Content strategy has taken the world by storm, and with that comes a lot of pressure for companies and brands alike. More and more, consumers breeze past traditional advertisements in favour of curated content that benefits their day-to-day lives. Brands face the pressure of staying relevant, providing value and maintaining a clear voice.
Whether for your business’ blog, an industry publication, or your LinkedIn profile, writing an article can help you to reach a range of consumers online. As the digital space becomes saturated with content targeting your audience, you should ask yourself a few questions:
1. Who am I trying to reach?
What are they interested in? What are they talking about? Before you write your article, determine your target audience. Your business goals should drive who you want your article to target, and what you want to talk about.
If you have a website, Google Analytics can provide invaluable insight into the people who are visiting your site. Where they’re coming from, how they’re getting to your site, and what they’re doing when they’re on it.
Understanding your target consumer will make it easier to pick a topic.
2. Is it valuable?
Why will consumers care about this topic? Is it something that will provide value to the person reading it? If the answer is no, abort and start again. Free tools like Google Trends, Soovle, Ubersuggest, and Answer the Public (to name just a few) can help you determine what your target audiences are talking about online and where their interests lie. Understand what’s trending and determine how you can incorporate those keywords and topics into your article.
Self-serving posts, like internal awards or milestones, can come across as a pat on the back. Yes, it’s exciting for your internal team—but, real talk, more than likely no one outside of your immediate network cares all that much. For posts like this, consider a quick congratulatory announcement through social media.
Take the time to research what gets your consumers excited—it’ll increase your readership and will lead to stronger analytics and conversions.
3. Does it already exist?
Is your topic original? Does it exist somewhere already? Chances are, yes. A quick Google search can give you an idea of what’s out there, and staying up-to-date on industry publications online can help you to stay up-to-date on current trends and conversations.
Even if someone has already written about your chosen topic, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a unique point of view. Knowing your audience and researching ahead of writing means you can write from a point of view that will be useful and interesting to your targeted audience.
4. Does it enhance my brand narrative?
What does the topic say about you or your brand? Your article should be in line with the story you want to tell, whether your personal or business brand. The topic you choose should be in line with products, services or support you offer consumers—otherwise, it won’t tie back to your business objectives.
The article’s voice should also reflect your business narrative. When consumers read the article, they should know it comes from your business. Articles provide an opportunity to bring your business personality to life.
5. How can I reach the right people?
You may already have a designated blog, website section or publication online. If you don’t, it’s important to determine where your article will live—being able to reach your target audience online is key.
Once you’ve found a place to house your article, it’s time to consider how to reach your target audience. Your social media channels are a great way to share your article with existing followers.
Having a strong follower base isn’t enough. With algorithms across all social platforms, no longer can you rely on organic reach through likes, comments and shares to be enough. Platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Network and Twitter Ads, to name a few, offer opportunities to augment your content and reach target audiences down to their location, age, favourite films and search habits, ensuring your content is working as hard as possible. And it doesn’t need to be expensive—putting $20-$50 can increase the reach of your post significantly.
I get it. Now what?
Get researching! Grab colleagues, collaborate potential topics, and figure out your angle. Consider your audiences, and write something relevant and interesting that you yourself would enjoy reading. The more articles you write, the more you can measure their success and tailor your content accordingly. So give it a shot, and get writing.
——— Written by Kristi McKee, former Senior Consultant, Integrated Strategy, NATIONAL Public Relations