Content marketing 101: Dazzle your readers with pops of personality
“70% of internet users want to learn about products and services through their own research.”
That means the greater portion of buyers wants to find the facts on their own, without adverts. If you’re new to content marketing, that statistic says it all.
Content marketing is a way to reach and inform potential buyers without actually selling to them. It gives you the opportunity to talk about your industry and showcase your knowledge. Not only does this provide valuable information to readers, but it gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as a professional in your field.
More than anything, it’s like an investment system. You contribute to the great library of knowledge (collectively known as “the internet”) and in return, when people reference your contribution, you get visitors and sales.
Everyone is winning. Even baristas. Good writing requires great coffee.
Got content marketing. Got readers. Now keep them.
You may find it difficult to build a good following and if you do, you’re certainly not alone. 63% of marketers report that building readership is their greatest challenge. With such a demand for information, how are businesses struggling to get and keep readers?
You need to ensure that what you are sharing is unique and doesn’t appear on thousands of others blogs already. If the information already appears, try to present it with a new angle. Add your insights and opinions (as a professional) to make it unique.
What about your writing style? Is it engaging?
What if you could build a greater following while you improve your conversion rates to increase sales? And boost engagement? Sounds like a lot of birds to kill with one stone but by adding pops of personality to your writing, you can. You can hold your readers’ attention for longer. This translates to better engagement and more followers. The bonus? More sales.
Adding personality to your writing gives readers a reason to visit your blog. It might be your approach, your view, or your way of explaining things. Personality doesn’t mean you have to be funny. It means sharing something of yourself in your writing, punctuating vast stretches of information with pops of dazzling insights. A signature touch, if you will.
If you’re not sure you how to leverage your personality to improve your penmanship, try our 5-step-strategy. It’s about developing who you already are and extending that into your writing.
Find your inner voice to boost your content marketing
So, you sit down to write that blog post. First, you check social media. Refresh your inbox. Make tea. Refresh the inbox again. There’s no more denying it. It is time to stop procrastinating.
You grasp onto a few concepts you wish to cover in your blog. It’s difficult. Your determination and perseverance outweigh the creative flow you have right now. Reading what you wrote is awful. It sounds awkward, like a piece of music that’s composed almost entirely of staccatos and rests. Clumsy stops and starts.
Creativity. There is a push and pull between your intellectual logical brain and your creative mind. If one dominates, the other naturally has to recede. The logical brain is the one that keeps telling you ‘you’re doing it wrong’. ‘There’s a better way to phrase it’. ‘That sentence sounds silly’. ‘You can’t write’. And so on. Creativity hates criticism and backs off. The result is a mix of staccatos and rests. Clumsy stops and starts.
There’s a great exercise which mediates between the two. It gives each a turn to have his say and contribute the needed elements.
Set yourself a time limit to jot down all your thoughts on a topic as fast as you can. The aim is to get the thoughts on paper before the timer runs out – English and grammar are irrelevant. To a degree.
It’s important to have all the facts in your head before you start – it’s no good researching as you write because research is for the logical brain and right now it’s your creative brain’s turn. So, have your facts in your head already but be prepared to make references to remind yourself of the points you wish to cover.
Try a timer-exercise to help your content marketing
By writing with a timer, your thinking/logical brain is not present and your creativity can ‘reign’ down. Once you have the facts out, in whatever words they poured from you, you can start the editing process. Cue the thinking brain, the critic. You’re bound to need to cut out a lot of the writing, but you’re likely to find gold nuggets in there too. Build around the gold nuggets and the end product will be truly your own.
The benefits of this exercise are astounding. You teach your thinking brain to wait for its turn and let creativity out to play.
If this doesn’t work, a glass of wine is said to hush that thinking brain just enough to hear your inner voice too. You might just become brutally honest. It might just be the best writing you’ve done. If you try it, let us know how it went for you.
Use or lose the Grammar “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”
In school, learning to write means playing by the rules. We learn correct grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. These rules are important, but in the virtual world, online, it’s okay to toss the rulebook in order to increase engagement.
Enjoy a paragraph that’s only one line.
And start a sentence with “and”.
Be a rebel.
Developing your writing abilities as an adult means letting your creativity flow. It means translating solid facts into a work of art, and art is creativity. You will find your inner voice when you find a balance between obeying the rules and ignoring the rules. Grammar is your best tool. If jokes naturally appear, weave them in.
Be pleased to meet your readers
The undervalued and most prized aspect of research – understanding your readers. Your readers are your potential buyers. They’re also the ones who share your content and speak about it. So use their language. Use the terms they understand. Make yourself relatable to them.
Dig a bit deeper and discover what makes your readers tick. What do they want more than anything (and how does the information you’re sharing help them achieve that)? What are they afraid of?
Be a mind reader and address these topics in your writing. Your readers will feel a connection with you because you understand their ultimate goal and sympathise with their struggles.
Be – ‘ME’ – up Scotty!
Just be yourself and watch your readership go up over time. No, this is not your mother speaking. Identify a personality trait you have in real life and make it your ‘thing’ when you write a blog post.
Are you a funny person? Let that shine through when you write.
If you’re smart and full of facts, substantiate everything you write with statistics and measured data.
Choose a trademark trait and run with it. The nickname you hated at school could become the most quirky online personality that enchants your readers as they come to expect something unique and engaging from you.
Write as you speak
Adding to the previous point, write the way you speak – unless you’re a university professor.
Blog posts are not supposed to be high-end literature dissertations, they’re there to inform your readers. Professional viewpoints that are easily understood by non-professionals. Picture yourself at a party, explaining your topic to the average lady or gent in attendance.
You wouldn’t suddenly switch your normal manner of speaking to accommodate MENSA candidates when you’re speaking to an average party-goer. Your blog traffic is the same. The internet sees people from every walk of life – only a small fraction of them are MENSA candidates. You want to appeal to more than just a fraction – so consider all walks of life.
Enjoy your content marketing work while you make it profitable
Blogging should be fun. If you’re enjoying it, your readers will too. Sure, sometimes you sit down to write that blog post and your flow is drier than a cracker in a desert. It happens. Close your eyes and picture yourself talking to that guest at the party. Set the timer – and off you go. It doesn’t matter if you write nonsense (in the first iteration) – stop analysing it and just get the words onto the page.
If you need to start at the beginning and learn the basics of writing a blog post, our recent post How to write a blog post for beginners provides the perfect insight suitable for the novice blogger.
Alternatively, learn the A-Z of content marketing, all its avenues, and how to use them to increase your business’ engagement, join our content marketing course. Learn more: https://www.brandcandy.co.za/product-category/training/