Over two decades ago, Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft wrote an essay in which he formulated the phrase “content is king.” He went on to say the following:
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting… But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.”
Fast forward from that point to today, and there’s no shortage of content on the internet. In fact, there are more than 600 million blogs, thousands of newsrooms, and millions more in opinion sites, social media influencers, and more. Add to that the millions of businesses out there trying to push their own message, product or service, and you can see easy it is for the average person to tune most of it out.
Fortunately, the key to great copy that grabs attention isn’t unattainable, and great content will always stand out from the masses of information floating around. So in this article, we’ll break down the 5 best ways to ensure that your message can grab the attention of your next customer.
Know your Audience
How well do you know your audience? Like, really know them? Do you know what they like to do, who they interact with (and how!), or how they like to digest information? Do you know what social media platforms they prefer, or if they read the newspaper or magazines?
The more you know about your audience, the more opportunity you have to place your content in a place where they might see it. And after all, the first step to getting the right people to notice your content is to know where the right people are looking.
Know your Product or Service
Next up, how well do you know your own offerings? Do you know how people currently use your product or service (hint: it’s not always the way you intended), and what they think of it? In order to create great content, you have to know what you’re talking about—whether that’s a product you’re making, or the expertise you want to share with others.
Create for the Platform
There are many ways to get a message out there, and the best content marketers know how to use every platform to their advantage. While many things can be used and repurposed (for example, turn that blog into a few social media posts), your message needs to be crafted specifically for the platform you intend to use to distribute it. Here are a few quick tips.
- Social – Each platform has different requirements for length and content, but generally, social media content should be short, to the point, and include some sort of call to action or giveaway. Where available, use hashtags so that potentially interested customers can find you among the rest of the noise.
- PR – If targeting media, content should be balanced between concise and complete; make sure you’re giving them the whole story and all the necessary details, but don’t get too wordy, or you’re likely to be ignored.
- Blog – A blog post—usually on your own site—is a great place for showcasing your own expertise or products and services. It’s also a great way to let more people find your site, if you are using Search Engine Optimization tactics as you write. As some quick tips, blogs should have at least 750 words and incorporate several keywords for things you want customers to find you for.
- Marketing – Marketing content (brochures, websites and white papers, as examples) can be varied, but generally, these are a great way to tell people what you do, what you sell and how it will change their lives for the better. In any marketing-focused piece, you’ll want to provide a call to action where possible to encourage a deeper level of engagement between you and your potential customer.
Make it Simple and Clear and Accurate
Whatever you’re writing, there are some common rules: keep it simple, make sure your message is clear, and above all, be accurate and truthful. It’s easy to get swept away sometimes (especially when writing about something you love, like your business) but if you follow these three basic guidelines, you’ll be sure that your message gets across—and sticks.
Finally, keep in mind that while you may be crafting great content in terms of what it says, it’s also one of a million things out there that your customer has to sift through. For that reason, here are a few ways to make any message a bit more intriguing to your reader.
- Tease Curiosity. Where you can, make your reader curious—about potential outcomes, about how something will end or work or the “what if” possibility.
- Create Scarcity or Urgency. When’s the last time you clicked on a “Last Call” email, or visited a store with a “Final Closeout” sale? The ideas of scarcity (that there won’t be enough for everyone) or urgency (I’m about to miss something) are closely entwined, and both are highly effective at getting someone to take the next step or at least hear you out.
- Suggest Exclusivity. One of the most recent additions to the dictionary—FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out—is a real thing. Anywhere you can create exclusivity, tribes of common interests, or suggest that your product or service will somehow make your client “stand apart” from the rest of the population, you’re sure to engage your reader.
- Develop Emotion. As humans, one of the most impactful things we have is our state of emotion. If you can trigger those in some way—like the Humane Society does with big, sad puppy eyes or like Disneyland has done with exciting rides and adventures—your reader is far more likely to actually engage with you, rather than just scrolling on.
There are a lot of ways to create great content, and while these tips are a few ways to get started, there’s a lot more on what it takes to grab—and keep—your customer’s attention from a marketing perspective. If we can be of help as you craft your message, please let us know.