We’re back with more on creating quality content! Did you miss the first two steps? Be sure to go back and read all about doing your research and adding visual elements when creating top-notch quality, then come back here for the next three steps!
Step 3: Write to engage, not just provide information
Your users are most likely to engage with you when you write with the mission of getting them involved rather than just spoon-feeding them information. This means spending a little bit of time figuring out what motivates your users to read your posts, dig deeper into your archives, and become a loyal, recurring visitor to your site. In order to get your users to interact with you, you’ll have to know more about your current and potential audience: their online behavior, their psychological mindset when they get to your site, and other statistical evidence about their online history with you.
Here’s an example of creative writing that is ingeniously funny, engaging, and informative. The writer uses humor and sarcasm to write about her experiences at Whole Foods, while maintaining her stance throughout the article that she absolutely hates going there. The first paragraph alone sets the tone of the whole post, and whether you found it offensive, offensively funny, or just plain funny, she captures your attention and makes you read more to find out the end of the story. She tells her experience to her audience as if she was telling it to her BFF.
Why does this example work? She’s funny (granted she’s a comedian), she caught her user’s attention (with some psychological, mental, and behavioral marketing tactics), and used it to create a compelling story that resonates with her audience. This results in high social sharing statistics. Check out the impressive stats surrounding this article:
- 1 million Facebook likes
- 178K+ Facebook shares
- 16.5K Tweets
- 3K Google+
- 30K Email shares
- 2700 Comments
By appealing to your reader’s behavior and mindset, you can create a compelling story that reaches and resonates with your audience. This helps you captivate them right off the bat and encourages them to interact with you more effectively.
Step 4: Test and analyze
Testing is an important part of ensuring that your content’s quality is always at its best, and should be a part of your quality assurance work, if it’s not already. Conducting A/B and multivariate testing on your articles, landing pages, and other posts can help you determine which types of content need improvement and which types are performing well. A/B testing can help you figure out if your visual illustrations are helping readers finish your page, or if your call-to-action (CTA) is performing the way that it should. With the results in hand, you can fix your content by implementing the necessary actions to fix the problem – a different colored button, a different headline, a better image, a better video, etc.
Analyzing your user’s behavior is also an essential part of increasing content quality. In order to improve the quality of your content, metric analysis will help you understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of your site and its visitors. It can give you a better read on what is underperforming, what is missing the target, and what types of content should appear more frequently to help generate more readership.
If your article on Obama’s health care platform is being read 300% more by your users than other posts, then you can expand your readership by targeting for subject matter (i.e. creating more articles or posts on different Obamacare sub-topics), targeting by niche (i.e. writing healthcare posts that target doctors, nurses, insurance companies or combination) or targeting by demographics (i.e. age, gender, geolocation).
In other words, your analysis can also help you write content that has more quality value for a more targeted audience.
Step 5: Continually refine your content strategy
In the long haul, your content strategies and tactics will determine how well your members and potentials will engage with you. Partnered with analytics and measured data, you need to consistently ask the right questions about your strategy to keep it in line with your business goals, membership retention, and your bottom line. These questions can look like (in no particular order):
- Is our long-term content strategy continually generating more leads and conversions? Are our short-term and mid-term strategies working to make that happen? If not, how do we adjust?
- Is our membership churn increasing or decreasing by our content? What analytical measurement supports these trends? How can we use these statistics to increase retention and decrease churn?
- Have the needs of our customers changed, and is our content strategy flexible enough to accommodate those changing needs? What systems or processes are in place to keep us flexible? Do we receive continual feedback from our members and potentials to investigate whether we are on the right track?
- What are our customers using to get our content? What are the key content factors that drive our users to engagement and conversion, and how do we continually keep them fresh? Where are the bottlenecks and dips, and what processes do we have in place to minimize reader drops?
- Is our content style working for our readers? Is it too hard to read, or too much information at any given time? Does it look appealing on all platforms and devices? Is it readable and accessible to our viewers, especially those with disabilities?
Refining your strategy will not only save you time and effort in creating content, but can also help you improve your content by giving you insight on how your users read your content.
Creating quality content is one of the hardest things that businesses need to do, especially for a membership site. The suggestions in this series are great ways to help you rise above content mediocrity and help your company gain much more reach, relevance, and resonance. What other tips and tricks do you have that would increase quality content? Let us know!