Be the Best Content Creator
Becoming known as “the best content creator around” requires more than baseline knowledge of a given topic. Part of building memorable content is being a good storyteller.
Whether you’re crafting an informative article or drafting an engaging infographic, you want your message to resonate with your audience. More than 90 percent of business-to-business marketers (B2B) use content to spread their message, but 75 percent of those professionals say their content marketing is “moderately successful” at best.
So what’s the difference between the large majority of the content that gets mediocre results and the 25 percent that is deemed extremely successful?
Steps to Becoming a Quality Content Creator
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for your personal blog, an e-Commerce site, or contributing to a top content-producing company—the principles of creating quality content are the same. It takes time to build your name as a trusted source of information in any niche. By staying disciplined and putting in the effort, your content creation skills will land you a premier publisher title.
Before you launch your next piece of work, consider these characteristics of top content creators:
1. Top content creators are aware of emerging trends. Continuously educate yourself on all facets of your industry. Stay current on the elements of your niche so you’re not pigeonholed into one content category. For example, if you write for the real estate industry, you need to know more than today’s mortgage rates. You should understand investments, different home loans, the mortgage approval process, “subject to” deals, and more. By expanding your knowledge, you open yourself up to more content creation opportunities, thus building yourself as an industry expert in several niches.
2. They know their audience. One of the most important aspects of creating great content is understanding your target market. It’s not enough to create content for a woman in her 30s. You need to know her lifestyle habits, where she hangs out online, what motivates her purchases, her education level, relationship status, and social activities.
With more than 2.3 billion active users on Facebook alone, distinguishing your audience from the crowd can be tough. Use these tips to help identify your target market:
- Scope the competition. Follow the leading brands in your industry and look at their engaged audience members. Who is most active on the brand’s social media pages? If you offer similar products or services, it’s likely the same group will take interest in your brand.
- Study your customers. As you gather information about those who purchase from you or leave comments on your site, review the data. Your current customer base can reveal the type of content you should create as well as where it should be distributed.
- Read up on market research. With websites like Statista.com and emarketer.com, it’s easier than ever to gather information about a particular group of people. Look for studies that showcase information about those interested in your type of service.
- Create a survey. Develop a short customer survey that asks for information you think will be very helpful to future content. For example, knowing if the majority of your target audience has children can help drive future content creation. Understanding how they research a product before purchase (online reviews, asking a friend, reading long-form content) can direct your focus.
The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor your content to their consumption habits.
3. Top content creators get better. Refuse to settle for amateur status in any area of work. If you don’t consider yourself a professional graphic artist or top-notch copywriter, it’s time to improve your skills. Our three favorite steps to improving what you do are:
Follow the greats. Whose work do you most admire? Find one or two professionals in your field and begin to study their style. Consider their techniques, tools, and inspiration. Mimic their style and add your own flair to grow into the best content creator.
Study your craft. Read trustworthy how-to articles and blogs on how to avoid common mistakes and make the most out of your resources.
Practice a lot. The old adage “Practice makes perfect” applies to content creation. Continue to write, design, or produce videos to grow your skill level. As you take inspiration from your industry greats and study your craft, your work will improve.
You may not be a professional right now, but honing your skill means that in just a short amount of time, no one will know the difference.
4. Top content creators are consistent. Even as you’re developing your skills, the best rule of thumb is to create content often. Regular distribution of your work will begin to grow your audience. It’s impossible to get better at something you do only on occasion. Create a content calendar and commit to producing the work on a daily or weekly basis.
Plan where you’ll distribute the content. If the work lives only on your website and you have no distribution power behind it, it’s likely to get lost among the other 1.5 billion websites that fill cyberspace.
5. They build a brand voice. Your content should be recognizable across all your platforms. To create your voice, consider your audience. Are you writing to a more laid-back millennial group or trying to reach C-level executives? Your audience will help dictate your language and style, and can also give you guidance on where you should post your content. Consider the differences between Instagram and LinkedIn users. Stick with the platform that best fits your audience and gets you the most engagement.
6. They paint a picture. Drive your point home with your audience by using visual examples. You want to relate to your readers and help them understand what you’re talking about. Use these elements to evoke visuals that resonate:
Transform your writing by breathing life into words with vivid descriptions. Show it, don’t tell it. For example, rather than saying, “The baker added flour to the cutting board,” describe the scene by saying, “The focused baker furrowed his brow as he read the recipe and tossed a handful of flour on his wooden cutting board.” The second sentence creates a mental picture for your reader, making your content easier to digest.
7. They solve a problem. Your content shouldn’t sell you; it should sell your knowledge and expertise. Highlight issues that are common among your readers and explain viable solutions. Avoid the hard sale and use unique content to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
8. They understand their KPIs. Publishing content online certainly doesn’t guarantee an audience. Use your key performance indicators (KPI) to measure the success of your reach. A KPI is a specific metric you look at to rate your performance. KPIs to consider:
- Social engagement: The number of people who interact with your social media content.
- Direct web traffic: The number of website visitors who find your content through your site’s URL rather than through a referring site (like Facebook).
- Organic web traffic: The number of website visitors who find your content via a search engine link.
- Conversion: The number of web site visitors who completed a desired goal, like submitting their email address or downloading a PDF.
9. They tell a story. For many readers, good content must involve an element of entertainment. Keep people reading through to the end with an engaging storyline that’s easy to follow. The average reader spends 37 seconds on any given article, so if you want your audience to spend more than half a minute scrolling your content, make it worth the read.
10. They dare to be different. Learn to question the status quo and stand out from the crowd by offering a different perspective or approach to common problems. Content creators who develop new solutions or question an author’s point of view can find traction with an audience seeking new ways of thinking. Develop a mind for critical thinking and understand how to format your own theories and solutions within your content.
Build Content Creator Skills
Evolving into a great content creator won’t happen overnight. Continue to educate yourself and follow the greats in your industry. Draw inspiration from content creators you admire and continue to practice consistently. Don’t be afraid to create content that goes against the grain. Play devil’s advocate (on occasion) to pull in readers who are interested in new ways to solve old problems. Distribute your content on as many platforms as possible and stay engaged with your social media fans and followers. Great content creators tell great stories, so find your inspiration and a blank page.
Your audience is waiting.:
Storyteller. Beer lover. Toddler interpreter. Not necessarily in that order, depending on the day. JoAnna B. has written for real estate firms in six states, can make reading about digital marketing enjoyable, and, above all, wants to tell a good story with quality content. Her style is filled with dry humor, real-life examples and a little bit of everything in between.