Welcome to an extra spicy version of Content Marketing… Stripped! Today we’re looking at some quick tips for rediscovering that spark you had with your reader in the early days.
If you’ve been writing content for a while you might worry that things just aren’t as exciting as they used to be. It’s easy to fall into a routine of blogging and writing newsletters and sometimes you need some fresh ideas to shake things up.
Magazine publishers know the secret to keeping content fresh with each publication. So for this article and video I dug deep into Glamour and Cosmopolitan for ideas on stirring up some passion. Granted, they’re talking about spicing up your bedroom activities, but I don’t see why you can’t apply the same principles to content.
And so, based on my research, I give you the following tips:
1. Get them to flex a little muscle
[signup-form id=”12713″]If you suspect your reader isn’t engaging as much as they used to, perhaps they’re not feeling challenged enough. While you don’t have to engage them in a wrestling match, consider posing them a challenge. Especially if it it’s a challenge that highlights a gap in their knowledge that you can help with.
A great way to do this is with an assessment or a checklist that analyses where they are now and shows them where they want to be. This Twitter audit infographic by Andrea Vahl is a perfect example of challenging her readers to see how well their efforts are working.
2. Create some tension
If you normally use a touchy-feely, softly-softly approach there may be scope to turn up the heat and create some tension in your content.
Of course you’re not trying to make your customer feel bad about themselves, but sometimes hearing a few home-truths or thoughts that are niggling away at them can create momentum and motivation. Jon Morrow is a good example of a blogger who supports his readers whilst drawing attention to subjects that make them uncomfortable. Like his open letter to writers.
3. Arouse their other senses
Telling a good marketing story isn’t about getting the right facts in the right order. It’s a sensory experience that makes your reader feel something. A great exercise in engaging your reader is writing content that helps them visualise an experience. If you’re promoting an event, what are the sights and sounds they’ll experience? If it’s a digital course, try describing their experience of using it in the quiet of their office while enjoying their favourite drink. Go beyond literal descriptions of products and try to engage your reader’s other senses where possible.
4. Remember when you first met?
When you’ve been writing for a while it’s easy to forget the thrill of sparking an initial relationship with your reader. There are a couple of ways you can go back to the beginning to woo your readers though. You might think about giving them a gift out of the blue simply to say how much you appreciate them. Or look back at some of your early posts, chances are you know more than you knew then. Why not do a follow up post with your added expertise. And don’t forget to regularly schedule in content aimed at beginners to keep wooing new readers.
5. Learn to strip
Not literally, no clothes need to be removed for this tip. Instead, think about plotting our a series of content-marketing pieces or blog posts that tell a whole story. I recently completed that here with the free tutorial for writing a sales page. The finale was to reveal an outline of a sales page template. what’s great about this though, is that once you have your tease series written and played out you have a great piece of evergreen content that you can constantly refer readers to.
6. Consider role playing with an alter ego
If you really want to shake things up, why not adopt a different character periodically throughout your content? You could develop an agony aunt character to answer reader questions, or perhaps you develop a no-nonsense, straight-talking character to do tough product reviews on resources that will help your readers.
7. Make it fun again
Life is far too serious. There is plenty of scope for having fun with your content and it might just be the thing you need to lighten the mood and revive the relationship with your reader. Why not develop a fun quiz, or do a round-up of fun and useful articles you’ve seen around the web. You could also do something similar to this post which is to take advice from one industry and apply it to your own.
8. Create their fantasy
Maybe you need to remind your reader why they should stick with you and your content. Remember, your ideal customer is coming to you to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Sit down and make a quick list of your customers top 5 problems and top 5 needs, and the next step they need to take to improve their situation. Write a post or an article showing them what to do to reinforce the idea that you are a valuable companion on their journey. For example, if you’re a nutritionist perhaps you know that if your reader can crack the first week of a new diet they have more chance of success. In this case you could put together 7 x 24-hour menus to help them feel better, look better and improve their chances of long term success.
9. Be dominant
You know how a great call-to-action needs to be explicit? Well if you feel your reader relationship is waning, why not reach out directly to them and tell them what you want? For example in your newsletter, ask for direct feedback, or a list of topics they’d like to see you cover. If you want them to share your content, ask them outright, or even pick out a few of your regular readers and see if they will help. Blogging for your business is about building a relationship and you might be surprised how much you can improve that with direct contact to your reader.
10. Try something completely new
While I’m not trying to encourage distractions through shiny-object-syndrome, at times you just need to do something different. Use a different medium for your content, change your posting frequency, try guest-posting on a completely different site. Do a live Q and A, do a Twitter party. As long as it doesn’t take you away from the focused action you need for successful content marketing, give it a go!
As I mentioned in the video, I’d love to know your ways of spicing things up with your readers. How do you keep thing from going stale in your content? Share with us all below!
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