterical but never laugh at other comedians. As you imagine, bombing feels terrible to most comedians. At least until they develop a thick skin.
I once read how Kevin Hart often waited until 1 AM to work an open mic. Sometimes he waited until 1 AM and the place closed down so he never got the chance to do his set. Imagine how thick-skinned you need to be to not let that bother you? Is it any wonder why he is now worth $150 million? He became immune to criticism, failure and rejection. As a matter of fact, after developing a thick skin, he likely did not see criticism, failure or rejection.
All those evenings of 1 AM sets in front of 1-2 lifeless people or all those nights of being told to go home at 1 AM after waiting for hours to do his act purged the fear of criticism, failure and rejection from his being. Void of these fears, he rose up to being one of the most famous, wealthy and powerful comedians on earth.
Bloggers Need Thick Skin
I once promoted a course to the tune of 8000 page views before I sold one copy. Did I quit promoting the course? No. I developed a thick skin during the process. I did not see 8000 rejections. I only saw meeting and helping more human beings through my blog. Even during moments when I felt like giving up I trusted in myself and believed in the blogging process. Quitting and failure were no options for me. But in the same vein, I needed to be thick skinned to see through criticism, rejection and failure.
I needed to be aware of opportunity amid the appearance of nobody reading my blog. Toss in being patient and persistent in helping folks during my most trying times and you have a pretty thick-skinned individual.
Do Not Care What People Think
Chris Delia shared how he could care less what people thought about him. He dressed down a few hecklers during the show.
Comedians succeed because they care less about what people think of their acts; being heckled, ignored or criticized had nothing to do with their belief in self and their belief in their comedic style.
As a blogger, give no thought to what people think of you. Guess what? You cannot control your reputation. No matter how long and hard you work in life to maintain a positive reputation, you can never physically control what people think of you. I am largely a nice guy 99.99% of the time yet some people genuinely hate me. I cannot control their demons. Plus I know we see the world as we see ourselves so if someone hates themselves I cannot do anything about that self-loathing.
Focus on yourself. Focus on what you think about yourself because this is the only thing that matters. Being comfortable in your own skin aligns you with loving, loyal followers who appreciate you for who you are. Let go everybody else. Critics form an energetic yoke if you care about their thoughts but dissolve into thin air when you could care less about what they think of you.
Bloggers become successful because these few folks who have thick skins shine brightly in a world of thin-skinned bloggers who fear criticism, judgment and rejection. The few who step it up do wonders because we all want a piece of free spirits who march to the beat of their own drum without caring what people think, say or do, in response or reaction to them simply being themselves.
Do You Have an Exit Plan for Your Blog?
This past week I ceased sharing posts in blogging tribes.
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I finally got it; I joined tribes because I feared unless I shared other blogger content, nobody would read my content. I feared if nobody shared my content, nobody reads my content, and I needed to share other blogger content to effectively influence bloggers and people to share mine. Ouch.
As you can imagine, I put in many long, hard hours working a job, NEEDING to be online to succeed with my blog. Rewind. Working a job. Did you see this phrase? I worked a job. I needed to be online to succeed. Largely, at least. Does that sound like a business owner to you? Does that sound like leveraging? Sure I drive some passive traffic and profits to my blog but being honest, I largely worked a job and had a job for much of my 10 years online, and I did not have a pure business so I could step away from my blog and business for months, at a time. Or, forever.
I have more of an exit plan now. I have a blogging business. I am writing my tail off to be in as many spots as possible without relying on sharing tribes and other groups that require me to be online, to social share posts, so other people can social share my posts, so I get traffic and profits. I began to think; what am I doing? I mean, if you love joining social sharing tribes, do it. Nice friendship builder. But you need to have some exit plan with your business and need to see how you can step away one day so it is about a 100% passive income machine – or, so you can sell it at a tidy profit – in order for you to be a free entrepreneur, versus a bound employee.
I am having so much fun writing blog posts and guest posts daily. Plus it is easy peasy. Every piece of content is forever, unless all these blogs vanish or get closed out by all these bloggers. Fat chance. Plus I can drive to Atlantic City today with my wife and enjoy a show this afternoon into evening and my business will still grow from a heavy passive element. Even though I am online writing this morning, all my blog posts and guest posts serve as a passive promotional army for the Blogging From Paradise blog and brand.
Imagine me trying to social share other blogger posts as I am driving down the Parkway? Not happening.
Network. Have fun making friends. Build a rock solid foundation for your blog. But eventually, evolve into someone who leverages your presence so you work a business, not a job. Any strategy 100% dependent on you being online, sharing blogger content so other bloggers share your content and boost your success, is a job, not a business, because you are tied to the online world and have no exit strategy, and a light passive element to your blogging business.
Gradually place less emphasis on networking online. Focus on purely passive elements, like writing more blog posts and guest posts, which last forever. Humans change, quit, fail, change tastes; you never want to be at the mercy of the fickle human beast. Unless all blogs close down, all of those blog posts and guest posts you wrote are pretty much forever.
Focusing a bit more on things – things helping people – helps you leverage your blog and business powerfully so you can make an exit plan and step away from your blogging business for 1, 2 or 3 months. I know bloggers who take vacations for months; everything keeps growing money-wise because they leverage, and are not dependent on people for cash flow, because their system creates the cash flow.
Trust in the process plays a big role too.
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